Do the Grammys Really Tend to Snub Long-Running No. 1 Hits?

John Lamparski/Getty Images
Boyz II Men's Shawn Stockman performs during Side By Side: A Celebration Of Service on May 25, 2019 in New York City. 

The bottom line: In addition to being a talented singer, Stockman is a chart and Grammy expert.

Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men made a provocative comment this week during an interview in which he congratulated Lil Nas X for logging a 17th week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Old Town Road." As we all know by now, that broke the record of 16 weeks in the top spot first set in 1996 by the Mariah Carey-Boyz II Men megahit "One Sweet Day."

Stockman wondered if "Old Town Road" will fare better at the Grammys than "One Sweet Day" did. That smash ballad was nominated for two awards (record of the year and best pop collaboration with vocals) but lost 'em both. 

Said Stockman: "What I’ve noticed is that…most of the time records that reach that level of success, with the exception of maybe 'I Will Always Love You' by Whitney Houston, never win Grammys."

Is Stockman right? Let's look back at the longest-running No. 1 hits of each of the last seven decades and see how they fared at the Grammys. I show the number of nominations and wins—and detail the categories in which they won. (I counted only the noms for that specific track or song, not for the album on which it appeared or the artist in general, or other tracks by that artist.)

The 2010s

Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus). 17 weeks at No. 1 (so far) in 2019. Grammy status to be determined.

Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee's "Despacito" (featuring Justin Bieber). 16 weeks in 2017. 3 noms, no wins.

Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk!" (featuring Bruno Mars). 14 weeks in 2015. 2 noms, 2 wins (record of the year, best pop duo/group performance).

Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" (featuring T.I. + Pharrell). 12 weeks in 2013. 2 noms, no wins.

Wiz Khalifa's "See You Again" (featuring Charlie Puth). 12 weeks in 2015. 3 noms, no wins.

The Chainsmokers' "Closer" (featuring Halsey). 12 weeks in 2016. 1 nom, no wins.

Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You." 12 weeks in 2017. 1 nom, 1 win (best pop solo performance).

Drake's "God's Plan." 11 weeks in 2018. 3 noms, 1 win (best rap song).

The 2000s

Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together." 14 weeks in 2005. 4 noms, 2 wins (best female R&B vocal performance, best R&B song).

The Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling." 14 weeks in 2009. 2 noms, 1 win (best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals).

Eminem' "Lose Yourself." 12 weeks in 2002-03. 5 noms, 2 wins (best male rap solo performance, best rap song).

Usher's "Yeah!" (featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris). 12 weeks in 2004. 2 noms, 1 win (best rap/sung collaboration).

The Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow." 12 weeks in 2009. 2 noms, 1 win (best short form music video).

Destiny's Child's "Independent Women Part 1." 11 weeks in 2000-01. 1 nom, no wins.

The 1990s

Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's "One Sweet Day." 16 weeks in 1995-96. 2 noms, no wins.

Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." 14 weeks in 1992-93. 2 noms, 2 wins (record of the year, best pop vocal performance, female).

Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You." 14 weeks in 1994. 3 noms, 2 wins (best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocal, best rhythm and blues song).

Los Del Rio's "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)." 14 weeks in 1996. No noms.

Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight." 14 weeks in 1997-98. 1 nom, 1 win (best male pop vocal performance).

Boyz II Men's "End of the Road." 13 weeks in 1992. 2 noms, 2 wins (best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocal, best rhythm and blues song).

Brandy & Monica's "The Boy Is Mine." 13 weeks in 1998. 3 noms, 1 win (best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocal).

Santana's "Smooth" (featuring Rob Thomas). 12 weeks in 1999-2000. 3 noms, 3 wins (record of the year, song of the year, best pop collaboration with vocals).

The 1980s

Olivia Newton-John's "Physical." 10 weeks in 1981-82. 1 nom, no wins.

Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis Eyes." 9 weeks in 1981. 3 noms, 2 wins (record of the year, song of the year).

Diana Ross & Lionel Richie's "Endless Love." 9 weeks in 1981. 3 noms, no wins.

The Police's "Every Breath You Take." 8 weeks in 1983. 3 noms, 2 wins (song of the year, best pop performance by a duo or group with vocal).

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts' "I Love Rock 'n roll." 7 weeks in 1982. No noms.

Paul McCartney's "Ebony and Ivory" (with Stevie Wonder). 7 weeks in 1982. 3 noms, no wins.

Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," 7 weeks in 1983. 3 noms, 2 wins (best R&B vocal performance, male, best rhythm & blues song).

The 1970s

Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life." 10 weeks in 1977. 3 noms, 1 win (song of the year).

Rod Stewart's "Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)." 8 weeks in 1976-77. No noms.

Bee Gees' "Night Fever." 8 weeks in 1978. No noms. ("Stayin' Alive," which had half as many weeks at No. 1, brought the group Grammy glory that year.)

Andy Gibb's "Shadow Dancing." 7 weeks in 1978. No noms.

Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Water." 6 weeks in 1970. 4 noms, 4 wins (record of the year, song of the year, best contemporary song, best arrangement accompanying vocalist(s)).

Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World." 6 weeks at No. 1 in 1971. 2 noms, no wins.

Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." 6 weeks in 1972. 2 noms, 2 wins (record of the year, song of the year).

Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again (Naturally)." 6 weeks in 1972. 3 noms, no wins.

Chic's "Le Freak." 6 weeks in 1978-79. No noms.

The Knack's "My Sharona." 6 weeks at No. 1 in 1979. 1 nom, no wins.

The 1960s

Percy Faith & his Orchestra's "The Theme from a Summer Place." 9 weeks in 1960. 4 noms, 1 win (record of the year).

The Beatles' "Hey Jude." 9 weeks in 1968. 3 noms, no wins.

Bobby Lewis' "Tossin' and Turnin." 7 weeks in 1961. No noms.

The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand." 7 weeks in 1964. 1 nom, no wins.

The Monkees' "I'm a Believer." 7 weeks in 1966-67. 2 noms, no wins.

Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It through the Grapevine." 7 weeks in 1968-69. 1 nom, no wins.

Elvis Presley's "Are You Lonesome To-night?" 6 weeks in 1960. 3 noms, no wins.

The Fifth Dimension's "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In." 6 weeks in 1969. 2 noms, 2 wins (record of the year, best contemporary vocal performance by a group).

Zager & Evans' "In the Year 2525." 6 weeks in 1969. No noms.

The 1950s (1958-59)

Bobby Darin's "Mack the Knife." 9 weeks in 1959. 2 noms, 1 win (record of the year).

Sheb Wooley's "The Purple People Eater." 6 weeks on the Best Sellers and Top 100 charts in 1958 (prior to the inception of the Hot 100). No noms.

Tommy Edwards' "It's All in the Game." 6 weeks in 1958. No noms.

Johnny Horton's "The Battle of New Orleans." 6 weeks in 1959. 2 noms, 2 wins (song of the year, best country & western performance).

Note: Danny & the Juniors' "At the Hop," the longest-running No. 1 hit of 1958 (7 weeks at No. 1 on the Top 100 chart), was released in 1957 and thus was ineligible for the inaugural Grammy Awards in 1958.

Conclusion

So is Stockman right? Let's review his claim: "Most of the time records that reach that level of success…never win Grammys." Of the 52 megahits listed here, 24 won Grammys. That's less than half, so Stockman is right. (If Stockman had been talking about Boyz II Men's own experience at the Grammys with megahits, he would have been wrong. Two of the group's three megahits were double Grammy winners. But he was speaking in general.)

The bottom line: In addition to being a talented singer, Stockman is a chart and Grammy expert. He can come to work for Billboard anytime.

 


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