GRAND ENTRANCE: As revealed on Billboard.com yesterday, Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" arrives as the 1,000th Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 dating to the chart's 1958 inception.

Lady Gaga Claims 1,000th Hot 100 No. 1

with 'Born This Way'


What a fitting title, then, to revisit how the chart was born.

In the Nov. 12, 1955, issue, Billboard had premiered the Top 100 chart, a "combined tabulation of Dealer, Disk Jock and Juke Box Operator" sales-only ranking.

Before long, however, then-Billboard charts department leader Tom Noonan said, "'You know, we've got to come up with a faster way (to gauge) what's going on,'" Sire Records founder Seymour Stein told former Billboard director of charts Geoff Mayfield upon the Hot 100's 50th anniversary in 2008.

The Top 100 was "not good for the jukebox operators. They've got to buy their records early enough to get them in the jukeboxes before they become outdated," Stein recalled Noonan as saying. (As a teen in the '50s, Stein often visited Billboard's New York office in hopes of working in the music business).

Noonan also "saw all these top 40 stations sprouting up around the country. These stations compiled their own top 40 charts. Some of them were accurate and some of them were not," Stein said.

In tandem with then-Billboard publisher/president Bill Littleford, Noonan's theories culminated in the Aug. 4, 1958, Billboard issue, when the Hot 100 premiered as the first chart combining radio airplay, sales and jukebox activity data measurement.

Billboard promoted the new chart as "the fastest, most complete and most sensitive index to the popularity of recorded music in America."

Author/chart historian Joel Whitburn told Billboard in 2008 that the Hot 100 "took the industry by storm" upon its arrival. "You started seeing it creeping up in all the record shops. Everybody would gather around and look at it.

"It was so different. Any other chart that existed wouldn't even compare."

After more than a half-century, and numerous changes in methodology, notably, the 1991 adoption of Nielsen SoundScan and BDS sales and airplay data, respectively, and, more recently, streaming activity figures, the Hot 100 continues to unite music fans by ranking the country's top songs via multiple data pools.

And, if no longer as much in "record shops," certainly at society's more modern meeting spot of note, i.e., Twitter, where hitmakers themselves often can't contain their joy at contributing to music history.

"ThankYou so much to Radio+Monsters for making Born This Way the 1000th #1 in Billboard History," Lady Gaga Tweeted. "ThankYou for believing."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Pages

Print