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What's the Most Common Billboard Hot 100 Song Title?

Pharrell Williams
Courtesy of PMK•BNC

Pharrell Williams

Hold on ... for the answer.

Hold on a second. Or third. Or fourth ...

In March 2013, Alabama Shakes debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Hold On." The track bowed at No. 100 following the band's performance of it on NBC's Saturday Night Live (that Feb. 16).

The song's Hot 100 arrival spurred a bit of déjà vu. After all, more than a few songs titled "Hold On" have hit the Hot 100. In 1990 alone, two such songs battled for lofty chart space, by Wilson Phillips and En Vogue. The former ultimately rose higher, reaching No. 1 and earning the honor of Billboard's top song that year. Still, the latter peaked at an impressive No. 2, as well as No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.

So, is "Hold On" the most common title for a Hot 100 hit?

To find the answer, we sifted through an alphabetical list of every song ever to make the chart ... over 28,000 dating to the list's Aug. 4, 1958, inception.

(First, some fine print: As the goal was simply to find the most common titles, different compositions, such as Michael Buble's "Home" and Phillip Phillips' "Home," counted the same as multiple versions of the exact same song, such as the Jackson 5's and Mariah Carey's recordings of "I'll Be There." Punctuation also wasn't of concern. So, for the purposes of this research, Justin Bieber's "Baby" was equal to Carla Thomas' hit from 1966 "B-A-B-Y." And, exact titles (by words) only; Rihanna's "Stay" was treated as separate from Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories' "Stay (I Missed You)." Janet Jackson's "Runaway," however, was equated with Real McCoy's "Run Away.")

Now, no more making you ... hold on. Let's count down the most common titles to grace the Hot 100. Here are those that have appeared 10 or more times each (*now updated through the Hot 100 dated May 2, 2020):

Number of Charted Versions on the Hot 100, Title

10, "Call Me"
Highest-charting: No. 1 (six weeks), Blondie, 1980

10, "I Want You"
Highest-charting: No. 4, Savage Garden, 1997

10, "Love Me"
Highest-charting: No. 9, Lil Wayne feat. Drake & Future, 2013

10, "One"
Highest-charting: No. 5, Three Dog Night, 1969

11, "Crazy"
Highest-charting: No. 2, Gnarls Barkley, 2006

11, "Friends"
Highest-charting: No. 9, Jody Watley with Eric B. & Rakim, 1989

11, "Hallelujah"
Highest-charting: No. 13, Justin Timberlake & Matt Morris feat. Charlie Sexton, 2010

11, "Home"
Highest-charting: No. 6, Phillip Phillips, 2013

11, "I Love You"
Highest-charting: No. 12, Climax Blues Band, 1981

11, "I Need You"
Highest-charting: No. 9, America, 1972

11, "Smile"
Highest-charting: No. 12, Scarface feat. 2Pac & Johnny B, 1997

11, "Without You"
Highest-charting: No. 1 (four weeks), Nilsson, 1972

14, "Angel"
Highest-charting: No. 1 (one week), Shaggy feat. Rayvon, 2001

14, "Forever"
Highest-charting: No. 2, Chris Brown, 2008

14, "Happy"
Highest-charting: No. 1 (10 weeks), Pharrell Williams, 2014

14, "Runaway"
Highest-charting: No. 1 (four weeks), Del Shannon, 1961

14, "Stay"
Highest-charting: No. 1 (one week), Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs, 1960

14, "You"
Highest-charting: No. 9, Lloyd feat. Lil Wayne, 2007

... and, the most common title of a Hot 100 hit?

16, "Hold On"
Highest-charting: No. 1 (one week), Wilson Phillips, 1990

Beyond Wilson Phillips' and En Vogue's No. 1 and 2-peaking hits, respectively, other top 40 hits titled "Hold On" include those by Santana (No. 15, 1982), Jamie Walters (former lead singer of the Heights; No. 16, 1995), Ian Gomm (No. 18, 1979), Triumph (No. 38, 1979) and Kansas (No. 40, 1980).

Are there any lessons to be learned from this research? Um ... probably … not … necessarily …? Other than perhaps that titles about love, based on many of the examples above, tend to repeat. Overall, of course, it's a song's merit, as judged by the music-consuming public, not its title, that ultimately determines its popularity.

Regardless, Alabama Shakes joined Hot 100 lore with its song called "Hold On" (which reached No. 93 in a two-week run).

Who'll chart the 17th song to share the title? As reader and charts fan @AdamFSoybel noted on Twitter, we'll just have to ... hold on.

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