Tuesday, 3 April 2012

10 and 1 - Songs That Should Have Been #1 Hits

Why this no #1 hit?!

Why hello there, gentle readers. Welcome back to the 10 and 1! It's been some time since we busted one of these out, but we're going to be bringing you our own special little list every Tuesday from now on. Unfamiliar with the concept? We tackle some type of topic, like this week's one... songs that should have been #1 hits... and give you ten examples of tracks that really deserved to make it all the way to #1. Then we leave you with the one; in this case a song that made it to #1 that really (really) shouldn't have. Get it? Great. Here we go!


Work It
by Missy Elliott (2002)

US: #2, UK: #6, AUS: #6

It's not just that 'Work It' never made it to #1, it's that for ten weeks, Missy Elliott stayed firmly planted in the runner-up position to Eminem's 'Lose Yourself.' A great song that one, but Elliott's 'Work It' was a masterpiece; the greatest rap song ever delivered unto us by a female artist. Fun, catchy and sexy with just the right amount of random thrown in for good measure... this one had every element required of an incredible chart topping smash hit. Every. Single. Element. I'm assuming there was just some clerical error one week at Billboard that kept Missy from claiming a very deserved #1. Yep... clerical error.  

Seven Nation Army
by The White Stripes (2003)

US: #76, UK: #7, AUS: #17

Every year there's an act that's touted as the saviours of rock and or roll. Young people, disenfranchised by the popular music of today run screaming through the streets, "rock lives! Long live rock!" A week later, their saviours have abandoned the now-lost flock, either having gone their own separate ways after incredibly lame in-fighting, or the realisation that they actually suck dawns on the world. The young people rock back-and-forth in a huddled mess crying, "rock is dead." There is absolutely nothing to fear, for in two months the cycle will begin again. In 2003, The White Stripes were already established to be the next big thing. White Blood Cells had catapulted them into the spotlight and if there was ever a time for a rock group to hit it big, the time came with the release of 'Seven Nation Army.' It didn't suck. It didn't suck at all. I'm not alone in my belief that, at the time of its popularity, 'Seven Nation Army' seemed destined to top the charts and restore the dominance of rock once more. Probably not in the US, but there was a good chance it could have claimed #1 in the UK. Everyone's so much cooler in the UK. Kidding! Kinda. (I love you American readers... never forget that.) The White Stripes would never hit #1 with 'Seven Nation Army' and life went on, but at least the kids weren't claiming, "rock is dead." The White Stripes proved to the world that the genre still had a lot of gas in the tank.

Since U Been Gone
by Kelly Clarkson (2004)

US: #2, UK: #5, AUS: #3

"No, I'm pretty sure 'Since U Been Gone' was a #1 hit." Yeah well, I understand why you'd think that way, but I'm also pretty sure you should lose the attitude and accept that it's just not the case. Honestly though, who doesn't think Kelly Clarkson went all the way with this one? 'Since U Been Gone' would seem to be the definition of 'monster hit,' dominating radio and music TV for an entire year all over the world.

Tell Me
by Diddy ft. Christina Aguilera (2006)

US: #47, UK: #8, AUS: #13

Diddy, P. Diddy, Puffy, Puff Daddy, Sean John... whatever. This man can crank out a massive hit every now and then, unless of course that song is 'Tell Me,' which featured the last sign of greatness from Christina Aguilera. The original 'Dirrty' girl teams up with one of the biggest rappers of all time and they can only just break the top 50 in the US? Not good enough. The blame here lies squarely on the shoulders of those who were meant to be promoting it.

Anything, Anything (I'll Give You)
by Dramarama (1985)

Anything (anything) could make it to #1 in the 80s, unless it was a fine slice of 80s rock from a band that only loses points for the stupidity of their name. Dramarama. It's like the dude version of Bananarama, you know? No? No. 

by Bic Runga (1997)

AUS: #10, UK: #93, NZ: #7

Holding off 'Sway' from reaching the top spot in Australia were classics like 'Viva Forever' by the Spice Girls, 'Lady Marmalade' by All Saints, 'Ladidi Ladida' by S.O.A.P and 'Horny '98' by Mouse T. This makes me want to repeatedly bang my head against the wall. Bubblegum pop and the movie song were dominating the charts in 1998 ('Dr. Jones' and 'I Don't Want To Miss A Thing' - I will say no more) and a well written, beautifully performed track like 'Sway' really had no place in the upper echelon of the top 50. That it reached #10 at all is a testament to how amazing the song is... but it still should have been a #1 hit. 

Cherry Lips
by Garbage (2001)

UK: #24, AUS: #7

What more could Garbage do to make a strong push for a #1 hit? Shirley Manson went blonde, sang like a seductive pixie, got naked in the music video and delivered one of the best singalong choruses of the early 2000s. All of that still wasn't enough for you, was it? WAS IT? 'Cherry Lips' was the most commercial track Garbage had ever released, a pop-rock smash dripping with sex appeal and a healthy dose of irony. It was almost as if the band was saying, "if this doesn't earn us a hit, nothing will... who gives a sh*t anyway?" This was everything we never thought a Garbage song would be, but it still managed to be perfect. You may have noticed that 'Cherry Lips' never charted in the US. Funnily enough, it was never released at all, with Interscope making the questionable choice (that's being very nice) to release 'Breaking Up The Girl' instead. Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb (that's not being very nice).

Tiny Dancer
by Elton John (1972)

US: #41

Sometimes it takes years for the appreciation of an amazing song to grow and Elton John's 'Tiny Dancer' has built up enough respect to be named one of the greatest pieces of music ever recorded.

Call Your Girlfriend
by Robyn (2011)

NZ: #17

I don't care that it topped the US Billboard Dance Club Play Chart (nice name). The fact that 'Call Your Girlfriend' didn't claim the top spot all over the world is a travesty. Come on, this is definitely better than anything released last year from all of the Nicki Mi-Ke$ha's out there! Is it a lack of promotion or is there something about Swedish pop sensation Robyn that a large portion of the world just doesn't understand? Wait, what's not to understand? 'Call Your Girlfriend' is as good as pop gets! You can throw 'Dancing On My Own' in here too.

by Michael Jackson (1984)

US: #4, UK: #10, AUS: #3

I can already envisage your mind being blown by this one. Arguably the most iconic single released from the world's best-selling album, it was accompanied by a revolutionary music video and... it never made it to #1. Well, it did in France and Spain. But it never did in the USA! Why didn't 'Thriller' take pole position in so many major markets? The simple answer is because it was the seventh single released from Thriller, which had been on the market for over a year. Bizarrely, the track took a backseat to 'Human Nature' and 'P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing),' both of which also failed to hit #1 and were seriously lame when compared to the brilliance of 'Thriller.' 

AND 1:

Sexy And I Know It

Do I even need to make an argument here? Nah... I'll just let the song speak for itself. You can go find it if you wish to torture yourself for it has no place here. 


  1. Did you just say 'Human Nature' by Michael Jackson is "seriously lame", albiet compared to Thriller?

    To be fair, Thriller solely as a song is pretty niche. Is it catchy? Can you play it on a sunday morning? Can you dance to it (before seeing MJ do so)? Is it emotional?

  2. Shall we just agree that P.Y.T is super lame in comparison?


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