Jason Aldean's '1994' enters the Billboard Hot 100, marking the chart's latest hit whose title doubles as a year.
"I was a junior in high school in '94 and Joe Diffie was huge," Jason Aldean told Billboard last year. "I went to the Cherry Blossom Street Party in Macon [Ga.], with Kenny Chesney on one stage and Joe Diffie on the other stage.
"There were 5,000 people watching Joe Diffie and about 500 watching Kenny Chesney."
Aldean's affection for Diffie, who notched 17 top 10s, including five No. 1s, on Hot Country Songs between 1990 and 2000, is apparent on his current single, "1994," which enters the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 93. "1994, Joe Diffie comin' out my radio," Aldean sings. "I'm just a country boy with a farmer's tan / So help me girl, I'll be your pickup man," he adds, referencing two of Diffie's hits: "So Help Me Girl," which reached No. 2 on Hot Country Songs in 1995, and "Pickup Man" a four-week No. 1 beginning in December … 1994.
"1994," isn't however, the first Hot 100 hit whose title is a year. Seven such songs preceded it (excluding titles with extra words, like the Four Seasons' 1976 No. 1 "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)"). Let's time-travel through the list:
The French alternative group's breakout song reached No. 84 on the Hot 100 in 2010 – and No. 1 for two weeks on Alternative Songs. (It also helped shift alternative to more a melodic and synthesizer-based sound following the crunchy earlier 2000s.) "Paris in 1901 was better than it is now. So, the song is a fantasy about Paris," the band's lead singer Thomas Mars has explained.
"1941," Tom Northcott
The Canadian folk singer's No. 88-peaking 1968 single was written by Harry Nilsson. "Well in 1941, a happy father had a son," the story song begins. Twenty years later, the son and his wife "got a house not far from town and in a little while / The girl had seen the doctor and she came home with a smile. Now in 1961, a happy father had a son" of his own.
"1973," James Blunt
The singer best known for his 2006 No. 1 ballad "You're Beautiful" upped the tempo on "1973," which reached, fittingly, No. 73 in 2007. "The '70s sound like they were a time of excess and great flamboyance [and with] a sense of fun, as well," Blunt mused upon the song's release.
"1979," the Smashing Pumpkins
The band's 1996 smash rose to No. 12 on the Hot 100 and marks its lone No. 1, among a hefty 17 top 10s, on Alternative Songs. "We don't know just where our bones will rest / To dust, I guess," goes the quintessential nugget of '90s angst.
The somewhat controversial nature of the Los Angeles band's song may have hindered its Hot 100 performance (No. 69, 1970). "It's time you started thinking inside your head that you should stand up and fight," it suggests. "Oh, just where will you be when your freedom is dead / Won't you listen tonight?"
"1985," Bowling for Soup
What a difference a year makes: contrasting with the gravity of the song above, pop/punk band Bowling for Soup ribbed lost '80s youth on its 2004 No. 23 hit. "Nothing has been alright since Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, way before Nirvana / There was U2 and Blondie and music still on MTV / Her two kids in high school, they tell her that she's uncool / 'Cause she's still preoccupied with 19 … 19 … 1985!"
Likely the most celebrated of all songs whose titles are years, "1999" reached No. 12 on the Hot 100 in 1983. It returned in early 1999 (of course) to tally a week at No. 40. Not only did the song popularize the phrase, "party like it's 1999," but the axiom continues to take on new life. "We gonna party like it's 3012 tonight," Justin Bieber sings on his recent Hot 100 top five hit "Beauty and a Beat," featuring Nicki Minaj.
NEXT: Phillip Phillips, Rihanna, the Drifters
TWICE AS NICE: After his performance of "Gone, Gone, Gone" on Fox's "American Idol" (March 14), the song from Phillip Phillips, the series' reigning champion, vaults 100-59 on the Hot 100.
Notable (if not entirely trivial) about the rising hit is that not only does the name "Phillip(s)" repeat, but so does the word "gone" in is title. Have any other Hot 100 hits sported both artists and titles that likewise doubled (or tripled) words? In posing the question on Twitter yesterday, keen-eyed chart-watchers came up with some other examples.
@Popservations and @ThreeWiseKen both remembered Talk Talk's eponymous "Talk Talk," a No. 75 hit in 1982 that, despite its modest peak, became an alternative classic.
@rock_golf gets straight A's for contributing "A View to a Kill," Duran Duran's 1985 No. 1.
@AdamFSoybel went way back to 1972 for Jo Jo Gunne's No. 27 hit "Run Run Run."
And, @stephenaxlscott notes that Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam featuring Full Force actually doubled up on doubling up: The rhythmic/dance act debuted with the No. 34 hit "I Wonder If I Take You Home" in 1985 and added "Someone to Love Me for Me" (No. 78) two years later. Stephen quadrupled his efforts himself, adding that Soul II Soul's "A Dreams a Dream" hit No. 85 on the Hot 100 in 1990, while, beyond the Hot 100, Hot Hot Heat burned a path to No. 23 on Alternative Songs in 2003 with "Talk to Me, Dance With Me" and to No. 27 with "Goodnight Goodnight" in 2005.
Staying on other charts, just last year, Rye Rye climbed to No. 8 on Dance/Club Songs with "Boom Boom," reminded @califever. And, interactions with @LittleMonstruo1, @ManuTeragni and @jamiegolunski yielded mentions of "Boys Boys Boys" and "Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)" by Lady Gaga (… as long as you count each "ga" separately).
I'd add more, but I think at this point I'm seeing double.
UP: As Lady Antebellum's "Downtown" rides 42-35 on the Hot 100, the song becomes the third such-titled composition to reach the top 40. Petula Clark spent two weeks at No. 1 with her "Downtown" in 1965, while Norwegian pop trio One 2 Many reached No. 37 with its song titled "Downtown"  in 1989.
Coincidentally as it relates to this week's chart, One 2 Many's Dag Kolsrud went on to become musical director for fellow Norwegian pop threesome a-ha. The latter act's members are currently back on the Hot 100 as writers, as Pitbull's "Feel This Moment," featuring Christina Aguilera, samples its 1985 No. 1 "Take on Me." "Moment" rises 13-11 this week.
RI RI RISES: Rihanna extends her record for the most Pop Songs top 10s, as "Stay," featuring Mikky Ekko, rises 12-9. The ballad marks her 23rd top 10 on the airplay tally (which launched in 1992; she's run up her total despite not arriving on the survey until 2005).
Mariah Carey ranks second with 17 Pop Songs top 10s, followed by P!nk, Britney Spears and Usher (16 each).
KEEP ON DANCIN': After almost 45 years, legendary – and still active – vocal group the Drifters return to the Billboard 200, as "All-Time Greatest Hits" enters at No. 199 after notable promotion at mass merchants. The act had last graced the chart in the spring of 1968 with the No. 122-peaking "The Drifters' Golden Hits."
The Drifters tallied 33 Hot 100 hits between the chart's launch in 1958 and 1966, including the 1960 No. 1 "Save the Last Dance for Me," as well as the top 10 classics "There Goes My Baby" (No. 2, 1959), "Up on the Roof" (No. 5, 1963), "On Broadway" (No. 9, 1963) and "Under the Boardwalk" (No. 4, 1964).
The group, which counts Ben E. King among its more than 60 former members, celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2013 and is performing its beloved catalog on its Diamond Dynasty tour. It now consists of Pierre Herelle, Ryan King, Carlton Powell and Michael Williams. Bringing the group's songbook to audiences today is "inspiring and breathtaking at the same time," Carlton says.
"The fans make every show seem like a first however many times we perform."
- Chart Beat