Ask Billboard: Will ‘Uptown Funk!’ Be the Hot 100’s No. 1 Song of 2015?
With an array of honors - including global - for Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' smash, has the race for the year's top hit already been won?
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WILL ‘UPTOWN FUNK!’ BE THE HOT 100’s No. 1 SONG OF 2015?
I’m a fan of reading this section, where we learn a lot about the strange world of statistics and records on Billboard charts, especially the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard 200.
In February, Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk!,” featuring Bruno Mars, achieved an impressive feat regarding the Hot 100 and another chart not in the U.S.: it became just the fourth song since the birth of the Hot 100 in 1958 to have spent at least seven weeks at No. 1 on both the Hot 100 and the Official UK Singles chart. It’s still No. 1 in the U.S., for eight (consecutive) weeks now, and was No. 1 for seven (non-consecutive) weeks in the UK.
The other three songs on this exclusive list?
Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You,” 1991 (7 weeks U.S./16 UK)
Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” 1992-93 (14 weeks U.S./10 UK)
Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” featuring Jay-Z, 2007 (7 weeks U.S./10 in UK)
Honorable mentions for two other songs: Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” featuring Calvin Harris, led for 10 weeks in the U.S. (2011-12) and six in the UK. Going back to an early rock era classic, Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up” spent seven weeks on top in the UK and eight at No. 1 on the pre-Hot 100 chart, the Top 100, in 1957.
I think that’s pretty good company that “Uptown Funk!” has joined, on both sides of the Atlantic.
Thanks and my best regards,
Thanks José – what an informative email! In focusing mostly (if not understandably) on U.S. Billboard charts, it can be easy to miss a global chart honor as historic as the one that “Uptown Funk!” has earned.
It’s also merely the latest chart feat for the track. To recap: “Funk” has become Mars’ longest-reigning Hot 100 and Pop Songs No. 1 and this week takes the top spot on the Adult Pop Songs chart. As reported last week, “Funk” led Radio Songs for a fifth week with 187 million in all-format audience (up 3 percent), according to Nielsen Music; in the airplay list’s 24-year history, only eight songs have posted higher audience totals. And, as noted the week before, “Funk!” sold at least 300,000 downloads for eight consecutive weeks, marking the best such run since Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” featuring Pharrell and T.I., linked a record 10 weeks in a row of selling at least 300,000 in 2013.
With all that “Funk” has accomplished so far, it becomes easier to foretell what might still be in the song’s future. Specifically? There’s a really, really good chance that, by year’s end, “Uptown Funk!” will be the Hot 100’s No. 1 song of 2015. I know it’s only March 3, and we’ve yet to see more than a handful of days in the U.S. warmer than, say, 35 degrees (in the Northeast, anyway, where around 25 degrees with no wind has become a treat), but the race might already be over.
Why? The song has racked airplay and sales stats matched by few others historically. It’s also led the Streaming Songs chart for eight weeks, including notching its second-best week (19.8 million U.S. streams) last week. That its streams and airplay are still on the rise means that, despite its already lengthy Hot 100 reign, there appears to be more upswing left in the smash’s metrics.
Another key element in favor of “Funk!”? The calendar. The track has spent all but its first week on the Hot 100 in the tally’s 2015 chart year, having debuted at No. 65 on Nov. 29; it shot to No. 18 on Dec. 6, the first week of the 2015 chart calendar. So, almost all its cumulative chart points through the end of the chart year will contribute to its year-end rank. Simple timing, then, gives “Funk” a significant head start over any summer smash that awaits (when temperatures in these parts might actually crack 50, not to jinx anything).
Recent history reinforces that early-year hits often tend to finish the year at No. 1. Last year, after debuting in January, Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” tallied a 10-week reign to conclude the year on top. In 2013, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop,” featuring Wanz, took the title, having begun a six-week command on Feb. 2; thanks to a 49-week chart run logged mostly during that chart year, it was able to fend off “Blurred Lines,” which ruled for 13 weeks, but didn’t debut until May.
The same for the prior three winners: In 2012, Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” featuring Kimbra, stood tallest at year’s end after debuting in January and leading for eight weeks, beginning in April. In 2011, Adele took top honors with “Rolling in the Deep,” which bowed in December 2010 (reaching No. 1 in May). And, the ’10s kicked off with a brand-new No. 1, Ke$ha’s “TiK ToK.” The song began a nine-week domination on Jan. 2, 2010, setting up its year-end win.
If the decade’s trends continue, “Funk!” could join that elite list. (The song also boasts another key trait: four of the last five year-end Hot 100 No. 1s, with Williams being the exception, have belonged to newcomers or relative rookies … and Ronson is enjoying his first Hot 100 visit, even if Mars is, by now, a chart vet. This decade, acts like Ke$ha, Adele, Gotye and Macklemore & Lewis have soared in with eventual No. 1 smashes, and that exciting spark of newness, along with unquestionable hits, has surely contributed to their songs’ success.)
There’s still plenty of time left in 2015, but it’s quite possible that “Uptown Funk!” has already wrapped up the top spot on the year-end Hot 100. I almost want to fast-forward to December to see if it does … but, I’d like to experience at least a few warm days, along with some surely other great songs and future No. 1s that we don’t even yet know, first.
MORE SUBSEQUENT SINGLES, HIGHER-PEAKING HITS
While we’re on the subject of albums going deep for No. 1 singles, we can add, when looking at the Country Airplay chart, Thomas Rhett’s It Goes Like This to the mix.
Rhett’s first two hits, “Something to Do With My Hands” and “Beer With Jesus,” each stopped in the top 20 (at Nos. 15 and 19, respectively) before his third single, and title track, topped the chart for three weeks. Fourth single “Get Me Some of That” led late last year, and, now, “Make Me Wanna” has become his third No. 1, rising to the top of the March 7 chart.
Going back a bit, Rhett’s slow build reminds me of Ricky Van Shelton’s debut album, 1987’s Wild-Eyed Dream. Fairly similarly, he hit No. 24 on Hot Country Songs with his title-cut first single, then No. 7 with “Crime of Passion.” He, like Rhett, then led with singles three through five: “Somebody Lied,” “Life Turned Her That Way” and “Don’t We All Have the Right.”
The more things change …
Burt County, Nebraska
Thanks John, you always find great angles on Billboard‘s country charts.
In last week’s “Ask Billboard” and the one before that, we looked at albums that have yielded higher-charting hits with each subsequent single, focusing mostly on the Hot 100 and pop formats (all started by Ed Sheeran’s X). Rhett and Van Shelton are evidence of acts measuring steady growth at country, too.
You know who else fared better with each of the first three singles from her debut album at country? Taylor Swift. Her 2006 self-titled first set produced “Tim McGraw,” which reached No. 6 on Hot Country Songs, “Teardrops on My Guitar” (No. 2) and, marking her first of seven No. 1s on the chart, “Our Song,” which led for six weeks.
Two more examples, from the early ’90s (when Swift was a toddler and McGraw had yet to chart). In 1991, after posting nine hits on Hot Country Songs since 1987, with two reaching the top 20, singer/songwriter Suzy Bogguss broke through to greater heights with her album Aces. After lead single “Someday Soon” reached No. 12, the next three became her first three top 10s: “Outbound Plane” and the title cut each flew to No. 9 and “Letting Go” then hit No. 6. When she released follow-up Voices in the Wind, she charted even higher: lead single “Drive South” motored to No. 2 in 1993.
A fellow early ’90s country staple, Mary Chapin Carpenter, likewise worked her up way Hot Country Songs and into the genre’s inner circle steadily. Carpenter didn’t chart a hit from her 1987 debut album Hometown Girl; in 1989-90, however, “How Do,” “Never Had It So Good” and “Quittin’ Time,” from State of the Heart, hit Nos. 19, 8 and 7, in that order.
In 1990-91, she again developed further format acceptance with each of the first three successive singles from Shooting Straight in the Dark: “You Win Again” (No. 16), “Right Now” (No. 15) and “Down at the Twist and Shout” (No. 2).
Carpenter’s fourth album, Come On Come On, produced seven top 20 hits … and the two highest-charting singles were the last two: “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” and “I Take My Chances” each bounded to No. 2. When Carpenter released her fifth set, 1994’s Stones in the Road, she’d finally become enough of a core country artist that the first single (and her 16th Hot Country Songs hit) became her first No. 1 at last: “Shut Up and Kiss Me.”
(Despite not charting on Hot Country Songs since the early 2000s, Carpenter continues to conquer Billboard charts, adding a No. 1, The Age of Miracles, and two more top 10s on Folk Albums in the ’10s. Her latest, last year’s Songs From the Movie, offers orchestral reworkings of prior releases, including the Come On Come On title track.)
Thought I’d share my latest favorite songs, in ranked order, of course.
10, “Jealous,” Nick Jonas
9, “We Only Live Once,” Shannon Noll
8, “Dear Future Husband,” Meghan Trainor
7, “Chains,” Nick Jonas
6, “Blank Space,” Taylor Swift
5, “Something in the Water,” Carrie Underwood
4, “Little Do You Know,” Alex & Sierra
3, “Lips Are Movin,” Meghan Trainor
2, “Dreaming,” Taylor Dayne
1, “Fireproof,” One Direction (3rd week at No. 1)
Greetings from a (very) snowy Boston! Here’s my current top 15:
15, “Bright,” Echosmith
14, “FourFiveSeconds,” Rihanna & Kanye West & Paul McCartney
13, “Centuries,” Fall Out Boy
12, “Talking Body,” Tove Lo
11, “Heartbeat Song,” Kelly Clarkson
10, “Shut Up and Dance,” WALK THE MOON
9, “Sugar,” Maroon 5
8, “Hotel Ceiling,” Rixton
7, “I Bet My Life,” Imagine Dragons
6, “Elastic Heart,” Sia
5, “Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran
4, “Style,” Taylor Swift
3, “Love Me Like You Do,” Ellie Goulding
2, “OctaHate,” Ryn Weaver
1, “Outside,” Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding
Thanks David and Brian!
And, the latter list probably marks the last time that the word “outside” will be popular in Boston until Opening Day at Fenway.