The Hits of the World section of Billboard magazine has always emitted an aura of exoticness.
Pre-internet and, especially, pre-YouTube, a scan of the Hits of the World international chart listings afforded a rare snapshot of the dance music thumping in U.K. clubs; hit Australian songs by acts other than Men at Work; and, French ballads whose titles, thanks to junior high language classes, could be (hopefully) translated.
Unfortunately, however, only on paper. No audio.
Unlike in previous decades, however, the ability to go online has made music from any country possible to hear in the time it takes to Google a song title or artist name.
Some songs and artists remain memorable only in their native countries. Others cross to stateside success, from the Beatles to Jessie J, the latter of whom has sent her former U.K. No. 1 "Price Tag," featuring B.o.B, to the Billboard Hot 100's top 40 and whose "Who You Are" is set to debut on the Billboard 200 to be released Thursday (April 21).
In the spirit of spotlighting the top songs beyond U.S. shores, Chart Beat premieres a periodic series highlighting songs scaling surveys on Billboard's venerable Hits of the World menu.
Alyssa Reid featuring P. Reign
Beginning in Canada, the 18-year-old Edmonton native placed sixth in the 2008 season of the reality series "The Next Star." Reid's current single, at No. 4 this week on the Nielsen BDS-based Canadian Hot AC chart and approaching the top 10 (12-11) on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100, revives Heart's 1987 Hot 100 No. 1 "Alone," while channeling the successful rap/singing hybrid formula of such U.S. hits as Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie," featuring Rihanna, and Diddy - Dirty Money's "Coming Home," featuring Skylar Grey.
"A Father's Love (The Only Way He Knew How)"
The appeal of country music extends to other countries, with this brother trio from Blumenort, Alberta, having crafted a tale universal in its touching familial plotline. The song is the group's highest-peaking hit (No. 12) among three entries on the Canada Country chart.
Lauri (Ylonen) is charting his first solo single, which soars 10-2 this week on the Nielsen SoundScan International-based digital songs chart in his native Finland. The Helsinki-born vocalist remains lead singer of the pop/rock band the Rasmus, whose "Dead Letters" made U.S. inroads, having reached No. 18 on Heatseekers Albums in 2004.
"You and Me (In My Pocket)"
Born Jonathan Vandenbroeck, Milow ranks in the top 10 with his current single on the digital songs charts in Austria, Germany and his native Belgium. The singer/songwriter reached No. 1 on six European surveys in 2009 with his acoustic reinvention of 50 Cent's No. 5 Hot 100 hit "Ayo Technology." The cover has totaled more than 45 million YouTube views.
"Someone Like You"
"21" has become the first album this year to reach 1 million in U.S. sales, according to SoundScan, fueled by lead single "Rolling in the Deep," which has spent the last two weeks at No. 10 on the Hot 100. On the Official U.K. Singles chart, while "Deep" peaked at No. 2, this follow-up became Adele Adkins' first homeland No. 1. The intimate ballad remains in the top five after spending five weeks at the summit.