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"California Gurls," Katy Perry's summer smash with Snoop Dogg, edged out Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" as the #1 song of 2010. But it was extremely close. "California Gurls" sold just 84K more copies during the year than Train's "little tune that could." "California Gurls" sold 4,398,000 copies during the year. Only two songs in digital history have ever sold mroe copies in a calendar year. Both were by the Black Eyed Peas; both came last year.

"Hey, Soul Sister" headed the year-to-date chart from the beginning of April through the end of October. "California Gurls" pushed ahead in the week ending Nov. 7, though the lead switched back and forth in recent weeks.

California Gurls" exemplified one of the year's hottest trends: the collaboration. Five of the year's top 10 songs (and 10 of the top 20) pair two artists who don't normally record together.

[Photos: Katy Perry's Crazy Costumes]

"Hey, Soul Sister" also exemplified one of the year's notable trends: the name-drop. The song mentions Madonna and Mr. Mister. "TiK ToK" gave a name-check to Mick Jagger and P. Diddy. "Billionaire" mentions Oprah, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and President Obama. "I Like It" also refers to Barack and Michelle Obama, as well as Tiger Woods and Jesse James.

Bruno Mars is the only artist with three of the year's top 20 hits. His own smash "Just The Way You Are" is #8. Travie McCoy's "Billionaire" and B.o.B's "Nothin' On You," on which Mars is featured, rank #17 and #19, respectively. Mars is the first artist with three of the year's top 20 songs since 2008, when Rihanna had four of the top 20.

Eminem and Taio Cruz are the only artists with two songs each in the year-end top 10. Both are represented with one solo hit and one collaboration.

It's remarkable that a generation of pop fans will think first of Katy Perry and Bruno Mars when they hear the titles "California Gurls" and "Just The Way You Are." Older fans have vivid memories of hit songs with the same titles by the Beach Boys and Billy Joel, respectively. (But the new songs were substantially bigger hits. Both had long runs at #1. The oldies both peaked at #3.)

Digital sales were strong in 2010. Five songs sold at least 4 million digital copies during the year, which is more than in any previous year. (There were four 4-million sellers in 2009.) Records were also set for the most 3-million sellers (12), the most 2-million sellers (37) and the most 500,000 sellers (at least 200). There was a drop only in the number of 1-million sellers. There were 86 in 2010, down slightly from 2009, when there were 89.

Here are the 20 songs that sold the most digital copies in 2010. Some of these hits sold additional copies prior to this chart year (which began with the week ending Jan. 10). If a song ranked among the top 200 songs of 2009, I show its 2009 ranking and sales tally. At the end of each entry, I show the song's peak position on the Hot 100.

1. Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg, "California Gurls," 4,398,000. This irresistible popsicle topped the charts in both the U.S. and the U.K. This is the second time in the past three years that Perry has had a hit in the year-end top five. "I Kissed A Girl" was #4 for 2008. Peak: #1 for six weeks.

[Photos: Snoop Dogg volunteers at a community center in Manchester, England]

2. Train, "Hey, Soul Sister," 4,314,000. This likeable tune is the year's biggest hit by an ongoing group or duo. It's Train's biggest hit to date, surpassing its 2001 hit "Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me)." "Hey, Soul Sister" sold an additional 687K copies in 2009, which made it that year's #131 song. Peak: #3.

3. Eminem featuring Rihanna, "Love The Way You Lie," 4,245,000. This smash is vying for Grammys for both Record and Song of the Year. It's Eminem's longest-running #1 hit since "Lose Yourself."  It ties "Umbrella" as Rihanna's longest-running #1 to date. Peak: #1 for seven weeks.

4. Taio Cruz, "Dynamite," 4,083,000. This is the year's biggest hit by a male solo artist. This hit #1 in the U.K. Peak: #2.

5. B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams, "Airplanes," 4,004,000. This was the biggest of B.o.B's three hits and the biggest hit ever for the lead singer of Paramore. This hit #1 in the U.K. Peak: #2.

6. Usher featuring will.i.am, "OMG," 3,763,000. Peak: #1. This ebullient smash, which hit #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K., is the year's biggest collaboration by two male artists. Peak: #1 for four weeks.

7. Eminem, "Not Afraid," 3,414,000. This anthemic smash was Eminem's first solo #1 hit on the Hot 100 since "Lose Yourself." Peak: #1 for one week.

8. Bruno Mars, "Just The Way You Are," 3,276,000. Mars proved he could fly solo with this sweet song, which hit #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. (In the U.K., it carries the subtitle "Amazing" to differentiate it from Billy Joel's 1978 smash.) Peak: #1 for four weeks.

9. Taio Cruz featuring Ludacris, "Break Your Heart," 3,245,000. Ludacris was added to the U.S. remix of the song. A solo version by Cruz topped the U.K. chart for three weeks in September and October. Peak: #1 for one week.

10. Lady Antebellum, "Need You Now," 3,182,000. This heartfelt ballad, a Grammy finalist for both Record and Song of the Year, is the year's biggest country hit. It sold an additional 1,325,000 copies in 2009, which made it that year's #57 song. Peak: #2.

11. Ke$ha, "TiK ToK," 3,040,000. This is the year's biggest hit by a female solo artist. It sold an additional 2,443,000 copies in 2009, which made it that year's #17 song. It has sold 5,483,000 total copies, more than any other song on this list. (Only five songs in digital history have sold more.) Peak: #1 for nine weeks.

12. Katy Perry, "Teenage Dream," 3,011,000. Perry followed "California Gurls" with this terrific single. This is the second time in the past three years that Perry has two songs in the year-end top 15. Darren Criss' distinctive version on Glee also made waves. Peak: #1 for two weeks.

13. Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull, "I Like It," 2,987,000. This genre-bending smash was Iglesias' first top 10 hit since "Hero" in 2001. It was the Latin/pop star's fourth top 10 hit and the third for the reggaeton rapper. The song borrowed a riff from Lionel Richie's "All Night Long (All Night)." Peak: #4.

14. Far*East Movement featuring Cataracs & Dev, "Like A G6," 2,915,000. This is the year's biggest techno smash. Peak: #1 for three weeks.

15. The Black Eyed Peas, "Imma Be," 2,874,000. The Peas had the top two songs on the year-end Digital Songs chart for 2009: "Boom Boom Pow" and "I Gotta Feeling." Peak: #1 for two weeks.

16. Nelly, "Just A Dream," 2,761,000. This broadly appealing song became Nelly's highest-charting hit on the Hot 100 in five years (and his highest-charting strictly solo hit since 2002's "Hot In Herre"). Peak: #3.

17. Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars, "Billionaire," 2,730,000. This charmer is the biggest hit ever for the lead singer of Gym Class Heroes, surpassing 2007's "Cupid's Chokehold," which also reached #4 on the Hot 100. Peak: #4.

18. Justin Bieber featuring Ludacris, "Baby," 2,677,000. This catchy tune was Bieber's first top five hit. It gives Ludacris featured billing on two of the year's top 20 songs. Peak: #5.

19. B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars, "Nothin' On You," 2,668,000. This smash, a Grammy finalist for Record of the Year, reached #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. It combines the old-school romanticism of Smokey Robinson with a modern, hip-hop sensibility. Peak: #1 for two weeks.

20. Ke$ha, "Your Love Is My Drug," 2,664,000. This is the year's third biggest hit by a female solo artist. Impressively, Ke$ha sings two of these three songs. Peak: #4.

 

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