Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: One of the music trivia blogs I read talked about Phillip Phillips, the 2012 American Idol winner, and that his new single, “Home,” just debuted on Billboard at No. 10.

They also state that the nine songs above him are all in the same position as last week, but they don't say how unusual that is.

They also didn't say if the entire Top 10 ever remained exactly the same for two consecutive weeks.

This information does not seem to exist anywhere.
—Jennett Swanson, Blaine, Wash.

DEAR JENNETT: Actually it does, but only for someone curious and determined enough to pour over each individual weekly survey — which is exactly what I did for you, and for future generations.

Beginning with the first week of January 1950, I reviewed the Top 10 singles on every week's chart up to now (June 9, 2012), bringing to 3,195 the total number of surveys reviewed!

Having trudged through more than 1,600 charts without an unchanged Top 10 got me thinking it probably never happened. A few pages later I finally got a bite.

The Top 10 hits for August 28, 1982 are precisely the same as the week before (Aug. 21):

1. “Eye of the Tiger” (Survivor)
2. “Hurts So Good” (John Cougar)
3. “Abracadabra” (Steve Miller Band)
4. “Hold Me” (Fleetwood Mac)
5. “Hard to Say I'm Sorry” (Chicago)
6. “Even the Nights Are Better” (Air Supply)
7. “Keep the Fire Burnin'” (REO Speedwagon)
8. “Vacation” (Go-Go's)
9. “Wasted on the Way” (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
10. “Take It Away” (Paul McCartney)

Then, against even greater odds, I noticed that numbers 11 and 12 were also unchanged from the week before:

11. “You Should Hear How She Talks About You” (Melissa Manchester)
12. “Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)” (Donna Summer)

Moving forward just seven months (April 2, 1983), I found not 10 or 12, but an unchanged Top 11:

1. “Billie Jean” (Michael Jackson)
2. “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” (Culture Club)
3. “Hungry Like the Wolf” (Duran Duran)
4. “You Are” (Lionel Richie)
5. “Back on the Chain Gang” (Pretenders)
6. “We've Got Tonight” (Kenny Rogers & Sheena Easton)
7. “Mr. Roboto” (Styx)
8. “Separate Ways” (World's Apart) (Journey)
9. “One on One” (Daryl Hall & John Oates)
10. “Twilight Zone” (Golden Earring)
11. “Come On Eileen” (Dexy's Midnight Runners)

Nearly 21 years later (January 10, 2004), and now in the digital era, we find the last of these rare occurrences, once again with 12 titles:

1. “Hey Ya!” (OutKast)
2. “The Way You Move” (OutKast & Sleepy Brown)
3. “Milkshake” (Kelis)
4. “You Don't Know My Name” (Alicia Keys)
5. “Stand Up” (Ludacris & Shawnna)
6. “Walked Outta Heaven” (Jagged Edge)
7. “Suga Suga” (Baby Bash & Frankie J)
8. “Here Without You” (3 Doors Down)
9. “Slow Jamz” (Twista, Kanye West & Jamie Foxx)
10. “Me, Myself and I” (Beyonce)
11. “It's My Life” (No Doubt)
12. “Someday” (Nickleback)

In the midst of this research, I discovered three additional weeks when the Top 10 songs did not change, although two positions flip-flopped (Feb. 16, 1959; Dec. 19, 1992; and July 5, 1997). Then, in addition to the recent week you reference (June 9, 2012), there are three other weeks when positions one through nine stayed the same (Feb. 23, 1957; Jan. 17, 1981; and Jan. 25, 1997).

After all of the above was written, Mike Stenz (Riverside, Calif.) provided an accurate list of an unchanged Top 14, and one that I missed in my original research. Funny thing is, it is for the week of Aug. 19, 1978 ... and Aug. 19 is my birthday. Thank you, Mike!

1. “Three Times a Lady” (Commodores)
2. “Grease” (Frankie Valli)
3. “Last Dance” (Donna Summer)
4. “Miss You” (Rolling Stones)
5. “Hot Blooded” (Foreigner)
6. “Boogie Oogie Oogie” (A Taste of Honey)
7. “Love Will Find a Way” (Pablo Cruise)
8. “Copacabana” (Barry Manilow)
9. “Magnet and Steel” (Walter Egan)
10. “An Everlasting Love” (Andy Gibb)
11. “Hopelessly Devoted to You” (Olivia Newton-John)
12. “Life's Been Good” (Joe Walsh)
13. “My Angel Baby” (Toby Beau)
14. “I'm Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight” (Atlanta Rhythm Section)

IZ ZAT SO? As strange as it seems to be named Philip Phillips, this recent Idol winner is neither the first singer so named, nor is he the first in the Top 10.

In August of 1959, “Sea of Love,” by Phil Phillips, peaked at No. 2 nationally. “The Three Bells,” by the Browns, is the tune that denied Phillips the No. 1 spot.

If Phil had sailed into that top spot, he would have joined the Singing Nun (“Dominique,” 1963), and Zager & Evans (“In the Year 2525,” 1969), as the ultimate one-hit wonders of the 1960s — acts whose only Top 100 hit reached No. 1.

Though each tried and tried, none of these folks could come up with another charted hit.

Return to "Mr. Music" Home Page