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Ask Billboard: ’80s Hits, Wyclef Jean, Lady Gaga

Haiti-born Wyclef Jean is using the power of his profile to call for worlwide assistance following his country's devastating earthquake.

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Gary Trust at askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Dear Gary,

I’m enjoying your “Taking Peaks” articles on songs that peaked at every position from 100 to 1 over the course of the Billboard Hot 100’s history.

Christopher Cross‘ “A Chance for Heaven” was the preeminent theme for the XXIII Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984, yet it barely grazed the charts, peaking at No. 76. And now, it didn’t even get to graze your “honorable mentions”! Whoops!


Also, I’d love it if you’d compile a similar feature on classics that never charted. Led Zeppelin‘s “Stairway to Heaven” is, likely, the most obvious example.

Thanks for the memories!


David Fritz
Reseda, California

Hi David,

Thanks. In analyzing the chart’s archives peak position-by-peak position, there’s truly a treasure trove of hits at each number.

You make a good case for No. 76. Cross’ song served primarily as the Olympics’ swimming theme in 1984. (The song may have even brought extra luck to his country’s athletes, as the U.S. swim team dominated with 21 gold medals).

In addition to Cross’ title, Modern English‘s “I Melt With You” and the five “honorable mentions” that made the list, other notable hits that peaked at No. 76 include the Who‘s “Love, Reign O’er Me” (1973), Beats International‘s “Dub Be Good to Me” (1990), Collective Soul‘s “Run” (1999) and Phil Collins‘ “Can’t Stop Loving You” and the White Stripes‘ “Seven Nation Army” (both 2003).

I also like your idea about spotlighting the most popular album tracks that never made the Hot 100. Such instances are less common now that digital sales regularly send album cuts onto the Hot 100, Ke$ha providing the latest examples on this week’s chart. It sounds like a fun future feature for Chart Beat, however, and I’m sure fellow chart fans can offer countless key contributions, as always.


Hi Gary,

Hello again! Loving the “Taking Peaks” series you’ve put together. Really great stuff. You’ll probably hear from me all month!

I still can’t believe that the Who’s “My Generation” charted so low (No. 74). And, a side note to the Simpsons‘ “Deep, Deep Trouble” (No. 69): the song was co-produced by DJ Jazzy Jeff. He also co-wrote the song with Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening.

It’s additionally notable that Yaz, best known for its dance hits “Don’t Go” and “Situation,” both No. 1s on Dance/Club Play Songs, actually claimed its highest Hot 100 rank with its great ballad “Only You” (No. 67). “Situation,” its only other Hot 100 title, peaked at No. 73.

Now, for one more honorable mention:

Switzerland’s Yello sent its then-two-year-old song “Oh Yeah” to No. 51 in 1987. The synth-driven track returned, and ensured future audiences, due to its inclusion in the movies “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Secret of My Succe$s.”

It makes you miss John Hughes even more, doesn’t it? Oh yeah.

Ron Raymond, Jr.
Music Director, WMPG-FM
Portland, Maine

Hi Ron,

Thanks for the kind words, and the extra Simpsons trivia. In the program’s 20 years, it’s astounding how many musicians have gotten animated on the show.

Great call, too, on Yello. The song drew chart ink as recently as 2006, when the cleverly-renamed “Oh Yeah, Oh Six” reached No. 1 on Dance/Club Play Songs. (The original version peaked at No. 35 on the list in 1986).VOICES THAT CARE

Hi Gary,

I’ve been meaning to thank you for the special focus on those well-worn Hot 100 hits of all peak positions. What a great angle! We chart enthusiasts are definitely loving all the information. (Didn’t know that one of my all-time favorite tunes, by none other than Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, had actually charted!)

On a world front, I would imagine that many artists, including Wyclef Jean, are heartbroken and working hard for Haiti.


Pablo Nelson
Berkeley, California

Hi Pablo,

Thanks, and you are correct about Wyclef Jean. Billboard reported that the Haiti-born singer/activist has called for international relief in the wake of the country’s devastating earthquake Tuesday (Jan. 13).

Click here for the story and information on how to assist with donations.


Hi Gary,

Recently I’ve noticed that “The Fame” by Lady Gaga has resided at No. 1 for several weeks on the Dance/Electronic Albums chart. How long has “The Fame” ruled, and does it hold the record for most time atop that chart?


James Millen
Glen Cove, New York

Hi James,

Good timing, as “The Fame” begins its second year at No. 1 this week, extending the record for longest reign atop the chart.

Here are the titles to spend the most time in charge since Dance/Electronic Albums launched with the chart dated June 30, 2001:

53 weeks, Lady Gaga, “The Fame”
39 weeks, Gnarls Barkley, “St. Elsewhere”
34 weeks, Gorillaz, “Demon Days”
19 weeks, the Postal Service, “Give Up”
19 weeks, M.I.A., “Kala”

Louie DeVito has notched the most No. 1s Dance/Electronic Albums. With six, he boasts twice as many leaders as the Chemical Brothers, Depeche Mode, DJ Skribble and Nine Inch Nails, each with three.

And, get well wishes to Lady Gaga, who was forced to postpone her scheduled concert last night (Jan. 14) due to exhaustion and dehydration. “I am so devastated,” she later Tweeted to fans. “I have performed with the flu, a cold, strep throat; I would never cancel a show just based on discomfort.

“I hope you can forgive me. I love my little monsters more than anything, you are everything to me.”