Manchester Attack

Ask Billboard: Home Charts Edition, Continued

David Bowie's New Makeover: Rock 'n' Roll Recluse

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to [email protected]. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hi Gary,

Interesting topic last week about chart fans who've maintained personal song lists over the years.

I was in middle school when I first heard "Casey's Top 40" on my local radio station. By the time I got to high school, I discovered Billboard and began printing charts from online at my local library.

In 1997, I began to compile a weekly top 20 chart of my own favorite songs. The only rule I had (and still have) is that in order to be on my chart, a song must have been released as a single (or B-side) somewhere in the world. I kept these charts in a notebook, which I still have.

Once I graduated high school in 1999, I stopped doing my charts for about two years. By the end of 2001, however, I missed the joy of ranking my favorite songs each week, so I decided to restart the hobby. This time, I published my charts online as the "Oz Top 20." With the advent of Napster and other new avenues of music exposure, I quickly expanded it from 20 to 40 positions.

I posted the "Oz Top 40" online each week from the end of 2001 until the end of 2004. I started teaching in 2004 and my job cut massively into my free time, again halting the chart. (Also, my computer got a virus from a free-music download site, so I began downloading all of my music from iTunes, which drastically limited the number of songs I could chart).

For Christmas 2009, I got a new MacBook Pro laptop. I decided that for the new decade, I was going to yet again revive my personal charts.

The "Oz Top 20" is now published each week on my Facebook page.

Thanks for letting us share our stories!

Nick Oswald

Hi Gary,

Over the years, I've kept track of Billboard charts and tallied a list of what I considered my personal No. 1s. About two years ago, I discovered this passionate chart club at Yahoo! Groups and began creating my own personal top 40 (now a top 50).

I chart music from the U.S., as well as from other countries, and have discovered many songs from other group members' charts.

After reading your article last week, I thought I would share my chart. Here's the current top 10, with the entire top 50 - and more than 40 years' worth of archives - viewable here.

This Week-Last Week, Title, Artist
1-2, "Rolling in the Deep," Adele
2-5, "Money Grabber," Fitz & the Tantrums

3-1, "Born This Way," Lady Gaga
4-8, "Loco," Manian
5-9, "She Freaks," the Shapeshifters
6-4, "Hello Hello," Elton John
7-10, "Alcoholic," Tim Berg
8-11, "Avalon," Swanky Tunes
9-12, "Marry You," Bruno Mars
10-3, "I Feel Better," Hot Chip


Bruce Evans

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to [email protected]. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hi Gary,

I started my personal chart in 1974 at 12 years old, after discovering "American Top 40" on the radio. I had tracked the local charts in the New York area before that.

Throughout the '70s and early '80s, I made my own personal chart (up to 200 positions a week!) and noted airplay on all stations by flipping through the dial for hours at a time. I still have most of my old charts.

In 1983, I began hosting a yearly party counting down the top songs of the prior 12 months based on the year-end charts of friends and family. This summer will be the 28th annual celebration (and coincides with my 50th birthday). "Modern Love" by David Bowie was the first No. 1.

In 1993, I started a newsletter and community chart called Musicscape as an experiment among friends who produce weekly personal chart data. (Coincidentally, as you wrote, at the time I also compared the activity to fantasy football). "Cantaloop" by US3 dominated the chart for 13 weeks in that era.

Soon after, I became involved in the production of the in-depth Alaska Jim's Music Charts site that provides links to numerous worldwide charts.

In 1995, I started my own site to track personal chart data on the Internet, to showcase charts by genre and to expose the "Untapped Resources" on personal charts that don't receive substantial, if any, airplay.

All this has been a labor of love for me. This work has kept me immersed in the discovery of new music my entire life, truly a gift.

In my teens, I couldn't imagine not doing my own chart but I could never have predicted just how much it would shape my history.

Tim Harris

Dear Gary,

I've been following Billboard's charts and Chart Beat for years and I'm very pleased that Chart Beat continues in good hands! Thank you, bravo and keep up the good work!

I love this feature on home charts. I agree that personal charts are diaries of sorts, as looking at them stirs up memories of years gone by. I've run my charts in different forms since July 1987. The inaugural No. 1 was Aretha Franklin and George Michael's "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)."

I think that the most endearing thing about listener-made charts is how they allow for ties between songs. Most of my late '80s charts had four songs tied at No. 1. With cheeky audacity I would tie songs at No. 2 and even 3. I was practically making all the songs I liked top three hits (happily leaving the difficult matter of actual math to Billboard ...)

Elias Svinos
Kos, Greece

Hi Gary,

I was so excited when I read your article about other people who have created their own versions of music charts. (I thought I was the only weirdo who did this). You are correct, having a journal of music is a great way to go through the journeys of your life.

I have been tracking hits since summer 1991 and finalize my weekly top 10 every Tuesday.

I have also kept tabs on chart records, such as the songs with the most weeks at No. 1:

17, "Only Time," Enya
16, "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," Green Day
15, "Where Is the Love?," the Black Eyed Peas
14, "Holiday," Green Day
14, "Never Let You Go," Third Eye Blind

Love Billboard and the work that you do,

Kevin Lawrence
Durham, North Carolina

Hi Nick, Bruce, Tim, Elias and Kevin,

Fun to hear about your passion for creating personal charts over the years.

Interesting, too, how each personal chart creator seems to follow a strict set of rules. I can relate, as I, too, would chart only official singles when my chart, the "GT Hot 20," launched in 1989.

As I took my cues from Billboard charts, once songs began becoming hits more regularly without being released as commercial singles (i.e., Bart Simpson's "Do the Bartman"), I opened up my chart to album cuts that, while not eligible for the Hot 100, could appear on Billboard genre rankings. The Traveling Wilburys' "Inside Out" (a No. 16 Billboard Album Rock hit in 1991) was the first such Hot 20 No. 1.

Once I became a country music fan in the early '90s, I liked so many hits in the genre that I premiered a sister chart, the "GT Hot Country 15." As the Billboard Hot 100 back then was primarily a pop chart (with top 40 stations accounting for all airplay data), so was the Hot 20, and it made sense to likewise chart my favorite country songs separately. Mary Chapin Carpenter, Garth Brooks, Doug Stone, Mark Chesnutt and Alabama often took turns atop my country tally in that great era for the format.

When the Hot 100 began incorporating all-format airplay in December 1998, I made the bold move of charting country songs on the Hot 20, as well (eventually ceasing the country-only chart). In 2001, Carpenter's "Slave to the Beauty" became the first core country Hot 20 No. 1. (It was also a B-side).

I've never allowed for ties on my charts, but I understand the idea of wanting as many songs as possible to log healthy chart lives. One of the best (and chart-geekiest) benefits of compiling your own chart is not having to see a song stop at, say, No. 11, if you don't want it to, as can unfortunately happen on Billboard charts over which you don't have such control.

I've also kept a record book of Hot 20 hits, showing the discography of every charted artist, a la Joel Whitburn's "Top Pop Singles." If you're going to take the time to make a chart each week, you might as well keep track of how songs and artists have performed over time.

(The Hot 20's author even made a cameo chart appearance, at No. 20, the week of Nov. 28, 1998, after a reading of a poem for KidSounds magazine, produced by a DJ at WBMX/Boston, where I worked at the time, appeared on a CD insert. Alfred Hitchcock would be proud).

Please keep these stories coming. I'm happy to continue posting personal charts here in "Ask Billboard." Please feel free to e-mail at [email protected].

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to [email protected]. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.



I can't begin to tell you how excited I am that Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" claims top honors on the Hot 100 this week (while she's still No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart).

Noticing that "Deep" reaches the top spot in its 18th week, it prompts the question of slow-rising No. 1 songs on the Hot 100. I know that in 1979 it took 21 weeks for Robert John's "Sad Eyes" to reach the top, and in 1982 Vangelis' theme to the 1981 Academy Award-winning film "Chariots of Fire" reached the summit in its 22nd week.

Can you run down the No. 1s that took the longest to top the Hot 100?

As always, thanks very much!

Ron Raymond, Jr.
Music Director, WMPG-FM
Portland, Maine

Hi Ron,

Billboard's ".com-menters" are clearly thrilled with the coronation of "Deep." As noted yesterday, it's rare for a song by a female artist that has charted on the Alternative Songs survey to top the Hot 100, as "Deep" is the highest-peaking Alternative hit (No. 21) by a woman to lead the big chart since Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U" spent one week atop Alternative and four frames atop the Hot 100 in 1990.

Since the Hot 100 adopted Nielsen BDS and SoundScan airplay and sales data, respectively, the week of Nov. 30, 1991, "Deep" ties for the eighth-slowest journey to the summit. In a good sign for Adele's first No. 1, a look at the titles that have made the most scenic trips to the top in that span reveals (mostly) songs that have stood the test of time:

Weeks to No. 1, Title, Artist, Peak Year
33*, "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)," Los Del Rio, 1996
31*, "Amazed," Lonestar, 2000
27, "With Arms Wide Open," Creed, 2000
26, "Everything You Want," Vertical Horizon, 2000

22, "Just Dance," Lady Gaga featuring Colby O'Donis, 2009
21, "The Way You Move," OutKast featuring Sleepy Brown, 2004
19, "Big Girls Don't Cry," Fergie, 2007
18, "Rolling in the Deep," Adele, 2011
18, "Black and Yellow," Wiz Khalifa, 2011
18, "You're Beautiful," James Blunt, 2006
(*two chart runs)

Los Del Rio's pop culture dance hit holds the all-time Hot 100 record for longest trek to No. 1. Prior to 1991, UB40's "Red Red Wine" took the longest time to the top (25 weeks over two chart runs). The song that required the most time to top the Hot 100 in that pre-Nielsen data span in one chart run was Patti Austin's "Baby, Come to Me," with James Ingram (23 weeks, 1982-83).

"Deep" has made its steady run to the Hot 100's penthouse by starting at adult alternative and adult pop radio, eventually crossing to pop and adult contemporary and, in remixed form, dance radio (it's No. 7 this week on Dance Airplay).

It hasn't hurt that "American Idol" finalist Haley Reinhart covered the song, as has the "Glee" cast, while Adele has become a fixture in music blogs and publications, all while parent album "21" has racked seven weeks atop the Billboard 200.

The song's hybrid of styles - pop, rock, soul, blues - has also contributed to its widespread success.

"When we first heard 'Rolling in the Deep,' we felt that we had something very special," says Columbia Records senior VP/promotion, adult formats Pete Cosenza. "It's such a unique song, yet it still has a mass-appeal feel and sound.

"A few months later, I am incredibly proud of the way our team has worked to help Adele earn her first No. 1."

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to [email protected]. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


James Durbin departed "American Idol" last night, which translates to the series' eventual champion this year not being a male pop/rock artist.

The coronation of either country/pop-leaning Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery (country) or Haley Reinhart (pop/blues), will end the streak of male pop/rock "Idol" winners Lee DeWyze (2010), Kris Allen (2009) and David Cook (2008).

Durbin brought perhaps the strongest rock flair of any "Idol" contestant to-date, proudly stating last night that he was the first to perform metal (specifically, Sammy Hagar's "Heavy Metal") on the "Idol" stage.

He also proved versatile, performing a tender version of the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" five weeks ago.

My girlfriend Michelle finds it interesting that of the three remaining finalists, we noted that all had top 12 potential during this season's audition rounds. Still, we agreed only that Lauren could emerge the 10th-season champion. She predicted a strong finish for Haley (I didn't), while I was instantly impressed by Scotty (she wasn't; not a country fan).

As much fun as it will be to find out who's crowned this year's "Idol," we'll also enjoy battling for bragging rights; hers if Haley wins, mine if Scotty wins, and a more boring ours if Lauren (whom we both excitedly predicted to finish first) takes the title.

Like the singers themselves, each of us is "in it to win it!"

(Hmm, why does that phrase sound familiar?)

Have a great weekend, and, as always, follow's complete coverage of the 10th season of "American Idol" and please feel free to share your opinions in the comments section below or by e-mailing [email protected].