Chart Beat

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

Justin Bieber
Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Justin Bieber performs on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on February 14, 2020.

Hold on ... for the answer.

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

On the the Billboard Hot 100 dated March 20, 2021, Justin Bieber's "Hold On" debuts.

The song's arrival sparks 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 29,000 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 Bublé'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, 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)." Plus, spaces were ok, so Janet Jackson's "Runaway" 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 March 20, 2021):

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, "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

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

12, "Smile" Highest-charting: No. 8, Juice WRLD & The Weeknd, 2020

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

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

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

17, "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, Bieber joins Hot 100 lore with his new song called "Hold On," which debuts at No. 26, the highest spot at which any "Hold On" has arrived on the chart.

Who'll chart the 18th song to share the title? As reader and charts fan Adam Freeman Soybel noted on Twitter early on for this topic, we'll just have to ... hold on.