Taking Peaks, Part 4: Nos. 25-1
Taking Peaks, Part 4: Nos. 25-1

No. 55
"Right Now," Van Halen (1992)

With its haunting piano riff, Van Halen offered a straight-ahead rock smash (No. 2 on Mainstream Rock) amidst the onslaught of grunge. The track's striking video highlighted then-hot button social issues. On the band's 2004 reunion tour, an updated video, played as a backdrop, featured such new commentary as, "Right now, a 13-year-old is illegally downloading this song."

Honorable Mentions:
"Limelight," Rush (1981)
"Just Be Good to Me," the S.O.S. Band (1983)
"Only Happy When It Rains," Garbage (1996)
"Shut Up and Let Me Go," the Ting Tings (2008)
"Not Meant to Be," Theory of a Deadman (2009)

No. 54
"And She Was," Talking Heads (1985)

Ground-breaking in the evolution of new wave, the David Byrne-led group reached the Hot 100's top 10 only with "Burning Down the House" (No. 9) in 1983. The band's last chart entry, "Wild Wild Life," yielded its second-best peak (No. 25). Talking Heads were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

Honorable Mentions:
"Ribbon in the Sky," Stevie Wonder (1982)
"Give Peace a Chance," the Peace Choir (1991)
"But It's Alright," Huey Lewis & the News (1994)
"Steady, As She Goes," the Raconteurs (2006)
"Taking Chances," Celine Dion (2007)

No. 53
"New Year's Day," U2 (1983)

U2 made its Hot 100 introduction with this song, which entered at No. 90 on April 2, 1983. The rest is chart history: 32 Hot 100 hits, seven Billboard 200 No. 1s, U.S. album sales of 51.5 million, according to the Recording Industry Assn. of America, and 22 Grammy Awards, the most of any rock band. The group's Oct. 25 concert at the California Rose Bowl broke the record for the highest attendance at a U.S. single-show engagement (97,014) ever reported to Billboard Boxscore.

Honorable Mentions:
"I Should Have Known Better," the Beatles (1964)
"If I Fell," the Beatles (1964)
"I Will Always Love You," Dolly Parton (1982)
"Amish Paradise," Weird Al Yankovic (1996)
"Angels," Robbie Williams (2000)

No. 52
"The Rising," Bruce Springsteen

(2002)

Springsteen's like-titled album became his first collection of all-new material to crown the Billboard 200 since 1987, and this first single topped Triple A for three weeks. Still, the track's 9/11 imagery transcends any chart achievements. By decade's end, the song kicked off "We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial." When the Boss was feted at the Kennedy Center Honors in December, the President described him as "the quiet kid from Jersey ... who grew up to become the rock 'n' roll laureate of a generation."

Honorable Mentions:
"Theme From Dynasty," Bill Conti (1982)
"Closer to Fine," Indigo Girls (1989)
"If You Could Read My Mind," Stars on 54: Ultra Nate, Amber, Jocelyn Enriquez (1998)
"Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of," U2 (2001)
"What Hurts the Most," Cascada (2008)

No. 51
"Electric Boogie," Marcia Griffiths (1990)

A bevy of dance songs celebrating dance abounded in 1990, led by a three-week run atop the Hot 100 beginning in May for Madonna's "Vogue." Earlier in the year, two others just missed the top 40: Kaoma's "Lambada" (No. 46) and this forever party favorite, which the Jamaican-born Griffiths had first released in 1976. When Jamaica celebrated its 40th year of independence in 2002, Griffiths, aka "the Empress of Reggae," received the Prime Minister's Award of Excellence.

Honorable Mentions:
"Landslide," Fleetwood Mac (1998)
"My Own Worst Enemy," Lit (1999)
"Stan," Eminem featuring Dido (2000)
"Somebody Told Me," the Killers (2005)
"I'm in Miami Trick," LMFAO (2009)


Part 3: Nos. 50-26.

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