Chart Watch

Chart Watch Extra: The Biggest Songs Of Summer

Chart Watch

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.

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 Your Teddy Bear" in 1957 and "It's Now Or Never" in 1960. Five other artists had (or shared) the #1 song of the summer twice. These hit-makers are 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.

Surprisingly, 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."

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.

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

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.) "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, following 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).

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.

2003: The turbo-charged "Crazy In Love" by Beyonce featuring Jay-Z logged eight weeks at #1. This 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. But the summer will always be remembered by the tragedy of 9/11.

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-teen star's first chart hit.

1998: "The Boy Is Mine" by Brandy and Monica spent 10 weeks at #1 in the summer (and three additional weeks on top in the spring). The soulful collaboration was the biggest hit for both artists.

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 late spring). The tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. remains Diddy's biggest hit.

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 autumn). This was the Spanish duo's first chart hit.

1995: TLC's slinky, socially-minded "Waterfalls" was #1 for seven weeks. It was the female R&B trio's biggest hit.

1994: All-4-One's "I Swear" was #1 for six weeks in the summer (and five additional weeks in the spring). It was the quartet's biggest hit.

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

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

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 rock ballad was his biggest hit.

1990: Mariah Carey's "Vision Of Love," was #1 for four weeks. The sleek and assured ballad was her first chart hit.

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

1988: Steve Winwood's "Roll With It" was #1 for four weeks. It was the Englishman's biggest hit.

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. These were both artists' biggest hits.

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" 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.

1984: Prince's "When Doves Cry" from Purple Rain was #1 for five weeks. The classic remains Prince's biggest hit.

1983: The Police's "Every Breath You Take" was #1 for eight weeks, making it the trio's biggest hit. The haunting ballad brought Sting a Grammy as Song of the Year.

1982: Survivor's propulsive "Eye Of The Tiger" from Rocky III was #1 for six weeks. It was the rock group's biggest hit.

1981: "Endless Love" by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie spent six weeks at #1 during the summer (and three additional weeks on top in the autumn). The elegant ballad, from the movie of the same name, was Richie's first hit apart from the Commodores. It was the biggest hit for both artists.

1980: Olivia Newton-John's hypnotic ballad "Magic" was #1 for four weeks. It was from Xanadu, her 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 early autumn. It was the rock group's first and biggest hit. The saucy "Bad Girls" was Summer's biggest hit.

1978: Andy Gibb's "Shadow Dancing" spent six weeks on top in the summer (and one additional week on top in late spring.) It was Gibb's biggest hit. Gibb was the first performer to have the #1 song of the summer two years running since Elvis Presley. 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 early autumn. The sassy smash was the female R&B trio's biggest hit. Gibb matched the achievement of his older brothers, the 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." The irresistible confection was Elton's biggest hit to that point.

1975: Captain & Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together" was #1 for three weeks in the summer (and one additional week in late spring). The exuberant smash, the husband-and-wife duo's first and biggest hit, won a Grammy as Record of the Year.

1974: "(You're) Having My Baby" by Paul Anka with Odia Coates was #1 for three weeks. Anka had a far better summer than another 1950s veteran did. President Nixon was forced to resign.

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," from The Poseidon Adventure, was McGovern's first and biggest hit. "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" was, likewise, Croce's biggest hit. He died in a plane crash just three months after the sing-a-long song 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.

1971: Carole King's "It's Too Late" and the 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 late spring. The classy break-up song, King's biggest hit, won a Grammy as Record of the Year.

1970: The Carpenters were on top for four weeks with their sunny remake of "(They Long To Be) Close To You." It was the brother-and-sister duo's biggest hit.

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 chart hit.

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

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. Both were the artists' biggest hits. Gentry's story song, her first chart hit, inspired a 1976 movie starring Robby Benson.

1966: The Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer In The City" was #1 for three weeks. It was the group's biggest hit.

1965: The Rolling Stones' rock classic "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" was on top for four weeks. It was the legendary band's biggest hit.

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

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. "My Boyfriend's Back" was the girl group's biggest hit.

1962: Bobby Vinton's "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 did it again with "It's Now Or Never," #1 for five weeks.

1959: Paul Anka's "Lonely Boy" and The Browns' "The Three Bells" each had four weeks on top. It was the first chart hit for the Browns; the biggest for both artists. 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-style smash, Modugno's first chart hit, went on to win 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 autumn). It was Presley's all-time biggest hit.

1955: Bill Haley And His Comets' watershed hit "Rock Around The Clock" was #1 for eight weeks. The song, from the movie Blackboard Jungle, was the rock pioneer's biggest hit.

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.

 

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