Week Ending June 30, 2013. Songs: Macklemore’s Timely Hit
Here’s another winner of last week’s historic Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage equality: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. “Same Love,” the pair’s plaintive song on the subject featuring Mary Lambert, leaps from #28 to #16 in its 16th week on the Hot 100. The hit is already #8 on Hot Digital Songs. The song sold 110K copies in the past week, its largest weekly sum to date. The song is just a week away from becoming a million-seller, which raises the question: Will Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ship off a gold record to the Supreme Court?
Other gay-friendly hits have charted, notably Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” which topped the Hot 100 for six weeks in February and March 2011, and Miley Cyrus’ current “We Can’t Stop,” which is more broadly a “do your own thing” kind of song, but includes these seemingly applicable lyrics: “It’s our party, we can love who we want/We can kiss who we want” and “Remember only God can judge us/Forget the haters ‘cause somebody loves ya.”
This isn’t the first time that a hit song has tied into current events. In March 1965, the same month that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led 25,000 demonstrators on a 50-mile march from Selma, Alabama to the state capitol in Montgomery, two classic songs about racial progress appeared in the top 40. Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” reached #31 the first week of March. The Impressions’ “People Get Ready” (written by group member Curtis Mayfield) hit #14 the last week of March. In June 1967, with civil rights still very much at the forefront, Aretha Franklin’s version of Otis Redding’s “Respect” hit #1. All three of these songs have been voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” hit #1 in December 1972, just as the women’s movement was cresting. Ms. Magazine began publication that January. The Senate passed the Equal Rights Amendment in March. Maude debuted on TV in September.
“Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell tops the Hot 100 for the fourth week. The song sold 423K copies this week, down just slightly from last week’s tally of 424K. It’s the first song to top 400K two weeks in a row since “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra, which topped the mark three weeks running in April 2012.
Only three other songs in digital history have topped 400K in weekly sales two weeks in a row. They are Flo Rida’s “Right Round” (two weeks in February 2009), Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” (two weeks in December 2010-January 2011) and Lady Gaga’s aforementioned “Born This Way” (two weeks in February 2011).