Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia

Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia

Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia

CATEGORY: Music
What makes a song a smash? Talent? Luck? Timing? All that—and more. Chris Molanphy, pop-chart analyst and author of Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series, tells tales from a half-century of chart history. Through storytelling, trivia and song snippets, Chris dissects how that song you love—or hate—dominated the airwaves, made its way to the top of the charts and shaped your memories forever.
  1. September 17, 2022
    1 hr
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    At Last, My Legacy Has Come Along Edition Part 1
    What do you call a song that bombed on the charts back in the day, that now booms out of radios and streaming apps nationwide? Chris Molanphy has a name for these songs: legacy hits. Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.”…
  2. August 26, 2022
    48 min
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    Still Billy Joel to Me Part 2
    So, sure—Billy Joel’s first Top 40 hit, way back in 1974, was “Piano Man,” and the nickname stuck. But for a guy who became famous sitting behind 88 keys, few of his biggest hits are really piano songs. In fact…
  3. August 12, 2022
    1 hr 1 min
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    Still Billy Joel to Me Part 1
    So, sure—Billy Joel’s first Top 40 hit, way back in 1974, was “Piano Man,” and the nickname stuck. But for a guy who became famous sitting behind 88 keys, few of his biggest hits are really piano songs. In fact…
  4. July 29, 2022
    50 min
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    Point of No Return Part 2
    After the so-called-but-not-really “death” of disco, dance music in the 1980s moved to its own beat. There was synthpop, electro, hi-NRG and house. But the scrappy genre that seemed to pull it all together was…
  5. July 16, 2022
    1 hr 3 min
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    Point of No Return Part 1
    After the so-called-but-not-really “death” of disco, dance music in the 1980s moved to its own beat. There was synthpop, electro, hi-NRG and house. But the scrappy genre that seemed to pull it all together was…
  6. July 01, 2022
    41 min
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    A Deal with the TV God Part 2
    For decades, British alt-pop goddess Kate Bush had never had a Top 10 hit in America. Now, in 2022, she finds herself in the Hot 100’s Top Five—and television got her there. Her classic “Running Up That Hill” i…
  7. June 18, 2022
    55 min
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    A Deal with the TV God Part 1
    For decades, British alt-pop goddess Kate Bush had never had a Top 10 hit in America. Now, in 2022, she finds herself in the Hot 100’s Top Five—and television got her there. Her classic “Running Up That Hill” i…
  8. May 27, 2022
    1 hr 8 min
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    Flip It and Reverse It Part 2
    What was in the water in Virginia Beach? Starting in the ’90s and peaking in the ’00s, Pharrell Williams, Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley and Missy Elliott—friends and family from the Tidewater Region—made nerdy pop…
  9. May 21, 2022
    1 hr 11 min
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    Flip It and Reverse It Part 1
    What was in the water in Virginia Beach? Starting in the ’90s and peaking in the ’00s, Pharrell Williams, Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley and Missy Elliott—friends and family from the Tidewater Region—made nerdy pop…
  10. May 13, 2022
    36 min
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    Decoder Ring: "We Got Ourselves a Convoy"
    In the 1970s, a song about protesting truckers topped the music charts in multiple countries, and kicked off a pop culture craze for CB radios. In early 2022, that same song became an anthem for a new trucker-l…
  11. April 29, 2022
    58 min
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    I Got Five on It Part 2
    Five years ago this month, Hit Parade launched on the Slate podcast network. What have we learned in that half-decade? And what episodes did you love the most? We asked you to vote—and the results may surprise…
  12. April 16, 2022
    54 min
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    I Got Five on It Part 1
    Five years ago this month, Hit Parade launched on the Slate podcast network. What have we learned in that half-decade? And what episodes did you love the most? We asked you to vote—and the results may surprise…
  13. April 01, 2022
    1 hr 2 min
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    Killing Me Softly Part 2
    The early ’70s was a great time for R&B queens on the charts: Roberta Flack. Dionne Warwick. Patti LaBelle. Chaka Khan. They had come through the ’60s—Dionne as a smooth pop-and-B star, Patti as a girl-group fr…
  14. March 26, 2022
    1 hr 19 min
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    Killing Me Softly Part 1
    The early ’70s was a great time for R&B queens on the charts: Roberta Flack. Dionne Warwick. Patti LaBelle. Chaka Khan. They had come through the ’60s—Dionne as a smooth pop-and-B star, Patti as a girl-group fr…
  15. February 25, 2022
    1 hr 6 min
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    We Invented the Remix Part 2
    Today on Hit Parade, we continue tracing the history of the remix. From Jennifer Lopez to Billie Eilish to Lil Nas X, the remix has become a ubiquitous part of contemporary pop chart battles. In part 2 we conti…
  16. February 19, 2022
    1 hr 9 min
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    We Invented the Remix Part 1
    Today on Hit Parade, we trace the multifarious history of the remix: a musical term with a universe of meanings. Rethinks. Reboots. Reinventions. Re-recordings. Even instances where the so-called remix came bef…
  17. January 28, 2022
    1 hr 2 min
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    Rock ’n Soul, Part 2
    In part two of our deep dive into Daryl Hall & John Oates' genre-defying streak on the pop charts, Chris Molanphy argues they were also more cutting-edge than you may realize, essentially inventing their own fo…
  18. January 15, 2022
    1 hr 1 min
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    Rock ’n Soul, Part 1
    Daryl Hall and John Oates: Their songs were earworms, their videos cheap and goofy. John Oates’s mustache and Daryl Hall’s mullet are relics of their time. And…for about five years, their crazy streak on the po…
  19. January 11, 2022
    58 min
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    One Year: Hey Macarena!
    Hey Hit Parade fans! Here's an episode from another show we think you’ll like. Slate's history podcast One Year introduces you to people and ideas that changed American history, one year at a time. The new seas…
  20. December 31, 2021
    52 min
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    Chestnut Roasters, Part 2
    In part 2 of this holiday episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy dives deep into radio, streaming and Billboard chart data of some your favorite holiday hitmakers to compare their long legacies to the majority-m…

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