LeAnn Rimes' "How Do I Live" leads the best–the-next-bests ranking.
As we celebrate the Billboard Hot 100's 60th anniversary, Billboard looks at the silver medalists, the runners-up, and third-, fourth-, fifth- or, in one case, sixth-place finishers, i.e., the hits that didn't reach No. 1 on the weekly ranking, but were huge hits nonetheless.
LeAnn Rimes' "How Do I Live" ranks at No. 1 on the list below, as the smash ballad peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 in 1997-98. It had the unfortunate timing being blocked by Elton John's biggest hit, "Candle in the Wind"/"Something About the Way You Look Tonight," which spent 14 weeks at No. 1. Still, "Live" logged 32 weeks in the top 10 and 69 total weeks on the chart, both records at the time. Its sustainability on the chart helped it land at No. 5 on the recap the Hot 100's top 600 songs all time, marking one only two non-No. 1s in the top 50.
Also notable on the list below is Foreigner's 1981 single "Waiting for a Girl Like You." The song spent 10 weeks at No. 2, without ever reaching No. 1, barricaded by Oli Newton-John's "Physical" and Daryl Hall and John Oates' "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)." In 2002-03, Missy Elliott's "Work It" tied "Waiting" for the most weeks at No. 2 for a song that has peaked at that position.
Among hits on the list below is one that never hit the top five on the weekly Hot 100: Jason Mraz's 2008 hit "I'm Yours." The track shows in large part because it spent a then-record 76 total weeks on the Hot 100 (breaking Rimes' record with "Live"). The longevity mark has since been broken twice, by AWOLNATION's "Sail" (79 weeks) and current record-holder Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" (87 weeks), both in 2014.
This list is based on actual performance on the weekly Hot 100, through the July 21, 2018 ranking. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, eras are weighted to account for different chart turnover rates over various periods.
Without further ado, here, from No. 60 to No. 1, are the biggest hits in the Hot 100's 60-year history that never reached No. 1, although their legacies as smashes are ensured regardless.