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A Decade of Number Ones December 9, 2009

Posted by markgeil in Music.

Remember Smooth, the Santana song featuring Rob Thomas? If that ubiquitous opening guitar riff has somehow escaped you, play the video;

In these December days of 2009, Smooth has a certain distinction. It was the number one song when this decade began. It actually reached Billboard’s chart pinnacle on October 1999 but it stayed there 12 weeks, making it the first #1 of the 2000’s (if that’s what we’re calling this decade). Now, it’s time to look back not only on 2009 but on the entire decade. As I recall just how many times I heard Smooth, I’m tempted to think it was the biggest song of the decade, but I would be incorrect.

There are lots of ways to measure “biggest song”; the top is a good place to start. Since Smooth crossed decades, it was actually bested by a handful of songs. These are the artists responsible for the songs with the most weeks at #1 this past decade:

Mariah Carey
The Black Eyed Peas

Which takes the crown? Well, one group had one song at the top for 14 weeks and another for 12 weeks, making them the champ. And by saying “group”, you know I mean Black Eyed Peas. Can you name the songs? Curiously, they’re both very recent: I Gotta Feeling and Boom Boom Pow. I’m not sure there’s anything to the latecomers dominating the chart, since Mariah tied for the lead with We Belong Together from 2005.

Album charts show the opposite trend. The last few years of the decade have seen a steady string of albums top the Billboard chart for 1 or 2 weeks. The album champs? Eminem, N*Sync, and the Beatles (with their “1” collection) were all from 2000, but all were bested by Usher’s “Confessions”, which lasted 9 weeks on the top.

And this is fun: can you name the biggest One Hit Wonder of the decade? You’ll know it if you ever watched American Idol. It’s Bad Day by Daniel Powter, number 1 for 5 weeks in 2006, making it that year’s biggest song. At least we’ll remember his name, even though he hasn’t cracked the Hot 100 before or since.

Coming Friday, Billboard promises to name the top artists, songs, and albums of the decade. We’ll see how the number ones compare to the rest of the pack.



1. Jim Cooper - December 11, 2009

This will show my taste, but I’m surprised the list of top songs does not include “Vertigo” or “Viva La Vida.” Others I would have guessed:

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