In celebration of 50 years of its Hot 100 chart, music industry’s Billboard Magazine has collected its Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs. The list collects the top 100 songs from August 1958 through July 2008 -- and the songs' slots are allotted based on their actual performance on the weekly chart, with an inverse point system figuring into the ranking (i.e. weeks at No. 1 earn greater value than weeks at No. 100).
Lists of the greatest this, or best that, or most influential whatever always irk the crap out of me, though I am perpetually intrigued. Is Citizen Kane or Gone with the Wind the greatest film of all time? I don’t know, but an evening on the couch with some popcorn and a beer watching the Big Lebowski is a hell of a lot more fun. Is Jimmy Stewart the greatest movie star of all time? Of course not, it has to be Cary Grant or maybe Humphrey Bogart, at least that’s what I think, but according to the experts, I am wrong.
Anyway, Drum Roll please … the Number One Single of all time …
Chubby Checker’s “The Twist.”
Now I have to admit I was somewhat stunned to see “The Twist” up there up on top, all by itself. But then again, "The Twist" is the only song ever to go to #1 on two separate chart runs. The first time was on Sept. 19, 1960 for one week, but after Chubby Checker made an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in late 1961, “The Twist” once again hit the spot, this time for two weeks starting on Jan. 13, 1962. It also set a record for the most weeks, 39, on the Hot 100 by a number one song, a record it held until UB40's “Red Red Wine” lasted 40 weeks in 1988.
Another thing I have to admit-- I kind of like this selection as the greatest single of all time! I have a soft spot for this song. When I was a kid I could Twist like nobody's business, in fact … I still can, though there’s no way in hell I’m dancing it in public! Besides, the geek that I am actually prefers Twisting to the original recording by the great Hank Ballard, initially released as the B-side to the 1959 single, “Teardrops on Your Letter.”
Now I don’t want to come off as some kind of elitist ass --just because I am an elitist snob/ass -- but except for a couple of songs, this list for me is a horror show of scheisse I never, ever need to hear again. For christ's sake, I may hurt myself or anyone within a city block of me, if I heard …wait, I can’t even type out some these titles without the instant self-immolation of my brain! Maybe I should re-read the Billboard article a little closer, I feel like missed some small print somewhere that states this is the greatest Payola Top 100 of all time.
Here are a couple of things I don’t understand. Why does “I Want to Hold Your Hand” sit at number 39!? “Lets Get It On” sits at number 32. “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” sits at 65. Oddly enough, Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind,” the all time world-wide selling single -- over 33 million copies sold -- sits at number 41. Also, there is no James Brown, no Supremes, no Rolling Stones, no Sly Sone, no Janet Jackson, no Nirvana, and no Prince on the Top 100 List. Then again, there is no Britney Spears, Creed or Celine Dion!
Anyway the rest of the top five -- sitting at #2 on Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs, from 1999, is Santana's “Smooth,” featuring Rob Thomas, which, believe it or not, spent 12 weeks at the number one position. Following at #3 is Bobby Darin's “Mack the Knife” and his nine week reign at number one back in late 1959. LeAnn Rimes' “How Do I Live” sits at #4; this single never hit the number one spot but was on the charts for unbelievable 69 weeks in 1997 -98. The "Macarena" by Los Del Rio comes in as the #5 greatest single of all time. In 1996 the "Macarena" topped the charts for 14 weeks and spent a total of 23 weeks in the top ten. The Beatles' highest entry is “Hey Jude” at #8. Released in 1968, it remained at the top of the Billboard charts for 9 weeks.