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Ask Billboard: It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World on the Hot 100

Men reclaim the Hot 100's top five after women had run up a record stay in the region. Plus, No. 1s that started near the bottom and a tribute to the voice of Billboard.

As always, submit questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet @gthot20



Hi Jerome,

Men have indeed reclaimed the top five on the Hot 100 after months of women reaching new heights in the coveted region.

As you note, the Hot 100’s top five is again a boys’ club, consisting of six solo males and one all-male group:


1, “See You Again,” Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth
2, “Uptown Funk!,” Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
3, “Sugar,” Maroon 5
4, “Trap Queen,” Fetty Wap
5,” Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran

For good measure, The Weeknd ranks at No. 6 with “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey).” So, that’s seven solo males in the top six, along with Maroon 5. (No, “Trap Queen” doesn’t disqualify Fetty Wap, since it’s only a song title. And, even “See You Again” is a tribute to another male, late Furious movie franchise star Paul Walker.)

Ellie Goulding boasts the top song by a woman on the Hot 100, fellow Fifty Shades of Grey single “Love Me Like You Do,” at No. 7. (As previously reported, the song crowns the Pop Songs radio airplay chart this week. “My song is number 1 at radio here in the U.S and I can’t help but be so elated about it,” she beamed on Twitter.)

When was the last time that women were shut out of the Hot 100’s top five? Nearly two years ago. Here’s how the top five looked on June 29, 2013, when men had last hung a “no girls allowed” sign outside the region’s door:

1, “Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke feat. T.I. + Pharrell
2, “Get Lucky,” Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams
3, “Can’t Hold Us,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton
4, “Radioactive,” Imagine Dragons

5, “Mirrors,” Justin Timberlake

In between those two charts, women made history in the Hot 100’s top five. They kept men out of the tier for a record seven consecutive weeks, from Sept. 20 through Nov. 1, 2014, led throughout that run by Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.” Around that eight-week No. 1, Taylor Swift ruled for four weeks with “Shake It Off” and for seven frames with “Blank Space.” That string of women commanding the Hot 100 for 19 consecutive weeks was also a record (counting women in lead roles), tying a mark first established in 2005.

With men back in charge of the Hot 100, does that mean that women are done dominating the chart? Not necessarily. As women were rewriting Hot 100 history in recent months, opinions varied: Had men had lost their grip on the chart’s upper ranks for good? Or, was the trend of women taking over temporary?

The legendary Joel Whitburn, who’s been archiving Billboard charts for nearly half a century, sides with the latter way of thinking: “It’s a trend,” he said in November. “There was a time when the Beatles had the top five [April 4, 1964]. Men dominated the charts in the mid-’60s. Groups, too. You can go back and find all kinds of trends. This is happening now, but it’ll change. Right now, it’s the trend of today.

“It’s similar to the ’90s, when Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston, all those big divas, were controlling the charts. It’s all cyclical. It’s the way it goes. It’s amazing, isn’t it?”

On the other side, chart-watchers have attributed women infusing the Hot 100’s upper echelon more in recent times to a shift in pop culture, as evidenced by a spate of pro-female anthems, like “Bass.” Mused Evan Lamberg, Universal Music Publishing Group president of North America, in October, “When this happens en masse, it … reflects today’s culture of women being more outwardly confident and more self-empowering.

“It’s not just a song or two. There’s something going on culturally.”

The battle of the sexes will surely continue to be waged on the Hot 100. For now, men have wrested the Hot 100’s top five back from women, and, upon their return to every rank in the region, with a fitting title at No. 1 in “See You Again.”



You should do an article about other songs that debuted low on the Hot 100 and made it to No. 1. It’s always surprising how songs from the bottom of the chart can just zoom from out of nowhere and eventually shake up the top.

Sunshine Gal

Hi Sunshine Gal,

A very Chart Beat-y Chart Beat post last week looked at how “See You Again” has hit No. 1 after debuting at No. 100. The ascent (over five weeks) made Wiz Khalifa the first artist to take two songs that began at No. 100 to No. 1, as his first leader, “Black and Yellow,” made the same eventual vault.

Again, this is a quirky stat involving much chance – a song ranking at No. 100 instead of No. 99, or off the chart, is somewhat akin to a lottery drawing; slightly more or fewer sales, radio plays or streams in a week would potentially change a title’s rank.

But, yes! Per your request, let’s look at more rags-to-riches chart success stories. Having covered the select 10 No. 1s that debuted at No. 100, here are the songs to make the next-largest leap to the top:

Hot 100 No. 1s That Debuted at No. 99

Chart Date Reached No. 1, Title, Artist

March 13, 1999, “Believe,” Cher
July 24, 1976, “Kiss and Say Goodbye,” The Manhattans
April 26, 1975, “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” B.J. Thomas
March 2, 1974, “Seasons in the Sun,” Terry Jacks
Aug. 4, 1973, “The Morning After,” Maureen McGovern
July 7, 1973, “Will It Go Round in Circles,” Billy Preston
Jan. 6, 1973, “You’re So Vain,” Carly Simon
Oct. 21, 1972, “My Ding-A-Ling,” Chuck Berry
Dec. 9, 1972, “I Am Woman,” Helen Reddy
Feb. 19, 1972, “Without You,” Nilsson
Feb. 10, 1968, “Love Is Blue (L’amour Est Bleu),” Paul Mauriat and His Orchestra
Jan. 20, 1968, “Judy in Disguise (With Glasses),” John Fred and the Playboys
Oct. 2, 1965, “Hang On Sloopy,” The McCoys
July 1, 1961, “Quarter to Three,” U.S. Bonds
March 14, 1959, “Venus,” Frankie Avalon

Some big No. 1s in that group, including Cher’s “Believe,” the most recent song to bow at No. 99 and reach No. 1.

And, why not, let’s also look at songs that hit the penthouse after entering two spots above the Hot 100’s ground floor:

Hot 100 No. 1s That Debuted at No. 98

Chart Date Reached No. 1, Title, Artist
March 8, 2014, “Happy,” Pharrell Williams
March 24, 2007, “Glamorous,” Fergie feat. Ludacris
Jan. 14, 2006, “Laffy Taffy,” D4L
Aug. 18, 2001, “Fallin’,” Alicia Keys
July 9, 1977, “Undercover Angel,” Alan O’Day
June 21, 1975, “Love Will Keep Us Together,” Captain & Tennille
March 29, 1975, “Lady Marmalade,” Labelle
Aug. 17, 1974, “The Night Chicago Died,” Paper Lace
May 26, 1973, “Frankenstein,” Edgar Winter Group

Oct. 2, 1971, “Maggie May”/”Reason to Believe,” Rod Stewart
July 29, 1967, “Light My Fire,” The Doors
Nov. 3, 1962, “He’s a Rebel,” The Crystals
Sept. 2, 1961, “Wooden Heart,” Joe Dowell

Along with classics on the list above from “Fallin’ ” to “Light My Fire,” Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” likewise arrived at No. 98. It would go on not only to top the Hot 100, for 10 weeks, but also reign as the No. 1 song of all of 2014, further reinforcing that a start is just that; a song can go on to earn immense popularity no matter where it begins.

Similarly, Pharrell’s prior trip to No. 1 began at No. 94: that’s where Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” on which he and T.I. are featured, bowed in May 2013, eventually ruling for 12 weeks beginning that June. Meanwhile, the potential top song of 2015 started in the Hot 100’s bottom half, if not quite as low as the 90s. Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk!,” featuring Bruno Mars, debuted at No. 65 on Nov. 29. Seven weeks later, it went as uptown as possible, beginning a 14-week run at No. 1, passing “Lines” to tally the longest stay atop the Hot 100 this decade.



Hi Joe,

Fun tribute! Per the official credits on YouTube, DeFilippo wrote the song and sings it, as performed with the R.J. Phillips Band, a group of Baltimore studio musicians: Bill Phelan, Leslie Darr and Bill Pratt, the latter of whom produced it.

“I was always a fan of Casey when his show aired each week,” DeFilippo wrote in a follow-up email. “I got to thinking how those days of radio impacted the public, musically. Thousands waited each week for Casey’s program and especially to see what songs topped the charts.

“When Casey passed away [on June 15 of last year], I realized what a treasure we had lost. With that in mind, I wrote the song, actually intending to send it to Casey’s children. His daughter, Kerri, loved the song and posted it on her Facebook page, and the responses she’s received have been very favorable.”

(“Yes, it’s about my Dad and it’s wonderful! Thanks Joe!” she wrote.)

While Kasem passed away last June, next Monday, April 27, marks what would’ve been the iconic broadcaster and 18-year “American Top 40” host’s 83rd birthday.

And, thanks to iHeartRadio, Kasem remains a continuous, and oh-so-familiar presence, as you can listen to vintage “AT40” episodes here. As always, as the numbers get smaller, the hits get bigger, just as they did all the years that Kasem brought Billboard charts to life like no one else.