Monday, September 22, 2008

The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs (#1)

So here's the lowdown. It isn't Madonna, not Michael Jackson, not even Elvis Presley whose music is Billboard's most successful single of all time.  The artist was not even the original singer of the big hit, and these days, he endorses a brand of steaks and beef jerky.

Ernest Evans would entertain his friends in the various jobs he took.  His boss at the Produce Market fondly nicknamed him "Chubbycheckar," and the store owner of the Fresh Farm Poultry, so impressed with his singing and performance style, arranged for Chubby to have a private recording session for American Bandstand host Dick Clark. 

During that meeting, Clark's wife asked Ernest what his friends called him and he replied, "Chubby."  

"As in in Checker?" she asked. And after that, the monicker stuck for good.

In 1959, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters recorded a minor hit as a B-side to their TEARDROPS ON YOUR LETTER.  It was in the year after when 19 year-old Chubby Checker covered that flipside song to create a monster hit and a dance craze that were both named, THE TWIST.

Checker's smash single reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September of 1960, and then set a record as the only song to reach No. 1 in two different chart runs when it resurfaced and topped the chart again in January of 1962, following Checker's appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.  All in all, the song was in the Hot 100 for a whopping 39 weeks.

Since then, Checker has covered his own cover several times.  In 1982, he rerecorded THE TWIST but renamed it T-82.  He then went to the studio in 1988 with The Fat Boys to make an updated rendition of The Twist.  And in 1990, Checker even did a country version of his most popular tune. 

Checker is known to have compared THE TWIST to the creation of the telephone as a groundbreaking moment because he says the song allowed people for the first time to dance "apart to the beat" as opposed to say, in ballroom dancing.

So there you have it.  Let's give it up again for the big 10 in Billboard's Hot 100 Top Songs of All-Time:

#10 UN-BREAK MY HEART (Toni Braxton)
#9 WE BELONG TOGETHER (Mariah Carey)
#8 HEY JUDE (The Beatles)
#7 YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE (Debbie Boone)
#6 PHYSICAL (Olivia Newton-John)
#5 MACARENA (Los Del Rio)
#4 HOW DO I LIVE (LeAnn Rimes)
#3 MACK THE KNIFE (Bobby Darin)
#2 SMOOTH (Carlos Santana)
#1 THE TWIST (Chubby Checker)

And here's a video of that top charter, THE TWIST:

Geoff Mayfield, director of charts at Billboard magazine, acknowledges that the list may not jibe with fans' personal choices for the most popular songs in the last 50 years.  He says, "This is simply a chronicle of how each of these songs performed in their era on the Hot 100.  We're not saying these are the most memorable songs of your life."

Meanwhile, there is another chart, Billboard's All-Time Hot 100 Artists. You might resonate with that list more.  But you guys will have to wait for my next posts to find out....


Ryanne said...

Hi. Your post on billboard's top 100 was interesting. It listed tracks alot of people hate but can sing along with.

Like aaaanyone would declare "Unbreak My Heart" as their favorite song?

Love the tidbits I learn. Will definitely be back. Cheers to music!

Norman Agatep said...

You're absolutely right, Ryanne! I couldn't have said it better. Cheers! Do come back as often as you like. : )