Billboard celebrates 60 summers on the Hot 100 with a look at the hottest songs to make waves on the chart in the summertime.
Summer is rapidly approaching, which means many the current songs we'll hear blaring out radios are contenders for song the season. In honor the Hot 100's upcoming 60th anniversary (and the return the weekly Songs the Summer chart), Billboard has ranked the 100 hottest songs to make waves on the chart during the summers 1958-2017.
On March 9, 1997, Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace was murdered leaving a Soul Train Awards afterparty in Los Angeles. Soon after, Puff Daddy, R&B group 112 and Wallace's widow, Faith Evans, paid him tribute on a song that sampled The Police's “Every Breath You Take” and Samuel Barber's “Adagio for Strings.” The video — which culminates with Evans singing the spiritual “I'll Fly Away” from atop a hill — premiered in early May and quickly became one MTV's most-played clips. “It really hit home when I saw the video,” says New York DJ Funkmaster Flex, who remembers broadcasting the song from a promo CD before Bad Boy Records sent him a proper 12-inch. The single then debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 14, remained there for 11 weeks and was succeeded by Wallace's own “Mo Money Mo Problems” from his posthumous LP Life After Death. “It was a tough time,” recalls Flex. “But between Big's album and Diddy's album, it almost felt like Biggie didn't pass.” — NICK MURRAY
Fun Fact: Sting joined 112, Evans and Puff Daddy to perform the track live at the 1997 Video Music Awards.
2. “The Boy Is Mine” – Brandy & Monica (No. 1, 1998)
3. “Tossin' and Turnin'” – Bobby Lewis (No. 1, 1961)
4. “Blurred Lines” – Robin Thicke feat. T.I. + Pharrell (No. 1, 2013)
8. “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” – Andy Gibb (No. 1, 1977)
9. “When Doves Cry” – Prince And The Revolution (No. 1, 1984)
10. “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” – Bryan Adams (No. 1, 1991)
Bryan Adams was finishing up his sixth LP, Waking Up the Neighbours, when film composer Michael Kamen approached the Canadian musician's team about collaborating on the theme to Kevin Costner's early-'90s vehicle Robin Hood: Prince Thieves. Co-written with Adams' frequent collaborator Mutt Lange, the lyrics for Robin and Maid Marian's surging love song were composed in 90 minutes – and then went on to become the foundation the biggest hit the year. Remembers Adams' manager Bruce Allen: “It was a big wedding song, but you heard it at the mall — everywhere.” — GARRETT KAMPS
Fun Fact: “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” lost the best original song Academy Award to “Beauty and the Beast” (a Hot 100 top 10 for Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson).
11. “Alone Again (Naturally)” – Gilbert O'Sullivan (No. 1, 1972)
12. “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction” – The Rolling Stones (No. 1, 1965)
13. “Hot in Herre” – Nelly (No. 1, 2002)
14. “Bad Girls” – Donna Summer (No. 1, 1979)
15. “Roses Are Red” (My Love)” – Bobby Vinton (No. 1, 1962)
16. “I'm Sorry” – Brenda Lee (No. 1, 1960)
17. “In The Year 2525” – Zager & Evans (No. 1, 1969)
22. “Can't Help Falling In Love” – UB40 (No. 1, 1993)
23. “Waterfalls” – TLC (No. 1, 2005)
Amped from the success its triple-platinum debut, TLC entered the studio in late 1993 to record a follow-up with a dream team producers — among them Babyface, Jermaine Dupri, Puff Daddy and production team Organized Noize. What resulted was 1994's CrazySexyCool, an LP that has sold 7.7 million copies stateside (according to Nielsen Music) and delivered the act's biggest hit. Written by Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Marqueze Etheridge and Organized Noize — with backup vocals by then-unknown Cee Lo Green — the Grammy-winning, chart-dominating single wasn't just a commercial juggernaut.
Released in the midst the AIDS epidemic and the drug war, the song's lyrics addressed these issues (e.g., “His health is fading and he doesn't know why/Three letters took him to his final resting place”), and its MTV Video Music Awards-sweeping clip, helmed by director F. Gary Gray (Friday, Straight Outta Compton), brought these concerns into the living rooms millions. — GARRETT KAMPS
Fun Fact: The video cost more than $1 million. “I had no idea how huge the record was until I heard how much the video budget was,” says Etheridge.
24. “I Swear” – All-4-One (No. 1, 1994)
25. “I Gotta Feeling” – The Black Eyed Peas (No. 1, 2009)
26. “Baby Got Back” – Sir Mix-A-Lot (No. 1, 1992)
27. “(They Long To Be) Close To You” – Carpenters (No. 1, 1970)
28. “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” – Los Del Rio (No. 1, 1996)
30. “The Battle New Orleans” – Johnny Horton (No. 1, 1959)
31. “Light My Fire” – The Doors (No. 1, 1967)
This 1967 breakthrough single catapulted Jim Morrison's four-man psych circus from Whiskey a Go Go house band to Elektra Records' million-selling success. Countless acid trips, 14 platinum certifications and one Oliver Stone biopic followed, along with a 1968 Jose Feliciano cover that hit No. 3 and extended the song's life. “The jazz world picked it up, then I'd hear it in elevators,” says drummer John Densmore.
Fun Fact: Buick fered $75,000 to adapt the smash for an ad, which The Doors ultimately declined, a decision Densmore has never regretted: “Would this song be on this list if we'd done 'Come on Buick, Light My Fire'?” — CAMILLE DODERO
41. It's Too Late/I Feel The Earth Move” – Carole King (No. 1, 1971)
42. “Best My Love” – The Emotions (No. 1, 1977)
43. “It's Still Rock And Roll To Me” – Billy Joel (No. 1, 1980)
44. “Roll With It” – Steve Winwood (No. 2, 1988)
45. “Whoomp! (There It Is)” – Tag Team (No. 1, 1993)
46. “Ghostbusters” – Ray Parker Jr. (No. 1, 1984)
The year 1984 was a colossal one for pop culture: Madonna, Michael and Bruce owned the airwaves; Beverly Hills Cop, The Karate Kid and The Terminator lit up the box fice; and the CD player and the first Apple Macintosh arrived in stores. Against this backdrop, Ray Parker Jr. wrote one the 20th century's most memorable movie themes. While Parker later settled out court with Huey Lewis to avoid a copyright suit over similarities to Lewis' hit “I Want a New Drug,” “Ghostbusters” was an international smash. “I remember hearing the song and thinking, 'This isn't like anything else on the radio — he is basically talking,” says Bowling for Soup frontman Jaret Reddick, whose pop-punk band covered the tune for 2005 film Just Like Heaven. “It's the keyboard line that sucks you in: You find yourself whistling it for two days.” — GARRETT KAMPS
Fun Fact: “Ghostbusters” was initially tied to a summer blockbuster, but now it's the second-most Shazam-ed track on Halloween, after Michael Jackson's “Thriller.”
47. “Big Girls Don't Cry” – Fergie (No. 1, 2007)
48. “Ring My Bell” – Anita Ward (No. 1, 1979)
49. “Magic” – Oli Newton-John (No. 1, 1980)
50. “Vision Love” – Mariah Carey (No. 1, 1990)
51. “Jessie's Girl” – Rick Springfield (No. 1, 1981)
After emerging from the 1970s as a pop heartthrob, Rick Springfield hoped that 1981's Working Class Dog — his first album in five years — would convince critics that he had grown into a serious artist. “I thought, 'OK, I wrote and played all these songs and produced most the album, so they can't see me as a teen idol any frigging longer,” he remembers now. “But they did.” At least with “Jessie's Girl,” he was a teen idol with a No. 1 hit. The track peaked on Aug. 1, 1981, a little more than a year after he met the woman (and her boyfriend) who inspired the lyrics in a stained-glass class. “Writing the song took about three weeks,” he says. “Being hot for the girl took about five seconds.” — NICK MURRAY
Fun Fact: Springfield accepted his part as General Hospital's Dr. Noah Drake after recording “Jessie's Girl,” unsure if the song would ever be released.
Billboard's Top 100 Songs the Summer 1958-2017 chart is based on each track’s performance on the Billboard Hot 100 during the summer tracking period from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The chart was compiled utilizing an inverse point system for 1959 (the Hot 100’s first full summer) through 1991 (the final summer prior to the advent Nielsen Music data), with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. From 1992 through 2017, the chart incorporates point totals accumulated from radio airplay and sales, as well as points from other data sets (i.e., streaming) that were included in the Hot 100. Years were then weighted to ensure fairly equal representation for songs all eras the Hot 100’s history.