Monday, September 8, 2014


We ALL love lists ... any type of rankings, especially when it comes to music.   

Today we share a few that came across our desk last week ...  

Because if there's anything we love more than reading these lists, it's DISAGREEING with these lists!!!

You'll have the chance to do both ... today in Forgotten Hits!

re:  Does ANYBODY Out There Really Believe This Crap?:
Time Magazine has put together their list of Top 20 Artists who have achieved what THEY call "Ultimate Pop Stardom" ... which ranks Mariah Carey at #1, ahead of artists like Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Supremes ... and even Michael Jackson and The Bee Gees.  

Now, in all fairness, their ranking (and point system) is based on charts published from 1960 forward ... which GREATLY limits Elvis' output and success.  (Between 1956 and 1959, Presley hit Billboard's Pop Singles Chart an incredible 38 times ... including TWELVE #1 Hits and seven others that made The Top Ten ... yet NONE of these hits were counted in this ranking.)  As such, he doesn't make the list at all.  

The Beatles, long recognized as the biggest act in history lost points due to longevity.  Whereas Mariah Carey has been a constant force to be reckoned with for nearly twenty years, other than an odd reissue here and there, The Beatles really only spent six years on the charts ... and although that time spent included TWENTY #1 Billboard Hits, it was the accumulation of points spread out over 19 years that puts Carey ahead.  

Michael Jackson came in at #8 ... two places behind his sister Janet.  (What?!?!)  That's OK ... The Beach Boys and The Bee Gees didn't make the list at all!  Neither did The Rolling Stones, Neil Diamond, ABBA, Aretha Franklin, The Four Seasons and Frank Sinatra.  

Here's the final Top 20 Ranking ... VERY top-heavy with recent acts (at a time when it wasn't at all uncommon for a record to stay on the charts for a YEAR, as opposed to 6-8 weeks in the '60's) ... Rihanna?  Usher?  KATY frickin' PERRY?!?!  Ludacris?  Kanye West?  50 Cent?  BIGGER THAN THE ROLLING STONES?!?!  In what universe?!?!? 

  1. Mariah Carey
  2. Rihanna
  3. Usher
  4. Beatles
  5. Madonna
  6. Janet Jackson
  7. Whitney Houston
  8. Michael Jackson
  9. Katy Perry
  10. Boys II Men
  11. Elton John
  12. Stevie Wonder
  13. Diddy
  14. Ludacris
  15. Beyonce
  16. Kanye West
  17. Bruno Mars
  18. 50 Cent
  19. Alicia Keys  
  20. Supremes   
The whole article (and chart) can be viewed here: 
Click here: Pop Stars: Miley Cyrus, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Madonna - TIME      

Seriously, won't you sleep better at night knowing that Miley Cyrus was a bigger commercial success than Aretha Franklin, Connie Francis, Brenda Lee and Olivia Newton-John?!?!   

This is why I have ALWAYS insisted that some type of "Hit Index" be used to measure the relative popularity of these records and artists to each other ... a factor that would take into consideration the weeks spent on the chart in direction relationship to the popularity of any given record ... so that today when records spend a year or more on the chart, those points are mathematically related to total time spent.  

The Beatles spent a total of eleven weeks on The Billboard Hot 100 Chart with their 1965 #1 Hit "Yesterday" ... four of those weeks were at #1, six weeks in The Top Ten, nine weeks in the Top 40. 

Using some sort of mathematical system (and this is just the most BASIC one I've come up with off the top of my head) let's say they've earned 400 points for their weeks at #1 (100 points per week) plus another 300 points for their weeks in The Top Ten (50 points per week) plus another 90 points for their weeks in The Top 40 (10 points per week) ... for a total of 790 points ... divided by eleven (total weeks spent on the chart) gives them a hit index of 71.82.  

Mariah Carey, on the other hand, spent eight weeks at #1 with "Dreamlover" in 1993.  (800 points)  It also spent 14 weeks in The Top Ten (700 points) and 26 weeks in The Top 40 (260 points) = 1760 total points divided by 29 weeks spent on the chart for a hit index of 60.69.  So which record is the bigger hit?  Definitely The Beatles ... who MAXIMIZED their time spent on the chart. 

Where this Time chart gets COMPLETELY out of whack would be with a 16-Week Number One Hit like "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men.  This was a special circumstance duet ... and both artists should SHARE in the success of that record ... but that doesn't mean they both earn total points TWICE!!!  The record only earned 2810 points.  (16 weeks at #1 = 1600 points + 19 weeks in The Top Ten = 950 points plus 26 weeks in The Top 40 = 260 points for a total of 2810 points ... divided by 27 total weeks on the chart gives you a hit index of 104.07 ... DEFINITELY bigger than "Yesterday" because all but one of its weeks in a very extended chart run were in The Top 40.  However the record only earned a TOTAL of 2810 points ... so you can't give 2810 points to Mariah Carey and another 2810 points to Boyz II Men ... the point total doesn't DOUBLE just because two artists decided to record together.  The points should be evenly split as 1405 for each artist.  Now when you add that to Mariah Carey's accumulated total, the hit index on this song (for Mariah Carey) drops to 52.04.  

Where my "hit index" system goes awry is when a record has a very brief quick run up the chart and then disappears once the novelty wears off.  A good example of this would be "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haa!" by Napoleon XIV.  This record peaked at #3 in 1966 but only spent a total of six weeks on the chart ... and five of those were in The Top 40.  So again, using a ranking system based on peak position, it would earn 97 points for its one week spent at #3, 150 points for its three weeks in The Top Ten, 50 more points for its five weeks in The Top 40 or 297 total points ... divided by six total weeks on the chart ... gives it a hit index 49.50 ... or nearly as big as the Mariah Carey / Boyz II Men hit in the example above (only that record topped the charts for 16 incredible weeks.)  

Clearly, there's still a bit of fine-tuning that needs to be done ... but a record like "Hound Dog" / "Don't Be Cruel" by Elvis Presley (which isn't even eligible for Time Magazine's list because it was released before 1960) posts some pretty incredible numbers ... 1100 points at #1; 1050 points in The Top Ten; 230 points in The Top 40 for 2380 points overall ... divided by 28 weeks on the chart, giving it a solid 85.00 hit index ... a monster.  Still less than "One Sweet Day" earned AS A RECORD ... but considerably more than Mariah Carey earned as an "artist".  

Unfortunately, you can play "the numbers game" for all eternity and still never come up with a definitive way to rank these records ... but I think a "hit index" is still a far more viable accounting than just number of weeks at #1 or total weeks on the chart.   

One more example ... Creedence Clearwater Revival were known as "The Kings of #2" on The Billboard Chart.  Although their singles DID top the charts in the other trade publications, they never earned a #1 Record in Billboard.  Their biggest #2 Hit in Billboard was "Proud Mary", which sat at #2 for three weeks.  Let's chart the success of that record ... three weeks at #2 (@ 99 points per week) =297 points.  Seven additional weeks in The Top Ten = 350 points.  12 weeks in The Top 40 = 120 points.  Total points = 767 ... divided by 14 total weeks on the chart = 54.79.  My guess is that this record will ultimately rank higher than several records that actually hit #1 for only one week ... and in theory, it should because of its accumulated chart run.  Interesting stuff ... if you've got the time to play "the numbers game"!!!  (kk)   

Since January, I've been battling off the top Beatles tunes on my web page Battle of the Bands. The songs were seeded by their appearance on our bi-annual Labor Day 500. But when "Hey Jude" lost, it became anybody's battle to win.
The balloting is over and the top two songs are the A&B sides of the same single (though voting for the last eight songs was very close).
Thought you'd be interested in the results:
- Ron Smith
Actually #3 and #4 are both sides of the same single, too!  When I first saw your email I figured it had to be "Penny Lane" / "Strawberry Fields Forever" ... so I'm a little surprised to see "Strawberry Fields" so low on the list ... "Hey Jude", too, for that matter ... maybe folks have gotten tired of the length of this one.
One I expected to finish higher would have been "Twist And Shout" ... it seems EVERYBODY loves this song .. they still play it a lot and you just never get tired of hearing it.  Glad to see "All My Loving" rank so high as this one's kind of in the same boat as "Twist And Shout".
Ironically these days the most-played Beatles songs on the radio seem to be album tracks more than the hit singles ... I don't think a day goes by when I don't hear "Got To Get You Into My Life", "Drive My Car" and/or "Here Comes The Sun" ... and usually it's all three!
That being said, you hear "I Saw Her Standing There" FAR more often than you hear "I Want To Hold Your Hand" ... and "I Want To Hold Your Hand" hasn't aged as well for me ... I have always maintained that I thought "She Loves You" should have been their big, break-through it ... FAR catchier and it really turned the world on its ear when it first came out.  Interesting list 'tho!  (kk) 

Speaking of The Beatles, FH Reader came up with this list of the five most insanely expensive Beatles items available on eBay:
Kent ...
It's expensive to be a Beatle Fan.  Lucky for me -- I'm an Eric Burdon & The Animals Fan.
Frank B. 

Frank sent us a couple of other lists to digest, too ...  

Kent ...  
Just heard this on Scott Shannon Show.  They took a survey ... 1500 people.  If you were going on a Road Trip and could only listen to one song, which song would that be? 
# 4 = Happy
# 3 = Bohemian Rhapsody 
# 2 = Born To Run 
# 1 = -----
My answer would be anything by Tony Williams & The Platters ... WRONG. 
I don't know your answer, but I'm still going to say you're wrong ... you'll pick a song that's not played on the radio everyday ... and that makes you wrong.  
Might be fun to ask your readers for their top four Road Trip songs.
Frank B. 

There isn't ANY song that I could listen to repeatedly for a road trip (assuming you mean at least 6-8 hours in the car).  There isn't ANY song I want to hear 6 or 8 TIMES in a row either ... or 6-8 times per day or even per week.  I thrive on variety.  (True story - they're moving some of the offices around at work right now so in my new "temporary space", so I'm now exposed to FOUR different radios playing at the same time ... VERY distracting when you're trying to work ... and mostly mish-mosh from a listening standpoint because of the constant overlap and "leakage" from one station to another.  However the other day between those four radio stations in a span of six hours I heard "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey FIVE TIMES!!!  I don't EVER have to hear this song again!  In addtion, at least four other Journey songs were also played (including "Lights" twice).  YOU'RE MAKING US HATE THIS MUSIC!!!  And I think Journey was an INCREDIBLY talented band ... but I swear they didn't play these songs this much when they were OUT!!!  Make it stop!!! 
Actually, we enjoy road trips (and have been doing quite a few lately now that Paige is off to college ... every bit of three hours each way) ... so we load up the 6-Disc CD Changer full of our favorite sounds and play "the license plates game" whenever we go to visit.  Normally, I'll have Frannie and Paige each pick out a disk that they want to hear and then I'll fill in the rest with some sort of variety ... either greatest hits CD's, a classic album or something like one of those Time/Life compilation CD's that give you a bunch of different artists from the same year or genre.  As such, I try to mix it up as much as possible so that we don't ever listen to the same music on every trip.  (But I also have a VERY extensive CD collection to choose from.)  Sadly, I'm not convinced radio station libraries today fill more than one shelf ... and listening to the radio isn't an option because as old stations drop out and new stations come in, they're all playing EXACTLY the same songs anyway ... which only increases the likelihood of even more multiple repeats throughout the day.  And they just don't get it.  They think they're providing us with a service of entertainment when in reality more and more of us are turning the damn thing off every single day.  We've received numerous emails lately from readers who would rather travel in silence than hear these same songs one more time.
I'm working on a new project that, when it's done, will list approximately 80,000 songs that have charted here in the United States, Canada and England.  80,000 songs!!! What I'd give to have a radio station play (and circulate) just 10% of that list.  We'd NEVER get bored!!!  (And we'd never know what to expect next.)  
By the way ... you never DID tell us what came in at #1!!!  (I'm guessing it was not "On The Road Again" by Willie Nelson???)  And if it was by ANY chance "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey then please just shoot me now!  (kk)  
Drum Roll, Please ... 
#1 = Sweet Home Alabama 
Is "Happy" the current Pharrell Williams song?  I can't imagine it's the Stones track!  (Speaking of which, I'm surprised "Satisfaction" didn't make the list ... they sure can't seem to play that one enough ... or "Old Time Rock And Roll" by Bob Seger.)  Gotta go now ... I'm making myself sick.  (kk)    

Kent ...   
I'm listening to Sweet Sue O'Neill, weekend DJ on WCBS- FM.   
She says "I'm about to play the longest song to make #1 on the charts ... "American Pie" by Don McLean. 
Got me thinking -- how about the shortest song to make it to #1? 
I went to YouTube and found that "Stay" by Maurice Williams And The Zodiacs clocked in at 1 minute and 51 seconds.  "The Letter" by Alex Chilton And The Box Tops clocked in at 1 minute and 53 seconds.   
Don't know what this proves -- except that I have way too much time on my hands.  
Frank B. 
I've always thought the shortest #1 Hit was "Stay" by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs ... in fact, I know I've seen it listed that way in numerous books and trivia contests ... but according to this website, Herman's Hermits holds that distinction ... by a second!  Check out THEIR "short list" here ...  
Click here: Can you name the Longest and Shortest #1 Hits? - By jmsr525