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The Biggest Hot 100 Hits to Peak at Nos. 100-76

Certainly, it's great to be No. 1. But, the Hot 100's storied history reveals well-loved classics at every peak position, from No. 100 to No. 1. First up: Nos. 100 to 76.

Clearly, the most popular songs at any given time scale the upper ranks of the Billboard Hot 100. Still, America’s singles chart of record for 56 years sports a history filled with well-loved classics that peaked at every position, from No. 1 … all the way down to No. 100.

For renowned titles that stopped in the chart’s lower rungs, perhaps they weren’t huge hits originally, but gained steam over time. Or, they were popular at particular formats, such as country, R&B/hip-hop or rock, but did not cross over to complete mainstream success.


Updating a favorite feature first posted five years ago, each Tuesday throughout January, Chart Beat is combing through the Hot 100 peak position-by-peak position, subjectively highlighting songs that live on in iTunes and Spotify libraries, movies, TV and/or radio, no matter how high (or not) they ultimately climbed on the Hot 100.

Certainly, it’s great to be No. 1. But, the Hot 100’s rich archives reveal winners at every number.

Here’s part one. Come back a week from today, on Jan. 13, for part two, covering venerable hits that peaked between Nos. 75 and 51.

No. 100
“Oh Santa!,” Mariah Carey (2011)

Proof right off the bat that one chart’s No. 100 song is another chart’s No. 1. This track topped Adult Contemporary for four weeks, becoming Carey’s seventh topper on the tally and first since 1996. It also marked Carey’s second No. 100 Hot 100 peak in-a-row, following “Up Out My Face,” featuring Nicki Minaj (an aptly titled preview to the pair’s eventual American Idol-fueled standoff).

Honorable Mentions:
“Judy,” Frankie Vaughan (notable as the anchor song on the inaugural Hot 100 dated Aug. 4, 1958)
“Sweet Georgia Brown,” Carroll Bros. (1962)
“Killer,” Seal (1992)
“Leave It All to Me (The iCarly Theme Song),” Miranda Cosgrove (2008)
“Ten Feet Tall,” Afrojack feat. Wrabel (2014)

No. 99
“Kernkraft 400,” Zombie Nation (2000)

Even if you aren’t familiar with this song by title, chances are you’ve heard it following a goal at a hockey game or a buzzer-beater at a basketball game. Its composer, Florian Senfter, describes the track as “a quirky electro song” and muses that if he knew it would achieve such widespread popularity, “I would have chosen a friendlier name.”

Honorable Mentions:
“In Between Days,” the Cure (1986)
“Fat,” Weird Al Yankovic (1988)
“Save the Last Dance for Me,” Michael Buble (2006)
“Dreaming with a Broken Heart,” John Mayer (2007)
“Left Hand Free,” Alt-J (2014)

No. 98
“Bizarre Love Triangle,” New Order (1995)

The iconic dance/alternative act took this song to No. 4 on Dance Club Songs in 1986. When re-released in 1995, it reached the Hot 100 for the first time. By then, New Order had enjoyed a pair of top 40 hits: “True Faith” (No. 32, 1987) and “Regret” (No. 28, 1993).

Honorable Mentions:
“The Life of Riley,” Lightning Seeds (1992)
“Sad But True,” Metallica (1992)
“7 Seconds,” Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry (1994)
“Love Is Gone,” David Guetta & Chris Willis (2008)
“Wild Horses,” Susan Boyle (2009)

No. 97
“Sie Liebt Dich (She Loves You),” Die Beatles (1964)

Should anyone ask the trivia question, “Of the Beatles’ 71 Hot 100 charted songs, which one peaked at the lowest position?,” consider this your cheat sheet. At the height of Beatlemania, this cover of their second No. 1, recorded for release in Germany (where the group had enjoyed early acclaim), spent a week on the chart dated June 27, 1964. The only other song the band reinvented in German? Its first No. 1, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

Honorable Mentions:
“I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead,” Bon Jovi (1993)
“Vow,” Garbage (1995)
“Daughter/Yellow Ledbetter,” Pearl Jam (1996)
“Freedom,” Paul McCartney (2001)
“Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own,” U2 (2005)

No. 96
“The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana),” the Banana Splits (1969)

The trippy, Sid and Marty Krofft (Land of the Lost)-designed The Banana Splits Adventure Hour ran for just 31 episodes on NBC from 1968 to 1970, but that was long enough for its sing-along theme song to reach the Hot 100. Liz Phair and Material Issue offered an amped-up cover on the 1995 album Saturday Morning: Cartoons’ Greatest Hits.

Honorable Mentions:
“The Race Is On,” George Jones (1965)
“Electrolite,” R.E.M. (1997)
“Soulmate,” Natasha Bedingfield (2009)
“This Is What It Feels Like,” Armin Van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie (2013)
“Last Christmas,” Ariana Grande (2013)

No. 95
“I’m Happy Just to Dance with You,” the Beatles (1964)

One of seven Hot 100 hits from A Hard Day’s Night, and one of 31 entries the Fab Four charted in 1964. The evergreen pop song served as the B-side to “I’ll Cry Instead,” which reached No. 25.

Honorable Mentions:
“I Believe in Father Christmas,” Greg Lake (1976)
“Something Happened on the Way to Heaven,” Deborah Cox (2004)
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas (Live),” Josh Groban (2006)
“Girls in Their Summer Clothes,” Bruce Springsteen (2008)
“Cough Syrup,” Young the Giant (2012)

No. 94
“Ridin’ the Storm Out,” REO Speedwagon (1977)

It took the Illinois pop/rockers three tries before vaulting to No. 1 with “Keep on Loving You” in 1981. Before then, they arrived with this classic rock staple. Then, in 1978, the band peaked at Nos. 58 and 56, respectively, with two more eventual favorites: “Roll with the Changes” and “Time for Me to Fly.” Notably, longtime recognizable lead singer Kevin Cronin didn’t sing the originally released version of “Storm”; after recording it, he had a falling out with the band and didn’t return until two albums later. His vocals were replaced by then-REO Speedwagon member Mike Murphy.

Honorable Mentions:
“Fall on Me,” R.E.M. (1986)
“Solitude Standing,” Suzanne Vega (1987)
“Similar Features,” Melissa Etheridge (1989)
“Rubberneckin’,” Elvis Presley (2003)
“It’s a Beautiful Day,” Michael Buble (2013)

No. 93
“Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” Toby Keith (1993)

Twenty-two years later, Keith remains a format star, having earned the honor of Billboard‘s Top Country Artist of the 2000s. His run of success began with this debut single, which entered the Hot 100 on March 6, 1993, and became his first of 20 No. 1s to date on Hot Country Songs. He most recently reigned with “Made in America” in 2011.

Honorable Mentions:
“Nightrain,” Guns N’ Roses (1989)
“That’s Just What You Are,” Aimee Mann (1995)
“Nothing Really Matters,” Madonna (1999)
“When a Woman Loves,” R, Kelly (2011)
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” Kelly Clarkson (2011)

No. 92
“Moondance,” Van Morrison (1977)

The legendary Irish singer-songwriter reached the top 10 with “Brown Eyed Girl” (No. 10, 1967) and “Domino” (No. 9, 1971), and, while the chart performance of “Moondance” pales in comparison, the song remains one of his most popular concert and radio nuggets. The track served as the title cut to his 1970 album, although it was not released as a single until seven years later.

Honorable Mentions:
“Border Song,” Elton John (1970)
“Only a Memory,” The Smithereens (1988)
“Nick of Time,” Bonnie Raitt (1990)
“Into the Great Wide Open,” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1991)
“Best of Both Worlds,” Hannah Montana (2006)

No. 91
“Anyone Else But You,” Michael Cera & Ellen Page (2008)

Originally recorded by indie rock act Moldy Peaches, “Anyone Else But You” reached the chart as performed by Cera and Page, the co-stars of the Academy Award-winning surprise blockbuster Juno. This past August, Cera released an 18-song album on Bandcamp, True That.

Honorable Mentions:
“Once in a Lifetime,” Talking Heads (1986)
“Castles in the Sky,” Ian Van Dahl (2001)
“Come Into My World,” Kylie Minogue (2003)
“Kids,” MGMT (2009)
“Video Games,” Lana Del Rey (2012)

No. 90
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell (2014)

While its arrival in November was cause for celebration, “Miss” also marked a bittersweet bow. The ballad accompanies Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, a documentary covering 151 concerts by the country/pop legend beginning in 2011 amid his valiant battle against Alzheimer’s disease. Said the film’s director/producer James Keach of Campbell, 78, “It became not so much the story of Glen Campbell, but the story of the gift that is being taken away from him. And us.”

Honorable Mentions:
“Crossroads,” Tracy Chapman (1989)
“Shut Up and Kiss Me,” Mary Chapin Carpenter (1994)
“King Nothing,” Metallica (1997)
“L.A. Song,” Beth Hart (2000)
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Sam Smith (2014)

No. 89
“Home Sweet Home,” Motley Crue (1985)

The original version of the band’s signature ballad climbed to No. 89, while a remix rose to No. 37 in 1991. A third visit for the song to the Hot 100 produced an even higher peak: Carrie Underwood’s cover, as featured on American Idol, reached No. 21 in 2009.

Honorable Mentions:
“Cheap Sunglasses,” ZZ Top (1980)
“Let Love Rule,” Lenny Kravitz (1990)
“Galileo,” Indigo Girls (1992)
“Freak on a Leash (Unplugged),” Korn feat. Amy Lee (2007)
“Long Road to Ruin,” Foo Fighters (2008)

No. 88
“The Old Apartment,” Barenaked Ladies (1997)

The Canadian alternative favorites, um, broke into, the Hot 100 on May 10, 1997, with this track and followed with the No. 68-peaking “Brian Wilson.” By fall 1998, American audiences had so warmed to the band that its next album, Stunt, debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. The set yielded the Hot 100 rapid-fire name-dropping No. 1 “One Week.”

Honorable Mentions:
“If I Had a Rocket Launcher,” Bruce Cockburn (1985)
“Big Time Sensuality,” Bjork (1994)
“Our Country,” John Mellencamp (2006)
“Radar,” Britney Spears (2009)
“You’re Mine (Eternal),” Mariah Carey (2014)

No. 87
“Body and Soul,” Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse (2011)

The duet brought Bennett back to the Hot 100 for the first time since 1967 and, at the time, made him the oldest artist – he was then 85 – to grace the chart. In 2013, Fred Stobaugh snared the record, as the then-96-year-old charted as featured on Green Shoe Studio’s “Oh Sweet Lorraine,” the tribute love song he wrote for his late wife. (It spent a week at No. 42.)

Honorable Mentions:
“Master and Servant,” Depeche Mode (1985)
“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),” Jimmy Somerville (1990)
“Maps,” Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2004)
“Breathe,” Taylor Swift feat. Colbie Caillat (2008)
“Jungle,” Jamie N Commons & X Ambassadors (2014)

No. 86
“Talk,” Coldplay (2006)

With its hypnotic instrumental hook a reinvention of Kraftwerk’s “Computer Love,” the third single from X&Y topped Adult Alternative Songs and reached No. 5 on Alternative Songs. According to Chris Martin, “What happened with ‘Talk’ is that it was all going great, and then someone said ‘That should be the first single,’ and we all just freaked out and scrapped it all. I hate choosing singles, it’s so hard. (But) when we heard it mixed properly, it sounded mega.”

Honorable Mentions:
“Melissa,” Allman Brothers (1972)
“The Boy in the Bubble,” Paul Simon (1987)
“Pop Song ’89,” R.E.M. (1989)
“The Man Who Can’t Be Moved,” the Script (2010)
“Give a Little More,” Maroon 5 (2010)

No. 85
“Marry You,” Bruno Mars (2011)

A rare song that Fox’s Glee covered that wasn’t a proven hit. In fact, the original wound up never even being a proper radio single. Still, Mars’ version continues to receive pockets of airplay by programmers smitten by the song’s infectious melody and romantic lyrics. To date, Mars’ recording, from his debut full-length Doo-Wops & Hooligans, has sold 2.2 million downloads, according to Nielsen Music, an incredibly hefty total for an album cut.

Honorable Mentions:
“Mary’s Boy Child/Oh My Lord,” Boney M (1979)
“South Central Rain (I’m Sorry),” R.E.M. (1984)
“Winter Games,” David Foster (1988)
“Did I Shave My Legs for This?,” Deana Carter (1998)
“Celebrity Skin,” Hole (1998)

No. 84
“Englishman in New York,” Sting (1988)

While this song, featuring Branford Marsalis on saxophone, fell short of the top 20 success of Sting’s first six solo singles, it remains an adult alternative radio favorite. In 2009, R&B singer Kardinal Offishall reworked the track as “Ill Eagle Alien.”

Honorable Mentions:
“Tennessee Flat-Top Box,” Johnny Cash (1961)
“Terms of Endearment,” Michael Gore (1984)
“I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” the California Raisins (1988)
“I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying,” Toby Keith with Sting (1997)
“1901,” Phoenix (2010)

No. 83
“Where Everybody Knows Your Name (The Theme From Cheers),” Gary Portnoy (1983)

The TV theme song that preceded exchanges such as the following:
Coach (answering the phone): “Cheers.” Ok, wait a minute, I’ll check. Is there an ‘Ernie Pantusso’ here?
Sam: That’s you, Coach.
Coach: Speaking.

Honorable Mentions:
“Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” Bruce Springsteen (1976)
“Rappin’ Rodney,” Rodney Dangerfield (1983)
“All I Want Is You,” U2 (1989)
“All Alone on Christmas,” Darlene Love (1993)
“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail),” Hillsong United (2014)

No. 82
“Holiday Road,” Lindsey Buckingham (1983)

The movie theme song that preceded the following sales pitch from car dealer Eugene Levy to Chevy Chase at the start of National Lampoon’s Vacation: “Now, I owe it to myself to tell you, Mr. Griswold, if you’re thinking of taking the tribe cross-country, this is your automobile. The Wagon Queen Family Truckster. You may think you hate it now, but wait ’til you drive it.”

Honorable Mentions:
“Theme From Raging Bull (Cavalleria Rusticana),” Joel Diamond (1981)
“A Million Miles Away,” the Plimsouls (1983)
“Wherever I May Roam,” Metallica (1992)
“We Will Become Silhouettes,” the Postal Service (2005)
“Danza Kuduro,” Don Omar & Lucenzo (2011)

No. 81
“No Parking (On the Dance Floor),” Midnight Star (1984)

This club classic not only pulled into a No. 81 peak on the Hot 100, it rose to a similarly modest No. 43 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and No. 44 on Dance Club Songs (then titled the “Dance/Disco Top 80”). After the group enjoyed a string of R&B hits during the ’80s, brothers Reginald and Vincent Calloway departed to form Calloway, who soared all the way to No. 2 on the Hot 100 in 1990 with “I Wanna Be Rich.”

Honorable Mentions:
“I Will Follow,” U2 (1984)
“Graceland,” Paul Simon (1987)
“Use It Up and Wear It Out,” Pat & Mick (1991)
“Watermelon Crawl,” Tracy Byrd (1994)
“(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” Weezer (2009)

No. 80
“Johnny B. Goode,” Chuck Berry (1958)

An asterisk on this position: this influential early rock standard reached No. 8 on the Hot 100’s predecessor chart, the Top 100, in April 1958. When the Hot 100 bowed with the chart dated Aug. 4, 1958, the song remained strong enough to appear for one week. Younger audiences are perhaps more familiar with Michael J. Fox’s version from Back to the Future in 1985. (Or, more correctly, 1955).

Honorable Mentions:
“Don’t Change,” INXS (1983)
“Dreamin’ of Love,” Stevie B (1988)
“What’s the Matter Here?,” 10,000 Maniacs (1988)
“The Chanukah Song,” Adam Sandler (1999)
“Nookie,” Limp Bizkit (1999)

No. 79
“Caribbean Blue,” Enya (1992)

It’s not often that pop, or even adult, radio dips into the new age format for a hit, but Enya’s no ordinary new age artist. She’s spent a record total 357 weeks atop Billboard‘s New Age Albums chart and has sold 27 million albums in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. Enya received even warmer welcomes at radio with her 1989 breakthrough “Orinoco Flow” (No. 24) and, in the aftermath of 9/11, “Only Time” (No. 10).

Honorable Mentions:
“I’m Free,” the Soup Dragons (1990)
“Jeremy/Yellow Ledbetter,” Pearl Jam (1995)
“Love’s Divine,” Seal (2004)
“Bruises,” Train feat. Ashley Monroe (2013)
“On Top of the World,” Imagine Dragons (2014)

No. 78
“Radio Free Europe,” R.E.M. (1983)

With the July 23, 1983 Hot 100, an eventual alternative format cornerstone act appeared on the chart for the first time. Four years later, R.E.M. would score its first top 10, “The One I Love” (No. 9). To date, the band, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, has charted 22 Hot 100 hits. Happy belated birthday, by the way, to Michael Stipe, who turned 55 on Jan. 4 and recently made for a surprise opening act for Patti Smith in concert.

Honorable Mentions:
“Call Me Irresponsible,” Frank Sinatra (1963)
“High and Dry,” Radiohead (1996)
“Love Don’t Live Here Anymore,” Madonna (1996)
“Never There,” Cake (1999)
“Just Breathe,” Pearl Jam (2010)

No. 77
“Good Enough,” Sarah McLachlan (1994)

The Lilith Fair founder had peaked at No. 73 earlier in 1994 with her initial chart entry, “Possession,” from her third album, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. While “Good Enough” didn’t impact the Hot 100’s upper reaches, it helped further McLachlan’s ascent toward alternative royalty and set the stage for her mainstream breakthrough, Surfacing, which yielded four top 40 Hot 100 hits in 1997-99.

Honorable Mentions:
“Owwww!,” Chunky A (aka: Arsenio Hall) (1989)
“How I Could Just Kill a Man/The Phuncky Feel One,” Cypress Hill (1992)
“Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel),” Billy Joel (1994)
“I Can Love You Better,” Dixie Chicks (1998)
“Accidental Racist,” Brad Paisley feat. LL Cool J (2013)

No. 76
“I Melt With You,” Modern English (1990)

While this British act took the song to No. 78 on the Hot 100 in 1983, the jangly pop/rock track maintained a subsequent level of heightened awareness thanks to MTV video play and its placement in the movie Valley Girl. The band re-recorded its only chart hit in 1990, lifting the song to a new peak of No. 76. The 2003 soundtrack to 50 First Dates includes a cover by Jason Mraz, while the original remains in regular rotation on adult and classic hits radio.

Honorable Mentions:
“Please Come Home for Christmas,” Charles Brown (1962)
“Theme From Ice Castles (Through the Eyes of Love),” Melissa Manchester (1979)
“Johnny Come Home,” Fine Young Cannibals (1986)
“Hey Man Nice Shot,” Filter (1995)
“The Rockafeller Skank,” Fatboy Slim (2000)

Up next, on Jan. 13, part 2: Nos. 75-51