Ask Billboard: Familiar Titles In Top 10

Andrew Zaeh
Bruno Mars

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to [email protected]. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


DÉJÀ VU (SORT OF)

Hello Gary,

I have been a longtime subscriber to Billboard magazine and this is my first time writing to your column.

Last week (on the chart dated Sept. 4), Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are" and B.o.B's "Magic" advanced into the Billboard Hot 100's top 10, joining tracks in that region entitled "I Like It" (Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull) and "California Gurls" (Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg). I realized that these four song titles (including "California Gurls," despite the latter word's alternate spelling) have poulated the top 10 before by different artists: Billy Joel (No. 3, 1978); Pilot (No. 5, 1975) and Olivia Newton-John (No. 1, 1980); Dino (No. 7, 1989); and, the Beach Boys (No. 3, 1965) - and, in 1985, David Lee Roth (No. 3) - respectively.

I am curious to know whether this is a record. How often in the Hot 100's history have songs with the same title - and not remakes - reappeared as top 10 hits for another artist, all at the same time.

Should my question appear in your column, I will renew my subscription!

Thank You,

Bob Thoman
York, Pennsylvania


Hi Bob,

Thanks for the e-mail.

Unfortunately, researching such a statistic would require perusing every Hot 100 since the chart's premiere in 1958 (or at least from a bit later, after a significant library of top 10s had accumulated). That type of research is simply beyond the time constraints of the Billboard charts department.

If you renew your subscription to the magazine, however, you will continue to have full access to billboard.com's sister site, billboard.biz, which puts historical charts (and other past magazine features) at your fingertips. You could then, if time allows, enjoy seeking the answer yourself! And, now that your question is in Ask Billboard, it looks like you will renew. If you research, please let us know the answer, however long it may take. (Meanwhile, I'll be in the Billboard sales manager's office, asking about potential commission on subscriptions renewed via "Ask Billboard" ...)

I can, however, add that the four titles you cite are not the only ones back on the Hot 100. Four other songs, that are not remakes, currently in the top 40 had previously appeared on the chart.

Prior to "Misery" by Maroon 5 (19-17 this week), the title had reached No. 44 for the Dynamics in 1963 and No. 20 for Soul Asylum in 1995.

Four recordings entitled "Your Love" predated Nicki Minaj's hit (22-23): by Graham Central Station (No. 38, 1975), Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. (No. 15, 1977), the Outfield (No. 6, 1986) and Keith Sweat (No. 71, 1991).

"There Goes My Baby," before Usher's single (33-40), graced the Hot 100, courtesy of the Drifters (No. 2, 1959), Donna Summer (No. 21, 1984, a cover of the Drifters' song), Trisha Yearwood (No. 93, 1998) and Charlie Wilson (No. 98, 2009).

And, eight songs entitled "Smile" charted prior to Uncle Kracker's track featuring Kid Rock (35-38), four of which covered the well-loved theme from the 1936 Charlie Chaplin film "Modern Times": by Tony Bennett (No. 73, 1959), Timi Yuro (No. 42, 1961), Ferrante & Teicher (No. 94, 1962) and Betty Everett & Jerry Butler (No. 42, 1965). Other "Smile"s that have brightened the Hot 100 belong to Scarface, featuring 2Pac & Johnny P (No. 12, 1975), Vitamin C, featuring Lady Saw (No. 18, 1999), Lonestar (No. 39, 2000) and Lily Allen (No. 49, 2007). US + R HANDS

Hi Gary,

Hands on my computer keyboard, writing about hands in the air ...

There are at least four songs on the Hot 100 that mention putting one's hands up. Along with Usher's "DJ Got Us Falling in Love," featuring Pitbull, "Club Can't Handle Me" by Flo Rida featuring David Guetta mentions such a motion, as does Nelly's comeback hit "Just a Dream" and "California Gurls" by Katy Perry.

I know that this phraseology didn't start with Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (i.e., the song's "Put your hands up!" instruction). Or, when Flo Rida reached No. 9 on the Hot 100 with "In the Ayer," featuring will.i.am, a few months prior to Beyonce's modern classic.

Mary J. Blige's "Be Without You," or instance, features a similar calling to the ladies ... and men ("Let me see you put your hands up / Fellas, tell your lady she's the one / Ladies, let him know he's got your love").

Destiny's Child's biggest Hot 100 hit, "Independent Women, Part I" (11 weeks at No. 1), includes the line, "Throw your hands up at me."

"Dynamite" by Taio Cruz, meanwhile, doesn't incite others to join in, but does declare, "I throw my hands in the air sometimes!"

And, long before these songs, plenty of other hip-hop anthems commanded putting one's hands in the air like you just don't care.

I guess if there's any usefulness to my line of thought, it's that mash-up master DJ Earworm could have a field day with so many recent lyrical contributions to the flailing of upper appendages.

Best,

Pablo Nelson,
Berkeley, California


Hi Pablo,

Thanks. When it comes to chart analysis, you're always a handy man to have around.

The other fairly recent hit that comes to mind that invokes such imagery is Miley Cyrus' "Party in the U.S.A." "So, I put my hands up, they're playing my song, the butterflies fly away," she sings (as she nods her head and moves her hips like yeah, knowing she's gonna be ok).

Your observation made me wonder what songs simply featuring the word "hand" (or "hands" or "handy") have performed the best on the Hot 100. Here is the list. (The sixth song is my favorite of the titles below):

Hot 100 Peak, Title, Artist, Year
No. 1 (7 weeks), "I Want to Hold Your Hand," the Beatles, 1964
No. 2, "Handy Man," Jimmy Jones, 1960
No. 2, "Put Your Hand in the Hand," Ocean, 1971
No. 2, "Slow Hand," the Pointer Sisters, 1981
No. 2, "Keep Your Hands to Yourself," the Georgia Satellites, 1987
No. 2, "Hands to Heaven," Breathe, 1988

No. 3, "Turn Back the Hands of Time," Tyrone Davis, 1970
No. 4, "Handy Man," James Taylor, 1977

Other notable such titles include Rod Stewart's "Handbags and Gladrags" (No. 42, 1972, before it served as the theme to Ricky Gervais' "The Office"), Voices of America's "Hands Across America" (No. 65, 1986), Hootie & the Blowfish's "Hold My Hand" (No. 10, 1995), Jewel's "Hands" (No. 6, 1999) and two songs by Alanis Morissette: "Hand in My Pocket" (No. 1 Alternative, No. 15 Radio Songs, 1995) and "Hands Clean" (No. 23, 2002). END OF SUMMER CLEARANCE

A few random chart-related thoughts about hits and happenings left over from the summer, with best wishes for a happy and safe Labor Day weekend!


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