Let's open the latest mailbag.
Just over five years have passed since Halsey first graced a Billboard chart, and the singer-songwriter has already run up some impressive sales, streaming and chart numbers.
In celebration of the arrival of Manic, let's recap her career U.S. album sales and her most-streamed on-demand songs, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data (through Jan. 16).
626,000, Badlands (2015); 251,000, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom (2017); 97,000, Room 93 (EP) (2014)
Most-Streamed (on-demand) Songs
1.644 billion, "Closer" (The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey); 1.272 billion, "Without Me"; 799 million, "Eastside" (with Benny Blanco & Khalid); 762 million, "Bad at Love"; 507 million, "Him & I" (with G-Eazy)
437 million, "Gasoline"; 433 million, "Now or Never"; 397 million, "Colors"; 262 million, "Control"; 242 million, "Boy With Luv" (BTS feat. Halsey)
Manic arrives already boasting a Billboard Hot 100 No. 1, "Without Me," the recent top 10 Pop Songs hit "Graveyard" and rising current single "You Should Be Sad."
We'll find out which songs she performs tonight when she appears for a third time as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live.
Nice to see a mention of Madonna's "Oh Father" as one of the most memorable No. 20 Hot 100 hits, for 2020.
The ballad peaked at No. 20 in January 1990 and, sadly, it broke her streak for the then-most consecutive top 10 entries: 17.
That song still sounds great, a revisiting of the lushness of "Live to Tell" in 1986 and a preview of the ethereal sounds of Ray of Light in 1998.
"Oh Father," from Like a Prayer, followed the three-week Hot 100 No. 1 title cut and the No. 2 hits "Express Yourself" and "Cherish." After "Oh Father," the set spun off another top 10, the No. 8-peaking "Keep It Together."
It's hard to say that "Oh Father" wasn't a smart single choice, as it still hit the top 20. And, a ballad provided for a change in sound after its three predecessors. Perhaps "Dear Jessie" or "Till Death Do Us Part" would've fared better? (And, Madonna and Prince's "Love Song" may not have, as, despite its combined superstar power, its lack of an easy hook likely wouldn't have made for a strong fit in an era when catchy choruses were at a highpoint in pop music.)
Thus, Madonna's streak of Hot 100 entries reaching the top 10 consecutively stopped at 17, after "Borderline" had begun the run in 1984. Janet Jackson would eventually one-up Madonna, taking 18 straight entries to the top 10, from "Miss You Much" in 1989 through "I Get Lonely," featuring Blackstreet, in 1998.
(In a passing of the baton, even if no one knew the coincidence the time, on the Hot 100 dated Dec. 2, 1989, "Oh Father" ranked at No. 35 as "Miss You Much" placed at No. 36.)
In honor of "Oh Father," let's look back at some other songs that, although they snapped notable chart streaks, remain great listens years later.
Speaking of Jackson, let's start with "The Pleasure Principle." Her streak of Hot 100 top 10s would've stretched to 24 had the song risen at least four spots higher than No. 14, its peak, in 1987, as it followed five top 10s from Control. The set nevertheless made history, becoming the first by a woman to generate five top 10 singles (followed closely by none other than Madonna's True Blue).
Of 28 songs that Billy Joel sent onto the Hot 100 between 1974 and 1987, 27 hit the top 40 (including two No. 1s, among 10 top 10s). In 1983, "Goodnight Saigon" stopped at No. 56. Still, the track has drawn 16 million on-demand U.S. streams to date (and was covered in all-star fashion to close the 2009 season of SNL).
After peaking between Nos. 23 and 95 with their first five Hot 100 entries, The Supremes reigned with each of their next five, in 1964-65: "Where Did Our Love Go," "Baby Love," "Come See About Me," "Stop! In the Name of Love" and "Back in My Arms Again." Next single "Nothing but Heartaches" peaked at No. 11, before the group led again with "I Hear a Symphony"; added two more top 10s; and then linked another four No. 1s in a row in 1966-67. Thus, the act's run from mid-1964 through 1967: 14 of 15 entries hit the top 10, including nine No. 1s.
Elton John ranked in the Hot 100's top 40 for a record 30 consecutive years, from 1970 through 1999. He narrowly missed the region in 2000, as "Someday Out of the Blue" reached No. 49 (while rising to No. 5 on Adult Contemporary).
"Billboard really prepared me for when I wasn't going to be No. 1 all the time," John recently recalled of when he experienced somewhat of a chart lull in the '70s after regularly reaching the top 10. "It didn't matter to me because I had a huge back catalog of music and I knew that live-wise I could always have a great career. Because I'm such a chart enthusiast, it really readied me for the fact that it's someone else's turn now. But, it's still nice to get high positions on the charts."
Carrie Underwood's first 27 promoted singles rose to the Country Airplay top 10, between 2005 and 2018, the chart's best career-starting streak. "Love Wins" then peaked at No. 11 last March (before "Southbound" returned her to the region, reaching No. 3 in October). Most importantly, Underwood sings, "Politics and prejudice / How the hell it'd ever come to this? / When everybody's gotta pick a side / It don't matter if you're wrong or right, no / And so it goes, but I hold onto hope, and I won't let go 'cause ... I believe, in the end, love wins."
Can you think of other examples of songs that, even though they stopped chart streaks, remain notable and worthy of repeat play? Tweet @gthot20 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can add to this list going forward in "Ask Billboard."
P.S.: As we welcome 2020, a recap of a real New Year's Day conversation between my younger cousin and me:
Cousin: Are you happy not to have to wear glasses anymore?
Me, staring blankly through glasses …
Me, finally: … Oh, 2020 vision!
At least I helped invent a new holiday (perhaps the first since Festivus): New Year's Fools Day!