Friday, October 30, 2020

100 years ago: Paul Whiteman’s “Whispering” hit #1


Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra

Writer(s): Vincent Rose (music), John Schonberger and Richard Coburn (lyrics) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: October 30, 1920

Peak: 111 US, 12 GA, 1,sup>5 SM (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 (includes 1.0 in sheet music)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.48 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

This was the debut chart single for Paul Whiteman, and what a beginning it was. The song was the second biggest hit of the year CPM and the biggest chart success of Whiteman’s career. It was the first of Whiteman’s 30 songs to go all the way to the top and helped him to become the most popular bandleader of the pre-swing era and the dominant force in American popular recording. PM “Whispering” sold over two million copies which, considering the number of record players in use then, would be the equivalent today of sales of 20 million. TY1

The Whiteman orchestra started playing the song early in 1920 in Los Angeles during a gig at the Ambassador Hotel, TY1 but Ray Miller & His Black and White Melody Boys recorded it first on July 1, 1920. WK By year’s end, Victor Records released Whiteman’s version which TY1 backed by “The Japanese Sandman” (also a #1), became the first charted version.

As was common for songs from that time, “Whispering” “has a basic stepwise melody, simple harmony, and no syncopation.” TY1 In addition, “the harmony lends itself to banjo and guitar accompaniment, and the melody encourages group singing.” TY1 In 1920, many families still carried on the pre-victrola tradition of gathering for sing-along sessions. TY1

The online All Music Guide says more than 700 different versions of the song have been recorded, including versions by Harry Belafonte, Miles Davis, Tommy Dorsey, George Gershwin, Benny Goodman, Oscar Peterson, Sonny Rollins, and Frank Sinatra. WK It has also charted in four different decades. Art Hickman and John Steel followed with top-ten versions of the song. Thirty years later, Les Paul had a million-selling, top-ten hit with his 1951 recording of the song. Unlike the original slow ballad, theirs was a rhythmic version. TY1 Gordon Jenkins also had a minor hit with it that year and then Paul Whiteman himself re-recorded the song in 1954 and took it to #29. PM The song charted again in 1964 when Nino Tempo & April Stevens took it to #11. In 1977, Dr. Buzzard’s Original “Savannah” Band hit #27 with a disco medley including the song.


First posted 10/30/2011; last updated 1/28/2023.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Top 100 Songs from 1940-1949

First posted 4/4/2012; last updated 10/26/2020.

Top 100 Songs of the Decade:


These are the top 100 songs from the 1940s according to Dave’s Music Database. Rankings are figured by combining sales figures, chart data, radio airplay, video airplay, streaming figures, awards, and appearances on best-of lists.

Check out other “songs of the decade” lists here.

1. “White Christmas” Bing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers (1942)
2. “Stardust” Artie Shaw (1941)
3. “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” Gene Autry (1949)
4. “Sentimental Journey” Les Brown with Doris Day (1945)
5. “Paper Doll” The Mills Brothers (1943)
6. “As Time Goes By” Dooley Wilson (1942)
7. “Near You” Francis Craig with Bob Lamm (1947)
8. “I’ll Never Smile Again” Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra & The Pied Pipers (1940)
9. “Chattanooga Choo Choo” Glenn Miller with Tex Beneke & the Four Modernaires (1941)
10. “The Christmas Song” Nat “King” Cole (1946)

11. “Riders in the Sky (A Cowboy Legend)” Vaughn Monroe (1949)
12. “Swinging on a Star” Bing Crosby with John Scott Trotter’s Orchestra & the Williams Brothers Quartet (1944)
13. “Body and Soul” Coleman Hawkins (1940)
14. “Buttons and Bows” Dinah Shore and Her Harper Valley Boys (1948)
15. “When You Wish Upon a Star” Cliff Edwards (1940)
16. “Peg O’ My Heart” The Harmonicats (1947)
17. “I’ll Be Seeing You” Bing Crosby with John Scott Trotter’s Orchestra (1944)
18. “Frenesi” Artie Shaw (1940)
19. “The Gypsy” The Ink Spots (1946)
20. “I’ve Heard That Song Before” Harry James with Helen Forrest (1943)

21. “Blues in the Night (My Mama Done Tol’ Me)” Woody Herman (1941)
22. “Some Enchanted Evening” Perry Como (1949)
23. “For Me and My Gal” Judy Garland & Gene Kelly (1942)
24. “Don’t Fence Me In” Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters (1944)
25. “Take the ‘A’ Train” Duke Ellington (1941)
26. “Twelfth Street Rag” Pee Wee Hunt (1948)
27. “Nature Boy” Nat “King” Cole with Frank DeVol (1948)
28. “Till the End of Time” Perry Como (1945)
29. “This Land Is Your Land” Woody Guthrie (1944)
30. “You’ll Never Know” Dick Haymes with the Song Spinners (1943)

31. “That Old Black Magic” Glenn Miller with Skip Nelson (1943)
32. “Rum and Coca-Cola” The Andrews Sisters (1945)
33. “Amapola (Pretty Little Poppy)” Jimmy Dorsey with Bob Eberly & Helen O’Connell (1941)
34. “Ac-Cent-Tchu-ate the Positive” Johnny Mercer with the Pied Pipers (1945)
35. “Heartaches” Ted Weems with Elmo Tanner (1947)
36. “Pistol Packin’ Mama” Al Dexter (1943)
37. “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” Vaughn Monroe (1945)
38. “Besame Mucho (Kiss Me Much)” Jimmy Dorsey with Bob Eberly & Kitty Kallen (1944)
39. “Ballerina” Vaughn Monroe (1947)
40. “I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover” Art Mooney (1948)

41. “Sunday, Monday or Always” Bing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers (1943)
42. “I’ll Get By As Long As I Have You” Harry James with Dick Haymes (1944)
43. “Cruising Down the River” Blue Barron & His Orchestra (1949)
44. “On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe” Johnny Mercer with the Pied Pipers (1945)
45. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” Hank Williams (1949)
46. “Jingle, Jangle, Jingle” Kay Kyser with Harry Babbitt & Julie Conway (1942)
47. “Moonlight Cocktail” Glenn Miller with Ray Eberle & The Modernaires (1942)
48. “I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo” Glenn Miller with Tex Beneke & Marion Hutton (1942)
49. “People Will Say We’re In Love” Bing Crosby with Trudy Erwin (1943)
50. “Oh What It Seemed to Be” Frankie Carle with Marjorie Hughes (1946)

51. “There! I’ve Said It Again” Vaughn Monroe (1945)
52. “That Lucky Old Sun” Frankie Laine with Judd Conlon’s Rhythmaires, Harry Geller’s Orchestra, & Carl Fischer Orchestra (1949)
53. “I Love You for Sentimental Reasons” The Nat “King” Cole Trio (1946)
54. “Tangerine” Jimmy Dorsey’s Orchestra with Bob Eberly & Helen O’Connell (1942)
55. “Daddy” Sammy Kaye (1941)
56. “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” The Andrews Sisters (1941)
57. “God Bless the Child” Billie Holiday (1941)
58. “Tuxedo Junction” Glenn Miller (1940)
59. “The Trolley Song” Judy Garland (1944)
60. “Fools Rush in Where Angels Fear to Tread” Glenn Miller (1940)

61. “The Woodpecker Song” Glenn Miller with Marion Hutton (1940)
62. “It Might As Well Be Spring” Dick Haymes (1945)
63. “There Are Such Things” Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra & The Pied Pipers (1942)
64. “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else But Me” Glenn Miller with Tex Beneke & the Modernaires (1942)
65. “Manana Is Soon Enough for Me” Peggy Lee (1948)
66. “To Each His Own” Eddy Howard (1946)
67. “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! That Cigarette” Tex Williams (1947)
68. “Taking a Chance on Love” Benny Goodman with Helen Forrest (1940)
69. “Now Is the Hour (Māori Farewell Song)” Bing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers (1948)
70. “Long Ago and Far Away” Helen Forrest with Dick Haymes (1944)

71. “You’re Breaking My Heart” Vic Damone (1949)
72. “Shoo-Shoo Baby” The Andrews Sisters (1943)
73. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” Bing Crosby with John Scott Trotter’s Orchestra (1943)
74. “Green Eyes (Aquellos Ojos Verdes)” Jimmy Dorsey with Bob Eberly & Helen O’Connell (1941)
75. “There’ll Be Some Changes Made” Benny Goodman with Louise Tobim (1941)
76. “Move on Up a Little Higher” Mahalia Jackson (1948)
77. “You Always Hurt the One You Love” The Mills Brothers (1944)
78. “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters (1947)
79. “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” The Ink Spots (1943)
80. “If I Loved You” Perry Como (1945)

81. “Boogie Chillen” John Lee Hooker (1949)
82. “A Tree in the Meadow” Margaret Whiting (1948)
83. “Dream (When You’re Feeling Blue)” The Pied Pipers with Paul Weston (1945)
84. “My Funny Valentine” Hal McIntyre with Ruth Gaylor (1945)
85. “I Can Dream, Can’t I?” The Andrews Sisters (1949)
86. “Mule Train” Frankie Laine & the Muleskinners (1949)
87. “A Little Bird Told Me” Evelyn Knight & Stardusters (1948)
88. “I Had the Craziest Dream” Harry James with Helen Forrest (1943)
89. “Laura” Woody Herman (1945)
90. “I’ll Walk Alone” Dinah Shore (1944)

91. “You Are My Sunshine” Jimmie Davis (1940)
92. “Imagination” Glenn Miller (1940)
93. “Maria Elena” Jimmy Dorsey with Bob Eberly (1941)
94. “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition ” Kay Kyser with Glee Club (1942)
95. “Five Minutes More” Frank Sinatra (1946)
96. “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’” Bing Crosby with Trudy Erwin & the Sportsment Glee Club (1943)
97. “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” Bing Crosby with the Les Brown Trio (1945)
98. “On a Slow Boat to China” Kay Kyser with Harry Babbitt & Gloria Wood (1948)
99. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” Johnny Mercer with Margaret Whiting (1949)
100. “A String of Pearls” Glenn Miller (1942)

Top 100 Songs from 1950-1959

First posted 5/3/2011; last updated 10/26/2020.

Top 100 Songs of the Decade:


These are the top 100 songs from the 1950s according to Dave’s Music Database. Rankings are figured by combining sales figures, chart data, radio airplay, video airplay, streaming figures, awards, and appearances on best-of lists.

Check out other “songs of the decade” lists here.

1. “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock” Bill Haley & His Comets (1954)
2. “Mack the Knife” Bobby Darin (1959)
3. “Don’t Be Cruel” Elvis Presley (1956)
4. “Heartbreak Hotel” Elvis Presley (1956)
5. “Hound Dog” Elvis Presley (1956)
6. “Jailhouse Rock” Elvis Presley (1957)
7. “Johnny B. Goode” Chuck Berry (1958)
8. “Tennessee Waltz” Patti Page (1950)
9. “All Shook Up” Elvis Presley (1957)
10. “What’d I Say” Ray Charles (1959)

11. “All I Have to Do Is Dream” The Everly Brothers (1958)
12. “That’ll Be the Day” Buddy Holly & the Crickets (1957)
13. “How High the Moon” Les Paul & Mary Ford (1951)
14. “Goodnight Irene” The Weavers with Gordon Jenkins’ Orchestra (1950)
15. “I Only Have Eyes for You” The Flamingos (1959)
16. “Great Balls of Fire” Jerry Lee Lewis (1957)
17. “Blue Suede Shoes” Carl Perkins (1956)
18. “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” Jerry Lee Lewis (1957)
19. “You Belong to Me” Jo Stafford (1952)
20. “Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)” The Penguins (1954)

21. “Love Me Tender” Elvis Presley (1956)
22. “Mona Lisa” Nat “King” Cole (1950)
23. “Tutti Frutti” Little Richard (1955)
24. “Sixteen Tons” Tennessee Ernie Ford (1955)
25. “At the Hop” Danny & the Juniors (1957)
26. “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers (1956)
27. “Blueberry Hill” Fats Domino (1956)
28. “You Send Me” Sam Cooke (1957)
29. “La Bamba” Ritchie Valens (1958)
30. “Peggy Sue” Buddy Holly & the Crickets (1957)

31. “The Battle of New Orleans” Johnny Horton (1959)
32. “The Great Pretender” The Platters (1955)
33. “I Walk the Line” Johnny Cash (1956)
34. “Diana” Paul Anka (1957)
35. “Wake Up Little Susie” The Everly Brothers (1957)
36. “Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blue)” Domenico Modugno (1958)
37. “Maybellene” Chuck Berry (1955)
38. “Tom Dooley” The Kingston Trio (1958)
39. “In the Still of the Nite” The Five Satins (1956)
40. “The Little Drummer Boy” Harry Simeone Chorale (1958)

41. “Cry” Johnnie Ray & the Four Lads (1951)
42. “Only You (And You Alone)” The Platters (1955)
43. “Bye Bye Love” The Everly Brothers (1957)
44. “Tequila” The Champs (1958)
45. “Singing the Blues” Guy Mitchell (1956)
46. “Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear” Elvis Presley (1957)
47. “Vaya Con Dios (May God Be with You)” Les Paul & Mary Ford (1953)
48. “Summertime Blues” Eddie Cochran (1958)
49. “The Yellow Rose of Texas” Mitch Miller Chorus (1955)
50. “That’s All Right, Mama” Elvis Presley (1954)

51. “Secret Love” Doris Day (1954)
52. “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” The Platters (1958)
53. “It’s All in the Game” Tommy Edwards (1951)
54. “The Third Man Theme” Anton Karas (1950)
55. Sh-Boom” The Chords (1954)
56. “Shout (Parts 1 and 2)” The Isley Brothers (1959)
57. “Mr. Sandman” The Chordettes (1954)
58. “April in Paris” Count Basie (1955)
59. “Where Is Your Heart (Song from ‘Moulin Rouge’)” Percy Faith with Felicia Sanders (1953)
60. “Love Letters in the Sand” Pat Boone (1957)

61. “Shake, Rattle and Roll” Big Joe Turner (1954)
62. “Be-Bop-A-Lula” Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps (1958)
63. “Ain’t That a Shame” Fats Domino (1955)
64. “Your Cheatin’ Heart” Hank Williams (1953)
65. “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” Bill Snyder (1950)
66. “Long Tall Sally” Little Richard (1956)
67. “Sincerely” The McGuire Sisters (1954)
68. “Too Young” Nat “King” Cole (1951)
69. “Bo Diddley” Bo Diddley (1955)
70. “Little Things Mean a Lot” Kitty Kallen (1954)

71. “Because of You” Tony Bennett (1951)
72. “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White” Perez “Prez” Prado (1955)
73. “Kansas City” Wibert Harrison (1959)
74. “El Paso” Marty Robbins (1959)
75. “Crying in the Chapel” The Orioles (1953)
76. “Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” Doris Day (1956)
77. “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” The Four Aces (1955)
78. “Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart” Vera Lynn (1952)
79. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” Jimmy Boyd (1952)
80. “He’ll Have to Go” Jim Reeves (1959)

81. “Wheel of Fortune” Kay Starr (1952)
82. “Take Five” Dave Brubeck (1959)
83. “Autumn Leaves” Roger Williams (1955)
84. “The Ballad of Davy Crocket” Bill Hayes (1955)
85. “Tenderly” Rosemary Clooney (1952)
86. “The Doggie in the Window” Patti Page (1953)
87. “Young Love” Sonny James (1956)
88. “Cold, Cold Heart” Hank Williams (1951)
89. “Donna” Ritchie Valens (1958)
90. “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” The Chipmunks (1958)

91. “Come Go with Me” The Dell-Vikings (1957)
92. “Hey There” Rosemary Clooney (1954)
93. “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” Red Foley (1950)
94. “Good Golly Miss Molly” Little Richard (1958)
95. “Roll Over Beethoven” Chuck Berry (1956)
96. “Wanted” Perry Como (1954)
97. “Rocket 88” Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats (1951)
98. “My Prayer (Avant de Mourir)” The Platters (1956)
99. “Venus” Frankie Avalon (1959)
100. “Who’s Sorry Now?” Connie Francis (1958)

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Australia: Top 100 Songs

First posted 10/23/2020; updated 10/25/2020.


Top 100 Songs

This list is focused only on songs by Australian acts. It was compiled by aggregating more than 20 lists and also integrating chart data, such as songs which reached #1 in Australia, America, and the UK. Sources are at the bottom of the page.

Click here to see other genre-specific song lists.

1. Men at Work “Down Under” (1981)
2. Midnight Oil “Beds Are Burning” (1987)
3. The Easybeats “Friday on My Mind” (1966)
4. Gotye with Kimbra “Somebody That I Used to Know” (2011)
5. John Farnham “You’re the Voice” (1986)
6. Cold Chisel “Khe Sanh” (1978)
7. Hunters & Collectors “Throw Your Arms Around Me” (1984)
8. Natalie Imbruglia “Torn” (1997)
9. Icehouse “Great Southern Land” (1982)
10. INXS “Never Tear Us Apart” (1987)

11. Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive” (1977)
12. AC/DC “It’s a Long Way to the Top if You Wanna Rock N’ Roll” (1975)
13. INXS “Need You Tonight” (1987)
14. Daddy Cool “Eagle Rock” (1971)
15. Divinyls “I Touch Myself” (1990)
16. Rick Springfield “Jessie’s Girl” (1981)
17. Kylie Minogue “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” (2001)
18. Silverchair “Tomorrow” (1994)
19. Jimmy Barnes “Working Class Man” (1985)
20. Crowded House “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (1986)

21. Savage Garden “Truly, Madly, Deeply” (1997)
22. AC/DC “You Shook Me All Night Long” (1980)
23. Daryl Braithwaite “The Horses” (1991)
24. AC/DC “Back in Black” (1980)
25. Olivia Newton John & John Travolta “You’re the One That I Want” (1978)
26. Australian Crawl “Reckless (Don’t Be So)” (1983)
27. AC/DC “Highway to Hell” (1979)
28. Redgum “I Was Only Nineteen” (1983)
29. Tones and I “Dance Monkey” (2019)
30. Kylie Minogue “The Loco-Motion” (1987)

31. Olivia Newton-John “Physical” (1981)
32. The Church “Under the Milky Way” (1986)
33. Bee Gees “Night Fever” (1977)
34. Moving Pictures “What About Me?” (1982)
35. Goanna “Solid Rock” (1982)
36. Jet “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” (2003)
37. Yothu Yindi “Treaty” (1991)
38. Olivia Newton-John “I Honestly Love You” (1974)
39. INXS “What You Need” (1985)
40. Men at Work “Who Can It Be Now?” (1981)

41. Bee Gees “Tragedy” (1979)
42. Powderfinger “My Happiness” (2000)
43. Icehouse “Electric Blue” (1987)
44. Kylie Minogue “I Should Be So Lucky” (1987)
45. Crowded House “Better Be Home Soon” (1988)
46. AC/DC “Thunderstruck” (1990)
47. Andy Gibb “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” (1977)
48. Vance Joy “Riptide” (2013)
49. Paul Kelly “To Her Door” (1987)
50. Bee Gees “How Deep Is Your Love” (1977)

51. Russell Morris “The Real Thing” (1969)
52. Sia with Sean Paul “Cheap Thrills” (2016)
53. Little River Band “Help Is on Its Way” (1977)
54. Frank Ifield with Norrie Paramor “I Remember You” (1962)
55. Bee Gees “You Should Be Dancing” (1976)
56. Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta with Grease Cast “Summer Nights” (1978)
57. John Paul Young “Love Is in the Air” (1978)
58. Sherbet “Howzat” (1976)
59. Bee Gees “Too Much Heaven” (1979)
60. Savage Garden “I Knew I Loved You” (1999)

61. Midnight Oil “Power and the Passion” (1982)
62. Bee Gees “Jive Walkin’” (1975)
63. INXS “Original Sin” (1983)
64. Ariana Grande with Iggy Azalea “Problem” (2014)
65. Olivia Newton-John with Electric Light Orchestra “Xanadu” (1980)
66. INXS “New Sensation” (1987)
67. Pseudo Echo “Funky Town” (1986)
68. Iggy Azalea with Charli XCX “Fancy” (2014)
69. Olivia Newton-John “Magic” (1980)
70. Helen Reddy “I Am Woman” (1972)

71. Split Enz “I Got You” (1980)
72. Sia “Chandelier” (2014)
73. Olivia Newton-John “Hopelessly Devoted to You” (1978)
74. Savage Garden “I Want You” (1996)
75. The Seekers “Georgy Girl” (1966)
76. The Living End “Prisoner of Society” (1997)
77. Slim Dusty “Pub with No Beer” (1957)
78. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds “Into My Arms” (1997)
79. Andy Gibb “Shadow Dancing” (1978)
80. Little River Band “Cool Change” (1979)

81. The Models “Out of Mind, Out of Sight” (1985)
82. Joe Dolce “Shaddup Your Face” (1981)
83. The Seekers “I’ll Never Find Another You” (1965)
84. 5 Seconds of Summer “Youngblood” (2018)
85. Gang Gajang “Sounds of Then (This Is Australia)” (1985)
86. Silverchair “Straight Lines” (2007)
87. Midnight Oil “Blue Sky Mine” (1990)
88. David Guetta with Sia “Titanium” (2012)
89. Sia “Elastic Heart” (2015)
90. Icehouse “Crazy” (1987)

91. Stevie Wright “Evie” (1974)
92. 5 Seconds of Summer “She Looks So Perfect” (2014)
93. The Choirboys “Run to Paradise” (1987)
94. INXS with Jimmy Barnes “Good Times” (1987)
95. The Angels “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” (1977)
96. Air Supply “All Out of Love” (1980)
97. Bee Gees “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” (1971)
98. INXS “Suicide Blonde” (1990)
99. The Seekers “The Carnival Is Over” (1965)
100. Olivia Newton-John “A Little More Love” (1978)

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” spent 26th week atop the airplay chart

Blinding Lights

The Weeknd

Writer(s): Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Quenneville, Max Martin, Oscar Holter (see lyrics here)

Released: November 29, 2019

Peak: 14 US, 126 BA, 14 DG, 11 ST, 17 RR, 135 AC, 120 A40, 111 RB, 18 UK, 17 CN, 18 AU, 3 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 10.0 US, 3.6 UK, 19.34 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.75 radio, 1439.0 video, 3687.88 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The grandaddy of charts is the Billboard Hot 100 which tracks the top songs in the U.S. every week across all genres. The chart pulls information from radio airplay, digital sales, and streaming data. On April 4, 2019, The Weeknd topped the Hot 100 with “Blinding Lights.” Two weeks later, it landed atop the airplay chart where it spent 26 weeks. Those six months at #1 were more than any other song in the history of the charts from 1890 to present has spent atop any of the major pop charts. See the DMDB page “USA: Biggest #1 Pop Songs” for more detail.

The song also set a record for more weeks in the top 5 than any other song in the history of the Hot 100 when it eclipsed the 28 weeks spent in the upper regions by the Chainsmokers’ “Closer” and Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.” SF In November 2021, Billboard ranked it the #1 song in the history of its Hot 100 chart. In the chart’s 63-year history, close to 30,000 songs have charted. BB See the top 100 list here.

“Blinding Lights” topped the chart in 34 countries. It was the fifth #1 song in the United States for Canadian R&B singer Abel Tesfaye, better known as the Weeknd. In January 2023, “Blinding Lights” became Spotify’s most-streamed song of all-time, surpassing Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.” HB

The song is about the rekindling of a relationship in which the Weeknd sings about how he isn’t at peace unless he’s with his woman. He’s likely referring to model Bella Hadid, who he broke up with in 2016, but reunited in 2019. SF The Weeknd collaborated with Swedish songwriter and producer Max Martin, who’d worked with Katy Perry, Britney Spears, and Taylor Swift. The pair had worked together before, most notably on the Weeknd’s #1 hit “Can’t Feel My Face.”

Consequence of Sound, which named it the best song of 2020, praised its “melodic romance waxed over a blockbuster riff.” WK The Evening Standard’s David Smyth called it a “glorious blast of air punching Eighties synth pop.” WK Rolling Stone’s Kory Grow called it “the best New Wave song this side of Duran Duran.” WK


Related Links:

First posted 12/7/2020; last updated 7/22/2023.