Social Distortion Marks Alternative Songs Milestone
Social Distortion Marks Alternative Songs Milestone

Veteran California punk band Social Distortion returns to Billboard's Alternative Songs chart, as "Machine Gun Blues" debuts at No. 40.

The song previews "Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes," the band's first album since 2004, due Jan. 18 on Epitaph Records. The set is the group's seventh dating to its 1978 formation.

With its latest chart entrance, Social Distortion extends its chart span on Alternative Songs to 20 years and eight months. "Let It Be Me" marked the act's Billboard chart debut the week of March 24, 1990, eventually peaking at No. 11 on the tally. The band followed with "Ball and Chain" (No. 13) and the Johnny Cash cover "Ring of Fire" (No. 25).

The group charted highest with the No. 2-peaking "Bad Luck" in 1992 and had last appeared with "Far Behind" (No. 19) in 2007.

Of the act's evolution, "There are always things you can get angry about, but it would be a different sort of an anger, a more mature level of anger," guitarist Jonny "2Bags" Wickersham told Billboard last year as Social Distortion premiered and perfected new material on tour.

"We're not 22-year-old kids. We have to write from where we're at. We can't pretend we're teenage punk rockers running the streets still, because we're not. That would be ridiculous."

As Social Distortion returns to Alternative Songs, Chart Beat looks at the acts boasting the five-longest chart spans, a list of longevity on which Social Distortion advances to second place, since the chart launched the week of Sept. 10, 1988. (Siouxsie & the Banshees topped the introductory survey with "Peek-a-Boo").

U2
Chart Span: 21 years, one month
Dates: Sept. 17, 1988-Oct. 17, 2009
Total Chart Appearances: 38, including 23 top 10s (both chart records) and eight No. 1s

Social Distortion
Chart Span: 20 years, eight months
Dates: March 24, 1990-Nov. 27, 2010
Total Chart Appearances: 11, including two top 10s

Depeche Mode
Chart Span: 20 years, two months, two weeks
Dates: April 15, 1989-July 4, 2009
Total Chart Appearances: 17, including six top 10s and four No. 1s

R.E.M.
Chart Span: 19 years, six months
Dates: Nov. 19, 1988-May 17, 2008
Total Chart Appearances: 30, including 15 top 10s and six No. 1s

The Cure
Chart Span: 19 years, two months, one week
Dates: April 22, 1989-July 5, 2008
Total Chart Appearances: 16, including 10 top 10s and four No. 1s