July 23, 2018 / 5:55 AM

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7 Longest Climbs to No. 1 on Hot 100: John Legend, Creed and More Took Months to Get to Top


The classic charity anthem "We Are The World" reached no. 1 on this date 30 years ago, but it was far from when the single debuted: It took more than three months for the song—which featured Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Lionel Richie and many more—to climb up to the no. 1 spot. That's far from the longest a single has had to wait before it arrived at no. 1 on the Hot 100 however. These seven songs asked for a lot more patience from the performers who created them (from least to greatest wait):

07) "Baby Come to Me" by Patti Austin and James Ingram (23 weeks)

Although it "only" appears at no. 7 on this list, "Baby Come to Me" probably deserves some extra consideration for the fact that it was released twice as a single before it got to no. 1 on the Hot 100. The track was initially released for radio play as a single from Austin's 1981 album Every Home Should Have One, where it reached no. 73 at its peaks. A few years later the song was introduced to a wider audience when it became the theme song for the character Luke Spencer on soap opera General Hospital. ABC got so many questions about the song that they and Warner Records rereleased it as a single during 1983, where it eventually reached no. 1 after a 23 week slog.

06 "Red Red Wine" by UB40 (25 weeks)

The track "Red Red Wine" wasn't Neil Diamond's most successful single but it was still at least mildly popular, reaching no. 62 on the Hot 100. The band UB40, responsible for the reggae-infused version that you're more likely to be familiar with, was onto something when they made it more of a jammin' toast than a ballad, as Diamond had. The UK label DEP International didn't get the appeal however and released the song without the famous verse from Astro (red red wine / you make me feel so fine / you keep me rocking' all of the time). When the song was rereleased as a U.S. single during 1988, A&M kept the verse and indeed, people kept it rocking all of the time, rising to no. 1 after 25 weeks.

05) "Everything You Want" by Vertical Horizon (26 weeks)

When rock or songs that are otherwise considered "alternative" finally make it to no. 1, it's not surprising that it takes longer than those of more pop-oriented acts. Generally the song starts on rock radio and is eventually found by Top 40 listeners and makes its way over, weeks and weeks after it was initially released. The catch is that such tracks only reach the top of the Hot 100 in rare cases, and those that do are usually more "pop" sounding than your typical rock track. For example, Evanescence's hit single "Bring Me To Life" only got to no. 5 on the Hot 100 but it certainly would have made this list if it hit no. 1. Vertical Horizon's "Everything You Want" may have started on rock radio but it was destined for a pop audience.

04) "With Arms Wide Open" by Creed (27 weeks)

Here's another instance where a song that's clearly rock format makes it no. 1 on the hot 100 over an extended period of time, as "With Arms Wide Open" took 27 weeks to make it to the top spot in all of music. The good news for rock bands is that once they've gotten to peak once, it usually takes far less time for the rest of its future discography to gather attention, as listeners are already familiar with the band. Although Creed never got to no. 1 again, its singles "My Sacrifice" and "One Last Breath" both cracked the Top 10. The bad news for rockers is that once you've reached no. 1 on the Hot 100, regardless of how heavy you truly are, the rock fan base is going to look at you suspiciously, as Creed would find out.

03) "All of Me" by John Legend (30 weeks)

"All of Me" may not have spent that many weeks at no. 1 but those who followed Music Times coverage of the Digital Downloads charts during 2013 know that the John Legend single spent plenty of time in the Top 10. The campaign of Legend's bestselling song to date proves that sales success doesn't necessarily depend on weeks at no. 1, as "All Of Me" was the no. 2 bestselling track of 2014 (although the no. 1 song of the year was Pharrell Williams' "Happy," which did spend quite a few weeks at no. 1). "All of Me" was the track to finally knock Williams out of the top spot, although it took the pianist/crooner 30 weeks to do it, making him one of three artists to take more than 30 weeks to do so.

02) "Amazed" by Lonestar (31 weeks)

One thing that's interesting to consider when looking at the songs on this list is that just because it took them forever to get to the top of the chart, that doesn't mean they stay there long. Many only peak for one week before making the even longer trip to the bottom. The Top 2 examples on this list did just the opposite however: Lonestar took 31 weeks to get to the top of the Hot 100 with "Amazed" and the band stayed there for eight weeks once it got there. It's also worth noting that country music rarely gets to the top of the charts—after "Amazed," no song that was qualified as "country" reached no. 1 until Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" reached the spot during 2012. And, let's be honest, that wasn't a country song.

01) "Macarena" by Los Del Río (33 weeks)

Perhaps the world's most epic one-hit wonder, "Macarena" is also the top of the rankings for the longest trip to the no. 1 spot. The song was originally released by Los Del Río during 1995 but it would reemerge when the Bayside Boys released the hit remix you now know. The hit took a while to get to the top but once it reached no. 1, it locked in: The song spent 14 weeks at the top spot and is now ranked as the no. 7 single all time by Billboard according to its sales and popularity. So yeah, any time you try to criticize people for enjoying "Macarena," just realize that at some point nearly everyone you knew liked it too.

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