Non-Essential #1 Hits

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by dbone828, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. dbone828

    dbone828 Only Visiting This Planet Thread Starter

    Some artists have had so many big hits or popular songs that one or more of their songs that hit #1 on the charts with time become less essential to their catalog, almost to the extent that most people wouldn't notice and/or care if that #1 hit was missing from a greatest hits album.

    One of the biggest examples I can think of is Prince's "Batdance" from the Batman soundtrack. It was #1 for 1 week in 1989. For legal reasons, the song was absent from a lot of his hits compilations, but when was the last time you heard this song on the radio? Despite being one of only 5 (!) songs to top the Billboard Hot 100, "Batdance" isn't even among Prince's 50 most streamed songs on Spotify.

    What are some other examples of #1 hits that have become inessential to an artist's musical output?
  2. Rickchick

    Rickchick Forum Resident

    This is a good idea for a thread. I have to think for a few.
    bataclan2002 and dbone828 like this.
  3. writteninwater

    writteninwater Forum Resident

    "My Ding-a-Ling" by Chuck Berry. It's a fun silly song but has little to do with his innovative rock 'n' roll songs.
    RandyP, Frozensoda, Chemguy and 14 others like this.
  4. Zbriscoe1

    Zbriscoe1 Forum Resident

    jacksonville, nc
    This is a good subject for country hits. People like George Strait and Reba Mcentire have had plenty of no 1s nobody remembers lol.

    I think Paul McCartney legacy could do without Ebony and Ivory.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  5. And definitely ' Say Say Say ' an awful song that made #1 only because of the Michealmania of the time.
    Hoover Factory, DTK and Chazzbo13 like this.
  6. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    "Indian Reservation" - Raiders

    "Poor Side Of Town" - Johnny Rivers

    The Supremes had several unremarkable #1s
    bekayne likes this.
  7. mike126

    mike126 Active Member

    Detroit, MI
    There are a lot terrible #1's, but as far as being inessential to a popular artist's catalog one that comes to mind is "Thank God I Found You" by Mariah Carey. A truly unremarkable song. At that point, her songs were going to #1 just because of her name. It was also right before the Glitter disaster that temporarily ended her career, so it got lost and forgotten by most people.
    dbone828 likes this.
  8. Cryptical17

    Cryptical17 Forum Resident

    New York
    “I Write the Songs”
  9. Cryptical17

    Cryptical17 Forum Resident

    New York
    “You Light Up My Life”
    “Let’s Get Physical”
    BrentB likes this.
  10. Cryptical17

    Cryptical17 Forum Resident

    New York
    “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”
    BrentB likes this.
  11. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    Which, remember, Barry never wrote.

    Chart positions have soooooo little to do with the lasting power of music on an audience, and yet they ascribe so much prestige to it. Some people talk about using time machines to go back and kill Hitler; I always dream of taking out Dick Clark, Casey Kasem, Al Reisen, and scores of other "middlemen" who sold the audiences on the importance of a song "making it" to the top of the if it could really "do" anything about its' success once the 45's got to the radio stations, and the favors got passed around to get them played. We have been over-sold for half-a-century on the concept that high-ranking music is somehow "better", yet we see plenty of evidence to refute that every time a song comes on, that half the audience swears Mr. DeeJay played it an hour ago.

    Music is such a personal, emotional attachment, and the idea of attaching a number to it does nothing except inflate the status of a song you never really cared for to begin with. But, we fall for it every time. Normal people tune in for the Top 10 Countdowns, ascribe winning arguments to what they know about charts that were never really created for the public in the first place, and some spend far too much of their meager budget to buy all 40 rekkids in one week they may only like a fraction of, all on the hype and smoke and mirrors that tell them, these are the annoited reflections of your social cultural connection. I can't make enough amends for all the times I've bragged to listeners about how this song or that one earned a number which in reality would mean nothing to their lives, yet caused them to pay more attention to the song, spend more money on the song, and dang it, never see a dime of profit for any such number ascribed to a chart position, unless they were a writer, performer, manager or label employee. I carry that to my grave.

    Yes for some reason, every time I try and point this out here of all places, a web community built on appreciation of music and the recording arts, people get testy and grab their pitchforks whenever I try to explain what a waste of their hobbies it is, giving a crap about what these number do for their own lives, as if they can't trust their own taste to tell them what they like.

    This is NOT a thread crap, my friends. It is a thread FEATURE.
    smorrison likes this.
  12. Dylancat

    Dylancat Forum Resident

    Cincinnati, OH
    Poor Side of Town by Rivers is a great song.
    A real beauty.
    (Can’t think of an unremarkable Supremes no. 1 also ...btw)
    utopiarun, Archguy, forthlin and 4 others like this.
  13. dbone828

    dbone828 Only Visiting This Planet Thread Starter

    I take no offense to what you said and don't see it as thread crapping. A lot of good points that you bring up.

    One of my major complaints about the importance that is put on chart placements is that it is a reflection of a very brief moment (1 week) in time. There have been many top 10 hits that most people don't temember, yet songs from the same time period that couldn't even make the top 40 or weren't hits at all that have stood the test of time that most people could recognize.

    I completely agree that just because a song is a got, that doesn't mean it's good.
  14. Grant

    Grant Now let that bass fall in! Oh yeah!

    United States
    Good thread idea, but I think "essential" is subjective.

    As for "Batdance", I think it got most of its popularity from being part of a movie soundtrack. IMO, it just isn't that good of a song.
    dbone828 and DTK like this.
  15. Grant

    Grant Now let that bass fall in! Oh yeah!

    United States
    You're right. The single "DA YA Think I'm Sexy" is essential.:cool:
  16. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
  17. BusNoise

    BusNoise Forum Resident

    I like the "Wee Wee Hours" since I think it was a commentary on his personal, um, interests...
    MonkeyTennis and writteninwater like this.
  18. Cryptical17

    Cryptical17 Forum Resident

    New York
    I chose “I Write The Songs” based on a quote from Jackson Browne...

    2/22/78 Nashville Municipal Auditorium. Jackson Browne is performing a show and doing a videotaping session. He’s about to perform “Cocaine” from his ‘Running on Empty’ LP. The videotape crew asks him to pause while they rewind the tape; they ask him to “play a song that doesn’t matter.” “We are about to play ‘Cocaine’ but that matters,” he says. Then he says, “so I will sing...”I Write The Songs.”
    LivingForever and Bern like this.
  19. TheGoodDoctor

    TheGoodDoctor Forum Resident

    The Masses Against the Classes by the Manic Street Preachers. It was a stand-alone single, deleted on the day of release but hit #1 (in the UK) It barely registers on any list of their best or most popular songs.

    I’d be willing to wager that there’s a reasonably disproportionate number of standalone singles which fit the category for this thread. A record company throwaway for a popular artist in between albums.
    LivingForever likes this.
  20. Haristar

    Haristar Apollo C. Vermouth

    West Sussex, UK
  21. Bern

    Bern JC4Me

    Bob Seger had only ONE number one on BB...and that was Shakedown. Could do without that one and not miss anything.

  22. tim_neely

    tim_neely Forum Hall Of Fame

    Central VA
    "A Moment Like This" by Kelly Clarkson was her first #1 song, but it may be the least essential hit in her catalog.

    The same with "Inside Your Heaven" by Carrie Underwood.
    carrick doone likes this.
  23. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    It's funny, most of the songs people are listing to me are like, signature record, or if not signature records, are records that are among the first things people think about when they think about an artist. The OP's example of "Batdance" was interesting because it really is a half-forgotten novelty. But "I Write the Songs," "A Moment Like This," "Kokomo," "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" -- these are all very well remembered hits that remain super closely associated with the artists, they're the opposite of the kind of situation the OP was describing.
  24. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Forum Resident

    I submit 'Who's That Girl' by Madonna. A #1 from a soundtrack and now far less remembered than many of her hits that didn't get to the top spot. It didn't even make it into the Immaculate Collection.
    bekayne, Chemguy, 926am and 4 others like this.
  25. tug_of_war

    tug_of_war Village Green Preservation Society Member

    Most top chart hits were never essential.
    Charts are usually publicised weekly and that's what hits are all about: a brief success.

    By the way, a lot of songs that achieved classic status with time weren't necessarily big hits.

    In fact, chart position hardly has a thing to do with success.
    Chemguy likes this.

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