How Do I Count Thee? Let Me Love The Ways (#1 Songs)

Back in my day, you see, it was a simple process.

Song / Act / Weeks at #1
I Wanna Hold Your Hand / Beatles, The / 7
Can’t Buy Me Love / Beatles, The / 3
Baby Love / Supremes, The / 1

And so forth.

I admit there were some wrinkles even back then.

Someday We’ll Be Together / Diana Ross & The Supremes / 3

When I had to count up how many weeks a band had at Billboard’s #1 spot, clearly “The Supremes” and “Diana Ross & The Supremes” were the same act for purposes of that calculation. Equally clearly, “Wings” and “The Beatles” were not; “Wings” and “Paul McCartney and Wings” were.

Slightly difficult, but nothing really problematic.

Now we get from the simple, easy life of yesteryear to the depraved, moral indifference of today.

Does “Heartbreaker” by “Mariah Carey Featuring Jay-Z” get credited to Mariah Carey?

How about “Yeah!” by “Usher Featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris”. Do Usher, Lil Jon, and Ludacris ALL get credit for the weeks this song spent at #1?

“Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” is “Puff Daddy (Featuring Mase)”. But “Mo Money Mo Problems” is “The Notorious B.I.G. Featuring Puff Daddy & Mase”. What do I do when TWO acts are “featured?”

This is why all progress is bad, and I long for the return of yesteryear, when all I had to worry about was Sonny James AND Tab Hunter singing “Young Love” and being at the tops of two different charts with the same song at the same time.

But since we’re stuck in the present… how should “weeks at #1” be calculated for these crazy acts that feature each other? Is each individual permutation a separate act? Does a name, appearing anywhere, get “credit”? What should I do?

I’d imagine “credit” goes to the artist whose album actually carries the song. And frankly, as long as both (or all) of the artists involved get paid, it shouldn’t really matter. I’m certainly not in the recording industry, but I can’t imagine that statistics like that are terribly important in terms of getting a good record deal. Either you’re known, or you aren’t.

I fully acknowledge I could be wrong about my assumption regarding statistics. Does anyone in the know care to support or correct me?

I’m asking because as a lover of trivia, I like to be able to track such things.

In the old days, there were records that stood, seemingly unbreakable. The Beatles: 20 number one songs. No one was ever going to catch that. Singing the Blues, by Guy Mitchell - ten weeks at number one. There were close contenders (Hey Jude, among others, had NINE weeks at number one) but no one was going to crack that. The Beatles again - three successive songs at number one (I Wanna Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, Can’t Buy Me Love).

Around 1980, I started to collect all the number one songs of the “rock era” - starting with Rock Around the Clock in mid-1955. And I started keeping track of the stats and records.

I dropped that hobby after a few years, when I couldn’t afford to spend even the money for a 45 RPM single every week.

Lately I’ve begun to look at it again, and realize how those “unbreakable” records have been absolutely shattered by Mariah Carey, who’s had a sixteen-week nunmber one song, and more than 20 number ones in her career.

As I rebuild my year-by-year list of songs, I see all these “featuring” credits, and I have no idea what the right method is… does a song “featuring” Mariah Carey count towards her weeks at #1 or songs at #1 ranking?

Thus, my question. Not phrased too clearly, I guess.

As a lover of rock era trivia, you already know that “Get Back” was the only Beatles song to credit a guest performer. But that in no way means that “Get Back” was a Billy Preston song.

So for purposes of your list keeping, I’d say that the first name is the one that counts, unless it’s clearly a duet.

listing a guest performer in an individual song, i.e. “featuring” is simply offering credit in a different place than buried in the liner notes. It’s ostensibly done as an extra attaboy kinda thing. It in no way changes which artist performs the song, and (usually) doesn’t affect who gets paid. Guests often do it for a)the extra exposure, b) the thrill of helping a friend, c) the opportunity to work with a new producer. But very rarely do [del]session players[/del] featured guests, even big name ones, get to co-op any of the royalties on a song they sat in on.