Cee Lo Green's 'F**k You': Radio Swears It's A Hit
In its 17th week on Billboard's Pop Songs chart, to be refreshed Thursday (Feb. 10) on Billboard.com, Cee Lo Green's "F**k You (Forget You)" reaches a new peak, bolting 23-17.
The song also nabs Greatest Gainer honors for the first time on the Nielsen BDS-based mainstream radio airplay chart, improving by 47%. The track's 3,846 plays, its best weekly sum to-date, on 118 of the chart's 129 reporters translates to 33 plays per station and an audience of 33.1 million in the survey's Jan. 31-Feb. 6 tracking period.
"F**k You (Forget You)" spent nine weeks on Pop Songs beginning the week of Sept. 25, 2010, reaching an original highpoint of No. 18 in October.
Following the song's last week on the list (Nov. 20) in its first chart run, its pop culture standing surged.
The cast of Fox's "Glee," featuring Gwyneth Paltrow on lead vocals, put its spin on the song on the series' Nov. 16 episode. The troupe's cover debuted and peaked at No. 11 - the third-highest rank among the cast's 104 chart entries - on the Dec. 4 Billboard Hot 100.
The same week, Green's original recording roared to its No. 9 peak to-date on the Hot 100. On the Dec. 4 Digital Songs chart, it vaulted 12-2 (191,000 downloads sold, up 94%, according to Nielsen SoundScan).
And, on Dec. 1, Green received four Grammy Award nominations for "F**k You (Forget You)," including record and song of the year.
Spurred by its newfound notoriety, Green's single reignited at radio, re-entering Pop Songs the week of Jan. 1 after five weeks below the chart's No. 40 anchor position.
Roadrunner Records senior VP/promotion Mike Easterlin says the song's sales track record - it never fell below 50,000, or No. 25 on Digital Songs, in each of the past 23 weeks - fortified the label's resolve in its unyielding radio push.
"The key was that 'F**k You' never stopped selling, so we couldn't just walk away because of a (low) chart number," says Easterlin.
"'Glee' and the Grammys were key to bringing it back to the forefront, for sure, making radio believe that it was a song that they not only could play again, but probably should.
"The final piece of the puzzle was audience research. Many of the programmers that were unsure re-tested it and it came back huge, giving them the confidence to go back on it."
WNOU (100.9 FM Radio Now)/Indianapolis logged last week's greatest gain (up 72) for "F**k You (Forget You)," increasing plays from 29 to 101.
WNOU program director Tim Rainey calls the song a "secret weapon" for the station that "no one else in the market has the balls to play." Rainey also cites the track's viral success, with its official video up to 42 million views on YouTube.
"I grabbed the 'dirty' version and made the edits myself the Monday following its release in August," says Rainey, whose station was the first Pop Songs reporter to spin the track (Aug. 23). "I knew I had to play it. It was the YouTube video that everyone was talking about and we consider ourselves Indianapolis' pop culture epicenter.
"Still, after a few weeks of research, it just wasn't turning a corner for us. However, the overall buzz and local Indianapolis SoundScan sales pushed me to put it back into rotation," Rainey says.
"After that, its research scores came back massive. Our listeners had heard this song, either on 'Glee' or YouTube. But, they finally connected the pieces to make it a hit.
"Awesome songs with a viral buzz don't happen very often, but when they do, you need to jump on them."
WFLZ (93.3)/Tampa, Fla., played "F**k You" 100 times last week. "The song has been a hit for us since day one," says program director Tommy Chuck.
"The fact that it is still around and selling is no surprise to us. It seems like the exposure it got on 'Glee' really helped the song turn the corner with pop radio. That was definitely the week it soared in our audience research."
Sirius XM's Hits 1 channel leads all Pop Songs panelists with 1,285 plays for "F**k You" (through Feb. 6).
The satellite broadcaster's VP/music and programming Kid Kelly says the song ultimately stands on its own musical merit. "The internet action may have gotten our attention, but 'F**k You' is simply an across-the-board proven smash."
Awareness for the song, which has sold 2.2 million downloads since its release, will reach a new level when Green and Paltrow are expected to perform it Sunday (Feb. 13) at the 53rd Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
"Many questioned if it was a novelty record, but 'F**k You' is more than that. It's an amazing pop song," says KIIS (102.7)/Los Angeles assistant program director/music director Julie Pilat. The station played the song 86 times last week, up from 45 spins the week before.
"Green has been a tastemaker artist for years, from Goodie Mob to Gnarls Barkley's 'Crazy'," says Pilat.
"I'm glad he's getting the recognition he deserves."