Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Gary Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.
PRESENT OF THE PAST
I have a special request. My brother will be turning 80 years young in June, and we are planning a special party for him. I was hoping you could provide a list of the top song of each year from 1929 to the present. I have searched the web, but without success. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Happy birthday, in advance, to your brother! Because the Billboard Hot 100 launched in 1958, it’s difficult to recap 1929 through 1957 with the same definitiveness. However, if we fill in each of those years by highlighting the song(s) with the most weeks at No. 1 as chronicled in Joel Whitburn’s “Pop Memories 1890-1954,” and “Top Pop Singles,” which begins in 1955, we should be able to create a list that suits your needs (and provides a fascinating musical history lesson).
Following, then, is a look at the top songs of each year from 1929 through 2009! A more in-depth recap of the top titles of each year from 1958 to the present, along with a wealth of other charts and related stories, can also be found in our online Hot 100 50th anniversary section.
1929, Tip Toe Through the Tulips, Nick Lucas
1930, Stein Song (University of Maine), Rudy Vallee
1931, (tie) The Peanut Vendor, Don Azplazu; Goodnight, Sweetheart, Wayne King
1932, (tie) In a Shanty in Old Shanty Town, Ted Lewis; Night and Day, Fred Astaire with Leo Reisman
1933, The Last Round-Up, George Olsen
1934, June in January, Bing Crosby
1935, Cheek to Cheek, Fred Astaire
1936, Pennies From Heaven, Bing Crosby
1937, Sweet Leilani, Bing Crosby
1938, A-Tisket, A-Tasket, Ella Fitzgerald with Chuck Webb
1939, Deep Purple, Larry Clinton
1940, Frenesi, Artie Shaw
1941, Amapola, Jimmy Dorsey
1942, White Christmas, Bing Crosby
1943, I’ve Heard That Song Before, Harry James
1944, (tie) Shoo-Shoo Baby, Andrews Sisters; Swinging on a Star, Bing Crosby
1945, (tie) Rum and Coca-Cola, Andrews Sisters; Till the End of Time, Perry Como
1946, The Gypsy, Ink Spots
1947, Near You, Francis Craig
1948, Buttons and Bows, Dinah Shore
1949, Riders in the Sky (A Cowboy Legend), Vaughn Monroe
1950, (tie) Goodnight, Irene, Weavers with Gordon Jenkins; The Tennessee Waltz, Patti Page
1951, Cry, Johnnie Ray
1952, You Belong to Me, Jo Stafford
1953, Vaya Con Dios (May God Be with You), Les Paul & Marty Ford
1954, (tie) Little Things Mean a Lot, Kitty Kallen; Sh-Boom, Crew-Cuts
1955, (tie) Sincerely, The McGuire Sisters; Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White, Perez “Prez” Prado
1956, Don’t Be Cruel, Elvis Presley
1957, All Shook Up, Elvis Presley
1958, Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu), Domenica Modugno
1959, The Battle of New Orleans, Johnny Horton
1960, The Theme From “A Summer Place,” Percy Faith
1961, Tossin’ and Turnin,’ Bobby Lewis
1962, Stranger on the Shore, Mr. Acker Bilk
1963, Sugar Shack, Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs
1964, I Want to Hold Your Hand, The Beatles
1965, Wooly Bully, Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs
1966, The Ballad of the Green Berets, SSgt Barry Sadler
1967, To Sir With Love, Lulu
1968, Hey Jude, The Beatles
1969, Sugar, Sugar, Archies
1970, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon & Garfunkel
1971, Joy to the World, Three Dog Night
1972, The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face, Roberta Flack
1973, Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree, Dawn Featuring Tony Orlando
1974, The Way We Were, Barbra Streisand
1975, Love Will Keep Us Together, The Captain & Tennille
1976, Silly Love Songs, Wings
1977, Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright), Rod Stewart
1978, Shadow Dancing, Andy Gibb
1979, My Sharona, Knack
1980, Call Me, Blondie
1981, Bette Davis Eyes, Kim Carnes
1982, Physical, Olivia Newton John
1983, Every Breath You Take, The Police
1984, When Doves Cry, Prince & the Revolution
1985, Careless Whisper, Wham! Featuring George Michael
1986, That’s What Friends Are For, Dionne & Friends
1987, Walk Like an Egyptian, Bangles
1988, Faith, George Michael
1989, Look Away, Chicago
1990, Hold On, Wilson Phillips
1991, Everything I Do (I Do It for You), Bryan Adams
1992, End of the Road, Boyz II Men
1993, I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston
1994, The Sign, Ace Of Base
1995, Gangsta’s Paradise, Coolio Featuring L.V.
1996, Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix), Los Del Rio
1997, Candle in the Wind 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight, Elton John
1998, Too Close, Next
1999, Believe, Cher
2000, Breathe, Faith Hill
2001, Hanging By a Moment, Lifehouse
2002, How You Remind Me, Nickelback
2003, In Da Club, 50 Cent
2004, Yeah!, Usher Featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris
2005, We Belong Together, Mariah Carey
2006, Bad Day, Daniel Powter
2007, Irreplaceable, Beyonce
2008, Low, Flo Rida
2009, Right Round, Flo Rida (*most weeks at No. 1 this year to date)
It sounds like you have a fun celebration on tap. Your only problem might be finding a DJ whose collection includes each of those songs …
WHAT GOES UP …
As noted in Chart Beat this week, Rascal Flatts’ “Here Comes Goodbye” makes the biggest jump to No. 1 since Taylor Swift likewise sent “Our Song” 6-1 on the chart dated Dec. 22, 2007. Interestingly, Rascal Flatts’ leap occurs the same week that the song that “Goodbye” succeeds, George Strait’s “River of Love,” plunges 1-9. That’s the steepest fall from the summit since, wouldn’t you know, Dec. 22, 2007, when Carrie Underwood’s “So Small” tumbled 1-10.
For those who may be wondering, the last song to have fallen out of the top 10 on Hot Country Songs from the top spot was Shania Twain’s “You Win My Love,” which plummeted 1-11 on the chart dated May 18, 1996.
Burt County, Nebraska
Thanks, as always, for your insights. You have fast become an honorary editor of Chart Beat!
Thanks very much to everyone who wrote Ask Billboard regarding our recent discussions on two topics: songs that were hits as solo performances and subsequently remade by their original artists with duet partners, and songs that received greater exposure due to their lyrics relating to the Gulf War. Following are two of those e-mails, ranging from the informative to the touching.
Two examples dawned on me of songs to add to the list of solo hits by country artists returning as duets by those performers. Merle Haggard reached No. 1 on Hot Country Songs with “That’s the Way Love Goes” in 1984. It became a duet with Jewel in 1999, and the new rendition peaked at No. 56.
In 1982, Hank Williams Jr.’s “A Country Boy Can Survive” spent three weeks at No. 2. In 1999, with Chad Brock (credited as the lead artist) and George Jones in tow, “A Country Boy Can Survive (Y2K Version)” climbed to No. 30.
As for songs from the time of the Gulf War in 1990-91, I can add a few more. On the pop side, I remember “Miles Away” by Winger, along with a resurgence of “Another Day in Paradise” by Phil Collins.
At country, I can add three: “Soldier Boy” by Donna Fargo, “Deck of Cards” by Bill Anderson and “Letter to Saddam Hussein” by Jerry Martin.
Des Moines, Iowa
In response to Bill Smith’s question last week about Gulf War-era songs, I had joined the Marine Corps at that time and proudly served my country for eight years. You pretty much nailed the question with your response. I also recall two other songs that received a lot of airplay at that time that reminded many of the Middle East conflict, and both were by George Michael: “Praying for Time” and “Mother’s Pride” (both original versions and those with news clips and personal message mixed in, most notably the emotional latter song).
When I hear those songs, they definitely take me back to that time period in our military history.
Thanks for your column. I read it every week!
Former Sergeant of Marines