Billboard’s Hot 100 charts use data from Nielsen SoundScan regarding radio airplay, actual sales, and online music streaming to get an accurate look at what songs people are listening to the most. At the end of the year, Billboard looks at the charts to see which singles stayed near the top of the charts the longest and which artists had the highest-charting singles to make its year-end lists of which songs and artists we just couldn’t stop listening to. Here are the 10 singles you couldn’t escape, get out of your head, or quit adding to all your playlists in 2014.
10. “Stay With Me,” Sam Smith
British blue-eyed soul singer Sam Smith had a big hit this year with his debut album, the mournful ballad about a one-night stand “Stay With Me,” and the massive EDM dance club hit “Latch” on which he collaborated with the electronic duo Disclosure. “Stay With Me” peaked at No. 2 and has been on the charts for 36 weeks, currently sitting in the 25th spot. His next single “I’m Not the Only One” is now climbing the charts, at its peak No. 5 spot now. Smith was named the No. 8 Top Artist of the year for his success with his moody and soulful debut record, In the Lonely Hour.
9. “Problem,” Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea
This big hit combined two of 2014’s biggest forces in pop music. We’ll talk more about Azalea later on, but Ariana Grande was another one of the year’s most talked about artists. The pint-size pop singer has been called the next Mariah Carey and got her start acting on teen-oriented Nickelodeon shows before transitioning to pop music. “Problem” peaked at No. 2, spent 25 weeks on the charts, and was considered one of the biggest songs of the summer. Grande has also had hits this year with “Bang Bang” featuring Jessie J and Nicki Minaj and “Love Me Harder” featuring The Weeknd from her new album My Everything. Grande was named the ninth-biggest artist of 2014 by Billboard.
8. “All About That Bass,” Meghan Trainor
The unknown pop singer Meghan Trainor was one of the biggest breakouts of the year with her huge, tongue-in-cheek single “All About That Bass.” The song rocketed to No. 1 on the Hot 100 even though no one had heard of Trainor before, has spent 23 weeks on the charts, and is currently sitting at No. 7. Her next single, “Lips Are Movin,” is climbing the charts to make for another hit for the singer and is at No. 4 right now. It looks like Trainor could have another No. 1 hit on her hands as the new year approaches.
7. “Rude,” MAGIC!
The pop reggae band MAGIC! had a summer hit with their song “Rude,” which is about the difficulties a relationship faces when a girl’s “rude” father doesn’t approve of the song’s narrator as the lover of his daughter. The song managed to knock Iggy Azalea’s seemingly unstoppable “Fancy” from the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 and has been on the charts for 34 weeks, currently sitting at No. 42. “Rude” is the only song the band has had make it on the Hot 100 charts, so MAGIC! has yet to prove they can be more than a one-hit wonder.
6. “Talk Dirty,” Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz
R&B singer Jason Derulo’s single “Talk Dirty” was the first of his songs ever to have a rap feature and collaborating with 2 Chainz helped Derulo score his biggest hit yet. The song stayed on the charts for 33 weeks and Derulo was the sixth Top Artist of the year. He also had a big single with “Wiggle” featuring Snoop Dogg, which peaked at No. 5 and was on the charts for 21 weeks.
5. “Counting Stars,” OneRepublic
“Counting Stars” never made it to the No. 1 spot, but the time it spent at No. 2 warranted it the No. 5 position on Billboard’s singles of the year and it was on the Hot 100 for 68 weeks. The pop rock band released their third album Native at the end of 2013 after a three-and-a-half year hiatus. “Counting Stars” was their first song to break the top five of the Hot 100 since 2007 and the band was named the fifth Top Artist of the year. It hopefully won’t be so long between albums again, as OneRepublic posted on Twitter on November 7 that the band is at work on their fourth record.
4. “Fancy,” Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX
Iggy Azalea emerged this summer as one of the biggest and most controversial artists to come out of the rap world in recent memory. “Fancy” sat at No. 1 for much of the summer and was on the charts for 39 weeks this year as the Australian rapper’s debut album The New Classic made her one of the biggest new artists of 2014. “Fancy” in addition to her collaboration with Ariana Grande, “Problem,” and Rita Ora, “Black Widow,” made her the third-biggest Hot 100 artist of 2014. As much success as she’s had, Azalea has faced equally as much backlash from people accusing her of ripping off black culture and essentially being as inauthentic as they come.
3. “All of Me,” John Legend
John Legend’s love ballad “All of Me” from his record of the same name was on the charts for 59 weeks, earning him fourth place in the Top Artists of the year rundown. Like Pharrell, the R&B singer, songwriter, and pianist was known for assisting other artists including Alicia Keys and Kanye West with big hits before his solo material gained recognition. “All of Me” was written for his new wife, model Chrissy Teigen.
2. “Dark Horse,” Katy Perry ft. Juicy J
“Dark Horse” was the biggest single from Perry’s 2013 record PRISM, spending a total of 57 weeks on the Hot 100 charts. Featuring the rapper Juicy J and boasting a bizarre, Egyptian-inspired music video, the song was another factor that helped Perry get enough attention to land the coveted gig of playing the Super Bowl Halftime Show this January. Perry beat out Pharrell to be crowned Billboard’s Top Artist of 2014, with her songs “Roar,” “Unconditionally,” “Birthday,” and “This Is How We Do” all placing high on the Hot 100 during the year. As icing on the cake, in 2014, Perry was ranked the fifth highest-earning woman in music by Forbes, which estimated that she made $40 million.
1. “Happy,” Pharrell Williams
Before this summer, Pharrell was known more as a sideman and producer making awesome songs for other artists, standing in the background while singers like Robin Thicke got the credit for massively huge singles that he wrote and produced. Then he released his second solo album, GIRL, early this year. The record includes the single “Happy,” which was written for the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack and had already earned an Academy Award nomination. Pharrell’s “Happy” was inescapable this summer and spent a total of 47 weeks on the Hot 100 charts. Pharrell was also the No. 2 Hot 100 Artist of 2014, mostly thanks to the success of “Happy.”
Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS
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