Clearly, the most popular songs at any given time scale the upper ranks of the Billboard Hot 100. Still, America's singles chart of record for 56 years sports a history filled with well-loved classics that peaked at every position, from No. 1 … all the way down to No. 100.
For renowned titles that stopped in the chart's lower rungs, perhaps they weren't huge hits originally, but gained steam over time. Or, they were popular at particular formats, such as country, R&B/hip-hop or rock, but did not cross over to complete mainstream success.
Updating a favorite feature first posted five years ago, each Tuesday throughout January, Chart Beat is combing through the Hot 100 peak position-by-peak position, subjectively highlighting songs that live on in iTunes libraries, movies, TV and/or radio, no matter how high (or not) they ultimately climbed on the Hot 100.
Certainly, it's great to be No. 1. But, the Hot 100's rich archives reveal winners at every number.
Here's part three. Part one ran two weeks ago, covering classics that hit Nos. 100-76. Part two, posted last week, remembered well-worn hits that peaked at Nos. 75-51. Come back a week from today, on Jan. 27, for the conclusion, highlighting venerable hits that peaked between Nos. 25 and 1.
"A Little Less Conversation," Elvis Vs. JXL (2002)
The King of Rock & Roll extended his record for most charted titles in the Hot 100's history, as this remix of his 1968 entry (a No. 69 hit) became his 107th entry. A year later, a remix of his 1969 track "Rubberneckin' " became his 108th, and most recent, Hot 100 chart hit. (Several of Presley's earlier classics, including "Heartbreak Hotel," "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock," were released prior to the chart's Aug. 4, 1958, inception). (Check out Billboard's tribute to what would've been Presley's 80th birthday on Jan. 8.)
"Taking It All Too Hard," Genesis (1984)
"I Want It All," Queen (1989)
"Boot Scootin' Boogie," Brooks & Dunn (1992)
"Somewhere Only We Know," Keane (2005)
"Because of You," Reba McEntire Duet With Kelly Clarkson (2007)
"Tempted," Squeeze (1981)
Few singers have charted with as many hit songs under different billings than Paul Carrack. In addition to this pop/adult radio standard, which reached No. 8 on Mainstream Rock Songs, the Sheffield, England-born artist has provided vocals for smashes by Ace ("How Long") and Mike + the Mechanics ("Silent Running," "The Living Years"), as well as on his own ("Don't Shed a Tear"). Carrack even played organ on Elton John's 14-week Hot 100 No. 1 tribute to Princess Diana, "Candle in the Wind 1997."
"Mexico," James Taylor (1975)
"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," the Beatles (1976)
"Have a Heart," Bonnie Raitt (1990)
"There She Goes," the La's (1991)
"American Woman," Lenny Kravitz (1999)
"Yellow," Coldplay (2001)
Coldplay made its maiden Hot 100 appearance on the chart dated March 10, 2001, with this track, which served as a more triumphant introduction to the band on the Adult Alternative Songs (No. 2) and Alternative Songs (No. 6) airplay charts. Two years later, the band's "Clocks" peaked at No. 29 on the Hot 100. Coldplay has notched a modest three Hot 100 top 10s – "Speed of Sound" (No. 8, 2005), "Viva La Vida" (No. 1, 2008) and "A Sky Full of Stars" (No. 10, 2014) – belying its lofty stature in music. Its profile includes seven Grammy Awards and 18.2 million albums sold in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music.
"Street Fighting Man," the Rolling Stones (1968)
"Games Without Frontiers," Peter Gabriel (1980)
"Small Town Boy," Bronski Beat (1985)
"Who You Are," John Mayer feat. Katy Perry (2014)
"Welcome to New York," Taylor Swift (2014)
"Shout - Part 1," the Isley Brothers (1959)
Though Joey Dee & the Starliters carried the song to No. 6 three years later, the eventual pop culture party favorite was originally written and recorded by the Isley Brothers. The composition (which has complemented TV commercials for, naturally, Shout detergent) was the first of the Isley Brothers' 40 Hot 100 hits and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
"Greased Lightnin'," John Travolta (1978)
"Themes From E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial)," Walter Murphy (1982)
"I'm Gonna Get You," Bizarre Inc (1993)
"Backwater," Meat Puppets (1994)
"Brighter Than the Sun," Colbie Caillat (2012)
"It's Raining Men," the Weather Girls (1983)
A late-night TV trivia nugget for Letterman's last year: "It's Raining Men" was co-written in 1979 by Late Show With David Letterman bandleader Paul Schaffer. Following the Weather Girls' breakup, vocalist Martha Wash sang subsequent dance classics for Black Box ("Everybody Everybody," "Strike It Up"), Seduction ("You're My One and Only True Love") and C+C Music Factory ("Gonna Make You Sweat [Everybody Dance Now]"). She's also enjoyed six solo No. 1s on Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart.
"Rebel Yell," Billy Idol (1984)
"Wouldn't It Be Good," Nik Kershaw (1984)
"Hold Me," Teddy Pendergrass and Whitney Houston (1984)
"Lambada," Kaoma (1990)
"Hello," Martin Solvieg & Dragonette (2011)