These are the top 100 songs that are making gains at mid-month
POS/ARTIST/SONG/POS ON BR250/POINTS
1 MILEY CYRUS f/ DUA LIPA Prisoner 6 2233.75
Who didn’t think that this collaboration would top the trending chart? It’s already #1 in airplay in the UK and in the Pop top 25 in the States. Cyrus is going on 4 months at the top of the BR250 with “Midnight Sky” and Lipa is by far the biggest artist here this year. With Miley’s album release, 5 titles make the Trending Top 100. Her duet with Billy Idol, “Night Crawling”, comes in at #9 and another ‘80s icon, Joan Jett, shows up with her at #82 with “Bad Karma”.
2 RINA SAWAYAMA Lucid 65 1113.6
A new addition to the deluxe version of her album “Sawayama” that was released on November 25. A strong out the box debut on the BR250 at #65 means the song has potential to surpass “XS” and reach the top 25. That song peaked at #32 earlier this year. This one is a pure pop nugget produced by Bloodpop who also was behind Lady Gaga’s “Chromatica”.
3 BILLIE EILISH Therefore I Am 12 1055.3
#2 in both the UK and the U.S. This is her fourth top 20 in 2020.
4 THE WEEKND Save Your Tears 16 1026.85
He is definitely in an ‘80s mode on this synth-y track. Top 30 airplay on both sides of the Atlantic. But can any song of his keep them from playing “Blinding Lights”?
5 FOO FIGHTERS Shame Shame 7 1014.45
A different direction and a cool vibe to this #1 Rock tune from their upcoming tenth studio album.
6 BRITNEY SPEARS Swimming In The Stars 87 949.7
Interesting that Spears re-issued her 2016 album “Glory” twice this year. “Mood Ring” made it to #43 on the BR250 earlier in 2020. This one was released to coincide with her 39th birthday. Another track “Matches”, is a collaboration with Backstreet Boys.
7 LIAM GALLAGHER All You’re Dreaming Of 73 902.5
A charity single for Action For Children UK, timed well as the Oasis song “Stop Crying Your Heart Out” was just a UK top 10 by the BBC Children In Need Allstars. Around since 1980, the BBC charity has been releasing a single every year since 1985.
8 PALE WAVES Change 44 878.8
This is the most straightforward Pop song the UK group has done. This has bested the #89 peak of 2018’s “Eighteen”.
9 MILEY CYRUS f/ BILLY IDOL Night Crawling 101 854.3
10 MARIAH CAREY f/ ARIANA GRANDE & JENNIFER HUDSON Oh Santa! 105 846.55
From Mariah’s Christmas special, I don’t think this can usurp “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, which is #1 on the Hot 100 again and probably would have been #1 every year if the Billboard rules allowed it all along.
11 THE BLEACHERS f/ BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN Chinatown 68 821.25
12 SAM FENDER Winter Song 116 807.5
13 MARINA Man’s World 24 805.1
14 AVA MAX My Head & My Heart 29 803.75
15 NATHAN DAWE f/ LITTLE MIX No Time For Tears 96 776.1
16 SYSTEM OF A DOWN Protect the Land 17 737.1
17 MAMMOTH WVH Distance 119 689.7
18 SHANE CODD Get Out Of My Head 35 679.15
19 STEPS Something In Your Eyes 13 663.4
20 PROSPA The Thrill 115 662.2
21 SHAWN MENDES & JUSTIN BIEBER Monster 75 660.9
22 ERIC PRYDZ NOPUS 97 630
23 KENNYHOOPLA f/ TRAVIS BARKER Estella 172 521.25
24 CELESTE A Little Love 91 475.7
25 LP How Low Can You Go 232 471.8
The 1970 retrospective leads to a look at 1969
So, working on the 1970 year-end chart had me going down a 1969 rabbit hole. First, I wanted to finish up my exploration of the second half of 1969 in an effort to put together the mid-year charts that I have been doing since the summer music party. My regular year-end chart goes from Dec-Nov and the mid-year chart goes from June-May. This set up allows late-year songs to see their full potential. Often with just a year-end chart, songs that straddle both years don’t see good chart positions in either year. There are glaring examples of this actually occurring on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969-71 range. 5 songs that reached #1 on the Hot 100 never showed up on the year-end lists. These are the songs:
PARTRIDGE FAMILY I Think I Love You
SMOKEY ROBINSON & THE MIRACLES The Tears of A Clown
STEAM Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye
PETER, PAUL & MARY Leaving On A Jet Plane
DIANA ROSS & THE SUPREMES Someday We’ll Be Together
Conversely, some songs that never made the top 20 made the year-end chart.
Peak Year-end #
30 55 MAMA CASS ELLIOT It’s Getting Better
28 100 THE BOX TOPS Sweet Cream Ladies, Forward March
21 78 MOUNTAIN Mississippi Queen
34 79 IKE & TINA TURNER I Want To Take You Higher
23 83 CHRISTIE Yellow River
Seems a bit of a letdown (if you follow these things). Doing the mid-year chart avoids this situation on a personal level. Here’s a comparison of the top 40 from my 69-70 cycle compared to how the songs fared in either year.
69# 6970# 70#
16 1 31 CHICAGO Questions 67 And 68
57 2 14 ELTON JOHN Skyline Pigeon
81 3 10 THE BEATLES Oh Darling
29 4 45 ELTON JOHN Empty Sky
7 5 260 MAMA CASS ELLIOT It’s Getting Better
56 6 32 THE FIFTH DIMENSION Wedding Bell Blues
94 7 19 THE BEATLES Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
3 8 x THE COWSILLS Hair
109 9 25 THE BEATLES Abbey Road Medley
8 10 x THREE DOG NIGHT One
x 11 2 THE HOLLIES He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
121 12 26 MAMA CASS ELLIOT Make Your Own Kind Of Music
30 13 148 THREE DOG NIGHT Eli’s Coming
9 14 x FRIENDS OF DISTINCTION Grazing In The Grass
22 15 x THE GRASS ROOTS I’d Wait A Million Years
38 16 138 ELVIS PRESLEY Suspicious Minds
58 17 82 SMITH Baby It’s You
x 18 3 EDISON LIGHTHOUSE Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)
157 19 38 THE JACKSON 5 I Want You Back
135 20 54 GLEN CAMPBELL Try A Little Kindness
x 21 4 RAY STEVENS Everything Is Beautiful
40 22 202 CUFF LINKS Tracy
2 23 x THE FIFTH DIMENSION Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In
x 24 13 THREE DOG NIGHT Celebrate
x 25 17 SLY & THE FAMILY STONE I Want To Take You Higher
33 26 x THE BEATLES Martha My Dear
192 27 22 MARMALADE Reflections Of My Life
34 28 x THE ARCHIES Sugar Sugar
87 29 x PROCUL HARUM A Salty Dog
x 30 5 CHICAGO 25 Or 6 To 4
123 31 72 R.B. GREAVES Take A Letter, Maria
168 32 58 ARETHA FRANKLIN Eleanor Rigby
42 33 298 THE TEMPTATIONS I Can’t Get Next To You
23 34 x THE BEATLES Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
72 35 171 PEGGY LEE Is That All There Is
11 36 x CREAM Badge
35 37 340 NEIL DIAMOND Sweet Caroline
x 38 21 BADFINGER Come And Get It
86 39 157 THE BEATLES Come Together
189 40 59 MARK LINDSAY Arizona
I could not complete the 1970 exercise without filling out 1969 in total. There were a number of songs from ’69 that I had completely forgotten about until doing this. 3 of those made my top 25. I was most excited by #4, Edwin Starr’s “Twenty-Five Miles”. I never knew the title of this song or who it was by, but I remember it well. This will absolutely be put on my next party playlist. Cream comes in at #11 with “Badge” a song I know through osmosis of radio exposure over the years. It did better than “White Room” at #32 but that was a late 1968 release so it would probably be in the top 10 for the 68-69 cycle.
Eric Clapton was a member of the Cream trio. He also was part of the trio Blind Faith (with Steve Winwood and his Cream bandmate Ginger Baker). That one album supergroup scored 2 songs just outside the top 100, “Sea of Joy” at #104 and “Can’t Find My Way Home” at #106. They did a bit better on the mid-year. Winwood was also a member of the band Traffic that had “Empty Pages”, “Glad” and “Freedom Rider on my chart in 1970. Between Clapton and Winwood, who both went on to impressive solo careers, there is an interesting family tree of bands that intersect. Traffic connects to Bread, Seals & Croft, and Fleetwood Mac. In the mid-‘60s Clapton was in the Yardbirds, which connects to Led Zeppelin and Jeff Beck, while Winwood was in the Spencer Davis Group which connects to Elton John’s ‘70s backing band. In addition, with Clapton part of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Fleetwood Mac (again) and the Rolling Stones enter the mix. Clapton’s involvement with the one-off band Derek & the Dominos (with a Traffic connection as well) brings the Allman Brothers to the family, while his work with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends adds George Harrison, Leon Russell, and Rita Coolidge. This could go on and on.
Another song I had forgotten about was “I’d Wait A Million Years” at #22 by the Grass Roots. I have a number of favorites by that band, 1971’s “Sooner Or Later” definitely the best of the bunch. I’ve discovered quite a few songs by the band that I did not know like “The River Is Wide” at #63, “Bella Linda” at #90, and “Baby Hold On” (#44 of 1970). I did not know their first top 10 hit was 1967’s “Let’s Live For Today”, definitely a different vibe than most of their other hits. I remember the song but didn’t know who it was by.
Another band that I have been able to explore a little more deeply recently is the Turtles. This resulted from one of the early podcasts and that’s when I discovered “Elenore” at #26 and 1967’s “She’d Rather Be With Me”. They also show up at #114 with “You Showed Me”. Of course, their biggest hit was “Happy Together” in 1967 but their first top 10 was 1965’s “It Ain’t Me, Babe”. I have no recollection of this song. When the band broke up in 1970 the vocalist’s Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan joined the Mothers Of Invention, the experimental band that included frontman Frank Zappa. That band leads down another family tree that includes Little Feat, Journey, Canned Heat plus circles back to Traffic, John Mayall, and Jeff Beck.
Volman and Kaylan contractually could not use their real names (or that of the Turtles) so they became Phlorescent Leech & Eddie. They left the Mothers in 1971 and became Flo & Eddie. I certainly knew the name but absolutely nothing about them. This could become another rabbit hole as the Spotify bio describes them as the Partridge Family and Redd Foxx on one album. Just listening to 2 songs, “Thoughts Have Turned from 1972 and “Keep It Warm” from 1976, I could spend some time exploring these guys.
Beyond Radio Alternative Sub-Genre Charts–December 15, 2020