Third Place Is a 3-Way Tie for the Most Rock and Alternative Airplay

The Foo Fighters reclaimed their spot on the Billboard charts for the second week in a row. The group’s latest single from their album Medicine at Midnight jumped from number 14 to number 8 on the Rock & Alternative Airplay chart. The song went up by 28%, raking in 3.6 million audience impressions. Although the Foo Fighters are the talk of the town because of their significant move back to glory, three other bands have had a 3-way tie that deserves recognition.

Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters on stage playing a guitar in a pair of black pants and a black T-shirt in front of a background with red, white, and blue circles.
Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters | Getty Images

It’s a long hard road to make it to the top 10 for the most Rock and Alternative Airplay

Alternative Airplay first appeared in Billboard Magazine on September 10, 1988. The chart ranks the 40 most played songs on modern rock and alternative radio stations and serves as a companion to the Mainstream Rock chart. Billboard created the chart after the explosion of alternative music in the late ’80s playing on the radio.

When the chart was first introduced, it featured songs that were unheard of in mainstream media, which were songs that mainly played on college rock radio stations. Still, as alternative rock started to pick up and become more mainstream, many mainstream radio stations began playing the songs.

The Alternative Airplay chart was launched in 2009 and is based only on the amount of airplay a song receives, ranked by calculating the total number of spins a song gets every week. Although being on the chart is an achievement for most artists, it’s not easy to make it to the top 10 and is a tough gig to pull.

The song needs to be a hit and receive plenty of airplay on mainstream radio for an artist to make it to the top 10. Additionally, making it to the top 10 remains volatile as new hits come out every week, and an artist can easily get knocked down a spot or two on the chart.

The Foo Fighters tied with Cage the Elephant for the most Rock and Alternative Airplay

As they reclaimed their glory to make it to the top of the chart, the Foo Fighters tied with Cage the Elephant for their 13th top 10 on the tally. The Foo Fighters have the most top 10s since the list started in June 2009 and more than a decade after the Foo Fighters’ breakthrough in the ’90s.

The band’s tie comes in barely a week after they tied with singer Tom Petty for the most top 10 songs in the history of the Mainstream Rock Airplay chart with “Making a Fire” jumping up five spots from number 15 to 9. “Fire” is Foo Fighters’ 28th top 10 since their first chart-topper “This is a Call” peaked at number 6 in 1995. Petty had 28 top 10s from when the chart started in 1981 until 1999, topping all acts for more than two years before the Foo Fighters made the mark.

Third place is a 3-way tie

Closely following the number one tie between the Foo Fighters and Cage the Elephant is Shinedown and Twenty One Pilots with 12 top 10s, followed by a 3-way tie between The Black Keys, Imagine Dragons, and Muse with 10 top 10s.

The Black Keys is composed of Dan Auerbach on guitar and vocals and Patrick Carney on drums. The pair started by recording music in basements before becoming one of the most well-known garage rock artists. Today, The Black Keys are known for chart-toppers like “Fever,” “Tighten Up,” and “Gotta Get Away.”

Imagine Dragons consists of Dan Reynolds, Wayne Sermon, Ben McKee, and Daniel Platzman. The group is known for hits like “Radioactive,” “Whatever It Takes,” and “Demons.” Muse consists of Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme, and Dominic Howard. They are known for chart-toppers like “Panic Station,” “Plug-In Baby,” and “Hysteria.”

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