Chart Watch Extra: The Year’s Top Songs
If you’ve been anywhere near a radio in the past year, you don’t need me to tell you the titles of the year’s top three hits: “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” and “We Are Young” by fun. featuring Janelle Monae.
There are three main things you should know about them. First, none of the five artists involved had ever cracked Billboard’s Hot 100 before. Second, all three hits are nominated for Grammys as Record and/or Song of the Year, which shows an unusual degree of fan and industry agreement. Third, each of the three songs has sold more copies so far this year than any song had sold before in a calendar year in digital history.
“Somebody That I Used To Know” has sold 6,721,000 copies so far this year (there are two chart weeks to go in which it can fatten its tally). The smash is the front-runner to win the Grammy for Record of the Year. If it does, this will be the second year in a row that a song has both been the year’s top-seller and walked off with the top Grammy. Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” achieved both feats last year.
“Call Me Maybe” is #2 for the year-to-date (6,280,000). It’s nominated for a Grammy as Song of the Year. Jepsen has a second song in the top 40. “Good Time,” her cheery collabo with Owl City, is #32 for the year-to-date (2,126,000)
“We Are Young” is #3 for the year-to-date (5,846,000). It’s nominated for Grammys for both Record and Song of the Year. fun., a trio from New York, has a second song in the top 10 for the year-to-date. “Some Nights” is #8 (3,569,000). fun. will become the first group or duo to have two songs in the year-end top 10 since the Black Eyed Peas scored in 2009 with “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling.” (Three solo artists have achieved this feat in recent years: Lady Gaga in 2009, Eminem in 2010 and Adele last year.)
“Rolling In The Deep” held the previous record for greatest calendar-year sales in digital history. It sold 5,813,000 copies in 2011. To find a song that sold more copies in a calendar year than each of this year’s top three hits, you have to go back to Elton John’s pre-digital smash “Candle In The Wind 1997,” which sold 8,111,000 physical copies in the last 14 weeks of 1997, according to Nielsen SoundScan.