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The Name Game: The Charts’ Hottest “Re-Run” Titles – Part Three!

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As we count down Numbers 20-11 of the most popular song titles on the charts, I remember the question of “Repeated Titles” being asked on “American Top 40.”

And several of the titles Casey Kasem referenced are in this week’s set.

20. “Runaway.” Here, the guideline I set up about punctuation makes a difference. Real McCoy’s 20-week hit “Run Away” is not part of this set. What is included? Top 20 smashes from the Jefferson Starship and Janet Jackson, and of course:

The rock classic from Del Shannon.

19. TIE! “Smile.” The oft-covered Charlie Chaplin composition isn’t the biggest Hot 100 hit with this title. Rather, it’s Uncle Kracker’s 2010 AC-pop hit that takes that honor.

I’ll go with Uncle on this one.

And “Last Night.” This one will keep rising so long as Morgan Wallen’s current hit remains on the chart (58 weeks and counting).

Of the other compositions, I’ll go with Az Yet’s 1996 hit.

18. TIE! “Believe.” Elton John, Brooks and Dunn, and Mumford and Sons all have contenders here.

But no one can really stand up to the No. 1 comeback for then-52-year-old Cher.  

And “Let It Go.” Although TNOCS readers who are parents might want to thank (or blame) the hit song from Frozen, it’s one of six compositions with that title to chart. This doesn’t include the Prince track from 1994, which was in true Prince fashion, titled “Letitgo.”

My pick is James Bay’s 2016 hit.

17. “Always.” I’m not a fan of either of the biggest songs with this title, Atlantic Starr’s 1987 No. 1 or Bon Jovi’s rock ballad from 1994.

But another 1994 composition with that title, Erasure’s pop dance hit, is superb.

16. TIE: “Perfect.” Again, our guidelines for this countdown take hold, as the song most folks might remember with this title, Pink’s hit from 2011, had a vulgar modifying adjective, disqualifying it from this list.

Of the six compositions that counted, Ed Sheeran’s was the biggest.   

And “Lady.” Top 10 hits from Styx and Little River Band are credible contenders, and Lenny Kravitz and the Whispers have solid tunes with their ladies. The Commodores’ 1981 hit is excluded from this set because of its subtitle, “You Bring Me Up.”

But writer Lionel Richie needn’t worry; he’s the author of the leading song with this title, Kenny Rogers’ multiformat smash of a year earlier.

15. “Home.” Before the 21st century, only Depeche Mode had hit the Hot 100 with this title. In the past two decades, five other acts joined them, including two with “American Idol” connections. I like both. But I’m struggling to recall the Phillip Phillips melody right now.

So I’ll go with Daughtry.

14. “Magic.” Olivia Newton-John’s TNOCS fave is just one of seven compositions with this title to score. Although I like it, I’ll have to rank it behind the Cars’ 1984 smash and my favorite:

Pilot’s Top 10 from 1975.

13. TIE! “Call Me.” If this were strictly a countdown of titles with the most compositions on the charts, this would be in the Top 10, with 10 different songs. But its total number of chart weeks falls behind more than a dozen others.

Of this set, Blondie’s 1980 smash is the standout.

And, “I Want You.” If the title of Elvis Presley’s 1956 chart-topper, “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You,” were broken into its three separate sentences, it would match titles in positions 31, 13 and … coming right up.

As it stands, the big winner in this set is Savage Garden’s “chic-a-cherry-cola” track.

12. “Missing You.” Remakes don’t count toward total chart weeks, so Tina Turner and Brooks and Dunn’s takes on John Waite’s No. 1 pop hit aren’t included here. Still, big hits by Dan Fogelberg, Diana Ross...

and the collective of Brandy, Tamia, Gladys Knight and Chaka Khan help Waite lift this title.

11. “I Love You.” Those three simple words have been the title of 10 separate charting compositions, with the biggest being:

The Climax Blues Band’s ballad from 1981 (a favorite of mine since that was my senior year of high school).

Here’s a Spotify compilation of songs from this week:

And stop by next week for: The Final 10!

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Chuck Small

Journalist-turned-high school counselor. Happily ensconced in Raleigh, N.C., with hubby of 31 years (9 legal).

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rollerboogie
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March 19, 2024 7:23 am

Some really great titles here as we near the top of the heap.
Here are some songs that didn’t chart quite as high that I really like and want to mention.

Nothing beats Del Shannon in the Runaway category. It’s probably one of the greatest singles of all time. That said, I really like Bon Jovi’s fun, energetic first hit, before his sound became more commodified. It would be my second choice.

Lily Allen’s Smile only got to #49 on the Hot 100, but it got alternative airplay here and went #1 in the U.K. It’s such a catchy song, and it exposed me to the whole album, which has some real gems on it.

Last Nite by The Strokes wouldn’t have been in the discussion chart wise even if it didn’t disqualify itself by the misspelling, but I wanted to give it a shout out anyway.

Believe by Lenny Kravitz was all over alternative radio in the early 90s, but only made it to #60 on the Hot 100. It has just enough vague spirituality and psychedelia to hook me in.

This will likely be a minority opinion around here, but I have to go with Chris Montez over Blondie for Call Me. Near perfect lounge pop.

A few other thoughts on versions that were mentioned-

That was a crowded field for Missing You! I have to go with Diana Ross’ tribute to Marvin Gaye, penned by Lionel.
Speaking of which, I have to go with either Styx or LRB over Kenny in the Lady category. Both are jams.
Phillip Phillips for the win for Home.
Totally down with your Magic and I Love You Picks. The Climax Blues Band ballad is so beautiful.
Didn’t remember Always by Erasure, so listening now. It’s quite nice and I would agree it takes the category, though I have some affection for Atlantic Starr’s big hit.

Fun stuff to chew on!

Phylum of Alexandria
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March 19, 2024 8:45 am
Reply to  rollerboogie

Ah yes I forgot the stoopid misspelling of “Last Nite.”

Virgindog
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March 19, 2024 9:28 am
Reply to  rollerboogie

You’re right about that Lily Allen album. Good stuff.

Also, Pilot is absolutely the right pick for “Magic.”

Phylum of Alexandria
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March 19, 2024 9:34 am
Reply to  Virgindog

Man…talk about “Backstabbers!”

#Justice4ONJ

stobgopper
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March 19, 2024 6:58 pm
Reply to  Virgindog

Over The Cars’ magnum opus? One of the finest ‘summer’ songs ever put to recording media?

stobgopper
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March 19, 2024 6:56 pm
Reply to  rollerboogie

Can someone explain to me why I feel slightly nauseous every time I hear ‘Smile?’ I’m serious. I don’t think it’s a bad song, and Lily Allen’s a fine singer, but it’s like I get car sick when it starts up. Very strange.

Phylum of Alexandria
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March 19, 2024 8:44 am

Good call on Erasure’s “Always.” An all-time eternal classic.

I am crushed to learn that Yello’s “I Love You” didn’t make the Hot 100. It’s objectively the best!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50pl9u6tyTc

Other classic non-hits:

“I Want You” by Elvis Costello
“Call Me” by Throwing Muses
“Missing You” by Slowdive
“Lady” by T.Rex
“Last Night” by the Strokes
“Smile” by David Byrne
“Runaway” by…some toxic rapper

rollerboogie
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March 19, 2024 9:10 am

I thought I had never heard I Love You by Yello, but then at the 1:38 mark it suddenly sounded familiar. I think that break was used for something at some point that was on my radar.

Phylum of Alexandria
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March 19, 2024 9:59 am

My knowledge of charts is terrible. It seems that Kanye’s “Runaway” hit #12. And is included in Chuck’s list, 3-minute autotune solo and all.

JJ Live At Leeds
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March 19, 2024 2:54 pm

Plenty of love for Yello from me, Switzerland’s finest. The Race is a personal favourite but I Love You will do for today.

mt58
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March 19, 2024 8:56 am

I would like to thank Chuck for my overnight and early-morning earworm. Although It wasn’t on his list, as it wasn’t a top 40 hit. But the spelling/title/ qualification rules thing works:

https://youtu.be/_tMxLDTMatY?si=zR4zZ_Qm6CQ1G12T

Virgindog
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March 19, 2024 9:04 am
Reply to  mt58

This is the one that popped to mind for me, too. Fun song, fun album.

lovethisconcept
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March 20, 2024 1:13 pm
Reply to  Virgindog

This was definitely the one that I thought of immediately. It’s almost like you, MT, and I might share a couple of key demographics, like age…

Virgindog
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Virgindog
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March 20, 2024 1:56 pm

Pretty funny for youngsters like us.

rollerboogie
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March 19, 2024 9:12 am
Reply to  mt58

A lot of the stuff these guys did just worked. Nothing complicated. Just like a fast ball right down the middle that dares you to hit it, but you inexplicably can’t.

Zeusaphone
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March 19, 2024 9:23 am

My choices for these titles

“Runaway’ – Del Shannon

“Smile” – Nat King Cole

“Last Night” – Mar-Keys

“Believe” – Lenny Kravitz

“Let It Go” – Tim McGraw

“Always” – Atlantic Starr

“Perfect” – The The

“Lady” – Jack Jones

“Home” – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

“Magic” – Pilot

“Call Me” – Johnny Mathis

“I Want You” – Henry Burr

“Missing You” – Ray Peterson

“I Love You” – Paul Whiteman

JJ Live At Leeds
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March 19, 2024 12:42 pm

Most unlikely find is that Smashing Pumpkins had a song called Perfect. That one must have passed me by. Seems out of synch with Billy Corgan’s persona.

Mention of Perfect brings an instant earworm in The Fairground Attraction version. Slightly surprising to find it in the playlist, #80 on the Hot 100. It was a #1 here and won single of the year at the Brits.

Let It Go is my pick of the week. Having a child born in 2011 she spent a couple of years in the Frozen zone. Surprisingly I don’t hate it despite the amount of times we watched it. Took her to Disneyland Paris when she was 3 and she dressed up like Anna one day. A group of Japanese teenagers thought she was the cutest thing ever and very politely asked if they could take a group photo with her front and centre. We couldn’t say no, if only we had taken a photo of them taking a photo.

blu_cheez
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March 19, 2024 6:17 pm

OK – I’ll concede that the Pilot version of “Magic” is the best, but I’ll put the ONJ “Magic” before the Cars version of “Magic” (great song, though).

It’s like picking between your children.. no bad answer

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