From Queen to Kendrick: A Look at the Older Titles Enduring on the New Billboard Global 200 Chart

Queen
Pete Still/Redferns

Queen perform on stage at Live Aid on July 13, 1985 at Wembley Stadium in London.

Yesterday (Sept. 14), Billboard and MRC Data announced the launch of the Billboard Global 200 and the Billboard Global Excl. U.S. charts, which rank the biggest hits from more than 200 international territories. (Click here for a deeper dive into each survey.)

These new charts’ focus on worldwide data isn’t the only angle that separates them from the U.S.-based Billboard Hot 100 chart. At the outset, unlike the Hot 100, neither global ranking has a “recurrent” rule, allowing titles from any point in music history to appear. (On the Hot 100, descending songs are removed once below No. 25 after 52 weeks, or once below No. 50 after 20 weeks. Plus, even older titles are eligible to chart if ranking in the top 50, such as when multiple decades-old holiday classics return to the tally each winter.)

Still, 162 titles, or 81%, on the first Billboard Global 200 are from 2019-20. Further, 184 of the top 200, or 92% of the chart, were released since 2017.

Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the oldest title on both charts, at No. 131 on the Billboard Global 200 and No. 141 on the Global 200 Excl. U.S. list. Released on Halloween 1975, the 45-year-old rock opera is the only song from the 20th century to appear on both global tallies. The track has a storied chart history stateside, hitting No. 9 for two weeks in 1976 on the Hot 100, before re-entering and peaking at No. 2 in 1992, boosted by its inclusion in the box office hit Wayne’s World. Most recently, the song returned to the top 40 in late 2018, fueled by momentum generated by the Oscar-winning Queen biopic of the same name.

Only four other songs from the 20th century crack either chart. The Billboard Global 200 features “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” by Journey (No. 150; 1981), “Hotel California” by the Eagles (No. 170; 1976), and “Sweet Child O Mine” by Guns N’ Roses (No. 188; 1987), while a-ha’s “Take on Me”  from 1985 ranks at No. 192 on the Global Excl. U.S. chart.

No songs from the ‘90s appear on either worldwide list and just one song from the 2000s makes both: Jason Mraz’s 2008 hit “I’m Yours” sneaks in at No. 188 on the Global Excl. U.S. chart and No. 197 on the Billboard Global 200. The song logged a then-record 76 weeks on the Hot 100 (now held by Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive,” which lasted for 87 weeks in 2012-14).

Nine songs released between 2012 and 2015 make either global ranking (or both). In some cases, it’s major hits from those years that dominated airwaves and streaming playlists alike, such as John Legend’s “All of Me” (No. 123, Global Excl. U.S.; No. 143, Global 200), Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” (No. 181, Global 200; No. 191, Global Excl. U.S.) and Avicii’s “Wake Me Up!” (No. 193, Global Excl. U.S.)

But certain enduring hits of the early 2010s don’t have such substantial U.S. chart history. Aided by a resurgence on TikTok, “Electric Love” by BØRNS is the oldest song to crack the top half of the Billboard Global 200 (No. 97; 2014), despite never having made the Hot 100.

Further, Kendrick Lamar has built up an impressive singles roster domestically, including two Hot 100 No. 1 singles, among eight top 10s and 48 total entries. None of them, however, are “Money Trees,” the good kid, m.A.A.d. city track (featuring Jay Rock) from 2012 that stands as Lamar’s sole entry on the Billboard Global 200 at No. 185 (its profile also helped by TikTok).

Looking into hits of 2017-19, an expected crossover shows between big Hot 100 hits and the inaugural Billboard Global 200. Former Hot 100 leaders by Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga, Maroon 5, and Post Malone endure with strong global figures, each ranking in the Global 200’s top half.

Still, other unsuspecting songs (like “Electric Love” and “Money Trees”) from the last few years are punching above their domestic weight, including Pinkfong’s kid-friendly “Baby Shark”. After peaking at No. 32 in January 2019, the seaborne earworm ranks at No. 58 on the Billboard Global 200, outpacing such year-end Hot 100 No. 1s as “Shape of You” by Sheeran (No. 63; 2017) and “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus (No. 88; 2019).

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