Skip to main content

Ask Billboard: Juice WRLD’s ‘Lucid Dreams’ Brings Sting Back to No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart

Plus, what are the biggest hits this week among songs released before the 2000s?

Submit questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, tweet @gthot20. Also, interact via the Chart Beat Podcast‘s new listener hotline – 212-493-4021 – and you could hear your question played back and answered in an upcoming episode!   

Hi Gary,   

Happy October! That’s great that Juice WRLD’s “Lucid Dreams” has hit No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (and Hot Rap Songs), giving co-authors Sting and Dominic Miller a new No. 1, as writers. The pair penned Sting’s “Shape of My Heart,” originally released on his 1993 album, Ten Summoner’s Tales, and now sampled on “Dreams.”   

If “Dreams” can make it to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it’s up to No. 2 this week, it would spell a No. 1 career span of 35 years-plus for Mr. Sumner, as a writer, dating to The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” an eight-week No. 1 in 1983 (which he wrote solo).

Sting already topped Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs as a writer of Puff Daddy and Faith Evans’ “I’ll Be Missing You,” featuring 112, in 1997; that song, of course, reworks “Breath.”

So, over two decades after “Missing,” and four decades into his career, Sting again contributes to the week’s top R&B/hip-hop tune.

Pablo Nelson
Oakland, California

Hi Pablo,

Happy October! In fact, I’m writing this while watching my Red Sox vs. … not-your-A’s. Sorry, I share any disappointment you might be feeling; you know which team I rooted for (or, really, against) in the AL Wild Card Game.


As for Sting, his R&B chart history is extensive beyond “Breath” and “Dreams.” He’s also charted as an artist on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, while his latest album, 44/876, teams him with Shaggy, a veteran of the chart dating to 1995’s No. 1 “Boombastic”/”In the Summertime.”

Let’s retrace every step Sting has taken on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (we’ve been watching him), recapping all his entries as a writer, including three as a credited artist.

Meanwhile, “Shape of My Heart” is in its second go-round in the chart’s top 10; it first reached the region nearly 18 years ago via a different sample, thanks to Carl Thomas:

“If You Love Somebody Set Them Free,” Sting (No. 17 peak, 1985)
“We’ll Be Together,” Sting (No. 39, 1987)
“Steelo,” 702 (No. 12, 1996); samples The Police’s “Voices Inside My Head”
“I’ll Be Missing You,” Puff Daddy & Faith Evans feat. 112 (No. 1, eight weeks, 1997); interpolates The Police’s “Every Breath You Take”
“Roxanne ’97 – Puff Daddy Remix,” Sting & The Police (No. 20, 1997)
“Emotional,” Carl Thomas (No. 8, 2001); samples Sting’s “Shape of My Heart”
“What Means the World to You,” Cam’ron (No. 30, 2000); samples The Police’s “Roxanne”
“Lucid Dreams,” Juice WRLD (No. 1, one week to-date, 2018); samples “Shape of My Heart”

Not that R&B music represents Sting’s only foray outside his core pop-rock sound. He also boasts three No. 1s on the Classical Albums chart, between 2006 and 2010, while Toby Keith’s remake of Sting’s “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying” hit No. 2 on Hot Country Songs in 1998.

Plus, in late 1983, after the original had topped the Hot 100, a shuffling remake of “Breath” by Texas trio Mason Dixon reached No. 69 on Hot Country Songs.

“Wow!! I don’t even have this … and I sang it!,” reads the first comment about the song on YouTube … by grateful former Mason Dixon singer Frank Gilligan.


Hi Gary,

Right now, what are the 10 biggest older songs, from the 1990s, ’80s, ’70s and ’60s?


Rich Cole

Hi Rich,

Per the same formula used for the Hot 100 (dated Oct. 6), blending streaming, airplay and sales data according to Nielsen Music, here are the biggest hits this week from pre-Y2K (a panic that Twitter would’ve loved had it then existed … and been Y2K-compatible).

1, “September,” Earth, Wind & Fire (No. 8, 1979)
2, “Africa,” Toto (No. 1, one week, 1983)
3, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” (No. 9, 1981)
4, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen (No. 9, 1976/No. 2, 1992)
5, “Hotel California,” Eagles (No. 1, one week, 1977)
6, “Stand by Me,” Ben E. King (No. 4, 1961)
7, “Take on Me,” a-ha (No. 1, one week, 1985)
8, “Livin’ on a Prayer,” Bon Jovi (No. 1, four weeks, 1987)
9, “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” John Denver (No. 2, 1971)
10, “All Star,” Smash Mouth (No. 4, 1999)

“September,” of course, benefits from a surge following the “21st night of September.” Still, even if it hadn’t logged a 107 percent increase in overall activity in the tracking week, and remained at its levels from the week before, it would’ve ranked in the top five on the list above, which, unsurprisingly, includes nothing but former Hot 100 top 10s, including four No. 1s.


Meanwhile, “Africa” is sporting a higher profile of late thanks to Weezer’s remake, which holds at No. 55 on the Hot 100.

Beyond “September” and “Africa” is a batch of mostly pop/rock songs that are staples of classic hits radio (and draw notable streaming sums). Perhaps unexpected on the list is John Denver’s breakthrough song, although it has benefited from a remake earlier this year by Copilot Music + Sound that hit the Country Digital Song Sales top 10. Plus, the composition is central to the all-star “Forever Country” medley that topped Hot Country Songs in 2016.

As for decade breakdowns, “September” flies the ’70s flag atop the tally, followed by two ’80s hits and another ’70s classic by Queen (that peaked in the ’90s, thanks to its Wayne’s World synch, and is currently prominent again via the upcoming Queen biopic of the same name).

Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” is the top ’60s song this week, while, rounding out the list above at No. 10, Smash Mouth’s “All Star” glitters as the top title among ’90s gold.