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What makes a song a smash? Talent? Luck? Timing? All that—and more.

Chris Molanphy, 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.

Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia Slate Magazine

    • Muziekgeschiedenis

What makes a song a smash? Talent? Luck? Timing? All that—and more.

Chris Molanphy, 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.

    The Bridge: Living in an Amish Paradise

    The Bridge: Living in an Amish Paradise

    In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Nathan Rabin, podcaster and writer of two books about “Weird Al” Yankovic. They discuss the most recent full-length episode of Hit Parade, a history of novelty songs on the Billboard charts culminating with the oeuvre of the most successful parody musician ever. Nathan shares the history of his Al fandom and eventual book-length collaboration, and Chris and Nathan theorize about the secrets of Al’s success.
    (Want to see Nathan Rabin talk about Weird Al in person? Join him in Los Angeles on Saturday, February 22, 2020, at 3:30 p.m. PST at Dynasty Typewriter—tickets here.)
    Next, Chris quizzes a Slate Plus listener with some music trivia, and the contestant turns the tables with a chance to try to stump Chris with a question of his own. Then, Chris teases the upcoming full-length episode of Hit Parade, which will look at the record-breaking career of the late Whitney Houston—now a Rock Hall inductee.
    While this episode is available to all listeners, our trivia round is open only to Slate Plus members. If you are a member—or once you become a member—enter as a contestant here.
    Want your question featured in an upcoming show? Email a voice memo to hitparade@slate.com.

    Podcast production by Asha Saluja.  
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 30 min.
    The White and Nerdy Edition

    The White and Nerdy Edition

    Sped-up voices. Wacky instruments. Songs about cavemen, bathtubs, bikinis and mothers-in-law. From the very birth of rock-and-roll, novelty songs were essential elements of the hit parade. Right through the ’70s—the age of streaking, CB radios, disco and King Tut—novelty songs could be chart-topping hits. But by the corporate ’80s, it was harder for goofballs to score round-the-clock hits on regimented radio playlists.
    Until one perm-headed, mustachioed, accordion-playing parodist who called himself “Weird” rebooted novelty hits for the new millennium. A video jokester before YouTube, he just might have ushered in the age of the meme. So join Hit Parade this month as we walk through the history of novelty hits on the charts—most especially if M.C. Escher is your favorite M.C.
    Podcast production by Justin D. Wright.
    Follow @cmolanphy on Twitter


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    • 1 u. 28 min.
    The Bridge: Legacy of the Elusive Chanteuse

    The Bridge: Legacy of the Elusive Chanteuse

    In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Rich Juzwiak, writer for Jezebel as well as Slate’s advice column How to Do It. The two discuss the most recent full-length episode of Hit Parade, a breakdown of how Mariah Carey’s seasonal hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You” finally hit No.1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, an improbable 25 years after its original release. Rich walks Chris through the history of Mariah fandom—both his own and her loyal “Lambs”—and how he appreciates her for her low moments as much as her pop peaks.

    Chris quizzes a Slate Plus listener with some music trivia, and the contestant turns the tables with a chance to try to stump Chris with a question of his own. Then, Chris teases the upcoming full-length episode of Hit Parade, which will look at the history of novelty and comedy hits on the charts. 

    While this episode is available to all listeners, our trivia round is open only to Slate Plus members. If you are a member—or once you become a member—enter as a contestant here.

    Want your question featured in an upcoming show? Email a voice memo to hitparade@slate.com.

    Podcast production by Asha Saluja.  
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 31 min.
    Make My Wish Come True Edition

    Make My Wish Come True Edition

    Music fans in 2019 are gobsmacked that the No. 1 song in America is not only a Christmas song but a 25-year-old recording: Mariah Carey’s holiday perennial “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Even more amazingly, it’s the first Christmas song to top Billboard’s Hot 100 in 61 years, since “The Chipmunk Song” in December 1958. This leads to so many “whys”: Why were there no Christmas No. 1s for six decades? Why didn’t ’60s, ’70s and ’80s holiday classics like “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” “Feliz Navidad” and “Last Christmas” become Hot 100 hits? Why did Carey’s classic not chart in 1994, when it was released—and why did it only start charting in the 2010s and seem to get more popular every year this decade?
    In this special holiday edition of Hit Parade we answer all of these questions, and explain how virtually everything had to change about the music business for Mariah’s Christmas chestnut to reach No. 1: from Billboard chart rules, to digital music technologies, to even the tragic passing of a fellow music diva. It all combined to give Carey her incredible 19th No. 1 on the Hot 100—just one chart-topper away from the Beatles.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 u. 14 min.
    The Bridge: Queens Bey, Rih and Robyn Reign Different Kingdoms

    The Bridge: Queens Bey, Rih and Robyn Reign Different Kingdoms

    In this mid-month mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by The Bridge producer Asha Saluja to discuss the most recent full-length episode of Hit Parade, an exhaustive analysis of the top-charting singles of the 2010s. Chris tells Asha why Beyoncé, indisputably one of the decade’s most influential artists, didn’t make it into the episode. Then Chris and Asha talk about a few of their favorite singles of the decade--some made it onto the Billboard Hot 100, and others didn’t. Chris quizzes a Slate Plus listener with some music trivia, and the contestant turns the tables with a chance to try to stump Chris with a question of his own. Then, Chris teases the upcoming full-length episode of Hit Parade, which will be a look at Christmas music’s record on the Hot 100--including a record that just might be broken this year if a beloved holiday tune by a certain chart-running pop diva hits No. 1. And finally, Chris corrects the record on some mistakes he’s made in Hit Parade this year. Anyone remember “meekrat”? 

    While this episode is available to all listeners, our trivia round is open only to Slate Plus members. If you are a member—or once you become a member—enter as a contestant here.

    Want your question featured in an upcoming show? Email a voice memo to hitparade@slate.com.

    Podcast production by Asha Saluja.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 26 min.
    Rolling in God’s Royal Uptown Road Edition.

    Rolling in God’s Royal Uptown Road Edition.

    All decades of pop music swing between trends and fads—but the 2010s was swingier than most. From the maximalist EDM of the early ’10s to the downbeat hip-hop of the late ’10s, the pop pendulum oscillated more widely than you may remember. The same decade that gave us Adele’s stately balladry, Katy Perry’s electro-froth and Taylor Swift’s country-to-pop crossover also gave us the Weeknd’s bleary indie-R&B and Drake’s moody rap. And Bieber—so. Much. Bieber.
    With just weeks to go before the end of 2019, Hit Parade walks through the last decade of the Hot 100, year by year, and asks: What was that? Arguably, what drove pop in the ’10s wasn’t just the production sounds of dance music or hip-hop but the technologies we used to consume music, as the shift from downloads to streams changed the contours of chart success. And in the end, one multigenre queen navigated these shifts better than most, finding pop love in a hopeless place.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 u. 37 min.

Klantrecensies

ACY SG ,

Pure Pleasure

This is my favorite podcast. Every episode theme is inspired, and each one is a fascinating discussion structured in such a way that I can't stop listening. As a fellow Gen-X-er, I find myself revisiting old songs with renewed insight and appreciation, and understanding more recent pop music better. Can't let changing times leave us aging hipsters behind! Bridge episodes are not as gripping, but overall I love this podcast, as others do, at an obsessional level.

Hal newcome ,

Chris Molanphy is my dad

I love Hit Parade and especially Chris’ insight. He made me able to love Old Town Road.

Fairly grim ,

Hit Parade

Music nerdiness at its best. Please pick one to play and you will be entertained, not only by the content but also by the host !

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