In our latest mailbag, a look at acts who've notched multiple No. 2 hits, but no No. 1s, on various charts. Plus, some of the Hot 100's top current hits recall the past, while tomorrow marks a notable anniversary
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BASE IS COVERED
I've been a longtime follower of Billboard charts and one of my favorite pop acts ever is the top Billboard artist of almost 20 years ago: Sweden's Ace of Base.
Since Sept. 18 marks the 20th anniversary of the act's first U.S. Hot 100 appearance, with the No. 2 hit "All That She Wants," I'd like to know how later releases fared both on the Hot 100 and the Billboard 200. And, how have their releases sold?
Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil
Great memory: "All That She Wants" entered the Hot 100 on Sept. 18, 1993, at a modest No. 92. Odd-seeming now, it started the same week on Alternative Songs at No. 26, eventually reaching No. 17.
In 1993-94, Ace of Base absolutely owned top 40 radio. "Wants" led Pop Songs for nine weeks, while follow-up "The Sign" reigned for 14 – still the longest command in the chart's history. How big a hit was it? As big as Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" has been, it led Pop Songs for 10 weeks, a month shy of what "The Sign" accomplished. Third single "Don't Turn Around" (a No. 19 AC hit two years earlier for … Neil Diamond) then tallied six weeks at No. 1 on Pop Songs. On the Hot 100, the songs peaked at Nos. 2, 1 (for six weeks) and 4, respectively.
Incredibly, to date, no group has spent more time at No. 1 on the Pop Songs airplay chart than Ace of Base (29 weeks). Maroon 5 ranks next with 26.
Ace of Base's breakthrough album "The Sign" topped the Billboard 200 for two weeks in a 102-week run. 1996's "The Bridge" reached No. 29 and 1998's "Cruel Summer," its last entry, No. 101. The latter set gave Ace of Base its fourth and final Hot 100 top 10: the title track rose to No. 10, almost tying the No. 9 peak of Bananarama's 1984 original.
Here's a look at the three albums' U.S. sales to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan:
6,504,000, "The Sign"
898,000, "The Bridge"
177,000, "Cruel Summer"
The group's lineup has changed over the years, with its last album, "The Golden Ratio," released in 2010. While it still tours, former member Jenny Berggren said last year: "We're just wishing each other luck at this stage. I have a dream that we'll [all] get back together, so I don't want to bang anyone on the head."
Meanwhile, a day shy of the 20th anniversary of the act's Hot 100 debut, Ace of Base's legacy lives on … perhaps most notably via the artist currently at No. 1. When Katy Perry released "Teenage Dream" in 2010, the proud Euro-pop fan said at the time that her goal was for it to sound like Ace of Base.
"We nailed it," she beamed. "It's roller-skating! It's '90s! It's Ace of Base! It's like all these colors and more."