As 2012 gets underway, Chart Beat remembers songs that rose to No. 12 high points on Billboard surveys and, despite falling two spots shy of the top 10, remain notable.
Last week, we recalled No. 12-peaking country hits, including T.G. Sheppard’s novelty track “Make My Day” with Clint Eastwood, Garth Brooks‘ political anthem “We Shall Be Free” and Brad Paisley‘s debut single “Who Needs Pictures.”
This week is for those who are always about to rock.
Here are 12 memorable No. 12 hits on Billboard’s rock charts.
“Trouble,” Lindsey Buckingham, Mainstream Rock, 1981
After Fleetwood Mac posted 12 Hot 100 top 10s, including the No. 1 “Dreams,” between 1976 and 1981, Buckingham released his first solo album, “Law and Order.” This song featured the band’s Mick Fleetwood on drums.
“Valley Girl,” Frank Zappa, Mainstream Rock, 1982
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and honored with the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997, the late Zappa ribbed those who communicate through “valspeak.” “What’s’a matter with the way I talk? I am a val, I know,” the song explains. “But I live, like, in a really good part of Encino …”
“Two Hearts Beat as One,” U2, Mainstream Rock, 1983
With 49 hits on Mainstream Rock, U2 boasts the most entries among all acts, ahead of runners-up Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (48) and Van Halen (46). U2 has scored seven No. 1s, from 1987’s “With or Without You” through 1995’s “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me.”
“You Can’t Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want),” Joe Jackson, Mainstream Rock, 1984
Jackson’s 1984 hit, which followed the No. 7 Mainstream Rock and No. 6 Hot 100 hit “Steppin’ Out,” appears on his seventh album, “Body and Soul.” The set features Ellen Foley, best-known for singing on Meat Loaf’s 1977 rock opus “Paradise By the Dashboard Light.”
“Sittin’ On (The Dock of the Bay),” Michael Bolton, Mainstream Rock, 1988
While most consider Bolton an adult contemporary staple – he tallied a whopping 32 hits on AC between 1987 and last year – he’s hardly the only pop artist who’s made a Billboard rock chart. Others? Ace of Base, Chubby Checker, Enya, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Jackson, Prince, Lionel Richie, UB40 and even “Weird Al” Yankovic. As recently as 2008, Katy Perry rose to No. 27 on Alternative Songs with “I Kissed a Girl.”
“Jealous Guy,” John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band, Mainstream Rock, 1988
The “Imagine: John Lennon” album paved the way for the release of this song, first available on 1971’s “Imagine,” while Lennon’s prior two Mainstream Rock hits were concert versions recorded in 1972 from the “Live in New York City” set: 1986’s “Come Together” (No. 25) and “Imagine” (No. 20).
“Why,” Annie Lennox, Alternative Songs, 1992
Lennox’s solo debut, “Diva,” straddled pop and alternative audiences, with “Why” and follow-up “Walking on Broken Glass” reaching both lists. By the end of 1992, Lennox added the ethereal “Love Song for a Vampire,” a No. 24 hit on Alternative Songs, from the Francis Ford Coppola film “Bram Stroker’s Dracula.”
“Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver,” Primus, Alternative Songs, 1994
The song (not about actress Winona Ryder) show’s off the goofy side of the band, whose theme to “South Park” – “Goin down to South Park, gonna have myself a time …” – has kicked off the series for 14 years. “Who knows what (we’ll be) doing in 20 years?” lead singer Les Claypool says. “You never know. For all I know, I’ll be making pancakes in 20 years. Claypool’s Waffle Factory or something.”
“Shadowboxer,” Fiona Apple, Triple A, 1997
The brooding singer, whose new album is finally on the way, peaked higher with her second single, “Sleep to Dream,” although it also missed the top 10 (No. 11). Apple at last broke through to the top 10 with “Criminal” (No. 2) and, three years later, “Fast As You Can” (No. 8).
“The Last DJ,” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Triple A, 2002
The song recaps the pioneering spirit of Jim Ladd, free-form rock host on KLOS Los Angeles from 1997 until his firing in October. (This month marks Ladd’s first on new employer Sirius XM). Coincidentally, he was also featured on Roger Waters’ 1987 song “Radio Waves,” another No. 12-peaking track.
“Come Away With Me,” Norah Jones, Triple A, 2003
Jones’ mix of blues, jazz and rock has found its greatest support at Triple A radio, where four of her hits have reached the summit. Her side project the Little Willies’ “For the Good Times” dented Country Albums last week at No. 9.
“Paper Planes,” M.I.A., Alternative Songs, 2008
The song has become known (and parodied by “Saturday Night Live”) for its usage of gunshots in the chorus. “Gun sounds are a part of our culture as an everyday thing. If you’ve been exposed to gunfights and violence and bombs and war, then I can use those sounds backing my thoughts, ya know?,” she said. “Look, I’ve been shot at so I’m quite comfortable with gunshot sounds. If you have a problem with it, go and talk to the people who were shooting at me.”