Billboard Hot 100 vs. Official Charts Company: 2Pac, Wiz Khalifa and 40 Years of No. 1s
Few people realize just how different the music across the pond is from that we listen to in America, that the Hot 100 doesn't exist in the UK, and that its equivalent to our singles chart doesn't just feature a whole bunch of American artists with even more One Direction and Ellie Goulding tracks.Music Times is looking back at the last five decades of music, and at the no. 1 hits on April 2 every ten years on the spot, going back to 1975. The ultimate contest, of course, is which country has better taste. Last month the win went to the UK in the best-of-five showdown. This month features Wiz Khalifa, Carrie Underwood, 2Pac and more in the field.
1975: "Love Will Keep Us Together" by Captain & Tennille (U.S.) vs. "I'm Not In Love" by 10cc (UK)
This month's competition gets off to a humorous start, as the Americans are clearly pushing for love, while the British act in the match are opposed. Right now "I'm Not In Love" has seen a bit of a resurgence thanks to its presence on the Guardians of The Galaxy Awesome Mix soundtrack, which topped the Billboard 200 last year. Although we appreciate the "art rock" nature of 10cc...we prefer art rock that isn't as boring as this. Captain & Tennille is about as far from 10cc's approach as you can imagine—wife Tennille singing over husband Captain's piano—but her sass makes the simplicity of this pop tune fine by us. Bonus points are awarded to "Love Will Keep Us Together" for its employment of a clavinet. This decision rendered, we admit that we would take British act Joy Divison's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" over this more optimistic vision.
1985: "Heaven" by Bryan Adams (U.S.) vs. "Frankie" by Sister Sledge (UK)
Both nations go outside of their polling areas to grab performers for the respective no. 1 singles of this week 30 years ago. The U.S. looked north to Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, while the UK went across the pond and grabbed Philadelphia's own Sister Sledge and its hit "Frankie." The latter group came all-so-close to a no. 1 single in its homeland during 1979 with "We Are Family" but unfortunately it peaked at no. 2. The group never came that close to a Hot 100 no. 1 again, perhaps inspiring it to go all turncoat and peak at no. 1 in the UK during 1985 with "Frankie," a reggae-tinged R&B single. That song only peaked at no. 75 in the U.S...fine by us, as it sure wasn't "We Are Family." Many '90s-era children will remember DJ Sammy's version of "Heaven," which is bull because Adams' original is just one of the greatest rock ballads ever. Match his scratchy vocals with a few well-placed chords and boom...lighters out.
1995: "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?" by Bryan Adams (U.S.) vs. "Boom Boom Boom" by the Outhere Brothers
In a surprising turn of events, Bryan Adams was topping the Billboard Hot 100 exactly ten years after he did so for the first time, a sign of staying power and coincidence. Unfortunately, as we mentioned during last month's post...we don't care nearly as much for this single from his discography, from its concept to it's abuse of adjectives during the title. He might be in luck however, as he faces off against "Boom Boom Boom" by the Outhere Brothers, an embarrassment of an act that managed to stick around for a few years during the '90s with songs such as "Pass The Toilet Paper" and "F*k U in The A*s." Most Brits probably didn't realize the remixed song that made it to no. 1 in the nation had much raunchier lyrics in its uncensored version. However, we're required to examine only the version that went to no. 1, so Outhere gets the nod.
WINNER: The UK
2005: "Inside Your Heaven" by Carrie Underwood (U.S.) vs. "Ghetto Gospel" by 2Pac ft. Elton John
Perhaps because listeners don't like too much information lingering in their brains, singles tend to top the charts for months at a time more nowadays. Carrie Underwood's "Inside Your Heaven" is a rarity post-2000, having topped the Hot 100 for just one week before being replaced. This was, of course, because it was immediately following her victory at American Idol, whereupon the American populace immediately forgot about her. Thing we're kidding? Her current relevance is entirely because of the dedication of country fans. None of her other singles have gotten to no. 1 on the mainstream charts, but she's topped the country charts 12 times. Perhaps because the U.S. was sick of 2Pac posthumous music by 2005, as "Ghetto Gospel" didn't even chart. Don't get too excited about the Elton John guest spot...it's just a sample from his 1971 hit "Indian Sunset." Still, it's a nice touch, and Underwood's best work would be ahead of her.
WINNER: The UK
2015: "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth vs. "Not Letting Go" by Tinie Tempah ft. Jess Glynne
The Brits finally go with a pair of homegrown performers for the last entry in this month's challenge, going with London emcee Tinie Tempah, featuring a hook from Jess Glynne. Glynne is essentially the British Rihanna, the go-to name in producing smash hooks. She's already been to no. 1 in the UK with Clean Bandit's "Rather Be" and Route 94's "My Love" (and her own "Hold My Hand" topped the UK charts for three weeks). That said...we're still not going to take it over Wiz Khalifa and his special guest Charlie Puth. It was a tough match, but the sentimental value attached to the lyrics makes the Furious 7 chart-topper the tiebreaker here.
MATCH WINNER: The U.S.