Ask Billboard: Madonna's Biggest Radio Hits
Ask Billboard: Madonna's Biggest Radio Hits

A look at Her Madgesty's most-played songs, Carly Rae Jepsen's new No. 1 and more reader-voted songs that should've been singles

Ask Billboard is updated every week. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hi Gary,

I wanted to respond to your inquiry about one of my favorite subjects - songs that should've been singles - via my very favorite artist, and someone who isn't really on the radar too much these days, Tori Amos. Maybe she would've been if any of these songs had been promoted to radio:

"Tear in Your Hand"
From "Little Earthquakes," this is, to me, one of the most accessible songs on a very quirky record that was a huge success.

"Precious Things"
This was supposed to be a single but was scrapped; it still ended up being one of her most iconic songs and is a live staple. If there were a song that might've had a chance to be her modern rock staple (no one plays even "God" anymore, it seems), this may have been it.

This was originally a b-side but was going to be re-recorded for the "Under the Pink" album. It's beautiful and haunting and is actually my favorite song of all-time. I believe even Tori herself has commented that this could've been her big smash. The original version wasn't even released in the U.S. until her box set arrived in 2005.

"Northern Lad"
This ballad could've easily been played on stations that were playing similar alt-lite fare like Counting Crows' "A Long December" or Sarah McLachlan's "Adia."

A newly recorded song for the "Tales of a Librarian" compilation, it has the same melodic and hook-filled elements that made "A Sorta Fairytale" successful on adult pop radio. I'd say it's one of the more sorely overlooked songs in Amos' catalog.

Thank you for indulging me,

Patrick Boothe
Austin, Texas

Hi Gary,

As for Madonna? Don't even get me started. But, I will say this: as much as I love the haunting "Oh Father," which peaked at No. 20 on the Hot 100 (from "Like a Prayer"), the more radio-friendly ballad "Spanish Eyes" might've been a wiser choice as the fourth single from the album. Who knows, it might've kept her string of 17 consecutive top 10s going a little bit longer.


J.D. Wine
Hagerstown, Maryland

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