Billboard’s year-end music recaps are based on chart performance during the charts dated Nov. 24, 2018, to Nov. 16, 2019. Data registered before or after a title’s chart run is not considered in these standings. That methodology detail, and the December-to-November time period, account for some of the differences between these lists and the calendar-year recaps that are independently compiled by Nielsen Music.
The act exited 2018 as a bona fide contender on the year-end Billboard Top Rock Artists chart, a fact that certainly made sense that year but might have been surprising to the casual chart follower earlier in the decade. A No. 3 rank on the 2018 Top Rock Artists list was the culmination of a comeback that included the Brendon Urie-led band’s first-ever Alternative Songs airplay tally leader (“Say Amen [Saturday Night]”), with the cherry on top the ascension of “High Hopes” to the top of that same ranking in the last week of the 2018 chart year.
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But the band wasn’t always a sure bet among the genre’s heavy-hitters at the end of each year. Before 2018, Panic! at the Disco’s biggest year had been a No. 4 peak on the 2016 survey, but much of its success that year was tailored to album sales and solid streaming numbers, but radio – and crossover – success eluded Urie and co., with no singles reaching Alternative Songs’ top 10. To boot, some considered the band more by its breakthrough hits from 2006’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out rather than what had followed since, with each of the band’s longtime and/or founding members falling off over the years to the point that, by 2018, Urie was the only non-touring member of the group.
“High Hopes,” the song reigning atop Alternative Songs at the close of 2018, was and remains a juggernaut, though. Not only did it rule the tally for 16 nonconsecutive weeks, finally conceding for good in mid-March – it also ends 2019 as the reigning champion atop Hot Rock Songs, obliterating the old record of 30 weeks (twenty one pilots’ “Heathens”) by crowning the chart for 43 weeks and counting.
Along the way, Panic! at the Disco scored another Hot Rock Songs leader with “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” for 11 weeks (make no mistake; this band led the chart for the entire chart year, much like Imagine Dragons before it) and landed crossover success that Urie had been unable to achieve for the preceding decade. “High Hopes” became the band’s first top 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 in over a decade when it peaked at No. 4, and “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” was a success in its own right at No. 16.
The band’s No. 1 on Top Rock Artists puts it one ahead of Queen, whose big 2018 and 2019 culminates with the veteran rockers becoming the second-biggest rock act of the year. That’s despite the band putting out no newly released material this year, its chart-pacing metrics a byproduct of Queen fever from the 2018 biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Debuted on Nov. 2 in the U.S., shortly before the close of the 2018 chart year, the film drove sales and streams to the entirety of the Queen catalog, chiefly the songs that were part of its soundtrack, with certain titles even rerecorded for the occasion.
Queen is far and away the top-ranking act on a year-end Top Rock Artists who mostly made it there due to their catalog rather than via new material, topping its own placement in 2018 (No. 6), as well as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (No. 6, 2017).
It’s also the first act designated as hard rock to rank within the year-end tally’s top two, besting Linkin Park (No. 3, 2017).
Queen claims the distinction of the No. 1 act on the year-end Rock Albums Artists and Rock Digital Song Sales Artists charts, leading the former list with the Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack for 20 weeks in 2019, while a pair of its greatest hits compilations combined for five weeks atop the survey.
Imagine Dragons, which ruled Top Rock Artists in 2017 and 2018, drops to No. 3 in 2019, with its chief achievement on a year-end tally becoming the No. 1 act on Rock Streaming Songs Artists, its 2017 song “Believer” ranking atop the year-end Rock Streaming Songs list.
Radio-wise, while Panic! at the Disco claims the distinction of the top artist on the year-end Alternative Songs Artists and Rock Airplay Artists lists, it’s Hozier and Disturbed who rule Adult Alternative Songs Artists and Mainstream Rock Artists, respectively.
Hozier becomes the first solo artist to rule the year-end tally since George Ezra did so in 2015 (Hozier’s rank that year? No. 2). He also snags the No. 2 song at the format in 2019 (“Almost [Sweet Music]”) and edges into the top 10 of Top Rock Artists (No. 10).
Disturbed, meanwhile, returns to the year-end Mainstream Rock Songs Artists ranking for the first time since 2016, when the rockers also reached No. 1.