Within an Inch of First Place – Top 10 Songs That Never Reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100

The Billboard Hot 100 Chart has been the best indicator for any individual song’s commercial success for a long time now. Any song that reaches the Number 1 position on the Hot 100 Chart creates history. But there have been some songs which in spite of being huge hits have not made it to the top position.

Here are our picks for our favorite songs that deserved the #1 position at the Billboard Hot 100 but never managed to make it there:

10. “Y.M.C.A.,” Village People, No. 2, Feb. 3, 1979

Village People was one of America’s most beloved disco bands in the 70s. Y.M.C.A was an instant hit from the day of its release, but it only managed to get till the number 2 slot on the Billboard Top 100 Chart.

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Unfortunately, at the time when Y.M.C.A was doing the rounds; there were two songs slightly more popular than it – Le Freak by Chic and Rob Stewart’s Da Ya Think I’m Sexy because of which the number 1 position did not fall vacant in its lifetime. However, the song did make it to the number 1 spot in the UK and was one of the few songs to have sold more than 10 million copies at the time.

9. “Wake Me Up!,” Avicii, No. 4, Oct. 5, 2013

Avicii’s Wake Me Up was one of the most popular songs in most of the European countries, and it topped many of the charts in Europe. Even in the Billboard Top 100 Chart, it remained in the top 10 list for 21 weeks which is quite impressive for a dance/electronic number of this kind.

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However, due to the presence of spectacular hits like Katy Perry’s Roar and Lorde’s Royals, Wake Me Up never made it to the top 3 in the Billboard Top 100 Chart. Written by Swedish musician Avicii with locals by soul singer Aloe Blacc and acoustic guitar by Mike Einziger, Wake Me Up remains one of the best songs that you can dance your heart out to.

8. “Kryptonite,” 3 Doors Down, No. 3, Nov. 11, 2000

Kryptonite’s journey from being an insignificant demo song for a local play to its historical position as number 3 on the Billboard Top 100 Chart is nothing short of extraordinary. Written and performed by the American rock band 3 Doors Down, Kryptonite is the band’s highest charting single on the Billboard Top 100.

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Though the song’s title makes it sound like it is all about Superman, the band had clarified that that is not the case and that the song was written even before the Superman movies came out.

7.  “Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum, No. 2, March 20, 2010

Need You Now by the country trio Lady Antebellum was one of the most popular songs in the country music genre for the 2000s decade. It was the title track for the album Need You Now and was the band’s first song to debut in the UK and Europe.

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It is a little hard to believe that a song that won 4 Grammy Awards including Song of the Year and Record of the Year did not make it to the #1 spot on the Billboard Top 100. However, it did spend five weeks at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs.

6. “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” Foreigner, No. 2, Nov. 28, 1981

A soft love song turned into a power ballad by Foreigner that was a big departure from their earlier mid to upper tempo song is also the band’s most successful single till date. It peaked the Billboard Top 100 Chart at No. 2 spot and stayed there for 10 weeks straight which is a record in its own right.

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It was kept from the top spot by Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical.” “Waiting for a Girl Like You” has still managed to mark a permanent place for itself at No. 19 in Top 100 singles of 1982 and at No. 100 on Billboard’s Greatest Songs of All Time.

4. “Apologize,” Timbaland feat. OneRepublic, No. 2, Nov. 10, 2007

One Republic’s Apologize remained the pop band’s most successful song till 2013 when they released ‘Counting Stars”. Apologize was one of the biggest international hits for One Republic as it reached the #1 spot in 16 countries world over including Australia, Canada, Sweden, Germany, and Italy.

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It peaked at the number 2 spot on the Billboard Top 100 Chart and stayed in the top 10 list for 25 weeks. It also earned a Grammy nomination for the band for Best Pop Performance by a Group.

3. “You Were Meant for Me”/”Foolish Games,” Jewel, No. 2, April 19, 1997

One of the few folk-pop songs to chart the Billboard Top 100, “You Were Meant For Me” was performed by Jewel for her first ever album Pieces of You. It stayed on the #2 spot on the Billboard Top 100 but was denied the top spot due to the powerful song at the time “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” by Puff Daddy & Mase.

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The song ranked at No. 15 on the Billboard’s All-Time Pop 100 and was also re-recorded to be included in Jewel’s Greatest Hits album.

1. “Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran, No. 2, Jan. 31, 2015

Thinking Out Loud was Ed Sheeran’s most popular and commercially successful song until he released “Shape Of You” in 2017. It peaked the Billboard Top 100 Chart at No. 2 spot but was kept away from the top position by “Uptown Funk.”

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It was the first and only single till date to spend a whole year in UK Top 40 and is one of the highest streamed songs in the UK. It has also won 2 Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.