Throughout the past 12 summers (2000-2011), there have been quite a few songs that dominated the charts like they owned them. This list contains the songs that held the #1 spot on the Billboard Pop Charts for the most amount of weeks during the summer. That said, some songs began their chokehold on the #1 position during the spring, while others held on until the fall. I consider summer to be from the last week in May until the first week of September. This may not be technically correct, but I've never met anyone who considered September 19th to be a summer day.
Songs that held the #1 spot for one or two weeks are not listed here. Three weeks was the bare minimum. Lots of ties for position. Seeing songs tie up the top position for most of the summer makes me wonder if people really don't get bored of a song anymore or whether Clear Channel really has dwindled our choices down to a few.
In any event, here's the list of fabulous songs that should bring back those summer memories for anyone who still owns a radio or pays attention to popular song.
There are 28 in all.
28) London Bridge -- Fergie (2006) (3 weeks): Rolling Stone magazine called this song a total ripoff of "Hollaback Girl," by Gwen Stefani, while others said it sounded like "Galang" by M.I.A. Considering how few pop music fans enjoy the Twelve-Tone method, I'd say they like stuff that sounds alike. That's what good about it. Though I've noticed all music I don't like sounds exactly the same to me.
27) Lean Back -- Terror Squad (2004) (3 weeks): As you'll soon see, having a #1 song for 3 weeks isn't all that big of a deal. I mean, it's a big deal, but it's nowhere near the record. Fat Joe and Remy Ma worked together with Scott Storch on this and won an Award from The Source, a well-respected Hip-Hop periodical, and were nominated for a Grammy. It took the summer to reach #1.
26) Fallin' -- Alicia Keys (2001) (3 weeks): The song won three Grammy Awards. Not bad for an artist's first single from her debut album. Sometimes I think some artists have a little more money put into their promotional budgets than others. But this is just a hunch.
25) Be With You -- Enrique Inglesias (2000) (3 weeks): Well, it's no "Tonight (I'm F****** You)," but "Be With You" was written by Inglesias and the team that gave Cher "Believe," so it's got a pedigree of sorts. It was his second #1 hit single in the U.S, proving that if he sang in English, he could win over the hearts and minds of people who failed high school Spanish forever.
24) Doesn't Really Matter -- Janet Jackson (2000) (3 weeks): Ah, yes, a song from the soundtrack to the 2000 film, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, in which Jackson co-starred with Eddie "Party All The Time" Murphy. This feels like years ago. Because it was!
23) OMG -- Usher featuring will.i.am (2010) (4 weeks, non-consecutive): This track went to number one, dropped for a week in favor of "Not Afraid" by Eminem, and then came back for three more weeks in the top slot just as the summer of 2010 was kicking off. The tune was criticized in some quarters for its use of auto-tune, while others thought the drums were "thumping." What to think? I feel mixed about songs that use shorthand. Like WTF?
22) Lollipop -- Lil Wayne featuring Static Major (2009) (4 weeks): Rapper, producer Static Minor died two weeks before the song's release from complications in service to treating the rare autoimmune disorder, myasthenia. The song was named 2008's best-selling digital single, but ranked as only the fifth best song of 2008 by that hip-hop authority, Rolling Stone, a popular music periodical.
21) Beautiful Girls -- Sean Kingston (2007) (4 weeks): Only 17 years old at the time of the song's success, Kingston already knew that boys liked pretty girls (and became suicidal over them) and that everyone has a soft spot for the bass line from Ben E. King's "Stand By Me," enough to make his own song a huge 2007 summer hit.
20) 21 Questions -- 50 Cent featuring Nate Dogg (2003) (4 weeks): With a sample from Barry White's "It's Only Love Doing Its Thing," "21 Questions" brought out the soft side of 50 Cent and apparently asked 22 questions, raising suspicions over what else 50 Cent miscounted. Could his real name be 51 Cent?
19) Shake Ya Tailfeather -- Nelly, P. Diddy and Murphy Lee (2003) (4 weeks): The song won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. In the hip-hop community where bling is pretty important, I suppose a Grammy is pretty prestigious. How you keep your "street cred" is beyond me. But I never had any street cred to lose. I don't even play my stereo very loud out of courtesy for my neighbors and my lawn is mowed!
18) U Remind Me -- Usher (2001) (4 weeks): You can even grab an instrumental version of the tune incase you want to avoid Usher's singing, though why you want to do that is beyond me. But it's available. This song is so July!
17) Lady Marmalade -- Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink (2001) (5 weeks): Speaking of 2001, this song is so June! It's also so 1975 when Labelle had a #1 hit with it the week of March 29. This version was from the Moulin Rouge film soundtrack, proving that one of the best ways to get people to hear a song is to feature it in a movie. That way the emotional connection is made for the listener. Or at least the listener has to listen to the song and can't change the station.
16) Party Rock Anthem -- LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock (2011) (6 weeks): While Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" held the top spot for late-Spring, early-Summer, "Party Rock Anthem" held it down throughout July and August of last year, meaning chances are you still remember this song. It won Favorite Song at the 2012 Kids' Choice Awards, which is always a good thing because songs where people wake up in a coma after "excessive party rocking" are just the things for kids to help them sort out what their lives will be like in a few more years.
15) California Gurls -- Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg (2010) (6 weeks): Not to be confused with Big Star's "September Gurls" (though the 'Gurls' spelling was in tribute to Big Star, who had lost Alex Chilton months before), Perry's "California" variety captured pop radio for six weeks in June and July of 2010, eventually giving way to the summer's other big anthem, "Love the Way You Lie," before Perry made her assault on fall, with "Teenage Dream," which went to #1 for a brief two weeks. I feel like I should be on ESPN with all these statistics.
14) Promiscuous -- Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland (2006) (6 weeks): Nelly Furtado realized at some point in her career that she needed to ramp up her image to keep up with the titillating fare of her fellow female pop stars. So she named the album Loose (not be confused with the Victoria Williams album) and collaborated with Timbaland on a track where they could flirt with each other and have a little fun and make a little money doing so. What the heck, you know? Girls just want to have fun!
13) Rolling In the Deep -- Adele (2011) (7 weeks): While "Rolling In the Deep" wasn't the biggest hit of the year chartwise (Rihanna's "We Found Love" spent eight weeks of 2011 at #1, and two more in 2012, beginning November 12), Adele's track was a close runner-up, and was simply inescapable. She humanized the ever increasingly mechanical music biz with a tune that cried from the heart. Who didn't want to simultaneously punch in the face and to vigorously thank the guy who dumped her?
12) Love the Way You Lie -- Eminem featuring Rihanna (2010) (7 weeks): We all know Eminem can't come across soft, so it's up to Rihanna here to inject a little romance, a little melody, a little soft shoe into a tune about a couple caught in an abusive relationship. The song went a long way towards making Eminem's comeback an actual comeback. Rihanna even went so far as to perform a "Part II" told from the woman's point of view. I wish there was a "Part III" told by an omniscient narrator who knows the truth!
11) I Kissed A Girl -- Katy Perry (2008) (7 weeks): Not to be confused with the Jill Sobule song -- what was it? Oh yeah, "I Kissed A Girl"! -- "I Kissed A Girl" proved to be a controversial hit for the daughter of a preacherman and a preacherwoman. The song held the #1 spot throughout July and most of August, 2008, obviously converting all who heard it to homosexuality, prompting The Bravo Network's ratings to soar to new heights.
10) Umbrella -- Rihanna featuring Jay-Z (2007) (7 weeks): Here's a song that divided fans. Some found the hook endearing, while others decided to just get wet rather than acknowledge the song's existence. Excessive rain and flooding in the U.K. made the song quite timely there, while residents of Southern California enjoyed the song "in theory." Rihanna would need this song even more once she added "Raining Men" to her catalog.
9) Hot In Herre -- Nelly (2002) (7 weeks): A cynical person sitting in his own sweat throughout July, 2002, might think Nelly released this song on purpose in the summertime. But, surely, it's a pure coincidence. The entire southern hemisphere was actually living through winter at the time, and the song was a #3 hit in Australia and New Zealand, though I'm not sure how it faired in Argentina.
8) Burn -- Usher (2004) (8 weeks, non-consecutive): If you look at the #1 hits of 2004, you'll think Usher's dad bought him the Billboard charts. His single "Yeah!" was #1 for twelve weeks during the winter and spring, only to give way to "Burn" for seven weeks, then one week for Fantasia's "I Believe" before "Burn" returned for one week, giving way to his next single, "Confessions Part II" for two weeks. "My Boo," with Alicia Keys, added six weeks of its own at #1 from October 30 through the week of December 4. "2004! The Rise and Rise and Rise of Usher!"
7) Crazy In Love -- Beyonce featuring Jay-Z (2003) (8 weeks): You'd think eight weeks at #1 would guarantee you the song of the year, but "Crazy In Love" was only the song of the summer, holding down the top position throughout July and August. 50 Cent's "In Da Club" ran the table on early spring with nine weeks and Beyonce's own "Baby Boy," featuring Sean Paul, nailed down nine weeks in the fall. (Eminem's "Lose Yourself" spread 12 weeks over 2002-2003). Back in 1973, say, the longest any one song held at #1 was for four weeks. Are people just lazier at getting around to changing their minds these days or is it a vast conspiracy?
6) Dilemma -- Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland (2002) (10 weeks, non-consecutive): Surely, Nelly and Rowland stuck pins in a Kelly Clarkson voodoo doll in order to regain the top slot. "Dilemma" was running for seven weeks when "A Moment Like This" interrupted their run for two lousy weeks before "Dilemma" grabbed a final three, making it the second biggest song of the year and making "Hot In Herre" just a summer fling. Me? I'm into yard sales!
5) Foolish -- Ashanti (2002) (10 weeks): Now this young lady didn't let no Kelly Clarkson get in the way of her ten week stay at the top of the charts. It was still solidly spring when this tune took over and it was officially summer by the time it dropped, giving way to Nelly's pandering-to-summer hit "Hot In Herre," my favorite song among songs other people like.
4) Maria Maria -- Santana featuring The Product G&B (2000) (10 weeks): Had Destiny's Child's "Independent Woman Part I" been released in April, it likely would've been the #1 of the year, since it held down the #1 slot for 11 weeks over 2000-2001. However, it didn't and Carlos Santana is forever grateful, since his ten weeks for "Maria Maria" give him the biggest hit of early, early summer, before it was technically summer, but does anyone really think of early June as spring?
3) Boom Boom Pow -- The Black Eyed Peas (2009) (12 weeks): With "Boom Boom Pow," the Black Eyed Peas were only getting started. Beginning with the week of April 18, BEP would remain in the top spot until the week of October 17 when "Down" by Jay Sean featuring Lil Wayne would finally put an end to their total dominance. "Boom Boom Pow" was only the 12-week warm-up for the song at the top of this list. Clearly, BEPs are the future of humanity. Do what you will with that information.
2) We Belong Together -- Mariah Carey (2005) (14 weeks, non-consecutive): We would total understand if Mariah Carey challenged Carrie Underwood to a mud wrestling contest -- or whatever it is famous people do -- for ruining her streak. Four weeks after "We Belong Together" took the #1 position from Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl," Underwood rudely interrupted Carey's hit with "Inside Your Heaven," Underwood's first #1 pop hit. Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together," featuring Mariah Carey, then took back the slot for ten weeks. Kanye West finally bumrushed the charts with his own "Gold Digger," featuring Jamie Foxx, for this own ten-week run.
1) I Gotta Feeling -- The Black Eyed Peas (2009) (14 weeks): Combined with "Boom Boom Pow," The Black Eyed Peas broke the record for the longest streak for one artist to hold the #1 position with "I Gotta Feeling" (26 weeks in total -- half a year!), a song that everyone in the world has apparently admitted was the greatest song of the 2000s. Entire lives were changed between the moment when Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" ceded the top slot to BEPs. Some of us wondered if BEPs would ever give the #1 position to anyone else ever. They were like the Hitler of music!