Hit Parade

Hits of the Year Edition

Why Glass Animals beat Harry Styles for Billboard’s top song of 2022—year-end upsets date back to the Stones vs. Sam the Sham.


Episode Notes

Sam the Sham over the Rolling Stones? The Knack over Donna Summer? Wilson Phillips over Mariah Carey? Glass Animals over Harry Styles?

On Billboard’s year-end Hot 100, upsets are quite common. Songs that seemed to dominate the chart all year are defeated by stealthily ubiquitous earworms. Sometimes the obvious song takes the prize: “Hey Jude,” “Every Breath You Take” or “I Will Always Love You.” And then sometimes it’s a one-hit wonder: Domencio Mudugno, Daniel Powter, Gotye, Glass Animals—all won the year-end Hot 100 prize.

Join Chris Molanphy as he explains the secrets behind having the hit of the year—and why it doesn’t always go to a superstar.

Podcast production by Kevin Bendis.


About the Show

Chris Molanphy, a pop-chart analyst and author of Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series, tells tales from a half-century of chart history. Through storytelling, trivia, and song snippets, Chris dissects how that song you love—or hate—dominated the airwaves, made its way to the top of the charts, and shaped your memories forever.

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  • Chris Molanphy is a feature writer and critic who writes widely about music and the pop charts.