Chart Watch

Chart Watch Extra: The Biggest Songs Of Summer

Chart Watch

View gallery

.
If music is the soundtrack of our lives, that's especially true in the summer. The radio is a constant companion at backyard barbeques, pool parties and road trips. You'll probably always associate "Umbrella" by Rihanna featuring Jay-Z with the summer of 2007, just as, if you're old enough, you'll link the Emotions' "Best Of My Love" with the summer of 1977.

Now that summer is upon us, it's a good time to scroll back through the biggest songs of summers past. These are the songs that logged the most weeks at #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 during the summer months of every year since 1955. These are the songs that you heard over and over at the beach or on vacation or on that endless ride to Grandma's house.

View gallery

.
Elvis Presley had the biggest song of the summer three times, more than any other artist. He scored with "Hound Dog"/"Don't Be Cruel" in 1956, "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" in 1957 and "It's Now Or Never" in 1960. Six artists had (or shared) the #1 song of the summer twice. These hit-makers are Rihanna, Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, Usher, Andy Gibb and Paul Anka.

What's the biggest summer song of all time? You can make a good case for The Police's "Every Breath You Take," which was the #1 summer song of 1983 and was sampled in Puff Daddy's "I'll Be Missing You," the #1 summer song of 1997.

Fourteen of the biggest songs of summer since 1955 have come from the movies. The link was strongest from 1980 to 2000, when 10 of the #1 songs of the summer sprang from the big screen.

View gallery

.
Only once has the #1 song of the summer had the word "summer" in the title. That was the Lovin' Spoonful's 1966 classic "Summer In The City." One other time, the #1 song of the summer by an artist whose last name was Summer. Pause and remember the great Donna Summer when you reach 1979.

Here are the songs that logged the most weeks at #1 in each summer (June 21 through Sept. 20) dating back to 1955. Grab the sun-screen. It's time to relive the summers of your life.

2011: LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" logged six weeks at #1. LMFAO, which consists of an uncle and his nephew, is one of five family acts to have the top song of a summer. The others are the Emotions (three sisters), Bee Gees (three brothers) Carpenters (a brother and a sister) and the Browns (a brother and two sisters).

2010: "Love The Way You Lie" by Eminem featuring Rihanna held the top spot for seven weeks. The smash received Grammy nominations for Record and Song of the Year.

2009: The Black Eyed Peas' uber-catchy "I Gotta Feeling" logged 11 weeks at #1 during the summer. It spent an additional three weeks on top in the fall. It was a Grammy finalist for Record of the Year.

2008: Katy Perry's teasing pop smash "I Kissed A Girl" held the top spot for seven weeks. It was her first chart hit. It remains her longest-running #1 hit.

View gallery

.
2007: "Umbrella" by Rihanna featuring Jay-Z and Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls" each had four weeks on top during the summer. ("Umbrella" had three additional weeks on top in the spring.) "Umbrella" received Grammy nominations for Record and Song of the Year. "Beautiful Girls" was Kingston's first chart hit.

2006: "Promiscuous" by Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland was #1 for six weeks. Furtado was the third Canadian artist to have the biggest American hit of the summer. She follows Bryan Adams and Paul Anka.

2005: Mariah Carey's comeback smash "We Belong Together" spent 11 weeks at #1 in the summer (and three additional weeks on top in the spring). It received Grammy nominations for Record and Song of the Year.

2004: Usher's "Burn" and Terror Squad's "Lean Back" each had three weeks at #1 in the summer. "Burn" had five additional weeks on top in the spring. "Lean Back" was the rap group's first and biggest hit.

View gallery

.
2003: The turbo-charged "Crazy In Love" by Beyonce featuring Jay-Z logged eight weeks at #1. The smash, a Grammy finalist for Record of the Year, was Beyonce's first hit apart from Destiny's Child.

2002: Nelly's seasonally appropriate "Hot In Herre" was out front for seven weeks.

2001: Usher's "U Remind Me" was on top for four weeks.

2000: Two relatives of famous pop stars tied for the summer's biggest hit. Enrique Iglesias' "Be With You" and Janet's "Doesn't Really Matter" each had three weeks at #1. "Doesn't Really Matter" was featured in The Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps.

1999: Christina Aguilera's "Genie In A Bottle" was out front for five weeks. It was the then-18-year-old star's first chart hit.

View gallery

.
1998: "The Boy Is Mine" by Brandy and Monica was #1 for 10 weeks in the summer (and three additional weeks in the spring). The smash, a Grammy finalist for Record of the Year, is the only all-female collabo to reign as the top song of a summer. Brandy was 19 at the time. Monica was 17.

1997: "I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy with Faith Evans and 112 was #1 for nine weeks in the summer (and two additional weeks in the spring). The song is a tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. who was shot to death on March 9 of that year.

1996: Los Del Rio's novelty smash "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)" was #1 for eight weeks in the summer (and six additional weeks in the fall). This was the Spanish duo's first chart hit.

View gallery

.
1995: TLC's slinky, socially-minded "Waterfalls" was #1 for seven weeks. The smash was a Grammy finalist for Record of the Year. TLC was the first all-female group to have the top song of a summer since the Angels in 1963.

1994: All-4-One's "I Swear" was #1 for six weeks in the summer (and five additional weeks in the spring). The song was a Grammy finalist for Song of the Year.

1993: UB40's reggae-tinged remake of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling In Love" was #1 for seven weeks. The smash was featured in the movie Sliver.

1992: Boyz II Men's "End Of The Road" was #1 for six weeks in the summer (and seven additional weeks in the fall). The soulful smash was from the movie Boomerang.

View gallery

.
1991: Bryan Adams' "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" from the movie Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, was #1 for seven weeks. The smash received Grammy nominations for Record and Song of the Year and an Oscar nomination for Best Song.

1990: Mariah Carey's "Vision Of Love," was #1 for four weeks. The sleek ballad was her first chart hit. It was a Grammy finalist for Record and Song of the Year.

1989: Richard Marx's tender ballad "Right Here Waiting" was out front for three weeks.

1988: Steve Winwood's "Roll With It" was #1 for four weeks. The smash was a Grammy finalist for Record of the Year.

View gallery

.
1987: Heart's power ballad "Alone" and Los Lobos' zesty remake of Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba" from the bio-pic of the same name each had three weeks on top. "La Bamba" was a Grammy finalist for Record and Song of the Year.

1986: Peter Cetera's "Glory Of Love" from The Karate Kid Part II and Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" each had two weeks on top. "Glory Of Love," an Oscar finalist for Best Song, was Cetera's first and biggest solo hit after more than 15 years with Chicago.

1985: Tears for Fears' "Shout" was #1 for three weeks. It was the English duo's biggest hit.

View gallery

.
1984: Prince's "When Doves Cry" from Purple Rain was #1 for five weeks. In the can-you-believe-it department, this brilliant and adventurous hit failed to get a Grammy nomination for Record or Song of the Year or an Oscar nomination for Best Song (though the entire score won both awards).

1983: The Police's "Every Breath You Take" was #1 for eight weeks. The haunting ballad won a Grammy for Song of the Year and was nominated for Record of the Year.

1982: Survivor's propulsive "Eye Of The Tiger" from Rocky III was #1 for six weeks. It was nominated for both a Grammy for Song of the Year and an Oscar for Best Song.

View gallery

.
1981: "Endless Love" by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie was #1 for six weeks during the summer (and three additional weeks in the fall). The elegant ballad, from the movie of the same name, was Richie's first hit apart from the Commodores. It received Grammy nominations for Record and Song of the Year and an Oscar nomination for Best Song.

1980: Olivia Newton-John's hypnotic ballad "Magic" was #1 for four weeks. It was from Xanadu, the singer's ill-fated follow-up to Grease.

1979: Donna Summer's "Bad Girls" and the Knack's "My Sharona" each logged five weeks on top in the summer. "My Sharona" had one additional week on top in the fall. It was the rock group's first and biggest hit.

View gallery

.
1978: Andy Gibb's "Shadow Dancing" spent six weeks on top in the summer (and one additional week on top in the spring.) Gibb was the first artist to have the #1 song of the summer two years running since Elvis Presley scored in 1956 and 1957. Sadly, both artists died young. Presley was 42 when he died. Gibb was just 30.

1977: Andy Gibb's "I Just Want To Be Your Everything" and the Emotions' "Best Of My Love" each had four weeks on top in the summer. "Best Of My Love" had one additional week on top in the fall. Gibb matched the achievement of his older brothers, Bee Gees, who tied for the biggest summer song of 1971.

1976: In the summer of the American Bicentennial, two English artists, Elton John & Kiki Dee, topped the chart for four weeks with "Don't Go Breaking My Heart." This irresistable confection was the first collabo of two hit-makers to emerge as the biggest hit of a summer. (Odia Coates didn't chart on her own until after "(You're) Having My Baby," and then only modestly.)

View gallery

.
1975: Captain & Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together" was #1 for three weeks in the summer (and one additional week in the spring). The exuberant smash was the husband-and-wife duo's first and biggest hit. It won a Grammy for Record of the Year and was nominated for Song of the Year. Captain & Tennille remain the only husband-and-wife to have the biggest song of a summer. Beyonce and Jay-Z weren't married until 2008, five years after they teamed for "Crazy In Love."

1974: The polarizing "(You're) Having My Baby" by Paul Anka with Odia Coates was #1 for three weeks.

View gallery

.
1973: In a summer of quick turnovers at #1, five hits managed two weeks on top: Billy Preston's "Will It Go Round In Circles," Jim Croce's "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown," Maureen McGovern's "The Morning After," The Stories' "Brother Louie" and Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On." "The Morning After," the Oscar-winning ballad from The Poseidon Adventure, was McGovern's first and biggest hit. "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" received a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year. Croce died in a plane crash just three months after the sing-a-long hit #1.

1972: Gilbert O'Sullivan's melancholy "Alone Again (Naturally)" was on top for six weeks. It was the Irishman's first and biggest hit. It was a Grammy finalist for Record and Song of the Year.

View gallery

.
1971: Carole King's "It's Too Late" and Bee Gees' "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" each had four weeks at #1 during the summer. "It's Too Late" had one additional week at #1 in the spring. The smash won a Grammy as Record of the Year.

1970: Carpenters were on top for four weeks with their sunny remake of "(They Long To Be) Close To You," which was a Grammy finalist for Record of the Year.

1969: It was the summer of Woodstock and the moon landing, but Zager & Evans weren't feeling optimistic. Their "In The Year 2525," which offered a bleak view of the future, topped the chart for six weeks. It was the duo's first and only Hot 100 hit.

1968: The Rascals' "People Got To Be Free" was #1 for five weeks in the summer of that tumultuous year.

View gallery

.
1967: It was rock's Summer of Love, except on the Hot 100, where the Association's sprightly "Windy" and Bobbie Gentry's enigmatic "Ode To Billie Joe" each had four weeks at #1. Gentry's story song, her first and biggest hit, was a Grammy finalist for Record and Song of the Year. It inspired a 1976 movie starring Robby Benson.

1966: The Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer In The City" was #1 for three weeks.

1965: The Rolling Stones' rock classic "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" was on top for four weeks. This marked the second year in a row that an English group had the top song of the summer.

1964: In the summer of the British Invasion, the Animals' "The House Of The Rising Sun" was #1 for three weeks. It was the group's first and biggest hit.

View gallery

.
1963: Little Stevie Wonder's "Fingertips—Pt 2" and the Angels' "My Boyfriend's Back" each had three weeks at #1. "Fingertips" was the Motown legend's first chart hit.

1962: Bobby Vinton's schmaltzy "Roses Are Red (My Love)" was #1 for four weeks. It was the pop balladeer's first and biggest hit.

1961: Bobby Lewis' frisky "Tossin' And Turnin'" was #1 for seven weeks. It was the R&B artist's first and biggest hit.

1960: Elvis Presley scored again with "It's Now Or Never," #1 for five weeks.

View gallery

.
1959: Paul Anka's "Lonely Boy" and the Browns' "The Three Bells" each had four weeks on top. "The Three Bells," which received a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year, was the first chart hit for the Browns. Anka's song was featured in the movie Girls Town.

1958: Domenico Modugno's "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)" was #1 for five weeks. The lounge-lizard smash was Modugno's first chart hit. It won Grammys for Record and Song of the Year. The Italian crooner never returned to the top 40.

1957: Elvis Presley scored again with "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear," which was #1 for seven weeks. The song was featured in Presley's movie, Loving You.

1956: Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog"/"Don't Be Cruel" was #1 for six weeks in the summer (and five additional weeks in the fall).

View gallery

.
1955: Bill Haley And His Comets' watershed hit "Rock Around The Clock" was #1 for eight weeks. The song was featured in the movie Blackboard Jungle.

The Fine Print: Some chart weeks straddled two seasons. In those cases, I counted days. If a song was #1 for the week ending June 23, most of the days in that week were in the spring. If it was #1 for the week ending June 24, most of those days were in the summer.



-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

View Comments