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The Most Dominant Songs Of The Summer Of All Time

los del rio macarena

It’s fun to debate whether a “song of the summer” is actually any good, but there’s usually total agreement on what that song is.

It’s the one you can’t escape from — where every bar or club, every radio station you turn to, every party is playing it.

This year, it is unquestionably “Blurred Lines,” also known as the song from the Radio Shack Commercial. It’s already spent five weeks on the top of the Billboard Hot 100, and is in the top 30 on six other Billboard genre charts. 

We wanted to go back and look at what were the most dominant summer songs of all time, as measured by ubiquity.

To do so, we looked at the songs  that spent the most consecutive weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 (or its equivalent prior to that measure’s advent). For songs that spent equal amounts of consecutive weeks, we also looked at what other genre’s charts they were shooting up.

We’re defining summer as the span of a typical school summer break (the age at which you were most likely to be aware of the “summer song”)  — to qualify, it must have hit No. 1 (and stayed) at some point between May 15 and August 15, it made the cut. 

14) “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” by Elvis Presley

  • First week at No. 1 (in-store best seller): July 8, 1957
  • Consecutive weeks at No. 1: Seven
  • Other chart positions: Seven weeks topping the precursor to the Hot 100
  • Comment: After the success of “Don’ Be Cruel,” which had its own run at No. 1, Elvis’ songwriting team rehashed that song’s basic rhythm and turned it into “Teddy Bear.”

13) “Waterfalls” by TLC

  • First week at No. 1: July 8, 1995
  • Consecutive weeks at No. 1: Seven
  • Other chart positions: Pop #2, R&B/Hip-hop #4, Adult Pop #24, Adult Contemporary #24
  • Comment: A classic. Also spawned an excellent Weird Al cover.

12) “Shadow Dancing” by Andy Gibb

  • First week at No. 1: June 17, 1978
  • Consecutive weeks at No. 1: Seven
  • Comment: The most dominant group of the 1970s, the Bee-Gees, decided to throw a track their baby brother’s way, and it happened to turn into the hottest track of 1978.

11) “Hot In Herre” by Nelly

  • First week at No. 1: June 29, 2002
  • Combined consecutive weeks at No. 1: Seven
  • Comment: Starting at the end of June with this song, followed by “Dilemma” (feat. Kelly Rowland), Nelly had a two-and-a-half-long run of chart-topping dominance.  Man, this guy was everywhere at one point, and not just after his breakout debut dropped in 2002. But now he’s pretty much vanished.  

10) “Every Breath You Take” by The Police

  • First week at No. 1: July 9, 1983
  • Consecutive weeks at No. 1: Eight
  • Other chart positions: Adult Contemporary #5, Hot Rock #10
  • Comment: A song with a hook so good Puff Daddy would later repackage it to create his own monster summer smash… 

9) “Tha Crossroads” by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

  • First week at No. 1: May 18, 1996
  • Consecutive weeks at No. 1: Eight
  • Other chart positions: R&B/Hip-hop #1, Rap #1
  • Comment: A great but ridiculous song with a great but ridiculous video.

8) “That’s The Way Love Goes” by Janet Jackson

  • First week at No. 1: May 15, 1993
  • Consecutive weeks at No. 1: Eight
  • Other chart positions: R&B/Hip-hop: #1, Dance #1, Pop #1, Adult Contemporary #16
  • Comment: A genuinely solid early-90s downtempo club track. 

7) “Crazy In Love” by Beyonce

  • First week at No. 1: July 12, 2003
  • Consecutive weeks at No. 1: Eight
  • Other chart positions: R&B/Hip-hop #1, Pop #1, Adult Pop #29 Dance #1, Rhythmic #1
  • Comment: Beyonce’s first big solo smash.

6)“I Swear”by All 4 One

  • First week at No.1: May 21, 1994
  • Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 11
  • Other chart positions: Rhythmic Top 40 #1, Top 40 #1, Adult Contemporary # 3, R&B #13 
  • Comment: ”I Swear” was originally a country ballad that had come out in winter of ’93-’94,  and then All 4 One, who were pretty much the original but multi-ethnic 98 Degrees, turned it into a juggernaut summer smash.

5) “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans feat. 112

  • First week at No.1: June 14, 1997
  • Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 11
  • Other chart positions: R&B/Hip-hp #1, Rhythm #1, Top 40 #11
  • Comment: Probably the most depressing song on this list, this was Puffy’s tribute to Notorious B.I.G, who’d died earlier that year. It was the phase (ok he pretty much only had one phase, as a quasi-solo artist) where Diddy was taking the most successful songs ever — in this case The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” — and repurposing them for his own ends.

4) “Boom Boom Pow” by The Black Eyed Peas

  • First week at No. 1: April 18, 2009
  • Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 12
  • Comment: Starting with “Boom Boom Pow” in mid-April, the Black Eyed Peas conquered all of Summer 2009, leaving no one in their wake. They would have a second hit that would last even longer and tie the all-time record.

3) “The Boy Is Mine” by Brandy and Monica

  • First week at No. 1: June 6, 1998
  • Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 13
  • Comment: By our measure, the most dominant female R&B song of all time. Beyonce has never had anything linger at the top of the charts this long.

2) “Macarena” (Bayside Boys Mix) by Los Del Rio 

  • First week at No. 1: August 3, 1996
  • Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 14
  • Other chart positions: Pop #5, Adult Pop #19, Adult Contemporary #28
  • Comment: This is basically America’s awkward Facebook photo that we now hope will be buried among our other albums. But at the time this song virtually took over the country. Everyone old enough to remember this song blowing up will own up to having done the dance at some point.

1) “I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas

  • First week at No. 1: July 11, 2009
  • Combined consecutive weeks at No. 1: 14
  • Other chart positions: Pop #1, Dance #9, Adult Pop #4, Adult Contemporary #16
  • Comment: After “Boom Boom Pow,”  ”I Gotta Feeling” took over at the helm for the rest of the year. Arguably not a coincidence: 2009 was the first summer after the recession…

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