What was the most popular song the year you were born? While the 2020 Billboard Music Awards might have been postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, in honor of the acclaimed music magazine, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at the charts from 1940 to 2015 to find which tune was No. 1 each and every year — from tracks by Elvis Presley and The Beatles to Prince, Beyonce and more. We're starting with a somber song all about love that stole the top spot in the country (and everyone's heart) back in the day…
1940: "I'll Never Smile Again" by Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers
It's a song that speaks to anyone who's ever had a broken heart: In July 1940, "I'll Never Smile Again" became an instant hit for listeners (and lovebirds) in the States and remained on the charts for three impressive months. Performed by big band leader Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, with smooth vocals by Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers, the song captured the sorrow of losing the one you love.
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1941: "Chattanooga Choo Choo" by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
The song "Chattanooga Choo Choo," which was featured in the movie "Sun Valley Serenade," became the big band hit of 1941. The trumpet-heavy track, performed by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, with vocals from Paula Kelly and The Modernaires, was about traveling from New York to Chattanooga, Tennessee, by rail and captured the hopeful spirit of visiting somewhere new. It remained in the No. 1 spot for nine weeks and went on to become the top song of the year.
1942: "Moonlight Cocktail" by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
Recorded on Dec. 8, 1941 — the day after the terrifying attack on Pearl Harbor — "Moonlight Cocktail" by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra was surprisingly uplifting. Released in January 1942, the big band track (sung by Ray Eberle and The Modernaires) quickly became a hit. The dreamy instrumentals and romantic lyrics left listeners intoxicated by the beauty of moonlight.
1943: "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby
Anyone who enjoys holiday music will recognize the soothing baritone of Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas." The popular song was actually a cover of a previous version that had been recorded in 1942 by Irving Berlin. However, Bing's 1943 rendition of the Christmas classic far surpassed the original and soon became a part of our permanent holiday music lexicon. Fun fact: The version we hear each winter on the radio was actually re-recorded by Bing in 1947.
1944: "Swinging On a Star" by Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby had cemented himself as one of the most prolific singers and actors of his generation, so it's no surprise that in 1943 and 1944, he was responsible for the top songs in the country. "Swinging on a Star" was a catchy pop standard that was first introduced in the film "Going My Way" starring — you guessed it — Bing!
1945: "Rum & Coca Cola" by The Andrews Sisters
Long before the world understood the impact of cultural (and musical) appropriation, The Andrews Sisters put on a false Caribbean accent to sing one of the most popular songs of the year in 1945 — a calypso ditty called "Rum & Coca Cola." The song, which the sisters claimed was recorded in a matter of minutes, was a hit that sat at No. 1 on the Billboard pop singles chart for 10 weeks.
1946: "The Gypsy" by The Ink Spots
This popular song, originally composed in 1945 and recorded by Billy Reid and His Orchestra, found bigger success as a cover for The Ink Spots. Their 1946 version of "The Gypsy" — a song about a man who visits a fortune teller to see if his partner is faithful — quickly climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard top songs and R&B charts.
1947: "Heartaches" by Ted Weems and His Orchestra
Ted Weems and His Orchestra initially recorded "Heartaches" in 1933 as a cover of the original by Al Hoffman. The only problem? Neither version of the song caught on with listeners. Nine years later, Ted dissolved his band and went to fight in World War II. Then in 1947, a radio disc jockey added Ted's version to his song rotation, which led to new fans falling in love with the uplifting tune. Before long, the track — which features the whistling of Elmo Tanner — hit No. 1.
1948: "Twelfth Street Rag" by Pee Wee Hunt and His Orchestra
Originally published in 1914 by composer Euday Bowman, "Twelfth Street Rag" came to life in a few incarnations before Pee Wee Hunt and His Orchestra made it their own in 1948. This beloved jazz hit soon became the Billboard No. 1 single of the year. Covers of the song have made their way to film and TV, appearing in both "The English Patient" and "SpongeBob SquarePants."
1949: "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky" by Vaughn Monroe and His Orchestra
Vaughn Monroe's rich baritone made the epic cowboy-themed "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky" a haunting, catchy tune that quickly caught on with fans. Accompanied by the Vaughn Monroe Orchestra, the song tells the tale of a cattleman who sees the spirits of cowboys and steel-hoofed beasts across the sky, damned to herd for eternity. The song went on to be covered at least 50 times by various artists, but none were as popular as the one from Vaughn Monroe and His Orchestra.
1950: "Goodnight, Irene" by Gordon Jenkins and The Weavers
Recorded as a cover of the original song by Lead Belly in 1933, Gordon Jenkins, his orchestra and the vocal group The Weavers put a softer touch on folk classic "Goodnight, Irene" — and fans loved it. The song quickly climbed to No. 1 on the BIllboard top songs chart and stayed there for 13 weeks. Although some listeners complained that the lyrics were more watered-down than in the original, the song was so wildly popular that the newer lyrics are now considered standard.
1951: "Too Young" by Nat King Cole
It's easy to see why "Too Young" by Nat King Cole became the No. 1 song of 1951. Nat's rich vocals accompanied by soaring instruments produced a song so lovely, listeners were spellbound. The hit spent five weeks on the Billboard charts and 29 weeks on the Billboard bestsellers chart, earning it the designation of the most beloved song of the year.
1952: "Blue Tango" by Leroy Anderson
A purely instrumental track — "Blue Tango" by Leroy Anderson — might not have had lyrics (yet), but it was still one of the most popular songs of the year. Billboard ranked the song at No. 1 for 1952, which led other musicians to record covers. Most notably, later that year, lyricist Mitchell Parish added words to the popular song, which then became a minor hit in Britain.
1953: "The Song From Moulin Rouge" by Percy Faith and His Orchestra and Felicia Sanders
"The Song from Moulin Rouge" (also known as "Where is Your Heart") with vocals from singer Felicia Sanders was a cover of the original recording from the 1952 film "Moulin Rouge." Percy Faith and His Orchestra's version climbed the charts and turned a sad song about a woman who doubts her partner's love into the top song of the year in 1953.
1954: "Little Things Mean a Lot" by Kitty Kallen
Not only did "Little Things Mean a Lot" by singer Kitty Kallen make it to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard chart, but it reached No. 1 on the Cash Box chart and the U.K. singles chart in 1954. The song, which was originally written by Edith Lindeman in 1953, details all the ways a man can show he's in love without spending a dime.
1955: "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" by Perez Prado
Popular mambo "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" was first performed by Cuban bandleader Perez Prado for the film "Underwater!" and later became a hit song on its own. Purely instrumental, the track — which features a sliding trumpet sound from trumpeter Billy Regis — spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. The same year, another musician, Alan Dale, released a cover of the song with lyrics, but it couldn't match the popularity of Perez's version.
1956: "Heartbreak Hotel" by Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley wasn't unknown to the music world in 1956, but he wasn't yet the icon we know him as today. That all changed with the release of his first No. 1 pop hit, "Heartbreak Hotel." Elvis gained notoriety and near-instant popularity for the way he suggestively gyrated his hips while plucking his guitar while performing it live on "Stage Show" early that year. The song climbed to the top of Billboard's pop, country and R&B charts.
1957: "All Shook Up" by Elvis Presley
After a wildly successful year on the charts, Elvis Presley came back in 1957 with a score of new hits — and fans couldn't get enough. Elvis' second single of the year, "All Shook Up," spent eight weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and also climbed to the top of both the country and R&B charts. It surpassed his earlier hit single that year, "Too Much," which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1958: "Volare (Nel blu dipinto di blu)" by Domenico Modugno
"Volare" (also called "Nel blu dipinto di blu") was a surprise hit from Italian singer-songwriter Domenico Modugno. The song (which, translated, means "to fly") was so popular, it topped the Billboard Hot 100 and became the first song to win a Grammy for record of the year and song of the year at the first Grammy Awards ceremony in 1958.
1959: "The Battle of New Orleans" by Johnny Horton
It's hard to imagine a song about war being whimsical and almost funny, but that's exactly what "The Battle of New Orleans" by Johnny Horton was. The song takes listeners through the British invasion of America in 1815 and the U.K.'s ultimate defeat by General Andrew Jackson and his troops. An exploding alligator even makes an appearance in this song that reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959.
1960: Theme from "A Summer Place" by Percy Faith and His Orchestra
Chances are, even if you've never heard of this classic song, you've probably listened to it at one time or another, as it's been used in numerous TV and film soundtracks. Composed by Max Steiner for the film "A Summer Place" in 1959, the theme song was covered by Percy Faith and His Orchestra in 1960 — and they turned it into a hit. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart (staying there for an impressive nine weeks) before becoming the song of the year.
1961: "Tossin' and Turnin'" by Bobby Lewis
"Tossin' and Turnin'" by Bobby Lewis surely had listeners doing the twist. This fun song is about a lovestruck man's awful night's sleep as he thinks about the woman he loves. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961, where it remained for seven weeks. It found renewed fame in 1978 as one of the songs on the soundtrack for "Animal House."
1962: "Stranger on the Shore" by Acker Bilk
Originally released in Britain, "Stranger on the Shore" by Acker Bilk was a clarinet-heavy instrumental that hit the charts in October 1961 and became an instant success. It was also used as the theme song for the BBC television series of the same name. In 1962, U.S. audiences got their first listen and fell in love. It climbed to No. 1 and became the first British song to achieve such a feat.
1963: "Surfin' U.S.A." by The Beach Boys
It might have been on The Beach Boys' sophomore album, but their debut single, "Surfin' U.S.A.," would become their first commercial hit. Released on March 4, 1963, as the title track from their upcoming album, it quickly climbed the charts. Not only was the rock song fun, but it introduced the world to the California surf culture.
1964: "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles
Days before The Beatles stepped foot in America, their hit song "I Want to Hold Your Hand" hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. In Britain, the song had already taken flight. By Feb. 9, 1964 — when The Beatles arrived in the States and performed the song live on "The Ed Sullivan Show" — it was clear Beatlemania had already taken hold of fans everywhere. The song would go on to become their first No. 1 hit in the States and help bring in a new wave of popular British bands, fondly called "The British invasion."
1965: "Wooly Bully" by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs
Rocking a turban, Sam the Sham and his headdress-wearing band the Pharaohs owned the charts in 1965 with their hit single "Wooly Bully." Said to be about Sam's cat, the song became the band's biggest hit, pushing through the British invasion that had dominated the charts since The Beatles broke through. Although the song never reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was so popular that it was still recognized as the top song of the year — making it the first non-No. 1 song to earn the title.
1966: "Ballad of the Green Berets" by Ssgt. Barry Sadler
After nearly 11 years of war with Vietnam, America was aching for a dose of patriotism and they found it in the "Ballad of the Green Berets" by Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler. The song helped show the American military in a positive light, which by 1966 was desperately needed as people became cynical of the war efforts. The song quickly climbed to No. 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard easy listening charts.
1967: "To Sir With Love" by Lulu
"To Sir With Love" was originally recorded by Lulu as the theme song for the film of the same name and quickly became a radio hit. Shortly after its release in 1967, the track reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it kept a firm hold for five weeks. It's the only song by a British artist to reach No. 1 on the U.S. charts without charting at all in the U.K.
1968: "Hey Jude" by The Beatles
Written by Paul McCartney to help John Lennon's son Julian with his parents' divorce, "Hey Jude" — at seven minutes in length — became one of the longest songs to ever top the charts. The Beatles had once again struck gold, as their single ended up staying at No. 1 on the Billboard charts for nine weeks in 1968 — longer than any of their previous songs had lasted. Less than two years later, the band officially split, ending one of the greatest reigns in rock 'n' roll.
1969: "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" by The 5th Dimension
"Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" was a groovy blend of two songs by the band The 5th Harmony. Originally, it was written by James Rado and Gerome Ragni for the popular musical "Hair." It landed at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained there for six weeks, ultimately becoming the biggest hit of 1969.
1970: "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel
The song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was perhaps a hint at the troubled relationship between Simon & Garfunkel band members Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. Shortly after its release in 1970, the band officially broke up (even though the song became their biggest commercial hit). It reigned on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks and topped several other world charts, ultimately winning a Grammy Award for song of the year.
1971: "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night
The popular lyrics began, "Jeremiah was a bullfrog," and from there, Three Dog Night hit the music jackpot with their hit song "Joy to the World" in 1971. Not even two months after its release, the song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold more than 1 million units — making it certifiable gold.
1972: "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by Roberta Flack
Although Roberta Flack wasn't the writer behind "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," it was her spin on the decadent love song that made it a resounding hit. Originally written in 1957 by Ewan MacColl for his mistress (whom he later married), the song found renewed fame in 1972 thanks to Roberta's smooth, enchanting voice. The song ruled the charts and won Grammys for song of the year and record of the year.
1973: "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" by Tony Orlando and Dawn
Written about a former P.O.W. returning home from war, unsure if his love will want him anymore, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" by Dawn featuring Tony Orlando was an instant worldwide hit. After 18 dreary years of war in Vietnam, the song inspired nostalgia for vets returning home. Some thought it was actually about a criminal released from prison, but the songwriters, L. Russell Brown and Irwin Levine, refuted that idea. The track went on to reach No. 1 in the U.S. and around the world.
1974: "The Way We Were" by Barbra Streisand
Released in September 1973 as a single, "The Way We Were" — based on the movie of the same name — captivated listeners. Barbra Streisand's breathy, sensual voice sang a story of love that faded over time. It became the No. 1 hit of 1974 and took home the Academy Award for best original song.
1975: "Love Will Keep Us Together" by Captain and Tennille
The song was the lead single from their debut album and helped make Captain and Tennille household names. Fans loved that the singers of "Love Will Keep Us Together" weren't just a band, but a loving couple themselves. The song rose to No. 1 on the Billboard easy listening and pop charts and ultimately became the top song of 1975.
1976: "Silly Love Songs" by Wings
Written by former Beatle Paul McCartney, "Silly Little Love Songs" was a direct response to critics slamming the musician for his affinity for love songs. Performed by his new band Wings, the song remained at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks, ultimately becoming Billboard's No. 1 song of the year.
1977: "Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)" by Rod Stewart
By 1977, the world was ready for something steamier on the airwaves. Rod Stewart's hit song "Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)" gave them just that. The track, which has some blatantly suggestive lyrics (such as "spread your wings and let me come inside"), topped the charts at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and landed high on the U.K. and Australian charts as well.
1978: "Shadow Dancing" by Andy Gibb
Ten years before Andy Gibb's untimely death from a heart condition exacerbated by years of cocaine abuse, he released what would be his last No. 1 hit in America — "Shadow Dancing," which played on some of the same disco themes his brothers, The Bee Gees, were famous for. The song remained at No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts for seven weeks, eventually becoming the top single for 1978.
1979: "My Sharona" by The Knack
It was a song inspired by passionate and sudden love. Written by guitarist Berton Averre before he ever joined The Knack, the music for "My Sharona" was inspired by Berton's first meeting with his then-17-year-old girlfriend, Sharona. When the band recorded and later released it (with lyrics) in 1979, it became an instant hit. It spent six weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and was later picked as the top pop single of the year.
1980: "Call Me" by Blondie
Although "Call Me" wasn't Blondie's first No. 1 single, it was their biggest commercial hit. Recorded as the theme song for the 1980 movie "American Gigolo" and later released as a single, the song wasn't only popular on the radio — it became the top-selling track of the year too.
1981: "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes
As soft rock became the trend in music in 1981, Kim Carnes' cover of the Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon original "Bette Davis Eyes" rose on the charts. The melody and beat paired with Kim's classic scratchy tenor (eerily similar to Rod Stewart's voice) remained at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks and went on to win the the Grammy Award for song of the year in 1982.
1982: "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John
Although songwriters Steve Kipner and Terry Shaddick originally wanted Rod Stewart to sing "Physical," Olivia Newton-John ended up putting it on her 12th studio album of the same name. It was a good call, because the song was an enormous hit. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for 10 long weeks, becoming Olivia's biggest musical commercial success.
1983: "Every Breath You Take" by The Police
While some say "Every Breath You Take" by The Police is one of the more romantic songs of 1983, its writer and singer, Sting, disagrees. He claimed the song was much more "sinister" and had to do with being spied on. Inspired by Sting's divorce from his first wife, the song became The Police's only single to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
1984: "When Doves Cry" by Prince and The Revolution
Released as the lead single from Prince and The Revolution's 1984 album "Purple Rain," "When Doves Cry" shot to the top of the charts and became the singer's first No. 1 hit in America. Prince wrote the song for the film of the same name after seeing a scene that involved a love affair and the hardships of parenting. The resulting track was so well-received, it won favorite black single at the American Music Awards in 1985.
1985: "Careless Whisper" by Wham! featuring George Michael
Hidden on Wham!'s second album was "Careless Whisper" — the solo performance from George Michael that caught everyone by surprise. It was one of the biggest singles on the album, becoming an immense success and arriving at the top of the charts in 25 different countries. It was proof that George had a bright solo career ahead.
1986: "Say You, Say Me" by Lionel Richie
The romantic hit "Say You, Say Me" was both written and recorded by Lionel Richie for the soundtrack to the movie "White Nights" in 1985. Due to recording contract issues, however, the song ultimately wasn't on the movie's soundtrack. Once it was released as a single in 1986, it didn't take long for it to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, contemporary and R&B charts. It was the ninth No. 1 hit for Lionel.
1987: "Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles
By today's standards, "Walk Like an Egyptian" would likely be considered offensive, but in 1986 when the song was first released, it was a phenomenal hit. The video for the track features average people in the streets walking "like an Egyptian" which, to The Bangles, involved bending their knees and pointing their hands at 90-degree angles, striking a pose often seen in ancient hieroglyphics. The song remained in the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks, which made The Bangles the first all-female instrument-playing band to score such an honor.
1988: "Faith" by George Michael
Although "Faith" wasn't the debut single from George Michael's first solo album (that was "I Want Your Sex"), it was an even bigger hit. "Faith" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for four weeks, staying put in the top 10 for nine weeks. It also peaked at No. 2 on the U.K. singles chart and became one of George's biggest hits ever.
1989: "My Prerogative" by Bobby Brown
After leaving the vocal group New Edition and feeling the heat from critics for his decision, R&B singer Bobby Brown released "My Prerogative" in 1989 as a clapback. The song peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as the Hot R&B and hip-hop songs charts. It was even nominated for a Grammy Award for best R&B urban contemporary single.
1990: "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips
The anthem of 1990 had everything to do with not giving up, thanks to Wilson Phillips. Their hit song "Hold On" topped the charts, becoming the group's first No. 1 single. The song by Carnie Wilson, Wendy Wilson and Chynna Phillips was so popular that Billboard later ranked it at No. 15 on a list of the 100 greatest songs of all time. Even the 2011 comedy "Bridesmaids" hilariously paid tribute to the track by featuring the group (and the song) at the end of the film.
1991: "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams
The epic ballad "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You," which was co-written by Bryan Adams, appeared on his sixth studio album as well as on the soundtrack for the film "Robin Hood Prince of Thieves" in 1991. The song was a clear hit, spending nine weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and an unheard of 16 weeks on the U.K. singles chart, the longest run in the chart's history.
1992: "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men
Recorded as a part of the soundtrack for the movie "Boomerang," the emotion-filled song "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men was undeniably the hottest track of 1992. It remained on the Billboard Hot 100 for 13 long weeks and earned the title of top song of the year.
1993: "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston
We're going to call it: "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston wasn't just the top song of the year, but quite possibly the top song of our lives. Who doesn't still get chills when they hear the late singer belt out the chorus?! What you might not know is that this hit single was originally written (and recorded) by another famous lady 20 years prior — Dolly Parton. Whitney's version, which was a part of the soundtrack for the movie "The Bodyguard," was released in 1992 and was a stunning success, climbing to the top of the charts around the world throughout 1993.
1994: "The Sign" by Ace of Base
Swedish pop group Ace of Base was already a success in the States with their previous year's hit, "All That She Wants," but when "The Sign" was released in October 1993, it took their fame to another level. The song steadily climbed the charts and by 1994 became the No. 1 hit of the year. It spent six weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at No. 2 in Britain.
1995: "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio featuring L.V.
A single from Coolio's second studio album — and a pivotal song on the soundtrack for the movie "Dangerous Minds" — "Gangsta's Paradise" featuring L.V. was a hip-hop and R&B chart-topping success no one saw coming. It reached No. 1 in 14 countries around the world, making it the most successful single of Coolio's recording career. It was also the first rap single to ever sell more than a million copies.
1996: "Macarena" by Los del Río (Bayside Boys remix)
Originally released in 1993 as a track on Los del Río's album "A mí me gusta," "Macarena" gained traction in 1996 when the Bayside Boys remixed the song to include English lyrics. Re-released in 1996, the track gained instant momentum and became one of the major hits of the year. It spent an astounding 14 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 — proving everyone in America just wanted to have fun and "Macarena."
1997: "Something About the Way You Look Tonight/Candle in the Wind" by Elton John
Released as a double-sided single in 1997 after the untimely death of Princess Diana, "Something About the Way You Look Tonight/Candle in the Wind" became the bestselling single of all time. "Candle in the Wind" had originally been about Marilyn Monroe, but Elton John reworked it to honor the princess, his dear friend, after her tragic death. The famed musician took his love for Lady Di a step further by donating all proceeds to charities she'd supported.
1998: "The Boy is Mine" by Monica and Brandy
The song was a genius move for two powerful pop and R&B singers, Monica and Brandy, who were rumored to be rivals before their duet dropped. "The Boy is Mine," in which both singers vied for one man's affections, played on this imaginary feud and achieved enormous success: The song, which appeared on each of their albums, became the first No. 1 hit for both stars. It later won a Grammy Award for best R&B performance by a duo or group.
1999: "Believe" by Cher
When 52-year-old Cher's hit single "Believe" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1999, it broke a little-known record: The singer-actress (who'd previously released 21 albums) became the oldest female solo artist in Billboard history to reach No. 1. Not only that, but it was her first chart-topping song since 1974. The track, which features vocals heavily manipulated with Auto-Tune, was a huge club and pop hit, becoming the biggest single of Cher's career.
2000: "Breathe" by Faith Hill
Although Faith Hill's song "Breathe" never actually reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, it did reach No. 1 on the Billboard hot country songs chart. It was a huge commercial hit and a radio favorite, leading Billboard to declare it the top song of 2000. The last time Billboard selected a song that didn't reach No. 1 on the Hot 100 was in 1965 with Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs' hit "Wooly Bully."
2001: "Hanging by a Moment" by Lifehouse
In 2001, everyone was feeling the love thanks to Lifehouse! The band had a penchant for singing romantic tunes and had a huge hit on their hands with "Hanging By A Moment," which beat out the other big hit of the year — "Fallin'" by Alicia Keys. Lead singer Jason Wade penned the smash song, which only took him five minutes to write!
2002: "How You Remind Me" by Nickelback
They're often the butt of the joke today, but back in 2002, Nickelback became a major player in the music business! "How You Remind Me" was Billboard's top song that year thanks to more than 1.2 million radio plays. Lead singer Chad Kroeger often refers to this tune — which he wrote about his dysfunctional relationship with an ex — as the one that put the band on the map.
2003: "In Da Club" by 50 Cent
It's a tune that's still played on birthdays, but 50 Cent's "In Da Club" came out way back in 2003. It was Fiddy's first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 and even nabbed him Grammy nominations for best male rap solo performance and best rap song. Not only did the track make waves in 2003, but it also came in at No. 13 on Rolling Stone's "Best Songs of the Decade" list.
2004: "Yeah!" by Usher featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris
Who could forget this one?! After all, it played absolutely everywhere! Usher's "Yeah!" featuring cameos by Lil Jon and Ludacris topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for weeks on end — 12 consecutive weeks to be exact — making it the longest running No. 1 song of the year. It also won a Grammy for best rap/sung collaboration.
2005: "We Belong Together" by Mariah Carey
Plenty of people could relate to Mariah Carey's desperate plea in "We Belong Together" — so many, in fact, that the song tied with four others to become the second longest running No. 1 tune in the history of the U.S. charts! The slow jam stayed atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 14 weeks, which also helped it earn the title of Billboard's "song of the decade."
2006: "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter
Canadian singer-songwriter Daniel Powter made quite the splash in the music industry with this track. In 2002, he recorded "Bad Day" with producer Jeff Dawson, but had difficulty finding a record label that would be willing to release it. The song was first placed in a French Coca-Cola commercial around Christmas 2004, but after hearing a demo , former chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Records Tom Whalley offered the pop singer a contract. "Bad Day" topped various charts including the Billboard Hot 100 and Pop 100. In 2006, it became the first song ever to sell 2 million digital copies in the U.S. It also went triple platinum by 2009.
2007: "Irreplaceable" by Beyonce
In 2007, you couldn't turn on the radio without hearing this song! While it was originally a country track, "Irreplaceable" was rearranged as a pop and R&B ballad and released as the second single off Beyonce's second studio album, "B'Day," in December 2006. It also made Rolling Stone's list of best songs of the 2000s. The hit, which was nominated for record of the year at the Grammys, went on to become Bey's fourth No. 1 track in the States and stayed at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 10 straight weeks. "Irreplaceable" was ranked the 25th most successful song of the decade, was certified double platinum by the R.I.A.A and was 2007's 10th bestselling digital track with more than 4.6 million copies sold globally.
2008: "Low" by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain
"Low" was featured on Flo Rida's debut album, "Mail on Sunday," and on the soundtrack of the 2008 dance film "Step Up 2: The Streets." In addition to peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was the longest running No. 1 single in the United States in 2008 (it spent 10 straight weeks at the top of the chart), was certified eight-times platinum by the R.I.A.A. and was the most downloaded single of the decade.
2009: "Boom Boom Pow" by The Black Eyed Peas
"Boom Boom Pow" was the first single off the Black Eyed Peas' fifth studio album, "The E.N.D" and the group's first No. 1 single in the States. Also notable? It was the second longest running single to remain in the top spot on the Hot 100 chart in 2009 (the only song that beat it was another track from the group, "I Gotta Feeling"). "Boom Boom Pow" sold more than 6 million copies in America alone and was No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs of the decade list. At the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, it won best short form music video and was nominated for best dance recording.
2010: "TiK ToK" by Kesha
Not too bad for a debut single! In August 2009, Kesha (formerly stylized as Ke$ha) released "TiK ToK," the first single off her debut studio album, "Animal." The track, which incorporates electro-pop elements and uses a rap/sing vocal style heavily manipulated with Auto-Tune, was a commercial success in 11 countries. It sold 610,000 digital downloads in a single week and was certified eight-times platinum by the R.I.A.A. (it sold 6.8 million copies in the States alone). "TiK ToK" was the bestselling single worldwide in 2010, and as of 2019, it's sold more than 25 million copies, making it the third bestselling digital single in the world.
2011: "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele
In November 2010, Adele released "Rolling in the Deep," the lead single from her second studio album, "21." It was considered the breakthrough track that launched her to international fame — by 2012, the song had sold more than 8.7 million copies in the United States, making it the bestselling digital song by a female artist in the U.S. Globally, it was also the first bestselling digital single of 2011, having moved more than 8.2 million copies. "Rolling in the Deep" was also Adele's bestselling single outside of England.
2012: "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra
In 2012, Gotye released "Somebody That I Used To Know" featuring Kimbra, and the song was met with critical success. At the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, the song took home two trophies — best pop duo/group performance and record of the year. The track sold more than 13 million copies worldwide, making it one of the bestselling digital singles to date. It also took the No. 1 spot on Billboard's year-end charts (Hot 100, Adult Pop Songs and Alternative Songs) in 2012.
2013: "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz
Who knew hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis would make such an impression on the music industry? In August 2012, "Thrift Shop" was released as the fourth single from their debut album, "The Heist." Though it came out on Macklemore's independent label, the single became an unexpected hit — it reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and has sold upwards of 6 million copies within the States alone. "Thrift Shop" also won big at the 2014 Grammy Awards — it took home trophies for best rap performance and best rap song.
2014: "Happy" by Pharrell Williams
Written and produced by Pharrell Williams himself, "Happy" was the first (and only) single from the soundtrack of "Despicable Me 2" in 2013 and was the lead single from his second studio album, "Girl," in 2014. The song was a commercial success — it reached No. 1 in America, Britain, Canada, Ireland and 20 more countries. In addition to earning a Grammy for best music video, "Happy" was also the bestselling song of 2014 in the States, having sold 6.45 million copies, and the most successful song of the year worldwide, having sold 13.9 million units.
2015: "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
"Uptown Funk" by British record producer-recording artist Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars took the music industry by storm upon its release in late 2014 and dominated throughout 2015. The single remained at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 14 weeks, was certified 11-times platinum by the R.I.A.A. and four-times platinum by the B.P.I. (British Phonographic Industry). The official music video for the single is also the sixth most viewed YouTube video of all time with 3.8 billion views.