Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.
AS YEARS GO BY, CONTINUED
Hello again Gary,
In response to last week's "Ask Billboard" column, in which you asked for songs that might best represent each decade (which I inadvertently started), here are my picks.
'40s: After debating whether to choose "As Time Goes By" (after all, we still "remember this" song from "Casablanca"), I'm going with the Andrews Sisters' "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." It's the ultimate example of a patriotic WWII song combined with a feel-good attitude. Quite simply, one of the best-known songs of all-time.
'50s: As previously mentioned, Bill Haley and the Comets' "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock."
'60s: Probably the toughest decade to define, as one could choose so many classic songs from so many genres. What song could best define a tumultuous decade? I first considered "Blowin' in the Wind", written by Bob Dylan and then a hit for Peter, Paul and Mary. I finally decided on a song about youthful rebellion: the Who's "My Generation." The song rose no higher than No. 74 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., but was a top 10 hit in many other countries, including my homeland of Canada, where it reached No. 3 in February 1966. What more fitting a song to represent a decade of youthful rebellion that resulted in the era's countless anti-war protests?
'70s: I agree with your pick, Gary. Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" conjures the perfect image of the decade ... John Travolta's white disco suit.
'80s: Another good pick, Gary. Madonna's "Material Girl" summarizes the "me-decade" in less than four minutes.
'90s: A musically fractured decade, and thus another tough pick. For this decade, I'll choose a fellow Canadian, Alanis Morissette, and this time, not just one song, but an entire album, "Jagged Little Pill." While not '90s grunge, her music features angst-filled rock and, although never a member of Lilith Fair, she is a female singer-songwriter, the type of artist (Sheryl Crow, Jewel, Sarah McLachlan) that enjoyed such a resurgence in the '90s.
'00s: I chose Eminem as the artist who best stands for the '00s, and I'm also going with one of his songs. "Without Me" says it all in a nutshell. This decade wouldn't be this decade without Eminem.
'10s: Here in Canada, the song of this eight-month-old decade so far has definitely been "Wavin' Flag", which has been a hit twice this year in two different versions. The original version by Somali-Canadian K'Naan reached No. 2 on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 early this year, and a few weeks later a charity single version by a supergroup of well-known Canadian artists called Young Artists for Haiti ruled for six weeks; the proceeds from this single helped victims of the Haiti earthquake.
Neither version of "Wavin' Flag" was a hit in the U.S., so, for my friends south of the 49th parallel, I'll say that Katy Perry's "California Gurls" represents this decade so far.
When I first mentioned "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock" in my previous letter, I hadn't thought about choosing a song for each decade. Thanks for the suggestion, Gary. This was a fun exercise.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Thanks again for starting such a thought-provoking thread. And, for adding yet another angle: albums that best represent each decade.
So, after considering artists and songs, how about one more run through music history, this time naming quintessential albums of each decade since the '50s? Here are my choices:
'50s: "Elvis Presley," Elvis Presley. The weekly Billboard 200's second No. 1 album (after "Belafonte" by Harry Belafonte) reigned for 10 weeks in 1956. The King's debut set features the iconic "Blue Suede Shoes." Just as Bill Haley released the song that spurred the Rock Era, Presley similarly contributed to the genre's rise with his famed first album.
'60s: "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band," the Beatles. Though no singles were released from the set upon its release, that's the point: it was meant to be experienced as a whole, not simply a collection of disjointed songs. The album spent 15 weeks atop the Billboard 200 and charted as recently as this January.
'70s: "Rumours," Fleetwood Mac. The decade's longest-leading Billboard 200 No. 1 (31 weeks) remains a perfect blend of pop and rock artistry and commercial accessibility. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has certified the set at 19-times Platinum. And, who co-produced the first album by a group to yield four Hot 100 top 10s? Ken Caillat, father of Colbie Caillat.
'80s: "Thriller," Michael Jackson. With 37 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 (most for an album by any single artist), seven Hot 100 top 10s (the first set to ring up such a sum) and a tie with the Eagles' "Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975" for best-selling album of all-time, according to the RIAA (29 million), could there be any other choice?
'90s: "Jagged Little Pill," Alanis Morissette (pictured above, right, with 2010 "American Idol" runner-up Crystal Bowersox). Agreed, Blair. The album, which topped the Billboard 200 for 12 weeks, set in motion a new era of female singer/songwriter success. Honorable mentions to M.C. Hammer's "Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em" - at 21 weeks, the longest command ever for a rap album - and Garth Brooks' "No Fences," the singer's second set that included his signature uptempo song "Friends in Low Places" and continued his rise towards the title of Nielsen SoundScan's all-time best-selling album artist (68.5 million).
'00s: "Fearless," Taylor Swift. No artist has mixed new media and social networking with pure talent quite like Swift. Last year's No. 1 Billboard 200 album not only contained the massive crossover hits "Love Story" and "You Belong With Me," but also turned Swift into a household name. Radio's immediate response to her new single, "Mine," further illustrates her undeniable appeal.
'10s: "Glee: the Music, the Power of Madonna (EP)," soundtrack. Sure, it's an album of covers of prior hits from the Queen of Pop, but the cast's first Billboard 200 No. 1 best exemplifies the power that TV has gained in recent years to connect with music fans. From songs such as the Fray's "How to Save a Life" reaching new audiences thanks to TV show placement, to shows by Disney artists like Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers, as well as Fox's "American Idol," the immediate impact of consumers being able to hear a song on TV and then go instantly to iTunes to buy a download has revolutionized purchasing patterns.
HAVEN'T LEFT YOU YET
I have an interesting question here. I noticed that "Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Buble, at No. 50, logs its 44th and perhaps final frame on this week's Hot 100, unless it can remain in the top 50 next week. The song, however, made it "only" to No. 24.
What singles that were never able to reach the top 20 have spent the most weeks on the Hot 100? My guess is that Buble's song would lead this list or be among the top three.
Dana E. McIntyre
Thanks to its run on the Adult Contemporary chart, where it spent three weeks at No. 1 and this week ranks at No. 5 in its 48th week, and subsequent crossover to Adult Pop Songs (No. 8 peak) and Pop Songs (No. 21), "Haven't Met You Yet" has shown remarkable staying power.
As the list below shows, the song ties Melissa Etheridge's "Come to My Window" for longest Hot 100 run for a title that peaked outside the top 20:
Weeks on Hot 100, Title, Artist, Year, Peak
44, "Haven't Met You Yet," Michael Buble, 2009-10, No. 24
44, "Come to My Window," Melissa Etheridge, 1994, No. 25
43, "Face Down," the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, 2006-07, No. 24
43, "What About Me," Moving Pictures, 1983/1989, No. 29
40, "This Is Your Night," Amber," 1996-97, No. 24
Also notable, after researching this statistic, is a song that spent a hefty 31 weeks on the Hot 100 despite never ranking higher than No. 47: India.Arie's "Video," over two chart runs, in 2001-02.
I would like to know how Monica's "Still Standing" album is doing so far, as well as the individual album sales of each of her previous releases.
San Jose, California
Good timing, as Monica this week notches her 12th top 10 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, as "Love All Over Me" rises 11-8. "Everything to Me," the first single from "Still Standing," spent seven weeks at No. 1.
Here is a recap of Monica's career album sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan:
2,016,000, "The Boy Is Mine" (1998)
1,451,000, "Miss Thang" (1996)
1,023,000, "After the Storm" (2003)
328,000, "The Makings of Me" (2006)
474,000, "Still Standing" (2010)
Monica Arnold has sold 5,335,000 albums in the U.S. to date.