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Ask Billboard: The Most-Played Former Hot 100 No. 1s

todayAugust 4, 2011

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by Gary Trust | March 11, 2011 4:55 EST
Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, 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.
THE MOST-PLAYED FORMER HOT 100 NO. 1s
Hi Gary,
Thank you so much for the Chart Beat interview with Barry Scott. I had never heard of “The Lost 45s” program before, but, having read the piece, I would love to hear it.
Although I enjoyed reading Scott’s list of 15 Forgotten Hot 100 No. 1s, I remember all those songs, so, to me, anyway, they are not exactly “forgotten.”
I’d like to present my own 15 forgotten No. 1s. In fact, a few of these are so obscure that I had to search for and listen to them to remember what they sounded like, but they all still sound great, even today:
“Deep Purple,” Nino Tempo and April Stevens, 1963
“A World Without Love,” Peter and Gordon, 1964
“My Love,” Petula Clark, 1966
“Green Tambourine,” the Lemon Pipers, 1968
“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” Paul & Linda McCartney, 1971
“Brand New Key,” Melanie, 1971
“Show and Tell,” Al Wilson, 1974
“Angie Baby,” Helen Reddy, 1974
“Pick Up the Pieces,” Average White Band, 1975
“Kiss and Say Goodbye,” the Manhattans, 1976
“Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band,” Meco, 1977
“Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do),” Christopher Cross, 1981
“Kyrie,” Mr. Mister, 1986
“Praying For Time,” George Michael, 1990
“How Do You Talk to an Angel,” the Heights, 1992
I could easily go on, but I’ve managed to narrow it down to these 15.
Thanks for a great article!
Blair Buchta
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Hi Blair,
I was happy to spotlight the 25th anniversary of “The Lost 45s,” which has aired in Boston since March 9, 1986. (Put another way, that’s seven years longer than Casey Kasem hosted “American Top 40”).
While the show is not currently syndicated on terrestrial radio, Scott does offer streaming of episodes, by subscription, at lost45.com.
To clarify, the feature on “forgotten” Hot 100 No. 1s was not so much meant to highlight songs that don’t jar one’s memory upon seeing their titles, but more a look at former toppers that no longer receive regular radio airplay.
And, judging by your list, it seems to vary from person to person! Geography also comes into play, as “How Do You Talk to an Angel” (my favorite Hot 100 No. 1 from 1992) plays often here on adult contemporary WWFS (Fresh 102.7)/New York.
I’ve also heard “Kyrie” regularly on ’80s flashback shows, while “Brand New Key” has returned in a current Hewlett-Packard TV campaign.
I agree, though: it would be quite rare (although a treat) to hear the Meco, Christopher Cross and George Michael titles on radio again.
Such discussion is what continues to make dissecting the list of all 1,000 Hot 100 No. 1s so much fun.
With Scott having provided his “forgotten” – or, rather, rarely programmed – No. 1s in Wednesday’s Chart Beat, what about the opposite angle: which former No. 1s continue to be played the most?
Here is a look at the past Hot 100 leaders with the most plays in the past seven days (March 4-10), according to Nielsen BDS:
Rank, Title, Artist, Year (Plays)
1, “Grenade,” Bruno Mars, 2011 (18,391)
2, “Firework,” Katy Perry, 2010 (13,966)
3, “Hold It Against Me,” Britney Spears, 2011 (11,480)
4, “Just the Way You Are,” Bruno Mars, 2010 (8,887)
5, “What’s My Name?,” Rihanna featuring Drake, 2010 (8,782)
6, “Raise Your Glass,” P!nk, 2010 (7,904)
7, “Only Girl (In the World),” Rihanna, 2010 (6,409)
8, “We R Who We R,” Ke$ha, 2010 (5,840)
9, “Black and Yellow,” Wiz Khalifa, 2011 (5,808)
10, “Teenage Dream,” Katy Perry, 2010 (4,452)
Obviously, recent hits have an edge on the 1,213 stations currently monitored by BDS for the Hot 100. Thus, here is a recap of older titles – those that topped the Hot 100 no later than five years ago this week, for the purposes of this list – with the most all-format plays in the same tracking period:
Rank, Title, Artist, Year (Plays; Overall Rank)
1, “Every Breath You Take,” the Police, 1983 (834; 439)
2, “How You Remind Me,” Nickelback, 2001 (808; 456)
3, “Smooth,” Santana featuring Rob Thomas, 1999 (800; 468)
4, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” Aerosmith, 1998 (774; 486)
5, “Yeah!,” Usher, 2004 (761; 498)
6, “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” Simple Minds, 1985 (740; 519)
7, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” U2, 1987 (714; 544)
8, “Livin’ on a Prayer,” Bon Jovi, 1987 (709; 551)
9, “You’re Beautiful,” James Blunt, 2006 (691; 571)
10, “Amazed,” Lonestar, 2000 (662; 609)
And, one more note about “The Lost 45s”: Barry Scott and I once discussed a song that we both agreed deserved to be a much bigger hit: One 2 Many’s “Downtown,” which reached No. 37 on the Hot 100 in 1989.
The Norwegian trio released one album in the U.S., “Mirror,” featuring nine other great tracks. The group included Dag Kolsrud, who went on to become world tour musical director for a-ha, whose influence is clearly evident in its melodic top 40 hit:

Written by: Barry Scott

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