101 Biggest Hits of 2016! #10-1


Welcome back to the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016! The last week and a half has all boiled down to this, the final ten songs of the countdown! Here are links to all previous installments, in case you’ve missed any:

There are sure to be some surprises, so let’s get started with song #10!

#10: Cake By The Ocean by DNCE
Peak: #9       2016 Weeks on Chart: 38         Points: 2901
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 18

Remember how random it was when Nick Jonas had his big comeback in 2014? Well, multiply that feeling by two and you might have an approximation of this year’s “Cake By The Ocean” phenomenon. On its steady rise to the Top 10, DNCE’s debut single wound up outscoring any song in Nick’s or the Jonas Brothers’ discography. By virtue of his time with his brothers as well as his solo appearance on the Camp Rock soundtrack, Joe Jonas joined Paul McCartney (The Beatles, Wings) and Paul Carrack (Ace, Mike + The Mechanics) as the only artists in Hot 100 history to reach the Top 10 as a solo act and with two other groups.

#9: I Took A Pill In Ibiza by Mike Posner
Peak: #4      2016 Weeks on Chart: 37         Points: 2935
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 15

Over 5 years since his last appearance to the Top 40, Mike Posner scored 2016’s most unlikely hit with “I Took A Pill In Ibiza.” His original recording of the song is an acoustic ballad, far too slow for commercial success. However, thanks to an infectious remix-ex-machina from Norwegian producers Seeb, “I Took A Pill In Ibiza” became a massive hit, setting new career highs for Posner in both peak position, weeks on the Hot 100, and year-end ranking. The song was also nominated for Song of the Year at the upcoming 2017 Grammy Awards, cementing Posner’s whirlwind of a comeback.

#8: Work by Rihanna f/Drake
Peak: #1 (for 9 weeks)     2016 Weeks on Chart: 36     Points: 3058
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 4

Old friends Rihanna and Drake scored two more hits by pairing up this year. While “Too Good” was unable to reach the Top 10, the ubiquitous “Work” spent a full two months atop the Hot 100. Impressively, “Work” is only half of both artists’ representation in the Top 10 of my countdown. The last time an artist had two songs in my year-end Top 10 was 2013, when Macklemore & Ryan Lewis did so with “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us.” Much rarer is two artists doing so in the same year, which hasn’t happened since 2009, when Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift each turned the trick.

#7: Panda by Desiigner
Peak: #1 (for 2 weeks)        2016 Weeks on Chart: 40         Points: 3132
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 6

Born in 1997, Desiigner (née Sidney Selby) became the most recently-born owner of a Hot 100 Number One single, surpassing Lorde. With a hook featured in Kanye West’s “Pt. 2,” “Panda” became a viral sensation, rocketing to the top of the charts in remarkable fashion for a debut effort. Despite “I got broads in Atlanta” becoming the year’s most quotable rap line, Desiigner was snubbed when the nominees for the Best New Artist Grammy award were announced.

#6: One Dance by Drake f/WizKid & Kyla
Peak: #1 (for 10 weeks)      2016 Weeks on Chart: 36        Points: 3193
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 3

When “Hotline Bling” stalled at #2 on the charts this winter, there was plenty of speculation as to whether Drake had blown his best chance of hitting Number One when he delayed posting the viral video to YouTube. Any thoughts of such a fate quickly dissipated with the release of “One Dance.” Spending ten weeks at the summit, Drake’s Latin-infused hit checked off yet another milestone for the Canadian as he continues to rewrite the record books.

#5: Love Yourself by Justin Bieber
Peak: #1 (for 2 weeks)       2016 Weeks on Chart: 37      Points: 3198
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 1

Thanks in part to its spending the entirety of December in the Top Five, Billboard declared “Love Yourself” the biggest hit of 2016. It certainly was one of the most unavoidable songs of the year and spent over 25 weeks this year atop my rankings, but ultimately Bieber’s third consecutive Number One hit failed to spend enough weeks on the chart to win my countdown. At #5, this is the lowest I’ve placed a Billboard year-end Number One since I ranked Kesha’s “Tik Tok” #10 in 2010.

#4: Cheap Thrills by Sia f/Sean Paul
Peak: #1 (for 4 weeks)     2016 Weeks on Chart: 44     Points: 3244
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 11

If “most unlikely hit of 2016” extends to featured artists, who had Sean Paul hitting Number One when this year began? The mid-2000s icon hadn’t even hit the Top 10 since the beginning of 2010 (featured on Jay Sean’s “Do You Remember”), but the tropical revival in pop music suddenly made Sean Paul a coveted commodity again. After several massive hits, Sia finally earned her first Number One single with “Cheap Thrills,” making her (at 41 years old) the oldest artist to earn their first chart-topper since Carlos Santana (52) changed the world forever with “Smooth” in 1999.

#3: Needed Me by Rihanna
Peak: #7          2016 Weeks on Chart: 45         Points: 3259
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 13

“Needed Me” serves as the best representation of the difference between my chart analysis methods compared to those of Billboard. Though Rihanna’s DJ Mustard production was much less omnipresent than “Work,” it spent two more months on the chart. And as you’ve no doubt learned, consistency and longevity are the hallmarks of my research. No song spent more weeks on the Hot 100 in 2016 than “Needed Me,” and its reward is Rihanna’s highest-ever placement on my year-end rankings. It’s also Rihanna’s 39th entry in my countdowns since her first appearance in 2005 with “Pon De Replay,” moving her out of a tie with Drake and Lil Wayne for the most all-time.

#2: Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots
Peak: #2        2016 Weeks on Chart: 40         Points: 3376
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 5

Twenty One Pilots very nearly won the coveted title of Biggest Hit of 2016. Their breakout hit “Stressed Out” passed “Love Yourself” in Week 38 of my analysis and held onto the top spot for 12 weeks. There is no fate crueler in my research than losing the Number One spot in December, but such was the fate of “Stressed Out.” It seems utterly poetic that in a year defined by successful duos, Twenty One Pilots were nudged out by the only duo that could claim to challenge their level of success this year…

#1: Don’t Let Me Down by The Chainsmokers f/Daya
Peak: #3      2016 Weeks on Chart: 44       Points: 3595
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 8

“Don’t Let Me Down” is the biggest hit of 2016. This is bound to surprise many people, as many wouldn’t even consider it the biggest Chainsmokers hit of the year. Indeed, “Closer” has a good shot at eventually surpassing the points total of “Don’t Let Me Down” as it works through the second half of its run. But with its February release date, “Don’t Let Me Down” was perfectly poised to take advantage of the entirety of the 2016 calendar.

Billboard disagreed with me that a song peaking at #3 could be the year-end champion, and ranked “Don’t Let Me Down” 8th in their own rankings. That’s the lowest Billboard has placed my year-end winner since 1999, when 702’s “Where My Girls At?” checked in at #11 on Billboard’s rankings. While the song that finished Number One might be surprising, it’s no shock at all that 2016 belonged to The Chainsmokers.


With that, the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016 have come to a close! Special congratulations go out to Daya, who at 18 years old already has her first year-end title. For the 59th straight year my countdown had a first-time winner, as no artist has ever won multiple titles. Will that change next year? The only way to find out is to continue following the Hot 100, and you can bet that I’ll have the answers waiting for you. Thanks to everyone for reading this year’s installment of the 101 Biggest Hits countdown, and here’s to an equally interesting 2017!


101 Biggest Hits of 2016! #20-11

Welcome back to the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016! In today’s penultimate edition of the countdown, songs 20 through 11 will be revealed. Here are links to all previous installments, in case you’ve missed any:

Let’s get started with song #20!

#20: Low Life by Future f/The Weeknd
Peak: #18       2016 Weeks on Chart: 35         Points: 2301
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 30

Arguably the hit with the least mainstream crossover potential this year, Future’s ode to nights of debauchery put together one of 2016’s longest chart runs. “Low Life” granted Future his highest countdown ranking to date and gave The Weeknd his final hit with his trademark hairdo. Reaching just #18 on the Hot 100, it became the lowest-peaking song to reach my year-end Top 20 since the #24-peaking “Haven’t Met You Yet” by Michael Buble checked in as the 17th-biggest hit of 2010.

#19: Heathens by Twenty One Pilots
Peak: #2      2016 Weeks on Chart: 26         Points: 2410
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 21

You know that you had a good year when your lowest of three countdown entries checks in at #19. The fellas from Twenty One Pilots were fortunate enough to score the lead single from the Suicide Squad soundtrack, and “Heathens” quickly matched their career-high peak at #2 (same as “Stressed Out”).

#18: Me, Myself & I by G-Eazy & Bebe Rexha
Peak: #7       2016 Weeks on Chart: 31       Points: 2501
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 19

After a slew of bottom-dwelling chart hits last year, G-Eazy finally hit it big in 2016 with “Me, Myself & I.” It can easily be argued that the Bebe Rexha hook, not G-Eazy’s verses, was the catalyst leading to its run to the Top 10, as the singer earned her second Top 10 credit to date (following last year’s “Hey Mama” by David Guetta). The fact that “Me, Myself & I” was featured on the most recent Kidz Bop album indicates that this was about as family-friendly as a rap song gets.

#17: Ride by Twenty One Pilots
Peak: #5        2016 Weeks on Chart: 39         Points: 2762
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 20

The Columbus duo was more than able to build off their breakthrough “Stressed Out” success with the followup “Ride.” Its nine-month chart run featured a slow and steady climb into the Top 10 before becoming Twenty One Pilots’ second consecutive Top 5 hit. Their 2016 success, paired with the similar year enjoyed by The Chainsmokers, showed that this year belonged to the duos.

#16: My House by Flo Rida
Peak: #4           2016 Weeks on Chart: 34        Points: 2770
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 14

Flo Rida continues to prove his reputation as an omnipresent figure on the Hot 100. His rate of output has slowed since his rise to stardom in 2008, but he is still more than good for at least one transcedent hit a year. This year, that honor belonged to “My House,” which quickly worked its way into the house playlist of every stadium and ballpark in the country. In a genre where most artists split their time between solo efforts and featured credits, every single one of Flo Rida’s 12 countdown entries to date have listed him as the lead artist.

#15: Can’t Stop The Feeling! by Justin Timberlake
Peak: #1 (for 1 week)       2016 Weeks on Chart: 32      Points: 2825
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 9

As successful as Justin Timberlake’s career has been in every facet of entertainment, it’s hard to believe that he entered 2016 nine years removed from his last Number One hit (a featured credit on Timbaland’s “Give It To Me” in April of 2007). But in typical Timberlake mastermind fashion, he released “Can’t Stop The Feeling” off the Trolls soundtrack a full six months before the release of the film. It debuted at Number One with ease, enjoyed a lengthy chart run, and even received a healthy bump when Trolls hit theaters in November. Like Pharrell’s “Happy,” an Oscar nomination seems to loom in Timberlake’s near future.

#14: Sorry by Justin Bieber
Peak: #1 (for 3 weeks)     2016 Weeks on Chart: 35     Points: 2834
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 2

After finally earning his first chart-topper with “What Do You Mean?”, Justin Bieber more than made up for lost time with a massive 2016. He quickly earned his second Number One hit with “Sorry,” which spent two months in the runner-up position before finally reaching the top. Since its run in the Top Five began in December, Billboard gave “Sorry” a healthy boost in its rankings, listing Bieber’s hit as the second-biggest hit of 2016. A 12-point disparity this high in the countdown is certainly rare, but the differences are going to continue as we edge closer to the top.

#13: 7 Years by Lukas Graham
Peak: #2          2016 Weeks on Chart: 36         Points: 2835
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 12

My favorite trivia tidbit about the 2016 Hot 100 is that two acts from Denmark reached #2 on the chart this year. Besides the aforementioned MØ’s featured credit on Major Lazer’s “Cold Water,” Danish band Lukas Graham scored their first US hit with “7 Years.” The midtempo ballad about growing older narrowly missed out on topping the charts, but the track received the coveted double nomination for Record and Song of the Year at the 2017 Grammy Awards.

#12: Work From Home by Fifth Harmony f/Ty Dolla Sign
Peak: #4        2016 Weeks on Chart: 34         Points: 2838
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 16

After the massive success of “Worth It” last year, Fifth Harmony took things one step further with “Work From Home.” One of two hits this year to feature a chorus with multiple “Work”s strung together, “Work From Home” became the quintet’s first Top 10 single, spending several months just a hair behind Rihanna’s similarly-titled effort. Now that Camila Cabello has left the group (and earned two Top 20 hits on her own), it’s unclear whether the group has another big hit in their future.

#11: This Is What You Came For by Calvin Harris f/Rihanna
Peak: #3      2016 Weeks on Chart: 32       Points: 2851
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 17

In 2011, Rihanna and Calvin Harris ushered in the era of EDM dominance on the pop charts when their collaboration “We Found Love” spent 10 weeks atop the chart. The fabric of pop music has changed greatly since the pair first teamed up, but they reunited this year to bring listeners “This Is What You Came For.” It wasn’t as revolutionary as the first time you heard “We Found Love,” but the similarly bouncy track became a massive hit this summer. And by virtue of Harris and Rihanna switching lead and featured roles, “This Is What You Came For” became Calvin Harris’ highest-peaking Hot 100 hit as lead artist.


The countdown comes to a close tomorrow, as the ten biggest hits of 2016 are revealed! If you’ve already seen Billboard’s year-end chart, I can assure you that there are some major differences in how the end of the list plays out!

Until then,


101 Biggest Hits of 2016! #30-21

Welcome back to the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016! Today I’ll reveal songs 30 through 21 as we march closer and closer to the end of the countdown. If you missed any previous installments, here’s where you can catch up:

Let’s get started with song #30!

#30: Controlla by Drake
Peak: #16       2016 Weeks on Chart: 26         Points: 1923
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 41

Drake continues to break seemingly every established rule and tenet of chart success. His 2016 mission was to disprove the age-old formula of one single at a time. For decades, the pattern was to release a new single as the current single began to dwindle, in order to maintain a chart presence without affecting the impact of each individual song. For Drake however, he spent the spring and summer of 2016 with no fewer than four songs simultaneously in the Top 40. Despite never being the most known of his tracks on the chart at any given time, “Controlla” easily reached the Top 20 and became one of his remarkable eight entries on this countdown.

#29: Just Like Fire by Pink
Peak: #10      2016 Weeks on Chart: 26         Points: 1924
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 33

Every time you wonder if Pink’s Hot 100 career is dwindling to a close, she always seems to come back and have a big year. Off the top of my head, she has overcome this belief at least three other times (2007, 2010, 2013). This year, a movie gig spurred her comeback, as “Just Like Fire” from Alice Through The Looking Glass became her first Top 10 hit since the aforementioned 2013 campaign. Her duet with Kenny Chesney later in the year indicated that Adult Contemporary has become her lone avenue to hit singles.

#28: Cold Water by Major Lazer f/Justin Bieber & MØ
Peak: #2       2016 Weeks on Chart: 21       Points: 1933
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 25

After “Light It Up” failed to recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle success of “Lean On,” Major Lazer went back to basics this summer, starting with the re-recruitment of Danish singer MØ. After previously working together on “Where Are U Now,” Diplo brought Justin Bieber back with him to Major Lazer, completing a star-studded cast for “Cold Water.” Debuting at #2, it instantly became the trio’s highest-peaking hit to date, and while it likely won’t outlast “Lean On,” it became a satisfyingly massive followup success.

#27: Closer by The Chainsmokers f/Halsey
Peak: #1 (for 12 weeks)    2016 Weeks on Chart: 20         Points: 1978
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 10

Apologies to those who thought that “Closer” would appear higher on this countdown. After all, the unavoidable “Closer” spent a 2016-best 12 weeks at Number One, and there is an existing precedent for such songs finishing atop my rankings (including “Uptown Funk” last year). However, given just 20 weeks to chart in 2016, The Chainsmokers’ smash hit simply did not have enough time to crest the upper threshold of my rankings. As a consolation prize though, “Closer” earned more points in its first 20 chart weeks than any song in Hot 100 history.

#26: Pillowtalk by Zayn
Peak: #1 (for 1 week)      2016 Weeks on Chart: 24        Points: 2097
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 22

When it debuted atop the chart in February, “Pillowtalk” became just the 25th song in the history of the Hot 100 to begin its stay at Number One. Additionally, Zayn took just one week to accomplish something his chaps in One Direction never could, namely achieve a Number One single in America. One last fun fact: the last artist from a disbanded group to hit Number One with their first single? That would be George Harrison, whose “My Sweet Lord” topped the Hot 100 in December 1970.

#25: Broccoli by D.R.A.M. f/Lil Yachty
Peak: #5       2016 Weeks on Chart: 27      Points: 2135
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 34

Another nomination for “most unlikely hit of 2016” goes to D.R.A.M. and his wonderfully wacky “Broccoli.” Its instrumental sounds like something off the Super Nintendo, and the lyrics namecheck such icons of American culture as cutrate phone provider Metro PCS. Somehow, despite (because of?) all these quirks, the song became an instant smash, steadily rocketing into the Top 10 and becoming one of the biggest debut chart efforts for a hip-hop artist ever.

#24: Send My Love (To Your New Lover) by Adele
Peak: #8     2016 Weeks on Chart: 26     Points: 2160
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 26

Adele broke from her longstanding power ballad tradition with the third single off 25. Easily the most uptempo song to date in her catalog of hits, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” was an instant success, ultimately reaching the Top 10 over the summer. It spent a few more weeks on the chart than “Hello” and nearly caught up on total points, impressive considering it didn’t have the 1,000 point head start “Hello” got with its ten-week stay at Number One.

#23: Too Good by Drake f/Rihanna
Peak: #14          2016 Weeks on Chart: 29         Points: 2161
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 29

Scratching and clawing for chart space with “Controlla” was Drake’s “Too Good,” also off Views and debuting on the chart in the same week. Thanks to some help from Rihanna, “Too Good” was able to peak slightly higher and lasted a few weeks longer. Even more compelling than Drake’s multitude of simultaneous chart hits was the fact that “Too Good” wasn’t even the only Drake/Rihanna pairing in the Top 20 this spring. I doubt you’ll be surprised to learn that “Work” will be seen higher on this countdown.

#22: I Hate U, I Love U by Gnash f/Olivia O’Brien
Peak: #10        2016 Weeks on Chart: 35         Points: 2221
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 38

The most downtempo ballad of the year, “I Hate U, I Love U” ultimately became one of 2016’s biggest sleeper hits. Taking over 20 weeks to reach the Top 10, this maiden chart hit for both Gnash and Olivia O’Brien is still on the Hot 100 as of printing, well into its ninth chart month. Its prospects on the streaming side of the charts were buoyed by a popular remix which bumped the tempo up ever so slightly with subtle tropical undertones.

#21: Treat You Better by Shawn Mendes
Peak: #6      2016 Weeks on Chart: 28       Points: 2289
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 28

Just barely 18 years old, Shawn Mendes is already the owner of two of the biggest hits of the 2010s decade. Following the titanic chart run of “Stitches,” followup effort “Treat You Better” has lagged only slightly behind the giant footsteps of its predecessor. Peaking inside the Top 10, “Treat You Better” is still well entrenched in the Top 40 as the calendar switches over to 2017, and has more than a sporting chance to knock on the door of 40 weeks on the Hot 100.


Tomorrow will be the penultimate edition of the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016, with songs 20 through 11 on the docket!

Until then,


101 Biggest Hits of 2016! #40-31

Welcome back to the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016! Today I’ll reveal songs 40 through 31 as we march closer and closer to the end of the countdown. If you missed any previous installments, here’s where you can catch up:

Let’s get started with song #40!

#40: Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande
Peak: #8       2016 Weeks on Chart: 21         Points: 1728
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 36

Ariana Grande inked her name in Hot 100 history when lead single “Dangerous Woman” debuted at #10 this spring. “Dangerous Woman” became her third straight lead single to debut inside the Top 10, joining 2013’s “The Way” and 2014’s “Problem.” No other artist in the history of the Hot 100 has ever turned that trick with three straight albums. The achievement sparked a fruitful chart run for not just “Dangerous Woman,” but for the subsequent singles as well.

#39: One Call Away by Charlie Puth
Peak: #12      2016 Weeks on Chart: 24         Points: 1737
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 43

Released late in 2015, “One Call Away” became a staple of adult contemporary radio throughout the year. Furthermore, it proved that Charlie Puth was in fact capable of carrying a hit all by himself, following successful pairings with Wiz Khalifa and Meghan Trainor. He dipped back into the duet well on “We Don’t Talk Anymore” and “Nothing But Trouble,” but successfully entrenched himself in the lexicon of contemporary pop stars.

#38: Oui by Jeremih
Peak: #19       2016 Weeks on Chart: 27       Points: 1739
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 55

It seems like Jeremih is good for a massive solo hit once every two or three years. After his breakout “Birthday Sex” in 2009, we had to wait two years for the Top 5 hit “Down On Me” in 2011. That was followed three years later by 2014’s Top 10 smash “Don’t Tell ‘Em.” 2016 brought “Oui,” a slow-burn R&B hit centered around a clever bit of wordplay (“There’s no we [oui] without you [U] and I”). While it didn’t reach the Top 10 like the aforementioned hits, “Oui” spent over six months on the chart and actually outlasted and outscored “Birthday Sex.”

#37: Gold by Kiiara
Peak: #13            2016 Weeks on Chart: 27         Points: 1741
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 52

One of 44 newcomers to the countdown this year, Kiiara blended EDM and trap on her debut single “Gold.” Released in the summer of 2015, it earned its first mainstream exposure when it was selected as the featured song in an ad for the Apple Watch. It eventually caught on and became a huge sleeper hit, peaking at #13 nearly 18 months after its initial release.

#36: Don’t by Bryson Tiller
Peak: #13          2016 Weeks on Chart: 23        Points: 1742
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 35

As mentioned in the blurb about his other entry “Exchange,” Bryson Tiller was the breakout star in the hip-hop and R&B genres this year, winning both Best New Artist and Best R&B Artist at the 2016 BET Awards. “Don’t” knocked on the door of the Top 10 throughout the entire winter and maintained its momentum even with “Exchange” enjoying a similarly successful chart run.

#35: Let Me Love You by DJ Snake f/Justin Bieber
Peak: #4       2016 Weeks on Chart: 19      Points: 1767
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 47

My initial appraisal of DJ Snake as a novelty act following the breakout of “Turn Down For What” in 2014 has been proven utterly false. In addition to logging his fifth countdown entry with “Let Me Love You,” DJ Snake also earned a Top 10 for the third consecutive year, including his work with Major Lazer on “Lean On.” Interestingly enough, Justin Bieber featured on both hits this year for DJ Snake and Major Lazer, helping swell the young Canadian’s number of appearances on the countdown this year to an impressive five.

#34: Unsteady by X Ambassadors
Peak: #20     2016 Weeks on Chart: 31     Points: 1819
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 67

If you thought “Renegades” was destined to be X Ambassadors’ only big hit, the band made 2016 their mission to prove you wrong. In addition to their appearance on the Suicide Squad revue “Sucker For Pain,” X Ambassadors reached the Top 20 for a second time with “Unsteady.” Featured on the soundtrack to the film Me Before You, the ballad worked its way up the charts extremely gradually, taking over six months to reach its peak. This slow and steady chart run actually led to “Unsteady” outperforming “Renegades” in both total points and countdown ranking.

#33: Roses by The Chainsmokers f/Rozes
Peak: #6            2016 Weeks on Chart: 23         Points: 1832
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 27

When “Roses” began its chart run in late 2015, I was more amused than anything. “Good for them,” I thought of the duo then best-known for novelty hit “#SELFIE.” Little did I know that The Chainsmokers were on their way to becoming the most dominant act of 2016. In rare fashion, each subsequent Chainsmokers single this year peaked higher than its predecessor, with the #6 peak of “Roses” being usurped by the #3 peak of “Don’t Let Me Down” and eventual chart-topper “Closer.”

#31 (tie): Let It Go by James Bay
Peak: #16        2016 Weeks on Chart: 34         Points: 1880
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 44

The longest path to hit status this year belonged to James Bay’s “Let It Go.” Initially released in September 2014, the ballad enjoyed international success in 2015, reaching the Top 10 in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. 15 months later it began its own chart run stateside, initiating a slow rise into the Top 20. Aided by consistent adult contemporary radio airplay, “Let It Go” remained inside the Top 40 for several months.

#31 (tie): Stitches by Shawn Mendes
Peak: #6 (#4 in 2015)      2016 Weeks on Chart: 23       Points: 1880
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 23

The biggest Vine crossover star to date, Shawn Mendes cemented his Hot 100 star status with a massively successful 2016. “Stitches” turned the exceedingly rare trick of finishing in my year-end Top 50 in back-to-back years as it put the finishing touches on a full 52-week run, virtually the longest stay permitted by current chart rules. Mendes has logged three additional Top 40 hits since “Stitches,” including one which you’ll see tomorrow, but none of them have come close to reaching its lofty heights.


Three segments remain in the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016, so I’ll see you back tomorrow for the revealing of songs 30 through 21!

Until then,


101 Biggest Hits of 2016! #50-41

Welcome back to the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016! We’re halfway through the countdown, so today’s post will cover songs 50 through 41. If you missed any previous installments, here’s where you can catch up:

Let’s get started with song #50!

#50: For Free by DJ Khaled f/Drake
Peak: #13       2016 Weeks on Chart: 20         Points: 1515
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 59

Despite being a nearly omnipresent figure in pop culture, most of DJ Khaled’s recent forays on the Hot 100 have failed to become massive hits. That changed in 2016 when several of his Major Key singles became Top 40 hits. The most successful of these was the Drake-featuring “For Free,” which became DJ Khaled’s first appearance in my year-end rankings since 2011’s “I’m On One,” still his only Top 10 hit to date.

#49: Don’t Mind by Kent Jones
Peak: #8      2016 Weeks on Chart: 20         Points: 1516
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 48

One of 2016’s most delightfully bizarre Top 10 hits was Kent Jones’ viral “Don’t Mind.” Thematically similar to Pitbull’s “International Love,” the song describes the singer’s lack of racial favoritism when it comes to beautiful women. Interestingly, “Don’t Mind”‘s pre-chorus is a lyrical interpolation of Barry White’s 1994 (yes, 1994) Top 20 hit “Practice What You Preach,” making it by far the most unlikely sample of 2016.

#48: Jumpman by Drake & Future
Peak: #12       2016 Weeks on Chart: 20       Points: 1574
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 37

Despite never reaching the Top 10, “Jumpman” managed to impressively reach this year’s countdown after also making an appearance last year. A viral Beats commercial featuring Taylor Swift wiping out on a treadmill while singing the song inspired a revival in its popularity, helping “Jumpman” eclipse 30 weeks on the Hot 100.

#47: 2 Phones by Kevin Gates
Peak: #17            2016 Weeks on Chart: 25         Points: 1617
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 57

Kevin Gates pulled off a difficult trick in 2016, as both of his huge hits shared chart space during their simultaneous runs. Although “Really Really” peaked far lower than “2 Phones,” neither song really suffered from competing with themselves. Both songs spent over 6 months on the chart, but “2 Phones” became a signature hit for Gates, reaching the Top 20 and helping his debut studio album Islah reach #2 on the Billboard albums chart.

#46: Into You by Ariana Grande
Peak: #13          2016 Weeks on Chart: 24        Points: 1629
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 51

The only Dangerous Woman single to not reach the Top 10 was actually Ariana Grande’s longest-lasting Hot 100 hit this year. “Into You” was the most uptempo of her 2016 hits and seemed poised to outperform the album’s title track. However, Ariana sabotaged herself with the immediate success of “Side To Side,” which shot into the Top 10 right as “Into You” reached its #13 peak, inadvertently starting its chart decline.

#45: We Don’t Talk Anymore by Charlie Puth f/Selena Gomez
Peak: #9       2016 Weeks on Chart: 24      Points: 1646
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 50

Fresh off his breakthrough featured success on Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again,” Charlie Puth found his niche on adult contemporary radio. After “Marvin Gaye” reached the Top 40 last fall, Puth outperformed the track with each of his two subsequent singles. “One Call Away” is higher up the countdown, and followup “We Don’t Talk Anymore” became his first Top 10 hit as lead artist. Pairing up with Selena Gomez, the airy duet became a radio staple throughout the late summer and early fall months.

#44: H.O.L.Y. by Florida Georgia Line
Peak: #14     2016 Weeks on Chart: 22     Points: 1661
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 49

Now five years into their coup on modern country music, Florida Georgia Line shows no sign of slowing down. With their ballad “H.O.L.Y.”, the duo has now registered the highest-ranking country song on my countdown in three of the last four years. In a chart era where it’s harder and harder for country songs to become crossover hits, Florida Georgia Line is batting .750, as nine of their twelve singles to date have cracked the Top 40.

#43: Exchange by Bryson Tiller
Peak: #26            2016 Weeks on Chart: 27         Points: 1698
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 53

Bryson Tiller was this year’s breakout hip-hop artist with his blend of rap and R&B sensibilities. Spurred by the massive success of his first two singles, Tiller won both Best New Artist and Best R&B Artist at the 2016 BET Awards. “Exchange” was unable to match the peak position of debut single “Don’t,” but both songs spent over 30 weeks on the Hot 100, making for an impressive 1-2 debut punch.

#42: Never Forget You by Zara Larsson & MNEK
Peak: #13        2016 Weeks on Chart: 23         Points: 1702
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 46

Swedish teen Zara Larsson became one of the year’s biggest rising stars, gracing the Hot 100 with a trio of hits. “Never Forget You” became a sleeper hit this summer, striking a balance between the pop and EDM trends which dominated 2016. The success of “Never Forget You” led to the subsequent charting of “Lush Life” (which was released several months prior worldwide) and “Ain’t My Fault,” each of which became minor hits stateside.

#41: Hello by Adele
Peak: #1 (for 10 weeks)         2016 Weeks on Chart: 19       Points: 1714
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 7

Here stands one of the largest discrepancies ever between Billboard and my own rankings, due in part to two compounding factors. Firstly, Billboard began its 2016 analysis a full five weeks before I began mine, and “Hello” was at Number One for all five of those weeks. Additionally, Billboard values peak position more highly than I do, so my unweighted point system will always undercut Billboard’s ranking of chart-toppers. It might seem sacrilegious to have one of the year’s seminal hits so low on these rankings but there are two simple truths. Seven of its ten weeks at Number One came in 2015, and its descent down the chart was notably swifter than any of Adele’s previous hits. The influx of Prince songs on the chart following his passing knocked “Hello” from the Hot 100 entirely after just 26 total charting weeks, nearly 20 weeks fewer than any of Adele’s three previous Number One hits.


Only 40 songs remain on the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016, so be sure to check back tomorrow as I start chipping away at this final push on the countdown!

Until then,


101 Biggest Hits of 2016! #60-51

Welcome back to the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016! I’m going to conclude the first half of the list today with songs 60-51. If you missed any previous installment, here’s where you can catch up:

Let’s get started with song #60!

#60: Starving by Hailee Steinfeld & Grey f/Zedd
Peak: #12       2016 Weeks on Chart: 20         Points: 1370
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 94

2016 saw Hailee Steinfeld fully cement herself as dual threat in the entertainment business. In 2010, she earned an Oscar nomination for her role in True Grit, and recently received a Golden Globe nod for The Edge Of Seventeen. She’ll always be an actress first to me, but most know her today as one of pop music’s rising stars. After first reaching the Top 40 last year with “Love Myself,” she scored a huge hit this fall with “Starving.” In reaching its peak late last month, its success wasn’t fully recognized on the Billboard year-end chart, and the 34-place discrepancy between our rankings is the largest you’ll see this year.

#59: No by Meghan Trainor
Peak: #3      2016 Weeks on Chart: 20         Points: 1379
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 45

After the massive success of each single from Title, the burden of following up that rise to fame was met in 2016 by Meghan Trainor. The lead single from her second album Thank You was “No,” a song similar in theme to her previous singles but infused with more modern production values. It became Trainor’s first single to debut inside the Top 10, but “No” was ultimately unable to maintain its early chart success, tumbling down the charts and losing valuable ranking points.

#58: Close by Nick Jonas f/Tove Lo
Peak: #14       2016 Weeks on Chart: 20       Points: 1386
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 66

With “Close,” Nick Jonas continued his run of one-word hits that began in 2014 with “Jealous.” Since his breakout solo hit, each of his subsequent visits to the Hot 100 have featured brief titles, including “Chains” and “Levels.” While “Close” wasn’t quite able to reach the peak positions of “Jealous” and “Chains,” but the duet with Swedish singer Tove Lo gave Nick Jonas his third straight year with an appearance on my countdown.

#57: Me Too by Meghan Trainor
Peak: #13            2016 Weeks on Chart: 20         Points: 1391
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 62

The followup single to “No” did not have the luxury of debuting inside the Top 5, but “Me Too” enjoyed a more traditional rise and fall on the Hot 100. Despite peaking outside of the Top 10, its chart descent was slow and gradual, enabling it to narrowly out-nudge “No” on my countdown. No followup single has charted yet, but the two hits from Thank You have ensured that Meghan Trainor’s success will not be limited to her debut album.

#56: Hotline Bling by Drake
Peak: #3 (#2 in 2015)      2016 Weeks on Chart: 17         Points: 1397
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 24

The most meme-able hit of 2015-16 continued its lengthy run in the new year. It reached its #2 peak well before Donald Trump danced to it on SNL, but its continued exposure helped “Hotline Bling” become Drake’s biggest hit to that point. “One Dance” would ultimately surpass it, but the crowning of 2016 as Drake’s year started with a cheesy dance in a neon box.

#55: Side To Side by Ariana Grande f/Nicki Minaj
Peak: #4       2016 Weeks on Chart: 16      Points: 1437
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 77

Before it was overplayed to death in a certain T-Mobile commercial, “Side To Side” was the fresh-sounding best single off Ariana Grande’s 2016 album. Aided by its saturated exposure and live awards-show performances, it became the highest-charting Dangerous Woman track. By virtue of her featured credit, Nicki Minaj earns her second appearance on this countdown, extending her streak of multiple entries to an impressive seven years. That stands as the fourth-longest streak of all time, trailing only Drake’s active streak of 8 years, Lil Wayne’s nine-year streak from 2007-15, and Rihanna’s active streak of 11 straight years.

#54: Sucker For Pain by Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa & Imagine Dragons w/Logic & Ty Dolla Sign f/X Ambassadors
Peak: #15     2016 Weeks on Chart: 22     Points: 1446
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 68

The Suicide Squad soundtrack became a runaway commercial success in 2016, even though its parent film opened to mixed reaction. The title of “most crowded Hot 100 hit of the year” belonged to “Sucker Of Pain,” one of several promotional single from the soundtrack. If you regularly confused Imagine Dragons and X Ambassadors, this song won’t help your distinguishing efforts. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a hip-hop song feature two full rock bands, but in a strange way, it almost comes together. Either way, “Sucker For Pain” is one of the strangest songs ever to become a bona fide Hot 100 hit.

#53: Hands To Myself by Selena Gomez
Peak: #7            2016 Weeks on Chart: 19         Points: 1470
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 56

Armed with a steamy music video which permanently banished Selena Gomez’s Disney Channel beginnings, “Hands To Myself” became the fourth consecutive Top 10 for Gomez, following “The Heart Wants What It Wants,” “Good For You,” and “Same Old Love.” While followup “Kill Em With Kindness” stalled at a peak of #39, all six singles to date released by Gomez as a lead solo artist (unencumbered by The Scene) have reached the Hot 100’s Top 40.

#52: The Hills by The Weeknd
Peak: #7 (#1 in 2015)       2016 Weeks on Chart: 19         Points: 1471
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 32

Outlasting its little brother “Can’t Feel My Face” by two months, “The Hills” became the Weeknd’s highest-ranked countdown entry for a second consecutive. In having two songs appear in both the 2015 and 2016 rankings, The Weeknd became just the fifth artist in Hot 100 history to pull off that impressive feat, joining:

  • LMFAO, 2011-2012: “Party Rock Anthem” and “Sexy And I Know It”
  • Adele, 2011-2012: “Rolling In The Deep” and “Someone Like You”
  • Imagine Dragons, 2013-2014: “Radioactive” and “Demons”
  • Sam Smith, 2014-2015: “Stay With Me” and “I’m Not The Only One”

#51: Never Be Like You by Flume f/Kai
Peak: #20         2016 Weeks on Chart: 26       Points: 1500
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 60

2016 was a year filled with rising artists seeing their debut US singles reach lofty heights and spend lengthy stays on the Hot 100. Australian DJ Flume had the greatest such success in the EDM genre, as his downtempo “Never Be Like You” cracked the Top 20 and spent the entire middle half of 2016 on the chart. His followup single “Say It,” featuring Tove Lo, was unable to replicate the success of “Never Be Like You,” spending just two weeks on the chart this fall.


We’ve now reached the halfway point of the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016! I’m going to take Christmas off, so I hope everyone enjoys their holiday with family and friends. I’ll see you back on the 26th to pick up with the second half of the countdown!

Until then,


101 Biggest Hits of 2016! #70-61


Welcome back to the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016! On today’s menu, I will reveal songs 70 through 61 on the countdown. If you missed any previous installment, here’s where you can catch up:

Let’s get things started with song #70!

#70: Die A Happy Man by Thomas Rhett
Peak: #21       2016 Weeks on Chart: 18         Points: 1223
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 64

One of the biggest country hits of the decade by an artist not named Florida Georgia Line, “Die A Happy Man” cemented Thomas Rhett as one of country’s brightest stars. Even with its first two chart months were logged at the end of 2015, “Die A Happy Man” gave Rhett his highest-ever appearance on my countdown.

#69: Lost Boy by Ruth B
Peak: #24      2016 Weeks on Chart: 22         Points: 1229
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 76

“Lost Boy” has one of the most bizarre and unlikely paths to becoming a hit in recent memory. It began as a six-second Vine inspired by ABC Disney drama Once Upon A Time in November 2014, consisting simply of Ruth B singing what would become the first line of its chorus. Inspired by positive fan reaction, she turned the Vine into a full-length song. It took nearly a year from its release to reach the Hot 100, then embarked on a lengthy road to reaching the Top 40 and becoming one of the biggest sleeper hits of the year. I should probably time capsule this paragraph and revisit it ten years from now, I imagine it will serve as a perfect reminder of something that reeks of 2016.

#68: Here by Alessia Cara
Peak: #5       2016 Weeks on Chart: 15       Points: 1233
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 39

I delved into Alessia Cara’s busy 2016 in the entry for “Scars To Your Beautiful,” but all of her 2016 success traces back directly to “Here.” It reached its #5 peak in January after over 20 weeks on the Hot 100, making it one of the longest ascents of the year. The success of “Here” helped  Cara’s debut album Know-It-All reach the Top 10 on Billboard’s albums chart.

#67: Sorry by Beyoncé
Peak: #11            2016 Weeks on Chart: 20         Points: 1239
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 71

Beyoncé’s Lemonade project became one of four albums this year to see all of its tracks reach the Hot 100 (the others being The Weeknd’s Starboy, Drake’s Views, and J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only). However, most of the Lemonade songs failed to spend more than three or four weeks on the chart. “Sorry” debuted at its peak of #11, trailing only “Formation” at #10, but it was able to sustain a 20-week run on the Hot 100 despite not improving upon its lofty debut.

#66: Starboy by The Weeknd f/Daft Punk
Peak: #2            2016 Weeks on Chart: 13         Points: 1245
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 58

Speaking of Starboy, the title track to The Weeknd’s album arrived on the Hot 100 two months before the album officially launched. In recruiting Daft Punk to lend a hand, “Starboy” became the duo’s second hit to peak at #2 in the past four years, following their lead credit on 2013’s “Get Lucky.” At the time of printing, “Starboy” still sits in the runner-up position, so there’s still a sporting chance for The Weeknd to earn his third Number One hit, and for the French pair to score their first chart-topper nearly 20 years after first appearing on the Hot 100 with “Around The World.”

#65: Same Old Love by Selena Gomez
Peak: #5       2016 Weeks on Chart: 15      Points: 1246
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 40

As “Same Old Love” reached its #5 peak in January, Selena Gomez got her 2016 off and running similar to her enormously successful 2015 campaign. She had two more Top 40 hits off Revival in 2016 with “Hands To Myself” and “Kill Em With Kindness,” both of which were featured in frequently-seen commercials. Her duet with Charlie Puth also hit it big this year, but more on that when it arrives on the countdown.

#64: What Do You Mean? by Justin Bieber
Peak: #5 (#1 in 2015)     2016 Weeks on Chart: 16     Points: 1285
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 31

One would have assumed that Justin Bieber’s first career Number One hit would have more lasting fanfare. In somewhat of an embarrassment of riches, “What Do You Mean?” was quickly overshadowed in Bieber’s catalog by “Sorry” and “Love Yourself.” Nonetheless, it spent a solid four months finishing up its run in 2016 and initiating Bieber’s momentous year on the chart.

#63: Hymn For The Weekend by Coldplay
Peak: #25            2016 Weeks on Chart: 23         Points: 1299
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 73

One of 2016’s unsung heroes is the Norwegian production duo Seeb. They shot to recognition with their remix of Mike Posner’s “I Took A Pill In Ibiza,” they brought new life to Coldplay’s “Hymn For The Weekend.” Despite not getting the amount of Super Bowl-aided buzz as previous single “Adventure Of A Lifetime,” it actually spent more time on the Hot 100, due in no small part to the dancefloor-ready remix.

#62: Down In The DM by Yo Gotti f/Nicki Minaj
Peak: #13            2016 Weeks on Chart: 19         Points: 1319
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 69

Going right next to “Lost Boy” in my 2016 time capsule is Yo Gotti’s modernist classic “Down In The DM.” A fable about social networking, specifically Instagram direct messages, Snapchat, and Facetime, this lead single from The Art Of Hustle became one of the year’s biggest novelty hits. The Nicki Minaj remix not only helped “Down In The DM” reach a higher peak, but it ensure that Minaj would make a countdown appearance for her 7th consecutive year.

#61: Luv by Tory Lanez
Peak: #19         2016 Weeks on Chart: 22       Points: 1368
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 70

As the second single from Tory Lanez’s debut I Told You, “Luv” built well off the success of “Say It.” Slightly more uptempo than its predecessor, “Luv” was able to crack the Top 20, a rare feat for an R&B song without pop radio airplay. It spent fewer weeks on the Hot 100 than “Say It” but established Tory Lanez as 2016’s breakout star for R&B.


That’s all for today! Tomorrow we’ll reach the halfway point of the countdown, so I’ll see you for a Christmas Eve edition of the 101 Biggest Hits with songs 60-51!

Until then,