Ask Billboard: Pusha T’s Chart Connections to John Lennon, Tony Bennett & More
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Pusha (On) T(op)
I was rooting for Pusha T to secure the top spot on the Billboard 200 (dated May 7) with It’s Almost Dry, in part since I’m biased toward productions by Pharrell Williams. So “happy” he got it.
Plus, with Pusha T turning 45 on May 13, his first No. 1 on the chart makes for a nice early present.
Meanwhile, the album’s “Dreamin of the Past,” featuring Ye, debuts on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 81. The song reworks John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy,” which peaked one spot higher in 1988 (tied to the documentary Imagine: John Lennon, after the song’s initial 1971 release).
Pusha T’s recording features a sample of Donny Hathaway’s version of “Jealous Guy” (recorded in 1972). Ye produced the new tune, and co-wrote it Pusha T, and given that Ye has had chart success with Paul McCartney – three top 40 Hot 100 hits together, all in 2015, led by the No. 4-peaking “FourFiveSeconds,” also with Rihanna – Ye has a new chart connection to McCartney’s fellow iconic Beatles bandmate and writing partner.
Also, Pusha T charts the album’s “Rock N Roll,” featuring Ye and Kid Cudi, at No. 78 on the Hot 100. It’s the latest hit on the chart about the genre that it still is to Billy Joel and that Joan Jett loves.
The heart of rock n’ roll is still beating … especially this week in Cleveland, with the announcement of the 2022 inductees to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Sticking with that theme, hits with both “rock” and “roll” in their titles have been prevalent dating to the Hot 100’s August 1958 start, although much rarer on the ranking in recent years. Pusha T’s is the first such song since Avril Lavigne’s like-titled track spent a week on the chart, at No. 91, in September 2013.
Over the Hot 100’s history, 31 singles with the words “rock” and “roll” in their titles have hit the Hot 100’s top 40. Notably, 20 of them charted in the 1970s, and the last to date did so in 1994.
Here’s a chronological recap. (Back to the Beatles: Ringo Starr has tallied one such hit … as has Electric Light Orchestra, whose Jeff Lynne was in supergroup Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison.)
Top 40 Hot 100 Hits With ‘Rock’ & ‘Roll’ in Their Titles
- “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘N’ Roll Star,” The Byrds, No. 29 peak, March 4, 1967
- “I Dig Rock and Roll Music,” Peter, Paul & Mary, No. 9, Sept. 23, 1967
- “Gool Old Rock ‘N Roll,” Cat Mother & The All Night News Boys, No. 21, Aug. 2, 1969
- “God, Love and Rock & Roll,” Teegarden & Van Winkle, No. 22, Oct. 31, 1970
- “Rock and Roll Lullaby,” B.J. Thomas, No. 15, April 1, 1972
- “Rock and Roll Part 2,” Gary Glitter, No. 7, Sept. 9, 1972
- “Rock ‘N Roll Soul,” Grand Funk Railroad, No. 29, Nov. 25, 1972
- “I Didn’t Know I Loved You (Till I Saw You Rock and Roll),” Gary Glitter, No. 35, Dec. 16, 1972
- “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band),” The Moody Blues, No. 12, March 17, 1973
- “Rockin’ Roll Baby,” The Stylistics, No. 14, Dec. 22, 1973
- “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo,” Rick Derringer, No. 23, March 23, 1974
- “Rock and Roll Heaven,” The Righteous Brothers, No. 3, July 20, 1974
- “It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (But I Like It),” The Rolling Stones, No. 16, Sept. 21, 1974
- “Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me),” Reunion, No. 8, Nov. 16, 1974
- “Rock ‘N Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life),” Mac Davis, No. 15, Feb. 1, 1975
- “Rock and Roll All Nite (Live),” KISS, No. 12, Jan. 24, 1976
- “Rock and Roll Love Letter,” Bay City Rollers, No. 28, June 12, 1976
- “Rock and Roll Music,” The Beach Boys, No. 5, Aug. 14, 1976
- “A Dose of Rock ‘N’ Roll,” Ringo Starr, No. 26, Nov. 6, 1976
- “That’s Rock ‘N’ Roll,” Shaun Cassidy, No. 3, Oct. 22, 1977
- “A Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy,” The Kinks, No. 30, Sept. 16, 1978
- “Old Time Rock & Roll,” Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, No. 28, May 26, 1979
- “Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy,” Bad Company, No. 13, June 16, 1979
- “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” Billy Joel, No. 1 (two weeks), July 19, 1980
- “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through,” Jim Steinman, No. 32, Aug. 15, 1981
- “I Love Rock ‘N Roll,” Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, No. 1 (seven weeks), March 20, 1982
- “I’ve Got a Rock N’ Roll Heart,” Eric Clapton, No. 18, March 26, 1983
- “Rock ‘N’ Roll Is King,” Electric Light Orchestra, No. 19, Aug. 20, 1983
- “The Heart of Rock & Roll,” Huey Lewis & The News, No. 6, June 9, 1984
- “Rock and Roll GirIs,” John Fogerty, No. 20, April 27, 1985
- “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through,” Meat Loaf, No. 13, March 12, 1994
As for Pusha T scoring his first Billboard 200 No. 1 at age 44, he’s only almost halfway to the longest an artist has waited for a first leader on the list: The legendary Tony Bennett was 85 when he achieved his first No. 1, Duets II, in 2011.
Let’s look at acts since 2000 who’ve made rewards of their first Billboard 200 No. 1s even sweeter by waiting until after the age of, never mind 44, but 50, a reminder that a chart coronation can never be counted out.
James Taylor, Before This World, July 4, 2015 / Age at time of first No. 1: 67
Taylor’s 12th of 13 Billboard 200 top 10s became his first No. 1 upon its debut. Could the set’s success be owed to its track “Angels of Fenway”? This Red Sox fan won’t argue (even if no one else in Billboard‘s New York office would agree).
Tom Petty (& the Heartbreakers), Hypnotic Eye, Aug. 16, 2014 / Age 63
Likewise Petty’s 12th of 13 Billboard 200 top 10s. “The only good thing about getting older is you get smart enough to avoid unnecessary problems,” Petty mused in a Billboard cover story ahead of the album’s release. “You know what’s worth spending time on and what’s not. If I had known that at 20, life would have been so much easier, but you have to experience all these things so you figure out how to find your way through the woods.”
“Weird Al” Yankovic, Mandatory Fun, 2014 / Age 54
Although Yankovic first charted on the Billboard 200 in 1983, he posted his first top 10, of three, in 2006, while his third became his first No. 1 in 2014. Daniel Radcliffe stars as Yankovic in the upcoming Roku biopic of the comic.
Black Sabbath, 13, June 29, 2013 / Ozzy Osbourne, Age 64
The British hard rockers, fronted by vocalist Osbourne, tallied their first of two Billboard 200 top 10s, Master of Reality, in 1971. Nearly 42 years later, 13 became their second top 10, and sole leader. (They disbanded in 2017.) As a soloist, Osbourne has collected eight top 10s, reaching a No. 3 high twice.
Tony Bennett, Duets II, Oct. 8, 2011 / Age 85
After Bennett earned his first two Billboard 200 top 10s in 1962-63, his Duets: An American Classic became his third, reaching No. 3, in 2006. Teaming with stars that followed in his footsteps a second time led to his first No. 1, and the set’s opening track, “The Lady Is a Tramp,” with Lady Gaga, sparked his second and latest leader, Cheek to Cheek, with Gaga, in 2014. His seventh and most recent top 10, Love for Sale, also with Gaga, hit No. 8 in October 2021 and won two Grammy Awards in April.
Neil Diamond, Home Before Dark, May 24, 2008 / Age 67
The LP launched as Diamond’s first Billboard 200 No. 1 and his 15th of 18 top 10s. “One could argue that [producer Rick] Rubin’s first go-round with Diamond, 2005’s 12 Songs, set the stage for the new album’s crowning feat,” then-Billboard director of charts Geoff Mayfield wrote when Home Before Dark bowed. “As happened when Rubin took on the late-in-life recordings of Johnny Cash, the producer’s work with Diamond cast a new spotlight on the veteran singer/composer.” Plus: “Prior to the album’s release, Diamond appeared on episodes of ratings champ American Idol, including one that was devoted to his music.”
Reba, Duets, Oct. 6, 2007 / Age 52
As with Bennett, a collaborative album resulted in McEntire’s first Billboard 200 No. 1. Following her first five top 10s in 1993-98, Duets began a run of her five most recent, all achieved in a row through 2017.
Jimmy Buffett, License to Chill, July 31, 2004 / Age 57
Buffett’s eighth of 12 Billboard 200 top 10s opened as his first leader. Not that he wasn’t familiar with Billboard‘s pages, having been on-staff as a Nashville reporter, and writing concert recaps, ahead of the release of his first album in 1970. “I [could] never give anybody a bad review,” he said last year. “There has to be something toxic that [a review] says, but I [could] never do it because I knew how hard it was to get up there.”
Luther Vandross, Dance With My Father, June 28, 2003 / Age 52
The album debuted as his eighth of nine Billboard 200 top 10s and yielded four Grammy Awards wins, including song of the year for its title track, co-written with Richard Marx. The two first collaborated when Vandross sang on Marx’s 1991 hit “Keep Coming Back.” “We went out to dinner and he offered to sing background vocals,” Marx recalled in 2012. “That’s like, if I was having dinner with Michael Jordan and I said, ‘You know, me and my buddies play pickup basketball in the park on Sundays,’ and Michael Jordan said, ‘Do you need somebody for your team?’ That’s the equivalent.”