songs that weren't a bands biggest hit, but have gone on to be their legacy song and biggest iTunes seller

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I saw the Prodigy last night and was surprised to find out that the biggest reaction wasn't for "Breathe" or "Firestarter" or "Poison", but for "Smack My Bitch Up." I checked on iTunes and it's their biggest selling track! Sometime in the last 10 years it became their legacy track. How? Why? What other bands is this true?

so, yeah. Please cross-reference with iTunes for this.

1. Prodigy - "Smack My Bitch Up"

donky tonk women (Whiney G. Weingarten), Friday, 27 March 2009 16:50 (twelve years ago) link

great thread idea, i definitely have sat around and figured this out w/ a few bands, will have to look some up when i get home tonight

the worst breed of fong (some dude), Friday, 27 March 2009 16:53 (twelve years ago) link

would be interesting to cross-reference this with licensing

s1ocki, Friday, 27 March 2009 16:54 (twelve years ago) link

like maybe in the long run that impacts sales more than radio/video play

s1ocki, Friday, 27 March 2009 16:55 (twelve years ago) link

my guess is that there are a large number of people out there who did not know the band Prodigy but knew there was a song called "Smack My Bitch Up"

fight the real NME (Curt1s Stephens), Friday, 27 March 2009 16:58 (twelve years ago) link

i always thought smack my bitch was the big prodigy song!!

rip dom passantino 3/5/09 never forget (max), Friday, 27 March 2009 16:59 (twelve years ago) link

it wouldn't have sold as well as nearly half their other 90s songs esp. the two #1s

Hard House SugBanton (blueski), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:00 (twelve years ago) link

notoriety was helped by banned video, no?

鬼の手 (Edward III), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:03 (twelve years ago) link

2. Elton John - "Tiny Dancer"
^^ someone can doublecheck this and refute it if necessary since i'm looking at a cached browser page of his top iTunes songs, but that's a very prominent example of a song that movie licensing turned into a much bigger part of the artist's legacy than it had been before

the worst breed of fong (some dude), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:03 (twelve years ago) link

wouldn't be surprised if 'Wonderwall' was biggest-selling Oasis song online (was probably their biggest hit in the US if not in the UK tho)

Hard House SugBanton (blueski), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:06 (twelve years ago) link

Don't have iTunes right here, but just guessing on a few...

Peter Gabriel - In Your Eyes (wasn't even a single from So)
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
Lou Reed - Perfect Day

kornrulez6969, Friday, 27 March 2009 17:06 (twelve years ago) link

Bohemian Rhapsody was always Queen's biggest hit surely

Hard House SugBanton (blueski), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:07 (twelve years ago) link

"Bohemian Rhapsody" benefitted from the 90s re-release and Wayne's World, but it was always one of their biggest hits, I gotta veto that. xpost

the worst breed of fong (some dude), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:09 (twelve years ago) link

Perfect Day? It must still be "Walk on the Wild Side"

President Keyes, Friday, 27 March 2009 17:13 (twelve years ago) link

Journey's only two top 5 songs in the US were "Open Arms" and "Who's Crying Now."

"Don't Stop Believing," meanwhile, is the biggest-selling catalogue track in iTunes history.

Bianca Jagger (jaymc), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:16 (twelve years ago) link

no way was bohemian rhapsody a bigger hit than "another one bites the dust" or "crazy little thing called love"

What about "Son of a Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield?

obv I don't know the UK chart stuff much, but was that actually her biggest hit?

stank pony (M@tt He1ges0n), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:16 (twelve years ago) link

ooh good call, put a 3 on that. xpost re journey

the worst breed of fong (some dude), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:17 (twelve years ago) link

"Bohemian Rhapsody" held a sales record in the UK for almost a decade and was Queen's first US top 10. I would say songs that establish a band on that level count as one of their biggest hits whether there are higher charting songs or not.

the worst breed of fong (some dude), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:19 (twelve years ago) link

Bohemian Rhapsody was always Queen's biggest hit surely

Not in the U.S., where No. 1 hits "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (!) and "Another One Bites The Dust" both charted higher. (So did "We Are The Champions," at first, but then "Rhapsody" came back in 1992 and hit No. 2 off of Wayne's World; it had only hit No. 9 on its original release.)

The Romantics' legacy song is almost certainly "What I Like About You" (big jock-rock hit, right?), though in their lifetime "Talking In Your Sleep" charted way higher (No. 3, compared to No. 49.)

xhuxk, Friday, 27 March 2009 17:20 (twelve years ago) link

what about "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond....again, i'm a lil ignorant of his history but wiki says "Song Sung Blue" was a bigger chart hit

stank pony (M@tt He1ges0n), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:20 (twelve years ago) link

yeah that's really interesting, i don't think i've ever even heard "Talking In Your Sleep" but I've heard "Like" a million times. xpost

the worst breed of fong (some dude), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:21 (twelve years ago) link

this icon should be next to all these songs in the iTunes store: http://www.soulstrut.com/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/badassbuddy_com-slowburner.gif

the worst breed of fong (some dude), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:23 (twelve years ago) link

I think I've heard those 2 about an equal # of times--but I guess "Like" is more of a party song.

President Keyes, Friday, 27 March 2009 17:23 (twelve years ago) link

what about "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond....again, i'm a lil ignorant of his history but wiki says "Song Sung Blue" was a bigger chart hit

Yeah, I think "Sweet Caroline" and "Cherry Cherry" are both more famous today than "Song Sung Blue" or "Cracklin' Rosie" -- but they were all in the top 5.

Bianca Jagger (jaymc), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:24 (twelve years ago) link

Freebird? That's certainly Skynyrd's legacy song, but probably not their biggest iTunes seller (Sweet Home Alabama?).

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 27 March 2009 17:26 (twelve years ago) link

(Meant to add "Song Sung Blue" and "Cracklin' Rosie" were his only two solo #1s.)

Bianca Jagger (jaymc), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:27 (twelve years ago) link

oh wow here's the ultimate one:

according to wiki, "Dancing With Myself" by Billy Idol only reached 102 on the U.S. charts and FAILED to chart in the U.K.

stank pony (M@tt He1ges0n), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:27 (twelve years ago) link

usually a soundtrack or placement in a television show will raise a song out of the bands "hits" into a totally different demographic

cutty, Friday, 27 March 2009 17:27 (twelve years ago) link

Peter Gabriel - In Your Eyes (wasn't even a single from So)

This was released as a single off of the "Say Anything" soundtrack and received massive amounts of radio play.

BADGES DON'T GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO WALTZ OFF WITH A BABY (HI DERE), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:27 (twelve years ago) link

oh wow here's the ultimate one:

according to wiki, "Dancing With Myself" by Billy Idol only reached 102 on the U.S. charts and FAILED to chart in the U.K.

― stank pony (M@tt He1ges0n), Friday, March 27, 2009 1:27 PM (1 minute ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

yeah but "Rebel Yell" and "White Wedding" are both bigger iTunes sellers

the worst breed of fong (some dude), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:30 (twelve years ago) link

i mean this could very easily turn into "early hits that established a band's identity but didn't chart as high as later singles when they were more famous" list and get away from the original idea

the worst breed of fong (some dude), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:31 (twelve years ago) link

yeah that's true

stank pony (M@tt He1ges0n), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:31 (twelve years ago) link

i was more just shocked that that hadn't even charted at the time, being how catchy it was and all

stank pony (M@tt He1ges0n), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:32 (twelve years ago) link

"Should I Stay or Should I Go?"

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 27 March 2009 17:33 (twelve years ago) link

Peter Gabriel - In Your Eyes (wasn't even a single from So)

...

This was released as a single off of the "Say Anything" soundtrack and received massive amounts of radio play.

"In Your Eyes" was released as a US single, peaking at #26 Billboard Hot 100 and #1 Billboard Mainstream Rock in 1986.

Say Anything gave "In Your Eyes" a second chart run in 1989, but it peaked at #41. No Top 40 for you!

...and became PG's first certified Gold single in 2005 lol

butt-rock miyagi (rogermexico.), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:35 (twelve years ago) link

"Only You" did marginally better than "Situation" on the US charts (67 vs. 73) and much better on the UK charts (2 vs. wasn't even released), but "Situation" seems much more like Yaz's legacy song.

Bianca Jagger (jaymc), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:36 (twelve years ago) link

"Born to Run!" Peaked at #23.

(Well, technically it's outsold by "Radio Nowhere" on iTunes, but I think that was thanks to some "Magic" promotion)

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 27 March 2009 17:38 (twelve years ago) link

yeah acts with recent singles kinda skew this, but i think it's safe to assume "Born To Run" ultimately sells more than "Radio Nowhere"

the worst breed of fong (some dude), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:39 (twelve years ago) link

Oh oh oh!

"American Girl" was the second single off Tom Petty's debut album, after "Breakdown," but did not even chart.

Bianca Jagger (jaymc), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:41 (twelve years ago) link

Radiohead. Creep is their biggest hit, but probably not their "signature" song. NOt sure what is, though.

Bruce's biggest chart hit is Dancing In The Dark

kornrulez6969, Friday, 27 March 2009 17:45 (twelve years ago) link

"Creep" is Radiohead's legacy song to millions of non-Radiohead fans

the worst breed of fong (some dude), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:45 (twelve years ago) link

I'm not sure what Bob Marley's legacy song is, but I have a feeling that "Roots, Rock, Reggae" (his only U.S. Hot 100 hit, peaking at # 51) isn't it. It might not even be in the Top 10.

xhuxk, Friday, 27 March 2009 17:47 (twelve years ago) link

(Well, Marley has lots of Legacy songs, obviously. Or at least an album full of them.)

xhuxk, Friday, 27 March 2009 17:48 (twelve years ago) link

Cheap Trick's only #1 is "The Flame." ("I Want You to Want Me" was #7, "Surrender" #62.)

Bianca Jagger (jaymc), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:48 (twelve years ago) link

What about remixes doing this with a song? Because Run DMC's It's Like That was just a b-side until it became like their biggest song (v. walk this way obv.)

Also presumably this must have happened by tunes that were sampled a bunch, although none come to mind immediately.

there's a big metaphor going on in which pussy is medicine (a hoy hoy), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:49 (twelve years ago) link

'Hallelujah' wins this thread, surely?

James Mitchell, Friday, 27 March 2009 17:50 (twelve years ago) link

Run DMC's It's Like That was just a b-side

Not really. It was on side one of the 12-inch, and came before "Sucker MCs"; ditto with the instrumentals on side two:

http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=257372

xhuxk, Friday, 27 March 2009 17:53 (twelve years ago) link

How do I find out Itunes sales numbers? Is there some page for them?

Tuomas, Friday, 27 March 2009 17:54 (twelve years ago) link

Talking Heads. Their biggest charting US single is Wild Wild Life. Biggest in UK is Road To Nowhere. Their signature/legacy song is clearly Once In A Lifetime, which never even charted.

kornrulez6969, Friday, 27 March 2009 17:55 (twelve years ago) link

I tried to a search for a specific tune on the Itunes store, but when I click on the song name, I'm thrown back to the Apple store home page.

Tuomas, Friday, 27 March 2009 17:56 (twelve years ago) link

Thing is, "September" was actually EWF's biggest UK hit. (#3, tied with "Let's Groove", but the former stayed longer on the chart). I'd always assumed that was the case everywhere, but in the US there were five bigger hits, so there you go.

mike t-diva, Tuesday, 14 September 2021 09:17 (one week ago) link

Surely it's the cover by Sisqo and Vitamin C for the totally forgotten teen movie "Get Over It" that has propelled "September" to its current heights

justfanoe (Greg Fanoe), Tuesday, 14 September 2021 12:56 (one week ago) link

It was also adapted by fans of the England national football team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia: "Woah, England are in Russia / Woah, drinking all the vodka / Woah, England’s going all the way".

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Tuesday, 14 September 2021 13:57 (one week ago) link

When I saw the first part of that sentence was about footie, thought it would be about “Seven Nation Army.”

What Does Blecch Mean to Me? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 14:55 (one week ago) link

thinking about 'celebration' made me realize that the version I hear in my head is this one, from a commercial I probably saw a couple of times 35 years ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYljOcM0zgU

joygoat, Wednesday, 15 September 2021 19:10 (one week ago) link

they’ve been playing “celebration” after Oakland A’s wins since the song came out, I believe.

brimstead, Wednesday, 15 September 2021 21:04 (one week ago) link

(home wins)

brimstead, Wednesday, 15 September 2021 21:04 (one week ago) link

I was going to write that I actually also sing "Celebration" in reference to food...all the time.

This morning, I had a bite of leftover sponge cake for breakfast, and unbidden, sang to myself, "ahweeeah, eating lots of sponge cake, ahweeeah, tasty tasty sponge cake" etc.

I'm a sovereign jazz citizen (the table is the table), Thursday, 16 September 2021 17:01 (one week ago) link

Ba dee yah!

Richard Marxist (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 22 September 2021 02:18 (four days ago) link

Elton John was already mentioned upthread but now it's "Rocket Man" that is his biggest song on Spotify while there are around a dozen songs of his that were bigger hits.

AlXTC from Paris, Saturday, 25 September 2021 10:51 (yesterday) link

This may have been mentioned before but La Grange is ZZ Top’s most streamed song. It was a much smaller hit than their big 80s singles—peaked at 41 in the US.

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Saturday, 25 September 2021 13:17 (yesterday) link

a how how how HOW did this happen

I Am Fribbulus (Xax) (Doctor Casino), Saturday, 25 September 2021 14:43 (yesterday) link

Idk if La Grange was a hit but it’s been ZZ Top’s icon song for decades now. It’s one of those songs with high odds you’ll learn first if trying to play guitar.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 25 September 2021 14:58 (yesterday) link

"Decades" is overstatement, surely? Fwiw, "Sharp Dressed Man" is first on this list, although I'm not sure if Apple Music lists are in order of streams/sales?: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/zz-top/215917/see-all?section=top-songs

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Saturday, 25 September 2021 15:51 (yesterday) link

UCR do say "La Grange" is "without a doubt" their most popular song of all time. Interesting: https://ultimateclassicrock.com/top-zz-top-songs/

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Saturday, 25 September 2021 15:53 (yesterday) link

I would have guessed "Sharp Dressed Man", "Legs", and "Tush" before that one, although I'm not complaining.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Saturday, 25 September 2021 15:54 (yesterday) link

Not very acquainted with ZZ Top’s discography but yeah La Grange might be #41 in the US maisntream rock charts but the six #1s they have there are all songs I’ve never heard before: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZZ_Top_discography

As someone not overtly familiar with them my guess for their 5 most popular songs, independent from actual chart position would be: La Grange, Tush, Cheap Sunglasses, Sharp Dressed Man and Legs

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:05 (yesterday) link

this is a good time for everyone to vote in the zz top poll

grove street (party) direction (voodoo chili), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:07 (yesterday) link

La Grange was 41 regular US chart (not sure they had a mainstream rock chart back then) but they had also two ten hits on the US top 40.

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:09 (yesterday) link

Legs and Sleeping Bag. Tush made it to #20.

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:10 (yesterday) link

This is pretty much what this thread is about btw

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:11 (yesterday) link

I can at least bet those 5 are more well known than those five #1 singles.

I’ve found that chart positions don’t really work as a measure of popularity in some genres… in this case “classic rock”. We could make a test to prove the theory… let’s see I’ll google classic rock right now… I’ll pick mmm Journey, Bon Jovi and AC/DC… be right back with the results for their most popular songs according to the us mainstream rock charts.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:11 (yesterday) link

just checked and john lee hooker’s too played song on spotify is “boom boom,” that’s how deep this goes!!

(“boogie chillen” is his fourth-most streamed)

grove street (party) direction (voodoo chili), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:13 (yesterday) link

For a certain generation I’d wager that Legs and Sharp Dressed Man are the iconic ZZ Top songs. I didn’t know they had any older hits back yhen

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:14 (yesterday) link

*top played, obv

grove street (party) direction (voodoo chili), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:14 (yesterday) link

Let’s see… here’s the most popular songs according to the US mainstream rock charts:

AC/DC

Big Gun #1
Hard As A Rock #1
Stiff Upper Lip #1
Rock n roll train #1

Bon Jovi

Apparently no US mainstream rock charts available for them? Livin on a Prayer and Keep the Faith both hit #1 in the gral US charts

Journey

Separate Ways #1
The party’s over #2
Be good to yourself #2

So it kinda works for Bon Jovi… they’re probably more of a pop rock band which is better for the charts, but I have no recollection of ever hearing those Journey and ACDC songs… I’d certainly wouldn’t name them in their 10 most popular songs of all time.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:20 (yesterday) link

Separate ways was big

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:20 (yesterday) link

Sorry not really acquainted with Journey either… It’s #5 on spotify and I just heard it and it rang a bell. Not really the song everybody thinks of when they think of Journey and it wasn’t true back then either. That song dates from 1983 and it was probably a hit because it preceded their two most popular songs regardless if they were bigger chart hits or not.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:25 (yesterday) link

I think the problem with classic rock in the charts is that it usually took a couple of years for the rest of the population to catch on and rock was more album oriented than single oriented anyways.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:26 (yesterday) link

Oh i definitely remember that Journey video lol… this is hilarious if you haven’t seen it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cD8ffB9JU64

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:28 (yesterday) link

The mainstream rock chart is (was?) an airplay chart that tracks a specific radio format. It's not necessarily reflective of a song's general popularity (even at the time) or hit status, for which the Hot 100 is a much better reference point.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:33 (yesterday) link

I mean, I did listen to that format a lot in the late 80s/early 90s so I know a lot of those songs but "Doubleback" wasn't a #1 song for most people.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:35 (yesterday) link

That said, Bon Jovi were definitely not absent from the mainstream rock charts: https://www.billboard.com/music/bon-jovi/chart-history/RTT

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:36 (yesterday) link

Oh so the one I was looking were actual the US mainstream rock charts for bon jovi, then the 2 songs I mentioned are the biggest ones according to that one.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:43 (yesterday) link

The US Mainstream Rock Charts didn't exist until 1980 or thereabouts.

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:49 (yesterday) link

And I mean maybe? Bon Jovi depends on the age group you ask… for people aged 20-30 it’s probably “it’s my life”, for people 30+ Livin on a prayer is not a bad guess

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:50 (yesterday) link

this is a good time for everyone to vote in the zz top poll

― grove street (party) direction (voodoo chili), Saturday, September 25, 2021 12:07 PM (forty-one minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

^THIS

It Sure Got POLLED After The Rain Fell: ILM Artist Poll #110 – ZZ Top

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:51 (yesterday) link

xpost For others it’s Who Says You Can’t Go Home

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:53 (yesterday) link

"You Give Love a Bad Name", "Livin' on a Prayer", "I'll Be There for You", and "Bad Medicine" were all #1s on the Hot 100. "Livin' on a Prayer" was surely the biggest at the time? "Livin' on a Prayer" and "You Give Love a Bad Name" are comfortably their two most-streamed songs on Spotify.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:59 (yesterday) link

xpost For others it’s Who Says You Can’t Go Home

― Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes)

Lord almighty no

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 25 September 2021 18:21 (yesterday) link

Their only #1 country song. Still gets lots of radio play.

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Saturday, 25 September 2021 18:29 (yesterday) link

*shudders

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 25 September 2021 18:44 (yesterday) link

I'm honestly not sure who is currently a dedicated listener to the mainstream rock format, e.g. who would pick these as their favourite songs of 2020: https://www.billboard.com/charts/year-end/2020/mainstream-rock-songs-artists

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Saturday, 25 September 2021 22:18 (yesterday) link

Yeesh

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 25 September 2021 22:19 (yesterday) link

Tbh I look at the full 2010s list and feel extremely confused:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Billboard_Mainstream_Rock_number-one_songs_of_the_2010s

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 25 September 2021 22:22 (yesterday) link

No wonder most of my older rockist friends think there has been nothing exciting going on in music for the past decades.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 25 September 2021 22:24 (yesterday) link

That list is downright depressing

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 25 September 2021 22:24 (yesterday) link

I was walking around a large university campus packed full of tailgating football fans today and heard Livin' On A Prayer twice, once with a bunch of drunken middle aged people singing along at full volume.

joygoat, Saturday, 25 September 2021 23:05 (yesterday) link

weirdly I didn't realize until just now that La Grange was a ZZ Top song (nor did I even know the name of the song, though of course I've heard it a million times...I just don't care for that type of blues rock)

akm, Sunday, 26 September 2021 19:44 (twenty-one minutes ago) link


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