Monday, September 01, 2008

"Missing" hits

J.Mensah's comment on my blog today got me thinking about hit singles that are "missing" from the Hot 100. From 1995 to 1998, US record companies began not releasing singles from major acts, preferring to market them only at radio and with videos in hopes that consumers would just buy the album. The effect on the charts were that a number of notable songs that were very popular at the time never appeared on the Hot 100--including many potential #1 or top 10 hits. Even after Billboard changed the rules in November 1998 and started allowing these non-single tracks to chart, there were still a number of erratic chart entries due to singles having airplay but no sales.

Here are some examples:

Alanis Morissette: You Oughta Know, Hand in My Pocket, Head Over Feet, and Uninvited never charted ("Thank U" appeared at #17 on its way down, as it was a hit in late 1998 when the rules changed. It probably would have been a top 10 hit, or with a single, a potential #1).

Fugees: Killing Me Softly never charted

No Doubt: Spiderwebs, Don't Speak never charted

The Cardigans: Lovefool never charted

NSync: Tearin' Up My Heart never charted ("Bye Bye Bye" hit #4 in 2000 based only on airplay, incredibly high at the time for a song without a physical single. It surely would have been a major #1 hit if a single had been released)

Backstreet Boys: As Long As You Love Me never charted ("I'll Never Break Your Heart" hit #35 when the rules changed, but surely would have charted much higher with a single; "I Want It That Way" hit #6 on airplay, but with a single would surely have been a #1)

Natalie Imbruglia/Goo Goo Dolls: "Torn" charted just below the top 40 after the rules changed--months after it was a hit. It's airplay was that strong that it was still around. Goo Goo Doll's "Iris" charted at #9 when the rules changed, but had been a #1 airplay hit over the summer.

Sugar Ray: "Fly" never charted.

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