Skip to main content

This Week in Billboard Chart History: In 1997, Meredith Brooks’ ‘Bitch’ Ruled the Pop Songs Chart

20 years ago, her breakthrough smash was No. 1 on top 40 radio. Plus, remembering feats by Miley Cyrus, Alanis Morissette & Richard Marx.

Your weekly recap celebrating significant milestones from more than seven decades of Billboard chart history.

July 17, 1961
Happy 56th birthday, Billboard‘s Adult Contemporary chart! The ranking originated with Brook Benton‘s lighthearted “The Boll Weevil Song” as its first No. 1. (Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” is the current leader.)

July 18, 2009
Speaking of the AC chart … on this date eight years ago, Miley Cyrus‘ “The Climb” completed its climb to No. 1 on Billboard‘s Adult Contemporary tally. The song marked her first hit on the chart after she’d made her mark with younger fans familiar with her Disney acting roles.

July 19, 1997
Some radio DJs were instructed not to say the song’s title … but stations had no problem letting Meredith Brooks sing the word, especially since she did it in such a catchy way: 20 years ago on this date, (we’ll write it) “Bitch” strutted to the top of the Pop Songs chart.

July 20, 1991
EMF hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Unbelievable.” What does the U.K. group’s moniker stand for? Epsom Mad Funkers, the name of a fan club of fellow British band New Order.


July 21, 1990
Glenn Medeiros ruled the Billboard Hot 100 with “She Ain’t Worth It,” featuring Bobby Brown (2-1). Three years earlier, Medeiros had arrived with his No. 12-peaking debut, “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You.” Brown earned his second of two No. 1s, following 1989’s “My Prerogative.”

July 22, 1995
Alanis Morissette scored her first Billboard No. 1, as her debut U.S. smash “You Oughta Know” topped the Alternative Songs chart.

July 23, 1988
After reaching the top five, but not No. 1, with each of his first three singles – “Don’t Mean Nothing,” “Should’ve Known Better” and “Endless Summer Nights” – Richard Marx crowned the Billboard Hot 100 at last with power ballad “Hold On to the Nights,” the fourth and final release from his self-titled debut album.