Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia

Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia

By Slate Podcasts

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.

Episodes

Be the One to Walk in the Sun, Part 2

In Part 2 of this episode, Chris Molanphy continues his analysis of how Cyndi Lauper, Aimee Mann, and The Bangles, three contemporary female acts with rock foundations and pop sensibilities, progressed out of their distinctive rock scenes and into the spotlight. They found critical and commercial acclaim and remain influential decades later, in a variety of media, from Hollywood to Broadway. What forces were they up against, and how did they fight to define themselves?  Podcast production by Asha Saluja. Sign up for Slate Plus now to get episodes in one installment as soon as they're out. You'll also get The Bridge, our trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
03/12/211h 20m

Be the One to Walk in the Sun, Part 1

Thirty-five years ago, in the fall of 1986, women with rock foundations and pop sensibilities were doing quite well on the charts. Three acts in particular were drawing sizable attention—and they were all singing on the same album: Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors, which featured backing vocals by the Bangles and ’Til Tuesday’s Aimee Mann. It turns out these women had more than that brief coincidence in common. Lauper, Mann and the Bangles came up at the same postpunk, new-wave moment in ’80s pop. And they fought many of the same battles: record-label machinations…a media that stoked rivalries, whether or not they existed…and a sexist music industry that repeatedly underestimated their skills. In this Hit Parade episode, Chris Molanphy recounts how these women emerged from distinctive rock scenes––from punk-era New York and Boston, to L.A.’s Paisley Underground—then outgrew them. They found critical and commercial acclaim and remain influential decades later, in a variety of media, from Hollywood to Broadway. What forces were they up against, and how did they fight to define themselves?  Podcast production by Asha Saluja. Sign up for Slate Plus now to get episodes in one installment as soon as they're out. You'll also get The Bridge, our trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
20/11/211h 10m

I Write Sins, Not Tragedies, Part 2

In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy traces the lineage of ’90s bands like Green Day, Offspring and Blink‑182 to their descendants in ’00s emo artisans Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco and their skinny-jeans-wearing, smarty-pants contemporaries.   Podcast production by Asha Saluja with help from Rosemary Belson. We have a special announcement! This year is the 25th anniversary of Slate. And for a limited time, we’re offering our annual Slate Plus membership at $25 off. As a Slate Plus member, you'll get to hear every Hit Parade episode in full, the day it arrives; plus Hit Parade—“The Bridge,” our bonus episodes, with guest interviews, deeper dives on our episode topics, and pop-chart trivia. Plus, you’ll get no ads on any Slate podcast, unlimited reading on the Slate site, and member-exclusive episodes and segments. This offer lasts until October 31st, so sign up now at slate.com/hitparadeplus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
29/10/211h 3m

I Write Sins, Not Tragedies, Part 1

“Punk happened, past tense.” That’s what Boomer-era critics and true-believer punks told the younger generations. Punk’s whole reason for being was rejecting the mainstream. But punk wasn’t just a movement—it was also a genre. And 20 years after it first emerged, punk went from underground to overground, dominating the radio for the first time.   In this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy traces how punk traveled from Sid Vicious to strip mall, through the lineage of ’90s bands Green Day, Offspring and Blink‑182, and ’00s emo artisans Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco and their skinny-jeans-wearing, smarty-pants contemporaries. From the CBGB era to the current Billboard Hot 100, punk is no historical artifact—it’s still morphing and adapting. And for all its supposed opposition to convention, the dirty little secret is: Punk has always been catchy.   Podcast production by Asha Saluja with help from Rosemary Belson. We have a special announcement! This year is the 25th anniversary of Slate. And for a limited time, we’re offering our annual Slate Plus membership at $25 off. As a Slate Plus member, you'll get to hear every Hit Parade episode in full, the day it arrives; plus Hit Parade—“The Bridge,” our bonus episodes, with guest interviews, deeper dives on our episode topics, and pop-chart trivia. Plus, you’ll get no ads on any Slate podcast, unlimited reading on the Slate site, and member-exclusive episodes and segments. This offer lasts until October 31st, so sign up now at slate.com/hitparadeplus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
16/10/2147m 23s

Spirit of ’71, Part 2

In Part 2 of our 50th episode of Hit Parade, we go back 50 years, celebrating the semicentennial of the year when, critics claim, “music changed everything.” The Quiet Beatle became the Favorite Beatle, when Mick Jagger sang lyrics even he regrets, when Carole King graduated from songwriter to singer-songwriter, and commercial juggernaut, when blaxploitation took over the charts and the Oscars, and when the radio was somehow awash in Osmonds. It wasn’t a perfect year—but Hit Parade host Chris Molanphy is fond of ’71 for personal reasons.  Podcast production by Asha Saluja with help from Rosemary Belson. Sign up for Slate Plus now to get episodes in one installment as soon as they're out. You'll also get The Bridge, our trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
24/09/211h 5m

Spirit of ’71, Part 1

At any given time, the music world is celebrating some anniversary, but 1971 has received more than its share of commemorations this year. And with good reason: Carole King. Marvin Gaye. Joni Mitchell. Sly Stone. Janis Joplin. The Who. All released their best work a half-century ago. For our 50th episode of Hit Parade, we go back 50 years, celebrating the semicentennial of the year when, critics claim, “music changed everything.” The Quiet Beatle became the Favorite Beatle, when Mick Jagger sang lyrics even he regrets, when Carole King graduated from songwriter to singer-songwriter, and commercial juggernaut, when blaxploitation took over the charts and the Oscars, and when the radio was somehow awash in Osmonds. It wasn’t a perfect year—but Hit Parade host Chris Molanphy is fond of ’71 for personal reasons.  Podcast production by Asha Saluja with help from Rosemary Belson. Sign up for Slate Plus now to get episodes in one installment as soon as they're out. You'll also get The Bridge, our trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/09/211h 14m

What a Fool Believes, Part 2

In part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy continues his deep dive on Yacht Rock, the retroactive genre label for the sleek, jazzy, R&B-flavored sound that cropped up in the late '70s and early '80s amongst polished, perfectionist West Coast studio musicians. Whatever you call it, this music really did command the charts at the turn of the ’80s: from Steely Dan to George Benson, Michael McDonald to Kenny Loggins, Toto to…Michael Jackson?! Believe it: even Thriller is partially a Yacht Rock album. This month, Hit Parade breaks down what Yacht Rock was and how it took over the charts four decades ago—from the perfectionism of “Peg,” to the bounce of “What a Fool Believes,” to the epic smoothness of “Africa.” This episode was released in August 2020 exclusively for Slate Plus listeners. Sign up for Slate Plus now to get episodes in one installment as soon as they're out. You'll also get The Bridge, our trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
27/08/2148m 8s

What a Fool Believes, Part 1

In the late ’70s and early ’80s, a scene and a sound cropped up on the West Coast: polished, perfectionist studio musicians who generated sleek, jazzy, R&B-flavored music. About a quarter-century later, this sound was given a name: Yacht Rock. The inventors of the genre name weren’t thinking about boats…well, unless the song was Christopher Cross’s “Sailing.” Yacht Rock was meant to signify deluxe, yuppified, “smooth” music suitable for playing on luxury nautical craft. Whatever you call it, this music really did command the charts at the turn of the ’80s: from Steely Dan to George Benson, Michael McDonald to Kenny Loggins, Toto to…Michael Jackson?! Believe it: even Thriller is partially a Yacht Rock album. This month, Hit Parade breaks down what Yacht Rock was and how it took over the charts four decades ago—from the perfectionism of “Peg,” to the bounce of “What a Fool Believes,” to the epic smoothness of “Africa.” This episode was released in August 2020 exclusively for Slate Plus listeners. Sign up for Slate Plus now to get episodes in one installment as soon as they're out. You'll also get The Bridge, our trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
13/08/211h 0m

Tramps Like Us, Part 2

In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy continues his analysis of the career and legacy of the legendary and sometimes-misunderstood Bruce Springsteen. In his second decade, Springsteen wasn’t just a hitmaker—he was the archetype: the symbol of flag-waving American rock, even when the song was less patriotism than protest. Advertisers, other pop stars, President Ronald Reagan—everybody glommed onto Bruce, and virtually all of them got him wrong. Just in time for summer, Hit Parade takes on the Boss, pop star. How did Bruce Springsteen invent his persona and find his truth? Podcast production by Asha Saluja. Hit Parade episodes are now split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
30/07/211h 14m

Tramps Like Us, Part 1

Bruce Springsteen has been a legend so long, it’s easy to forget that, for his first decade, he had trouble getting a hit. Yes, even the legendary “Born to Run”: It missed Billboard’s Top 20. And yet, several of Springsteen’s songs became big hits for others: the song with the misheard lyric about “a deuce” that went to No. 1 for a British band. The song he couldn’t finish that became a hit for a punk priestess. The song he refused to let his record label hear that became a massive hit for the Pointer Sisters. The hit he almost gave away to the Ramones.   In his second decade, on the other hand, Springsteen wasn’t just a hitmaker—he was the archetype: the symbol of flag-waving American rock, even when the song was less patriotism than protest. Advertisers, other pop stars, President Ronald Reagan—everybody glommed onto Bruce, and virtually all of them got him wrong. Just in time for summer, Hit Parade takes on the Boss, pop star. How did Bruce Springsteen invent his persona and find his truth? For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info.   Production by Asha Saluja, with help from Rosemary Belson. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
17/07/211h 15m

Say My Name, Say My Name, Part 2

In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy continues his analysis of when singing became central to rap music. Rap has always been musical. But back in the day, rappers generally, well, rapped: talked in cadence over a beat. Fans judged MCs primarily by their rhymes and rhythms, not their melodies. Now? Rappers are mostly singers: MCs from Drake to DaBaby slip seamlessly in and out of melody. Some hits that appear on Billboard’s Rap charts feature literally no rapping. When did this change? Part 2 takes a close look at an integral pivot point in this progression: when Beyoncé changed the game by singing with triple-time flow like the baddest MC.   Podcast production by Asha Saluja. Hit Parade episodes are now split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
02/07/211h 9m

Say My Name, Say My Name, Part 1

Let’s be clear: Rap has always been musical. But back in the day, rappers generally, well, rapped: talked in cadence over a beat. Fans judged MCs primarily by their rhymes and rhythms, not their melodies. Now? Rappers are mostly singers: MCs from Drake to DaBaby slip seamlessly in and out of melody. Some hits that appear on Billboard’s Rap charts feature literally no rapping. When did this change? In this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy walks through the history of hip-hop—from Gil Scott-Heron to Lil Nas X—to trace the evolving role of melody in rap’s conquest of the charts. The broadening of rap to include more female MCs, from Queen Latifah to Lauryn Hill, had a lot to do with it. But all roads lead through rap-and-B’s power couple, Jay-Z and Beyoncé. The pivot point may have been when Queen Bey realized she could sing with triple-time flow like the baddest MC.   Podcast production by Asha Saluja. Hit Parade episodes are now split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
18/06/2154m 20s

Blame It on the Feign, Part 2

In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy continues his analysis of Milli Vanilli, the musical act that many of us who were around in 1989 listened to more than they might admit. They also have quite a legacy: a blend of pop, dance and rap that now seems commonplace but was still relatively novel then. If you’ve danced to Europop that fronts like hip-hop, you’re living in a world Milli Vanilli helped create.   Chris Molanphy continues to break down the history of Milli Vanilli mastermind Frank Farian’s musical career: from his burst of Billboard chart success, to the storied past of the Best New Artist Grammy award. From MTV News to Behind the Music, the Milli Vanilli story has been told and retold. But the Billboard chart feats achieved by Rob and Fab, and their accomplices, reveal just how addicted America was to their music—and maybe, how they won that Grammy. Hit Parade episodes are now split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info.   Podcast production by Asha Saluja with help from Rosemary Belson. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/05/2147m 54s

Blame It on the Feign, Part 1

For a musical project that’s synonymous with deceit, Milli Vanilli sold an awful lot of records. They also have quite a legacy: a blend of pop, dance and rap that now seems commonplace but was still relatively novel in 1989. If you’ve danced to Europop that fronts like hip-hop, you’re living in a world Milli Vanilli helped create.   In this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy breaks down the history of Milli Vanilli mastermind Frank Farian’s musical career: from his days with Boney M, a hit-making, half-real, half-fake group that was a precursor to his later scheme; to his enlistment of European model–dancers Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan to be the faux-frontpeople of Milli Vanilli. From MTV News to Behind the Music, the Milli Vanilli story has been told and retold. But the Billboard chart feats achieved by Rob and Fab, and their accomplices, reveal just how addicted America was to their music—and maybe, how they won that Grammy. Hit Parade episodes are now split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info.   Podcast production by Asha Saluja with help from Rosemary Belson. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
20/05/2158m 35s

Taylor’s Version of Country, Part 2

In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy continues his analysis of Taylor: the country years, dissecting how she gradually, step by step, became the new queen of pop one irresistible song at a time. She went from interviewing bigger stars on MTV’s red carpet one year, to being the talk of the Video Music Awards the next—even before Kanye took that microphone away from her. He told Taylor he would let her finish, but the game was already over. Swift had the most played song in the USA.   Podcast production by Asha Saluja, with help from Rosemary Belson. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
30/04/2153m 48s

Taylor’s Version of Country, Part 1

Taylor Swift’s new album is a reboot of an old album: Fearless, her 2008 chart-topping juggernaut that made her the biggest star on the Billboard charts. But Fearless (Taylor’s Version)—filled with banjos, steel guitars and fiddles—is also a reminder for those who forgot: Swift was once the top act in country music, too. From Dolly Parton to Shania Twain, the Chicks to Faith Hill, no country artist has ever crossed over to pop the way Taylor did, utterly dominating one genre before she took over another.   In this episode, Chris Molanphy focuses on Taylor: the country years, dissecting how she gradually, step by step, became the new queen of pop one irresistible song at a time. She went from interviewing bigger stars on MTV’s red carpet one year, to being the talk of the Video Music Awards the next—even before Kanye took that microphone away from her. He told Taylor he would let her finish, but the game was already over. Swift had the most played song in the USA.   Podcast production by Asha Saluja, with help from Rosemary Belson. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
17/04/2155m 58s

Don’t Know Much About History, Part 2

In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy continues his analysis of the music of Sam Cooke. The Oscar-nominated film One Night in Miami… imagines the conversation between Cooke, Malcolm X, Cassius Clay and Jim Brown the night in 1964 they gathered to celebrate the soon-to-be Muhammad Ali’s heavyweight victory. Malcolm X challenges Sam Cooke to use his amazing voice to help “the struggle.” Little did he know Cooke had already recorded his civil‑rights masterpiece, “A Change Is Gonna Come.”   In his too-brief career—seven years as a gospel star, then seven more as a chart-conquering superstar—Sam Cooke took a remarkable journey: from the pathbreaking pop of “You Send Me,” to the wistful R&B of “(What a) Wonderful World,” to the yearning romance of “Bring It on Home to Me,” to—of course—the now-legendary “Change Is Gonna Come.” Meet the man who defined what soul music was and could be.   Hit Parade episodes are now split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info. Podcast production by Asha Saluja. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
02/04/2154m 42s

Don’t Know Much About History, Part 1

The Oscar-nominated film One Night in Miami… imagines the conversation between Sam Cooke, Malcolm X, Cassius Clay and Jim Brown the night in 1964 they gathered to celebrate the soon-to-be Muhammad Ali’s heavyweight victory. Malcolm X challenges Sam Cooke to use his amazing voice to help “the struggle.” Little did he know Cooke had already recorded his civil‑rights masterpiece, “A Change Is Gonna Come.”   In this episode, Chris Molanphy sets the record straight on the man now called the King of Soul. In his too-brief career—seven years as a gospel star, then seven more as a chart-conquering superstar—Sam Cooke took a remarkable journey: from the pathbreaking pop of “You Send Me,” to the wistful R&B of “(What a) Wonderful World,” to the yearning romance of “Bring It on Home to Me,” to—of course—the now-legendary “Change Is Gonna Come.” Meet the man who defined what soul music was and could be.   Hit Parade episodes are now split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info. Podcast production by Asha Saluja. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
23/03/2153m 41s

The AC/DC Rule, Part 2

In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy continues to demonstrate a weird chart phenomenon he calls The AC/DC Rule. Hit Parade episodes are now split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info. What was the only No. 1 album by Jimi Hendrix? How about the first No. 1 by Billy Joel? Jackson Browne? Pat Benatar? Pearl Jam? Lady Gaga?   In all cases, the answer isn’t obvious—it’s not the album you know best, the one with the most hits on it. It’s the album after that classic that goes to No. 1. And there’s no better example than AC/DC, the Australian-by-way-of-Scotland hard rock band that’s sold more than 20 million copies of Back in Black. But it was their next album (can you name it?) that topped the Billboard album chart.   Just as less-good movie sequels open better at the box office than classic first installments, follow-up albums often chart higher than their slow-growing but hit-packed predecessors. Some of the rock and pop legends who fell prey to this chart phenomenon might surprise you…might just leave you shook all night long.   Podcast production by Asha Saluja. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
26/02/211h 18m

The AC/DC Rule, Part 1

Quick, what was the only No. 1 album by Jimi Hendrix? How about the first No. 1 by Billy Joel? Jackson Browne? Pat Benatar? Pearl Jam? Lady Gaga?   In all cases, the answer isn’t obvious—it’s not the album you know best, the one with the most hits on it. It’s the album after that classic that goes to No. 1. And there’s no better example than AC/DC, the Australian-by-way-of-Scotland hard rock band that’s sold more than 20 million copies of Back in Black. But it was their next album (can you name it?) that topped the Billboard album chart.   Chris Molanphy has coined a term for this weird chart phenomenon: He calls it The AC/DC Rule. Just as less-good movie sequels open better at the box office than classic first installments, follow-up albums often chart higher than their slow-growing but hit-packed predecessors. Some of the rock and pop legends who fell prey to this chart phenomenon might surprise you…might just leave you shook all night long.   Podcast production by Asha Saluja. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
13/02/2146m 44s

These Are the Good Times, Part 2

Hit Parade is back for non-Slate Plus listeners! Upcoming episodes will be split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive into our subjects. slate.com/hitparadeplus. In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, we continue the story of how Chic—cofounded by guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards—gave life to disco through the 1980s and beyond. Their “Good Times” bassline spawned a slew of copycats, from “Rapper’s Delight” to “Another One Bites the Dust” to “Rapture.” And as if that wasn’t enough, over the next decade, the Chic masterminds became the secret sauce for a range of cutting-edge pop acts, producing and writing for everyone from Diana Ross and David Bowie to Madonna, Duran Duran and the B-52’s. Nile Rodgers even scored a hit in the 2010s with a pair of French robots who “got lucky” with another take on the Chic groove. Podcast production by Asha Saluja. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
29/01/211h 23m

These Are the Good Times, Part 1

Hit Parade is back for non-Slate Plus listeners! Upcoming episodes will be split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive into our subjects. slate.com/hitparadeplus. How can you tell disco didn’t really die at the start of the 1980s? Because half of ’80s pop owed its sound to one of disco’s most seminal acts. Chic—cofounded by guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards—would be legendary if all they’d done was record the’70s disco smashes “Le Freak,” “I Want Your Love” and “Good Times.” Indeed, the “Good Times” bassline spawned a slew of copycats, from “Rapper’s Delight” to “Another One Bites the Dust” to “Rapture.” As if that wasn’t enough, over the next decade, the Chic masterminds became the secret sauce for a range of cutting-edge pop acts, producing and writing for everyone from Diana Ross and David Bowie to Madonna, Duran Duran and the B-52’s. Nile Rodgers even scored a hit in the 2010s with a pair of French robots who “got lucky” with another take on the Chic groove. Podcast production by Asha Saluja. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
19/01/2157m 47s

Smells Like Christmas Spirit, Part 2

Hit Parade is back for non-Slate Plus listeners! Upcoming episodes will be split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive into our subjects. slate.com/hitparadeplus. In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, we continue the story of how Nirvana’s Nevermind ousted Michael Jackson’s Dangerous from the top of the Billboard album chart, Chris Molanphy examines the chart dynamics that not only ushered in the grunge era but also invented a new music sales strategy, the post-Christmas album, and how that trend has been shaped and changed by the rise of rap, and the surprise album drop. Podcast production by Benjamin Frisch. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
31/12/2049m 56s

Smells Like Christmas Spirit, Part 1

Hit Parade is back for non-Slate Plus listeners! Upcoming episodes will be split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive into our subjects. slate.com/hitparadeplus. When Nirvana’s Nevermind ousted Michael Jackson’s Dangerous from the top of the Billboard album chart, it made headlines in early 1992. Only, it didn’t really happen in ’92. What gave Nirvana the win happened right after Christmas ’91. Teenagers who were home for the holidays voted with their gift cards, and they gave Kurt Cobain’s band the win over the King of Pop. This month, Chris Molanphy examines the chart dynamics that not only ushered in the grunge era but also invented a new music sales strategy, the post-Christmas album. Podcast production by Benjamin Frisch. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
14/12/2034m 16s

Friends in Low Places, Part 2

Hit Parade is back for non-Slate Plus listeners! Upcoming episodes will be split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive into our subjects. slate.com/hitparadeplus. Hit Parade continues the story of Garth Brooks. In the ’90s, he was country-authentic, ignored pop radio, and still utterly dominated the charts as the decade’s biggest multiplatinum megastar. Brooks took on chart competitors from Guns n’ Roses to Madonna to Mariah Carey and bested them all … until he tried taking on the Beatles. (And we’re still scratching our heads over that Chris Gaines thing.)  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
27/11/2042m 33s

Friends in Low Places, Part 1

Hit Parade is back for non-Slate Plus listeners! Upcoming episodes will be split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive into our subjects. slate.com/hitparadeplus. Today your Hit Parade marches to the week ending October 27th, 1990, when “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks was in its fourth week at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles and Tracks, the same week his album No Fences instantly went gold and platinum, affirming that he was country music’s biggest star. Soon enough, Brooks would become —more than any rock star, rapper or pop diva—the archetypal artist of the SoundScan era. On part 1, we explore country music's boom and bust 1970's and 80's before diving into the world that made Garth Brooks megastardom possible. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
16/11/201h 20m

Turn Around, Bright Eyes, Part 2

Hit Parade is back for non-Slate Plus listeners! Upcoming episodes will be split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive into our subjects. slate.com/hitparadeplus. In part 2 of our episode on Meatloaf maestro Jim Steinman: Chris Molanphy continues the story of how Steinman moved on from Meatloaf to emerge as a hitmaker for other artists like Bonnie Tyler with "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and Celine Dion with “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”. At the height of his power, he had more credits in the top 40 than Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
30/10/2057m 7s

Turn Around, Bright Eyes, Part 1

Hit Parade is back for non-Slate Plus listeners! Upcoming episodes will be split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive into our subjects. slate.com/hitparadeplus. Producers and songwriters have a major impact on how a finished pop song sounds, and feels. But it’s possible no hitmaking mastermind—not even Phil Spector—has had a more specific pop sound than Jim Steinman. His songs have an unmistakable signature: pounding pianos, revving motorcycles, sometimes literal thunder. And power-vocalists singing passionate lyrics that don’t always make sense but always sound like the fate of the world depends on this song. Chris Molanphy tells the story of a fervent, headstrong songwriter who fused with a singer who called himself Meat Loaf, creating a blockbuster song cycle called Bat Out of Hell. Steinman then went on to spread his pomp-rock to other artists: Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Air Supply’s “Making Love Out of Nothing at All.” Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.” Every song sounded like a hallelujah chorus and a Broadway show—even though Steinman’s actual Broadway show was a notorious flop. But nothing keeps Jim Steinman down. Forever’s gonna start tonight. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
16/10/2052m 31s

One and Done, Part 2

Hit Parade is back for non-Slate Plus listeners! Upcoming episodes will be split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For full episodes on the day of release, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our trivia show and deep dive into our subjects. slate.com/hitparadeplus. In part two of our one-hit wonders show, we propose three rules to identify a one-hit wonder, which is not as easy as it sounds: Dexys Midnight Runners? They’re a one-hit wonder. Men Without Hats? Nope, not fair. Lou Reed? Yes. Marky Mark? No. In this episode, Chris breaks it all down, explaining why “Take on Me” is a pop classic but A-ha are still only one-hitters in America. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
02/10/2052m 36s

One and Done, Part 1

Hit Parade is back for non-Slate Plus listeners! Upcoming episodes will be split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and deep dive into our subjects. slate.com/hitparadeplus. “One-hit wonder” is a popular term in our culture—and not just in music: sportscasters, Wall Street analysts and news anchors all use it. But what does “one-hit wonder” actually mean on the pop charts? Hit Parade host Chris Molanphy has thought a lot about this—and he has rules to determine who’s really a one-hit wonder. They might surprise you: Dexys Midnight Runners? They’re a one-hit wonder. Men Without Hats? Nope, not fair. Lou Reed? Yes. Marky Mark? No. In this episode, Chris breaks it all down, explaining why “Take on Me” is a pop classic but A-ha are still only one-hitters in America. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
18/09/2052m 14s

The Bridge: Yacht Or Nyacht?

First, we have a few announcements about the future of Hit Parade—and it’s good news for both Slate Plus members and non-Plus listeners. While the economic challenges of COVID-19 certainly haven’t abated, Hit Parade has attracted enough new Plus members to allow us to take some episodes out from behind Slate’s paywall starting in September. Starting next month, full-length Hit Parade episodes will debut in the middle of the month, not the end (our next full-length episode drops on Friday, September 18). If you are a Plus member, you’ll hear the whole show all at once, the day it drops. If you are not a Plus member, you will receive the first half of the episode mid-month, with ads, and you’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to hear the second half of the show, at month’s end. Finally, Hit Parade—“The Bridge” episodes will remain Plus-only. IAgain, thanks to many of you who signed up for Slate Plus just to hear Hit Parade, and of course the thousands of longtime Plus members. We plan to keep giving you the bonus content you expect. And a hearty welcome back to non-Plus listeners—we hope you’ll consider joining Slate Plus in the future, but you can also support Hit Parade by spreading the word about our episodes. And to sign up for Slate Plus to support the show, head over to slate.com/hitparadeplus. In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by J.D. Ryznar, “Hollywood” Steve Huey, and Dave Lyons, creators of the web series Yacht Rock and follow-up podcast Beyond Yacht Rock. Not only did they invent the very term that inspired the latest episode of Hit Parade, they have kept the fire alive by refining what the genre means. The Yacht Rockers and Chris discuss the enduring legacy of the term they created—from why the name stuck, to how it was perceived by the various artists whose music it defined. (Boz Scaggs is reportedly not happy.) They also reveal songs they’d re-rate against their signature Yachtski scale, songs commonly tagged Yacht that are actually “Nyacht,” and how they curate the boundaries of the genre. They even offer a Hit Parade–exclusive announcement about what’s next for their smooth creation. Finally, Chris quizzes a Slate Plus listener with some music trivia, gives her a chance to turn the tables on him, and previews next month’s full-length episode. Podcast production by Asha Saluja.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/08/2050m 4s

Wednesday Night Live: Music Trivia

Hey, Hit Parade listeners—we’ve got an unusual schedule for August. Today’s show is a recording of last week’s installment of Slate’s Wednesday Night Live, which was a live Hit Parade trivia edition. I was the host, and I got to quiz several Slate luminaries on Billboard chart brainteasers. We had a blast.  Then, later this month, in the place where we would normally bring you a full-length story, we’ll instead be doing a super-sized edition of our regular Hit Parade—“The Bridge” show. We’ll be following up last month’s Yacht Rock episode with some very special guests. You won’t want to miss it. Like many media organizations at the moment, Slate is getting hit pretty hard by what's going on with the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to continue doing our work, providing you with all our great podcasts, news and reporting, and we simply cannot do that without your support. So we're asking you to sign up for Slate Plus, our membership program. It's just $35 for the first year, and it goes a long way to supporting us in this crucial moment. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
14/08/204m 27s

What a Fool Believes Edition

Like many media organizations at the moment, Slate is getting hit pretty hard by what's going on with the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to continue doing our work, providing you with all our great podcasts, news and reporting, and we simply cannot do that without your support. So we're asking you to sign up for Slate Plus, our membership program. It's just $35 for the first year, and it goes a long way to supporting us in this crucial moment. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, a scene and a sound cropped up on the West Coast: polished, perfectionist studio musicians who generated sleek, jazzy, R&B-flavored music. About a quarter-century later, this sound was given a name: Yacht Rock. The inventors of the genre name weren’t thinking about boats…well, unless the song was Christopher Cross’s “Sailing.” Yacht Rock was meant to signify deluxe, yuppified, “smooth” music suitable for playing on luxury nautical craft. Whatever you call it, this music really did command the charts at the turn of the ’80s: from Steely Dan to George Benson, Michael McDonald to Kenny Loggins, Toto to…Michael Jackson?! Believe it: even Thriller is partially a Yacht Rock album. This month, Hit Parade breaks down what Yacht Rock was and how it took over the charts four decades ago—from the perfectionism of “Peg,” to the bounce of “What a Fool Believes,” to the epic smoothness of “Africa.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
31/07/208m 46s

The Bridge: Lilith’s Winding Road

In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Jessica Hopper, acclaimed critic for publications like Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, The Guardian, Elle and Bookforum, and author of the books The Girls’ Guide to Rocking, The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic and Night Moves. Her deeply researched September 2019 piece for Vanity Fair, “Building a Mystery: An Oral History of Lilith Fair,” informed and helped inspire the latest episode of Hit Parade. Jessica and Chris discuss the reasons for the festival’s success against the odds, the legacy of its acts big and small, and what a future evolution of a Lilith Fair could look like. Next, Chris quizzes a very special Slate Plus listener with some music trivia: TJ Raphael, founding co-host and producer of “The Bridge.” TJ originally conceived of the Lilith Fair episode as she departed “The Bridge”—so Chris has invited her back to talk about her earliest memories of woman-fronted alt-rock. Then Chris finally puts TJ in the trivia hot seat.   Podcast production by Asha Saluja.  A special Hit Parade announcement: Like many media organizations at the moment, Slate is getting hit pretty hard by what's going on with the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to continue doing our work, providing you with all our great podcasts, news and reporting, and we simply cannot do that without your support. So we're asking you to sign up for Slate Plus, our membership program. It's just $35 for the first year, and it goes a long way to supporting us in this crucial moment.   As part of this effort, as of April 2020, Hit Parade episodes are available to Slate Plus members only. To listen to future episodes in full, you'll need to become a Slate Plus member. This is the best way to support our show and our work, and we hope you will pitch in if you can. Your membership will also give access to everything on Slate.com, you'll get ad-free versions of this and other shows, and you'll get bonus segments and bonus episodes of other Slate podcasts. Plus, once you become a member, you can sign up to do trivia with Chris Molanphy on Hit Parade—“The Bridge” episodes.   Please sign up today at slate.com/hitparadeplus. We thank you for your support. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
17/07/207m 31s

Building a Herstory Edition

Like many media organizations at the moment, Slate is getting hit pretty hard by what's going on with the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to continue doing our work, providing you with all our great podcasts, news and reporting, and we simply cannot do that without your support. So we're asking you to sign up for Slate Plus, our membership program. It's just $35 for the first year, and it goes a long way to supporting us in this crucial moment. For decades—literally since Woodstock—female musicians had battled music-industry perceptions that amassing too many of them, on the radio or on the road, was bad for business. And yet, by the ’90s, women were vital to the rise of alt-rock and hip-hop on the charts: from Suzanne Vega to Queen Latifah, Tracy Chapman to Sheryl Crow, Natalie Merchant to Missy Elliott. Sarah McLachlan harnessed this energy into an all-woman tour she dubbed Lilith Fair. Its string of sellouts from 1997 to ’99 affirmed women’s clout in the decade of grunge-and-gangsta. But the festival was also criticized for its narrow focus and for branding “women’s music” as a genre. More than two decades later, Hit Parade assesses the legacy of Lilith on the charts and on the road—how its performers, attendees and musical descendants are helping to ensure the future is female. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
30/06/207m 36s

The Bridge: Many Ways to be OutKasted

In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Dr. Regina Bradley, Assistant Professor of English and African Diaspora Studies at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, She is the author of the forthcoming book Chronicling Stankonia: The Rise of the Hip Hop South; cohost of the southern hip-hop podcast Bottom of the Map on WABE and PRX; and host of the recent YouTube series OutKasted Conversations. Gina and Chris discuss the most recent full-length episode of Hit Parade, OutKast’s roots in Atlanta’s decades-long funk tradition, and what they meant to Southerners who felt alienated not just by bicoastal hip-hop but also by Atlanta’s unequal progress on the challenges faced by its black residents. 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 Lilith Fair, the all-female festival tour in the late ’90s, how it reflected women’s role in alternative rock, and its legacy to this day.  A special Hit Parade announcement: Like many media organizations at the moment, Slate is getting hit pretty hard by what's going on with the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to continue doing our work, providing you with all our great podcasts, news and reporting, and we simply cannot do that without your support. So we're asking you to sign up for Slate Plus, our membership program. It's just $35 for the first year, and it goes a long way to supporting us in this crucial moment.   As part of this effort, as of April 2020, Hit Parade episodes are available to Slate Plus members only. To listen to future episodes in full, you'll need to become a Slate Plus member. This is the best way to support our show and our work, and we hope you will pitch in if you can. Your membership will also give access to everything on Slate.com, you'll get ad-free versions of this and other shows, and you'll get bonus segments and bonus episodes of other Slate podcasts. Plus, once you become a member, you can sign up to do trivia with Chris Molanphy on Hit Parade—“The Bridge” episodes.   Please sign up today at slate.com/hitparadeplus. We thank you for your support. Podcast production by Asha Saluja.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/06/205m 1s

Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture Edition

A special Hit Parade announcement: Like many media organizations at the moment, Slate is getting hit pretty hard by what's going on with the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to continue doing our work, providing you with all our great podcasts, news and reporting, and we simply cannot do that without your support. So we're asking you to sign up for Slate Plus, our membership program. It's just $35 for the first year, and it goes a long way to supporting us in this crucial moment. As part of this effort, we're going to be making Full Hit Parade episodes available to Slate Plus members only. To listen to the episode in full, and episodes in future months, you'll need to become a Slate Plus member. This is the best way to support our show and our work, and we hope you will pitch in if you can. Your membership will also give access to everything on Slate.com, you'll get ad-free versions of this and other shows, and you'll get bonus segments and bonus episodes of other Slate podcasts. Plus, once you become a member, you can sign up to do trivia with Chris Molanphy on Hit Parade—“The Bridge” episodes. Please sign up today at slate.com/hitparadeplus. We thank you for your support. On this preview episode: Outkast is inarguably one of the most important acts in hip hop and pop music history, but their impressive chart runs, and the brand of Atlanta hip hop they championed, was far from inevitable. This is the story of Outkast and how they established Atlanta as a major center of hip hop culture in the United States while racking up some of the most unexpected hits in the history of popular music. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
29/05/207m 58s

The Bridge: Piano Man, Everyman

A special Hit Parade announcement: Like many media organizations at the moment, Slate is getting hit pretty hard by what's going on with the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to continue doing our work, providing you with all our great podcasts, news and reporting, and we simply cannot do that without your support. So we're asking you to sign up for Slate Plus, our membership program. It's just $35 for the first year, and it goes a long way to supporting us in this crucial moment. As part of this effort, we're going to be making Hit Parade episodes available to Slate Plus members only., including the one previewed here. To listen to it in fuyou'll need to become a Slate Plus member. This is the best way to support our show and our work, and we hope you will pitch in if you can. Your membership will also give access to everything on Slate.com, you'll get ad-free versions of this and other shows, and you'll get bonus segments and bonus episodes of other Slate podcasts. Plus, once you become a member, you can sign up to do trivia with Chris Molanphy on Hit Parade—“The Bridge” episodes.  Please sign up today at slate.com/hitparadeplus. We thank you for your support. In this Bridge episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Julian Velard, musician and inspiration for Chris’s most recent full-length episode, about hitmaker Billy Joel. As a Jewish, New York–based piano player, Julian admits that Joel remains the most relevant touchpoint in his career to this day—and that he’s fought an existential battle with the song “Piano Man.” Chris and Julian wonder how a modern pop landscape might reward (or litigate) Joel’s tendency toward pastiche, and they discuss his ultimate legacy—to critics, to lovers, to haters and other piano men.  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 Southward journey of rap music in the late ’90s and early ’00s, spurred by chart-topping Atlanta rappers OutKast.  Podcast production by Asha Saluja.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
15/05/204m 21s

Still Billy Joel to Me Edition

A special Hit Parade announcement: Like many media organizations at the moment, Slate is getting hit pretty hard by what's going on with the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to continue doing our work, providing you with all our great podcasts, news and reporting, and we simply cannot do that without your support. So we're asking you to sign up for Slate Plus, our membership program. It's just $35 for the first year, and it goes a long way to supporting us in this crucial moment. As part of this effort, we're going to be making Full Hit Parade episodes available to Slate Plus members only. To listen to the episode in full, and episodes in future months, you'll need to become a Slate Plus member. This is the best way to support our show and our work, and we hope you will pitch in if you can. Your membership will also give access to everything on Slate.com, you'll get ad-free versions of this and other shows, and you'll get bonus segments and bonus episodes of other Slate podcasts. Plus, once you become a member, you can sign up to do trivia with Chris Molanphy on Hit Parade—“The Bridge” episodes. Please sign up today at slate.com/hitparadeplus. We thank you for your support. On this preview episode of the show: Billy Joel’s first Top 40 hit, way back in 1974, was “Piano Man,” and the nickname stuck. But for a guy who became famous sitting behind 88 keys, few of his biggest hits are really piano songs. In fact, on all three of his No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, keyboards are not the primary instrument. This is the story of Billy Joel's hits, and the pastiches he crafted to stay on top of the charts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
30/04/207m 39s

The Bridge: Hits Don’t Lie

A special Hit Parade announcement: Like many media organizations at the moment, Slate is getting hit pretty hard by what's going on with the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to continue doing our work, providing you with all our great podcasts, news and reporting, and we simply cannot do that without your support. So we're asking you to sign up for Slate Plus, our membership program. It's just $35 for the first year, and it goes a long way to supporting us in this crucial moment. As part of this effort, we're going to be making Hit Parade episodes available to Slate Plus members only. This will begin with the full-length episode coming on April 30. To listen to that episode in full, and episodes in future months, you'll need to become a Slate Plus member. This is the best way to support our show and our work, and we hope you will pitch in if you can. Your membership will also give access to everything on Slate.com, you'll get ad-free versions of this and other shows, and you'll get bonus segments and bonus episodes of other Slate podcasts. Plus, once you become a member, you can sign up to do trivia with Chris Molanphy on Hit Parade—“The Bridge” episodes. Please sign up today at slate.com/hitparadeplus. We thank you for your support. In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, originally aired on Facebook as part of Slate Live’s Q-Tip Mondays series. host Chris Molanphy is joined by Eduardo Cepeda, music editor at Remezcla. They discuss the most recent full-length episode of Hit Parade about the history of Latin pop on the Billboard charts. Eduardo tells Chris about balancing his fandoms for mainstream American music with his family’s Spanish-language music in his younger years, and offers a critical lens to the Anglophone crossover attempts of the stars of the turn-of-the-millennium Latin pop boomita. Then Eduardo gives Chris a brief history of reggaeton, and shares his current artists to watch within the genre.  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 career of piano man and master of pastiche Billy Joel. Podcast production by Asha Saluja.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
17/04/2029m 16s

La Vida Loca Edición

Hit Parade takes you back to the turn of the millennium when, for a couple of years, it seemed like a Latin pop star was topping Billboard’ Hot 100 every few weeks: Ricky Martin. Jennifer Lopez. Enrique Iglesias. Marc Anthony. Carlos Santana. Shakira. This wave of Latin crossover was hard-fought and a long time coming—from “La Bamba” to “Macarena,” Spanish-language hits in the 20th century had been treated like novelties by record buyers and radio programmers. The Latin boom of 1999 changed all that—but did it go far enough? How did we get from the slick Spanglish of “Livin’ la Vida Loca” to the Spanish-first success of “Despacito” and “Mi Gente”? And how did Ritchie Valens and João Gilberto prepare America for J.Lo and Shakira triumphing at the Super Bowl? Podcast production by Justin D. Wright. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow Burn. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
31/03/201h 38m

The Bridge: Wesley on Whitney

In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Wesley Morris, Pulitzer Prize–winning critic, New York Times critic-at-large, and co-host of Still Processing. They discuss the most recent full-length episode of Hit Parade about the chart legacy of Whitney Houston, which was inspired in part by Wesley and his co-host Jenna Wortham’s analysis in Still Processing of Houston’s life, identity, and artistry. Wesley talks about his first memory of seeing Whitney on TV, his respect for the versatility of her voice, and his commiseration with her sometimes-cold reception by Black fans.  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 Latin pop crossover on the American charts.  While this episode is available to all listeners, our trivia round is open only to Slate Plus members. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow Burn. Sign up now to listen and support our work. 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
13/03/2029m 47s

I'm Your Whitney Tonight Edition

Eight years after her passing—and 35 years after the release of her debut album—Whitney Houston is about to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Predictably, some rock fans have carped that Houston doesn’t belong in the Hall. But they are not the only ones who, historically, have complained about Houston’s bona fides. In the ’80s, at the apex of her success, black fans complained that Houston was courting white pop fans too eagerly, and forgetting her roots in gospel and R&B. On the charts, by contrast, Whitney Houston’s achievements are indisputable. But they also might be underrated. Houston’s chart records offer a window into exactly how she crossed over…and whether she deserved the backlash. In this episode, Chris Molanphy walks step by step through Whitney’s storied chart records—including a couple that have gone unheralded—that help explain why she was a seminal, singular figure among black female crossover stars, from Aretha and Diana to Beyoncé. Podcast production by Justin D. Wright. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/02/201h 30m

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
14/02/2030m 54s

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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
31/01/201h 28m

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
17/01/2032m 11s

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
23/12/191h 14m

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
13/12/1927m 28s

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
27/11/191h 37m

The Bridge: Genre v. Generation, ’80s to ’10s

In this mid-month mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Ned Raggett, freelance music writer for All Music Guide and The Quietus and expert on the ’80s U.K. bands celebrated on the most recent full-length episode of Hit Parade. Chris and Ned discuss what they call the “holy quartet” of British postpunk bands—The Cure, The Smiths, Depeche Mode and New Order—and Ned weighs in on the challenge of what to call this wave: Is it goth? mope-rock? Do these bands actually constitute a genre, or more of a generational cohort? Also, 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 trivia question of his own. And finally, Chris teases the upcoming full-length episode of Hit Parade, which will be a retrospective look at the 2010s.  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
15/11/1927m 36s

Lost and Lonely Edition

If you were an angsty American teenager in the 1980s—whether in real life, or in a John Hughes movie—the rock you loved probably came from the United Kingdom, complete with droning vocals, brooding lyrics, goth hair, and black nail polish. The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Joy Division/New Order, the Smiths: All these U.K. postpunk acts were hard-pressed to score American hits in the first half of the ’80s—the era of fun-loving New Romantic bands like Duran Duran. But to Gen X teens, Robert Smith, Siouxsie Sioux, and Morrissey were icons. By the end of the decade, however, these bands became American hitmakers, especially after Billboard launched the music bible’s first alternative rock chart. Depeche Mode sold out a California stadium. New Order dominated dancefloors. The Smiths’ Johnny Marr became a guitar god, Morrissey an MTV crush object. And finally, in 1989, the Cure—dark, doomy, and moody as ever—were challenging Janet Jackson for the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Just in time for Halloween, Hit Parade tells the story of how spooky, spidery, U.K. mope-rock became chart-conquering pop. Podcast production by Justin D. Wright. Hosted by Chris Molanphy Follow @cmolanphy on Twitter / https://www.twitter.com/cmolanphy  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
31/10/191h 26m

The Bridge: Rain Sounds and Moody Goths

In this monthly mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Aisha Harris, culture editor for The New York Times’ Opinion section. Aisha and Chris discuss the Janet Jackson album Rhythm Nation 1814, the topic of the  most recent full-length episode of Hit Parade. Aisha tells Chris about her early Jackson fandom, picks her all-time favorite Janet songs, and offers her opinion on the relevancy and influence of Janet’s sound today. Plus, Chris gives an inside scoop on the song template that Jackson’s longtime producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, used to generate multiple chart-topping hits. Chris quizzes a Slate Plus listener with some music trivia, and the contestant turns the tables with a chance to stump Chris with a trivia question of his own. 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
11/10/1927m 57s

State of the World Edition

In the mid-1980s, Janet Jackson broke away from her world-famous, hit-making family and, with her Control album, rebooted both her career and pop style in the New Jack Swing era. The challenge was following it up—and Jackson and her producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, didn’t make it easy on themselves. In 1989, they produced an ambitious album with a portentous title: Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814. But what could have been Control, Part 2 instead was a visionary LP that reinvented the socially conscious album from the era of Marvin Gaye for the ’90s, and envisioned what pop would eventually sound like in the 21st century. Rhythm Nation was a smash, generating more hits—and bigger hits—than any album in history. In fact, if Jackson and her label hadn’t pulled their punches with one final radio single, she could have set an all-time Billboard chart record that would have overshadowed any of the Jackson family’s historic achievements. Podcast production by Chris Berube. HostChris Molanphy Follow @cmolanphy on Twitter / https://www.twitter.com/cmolanphy  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
27/09/191h 15m

The Bridge: Ladies of the Canyon and the Rhythm Nation

In this monthly mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Asha Saluja, operations manager for Slate Podcasts and new producer of these monthly mini-episodes. Asha tells Chris about an episode of Hit Parade about a certain pop queen–turned–EDM goddess that bridged two seemingly unrelated parts of her personal music history. Chris gives Asha the scoop on the anecdote from the last full-length Hit Parade episode about the TV appearance responsible for keeping Joni Mitchell away from Woodstock. Asha shares a letter from a listener with some firsthand perspective on the music of the late 1960’s. Plus, 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 trivia question of his own. 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 with help from Danielle Hewitt.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
13/09/1926m 10s

We Are Stardust, We Are Gold-Certified

Are you tired of hearing how awe-inspiring the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was 50 years ago for 400,000 lucky hippies in Bethel, New York? Imagine how the people of 1969 felt—specifically the millions who couldn’t go. Yet, in the age before YouTube and social media, the rest of America did catch Woodstock fever—weeks, months, even a year or more later—and they made stars out of many of the performers. By 1970, not only was the Woodstock movie dominating the box office; the soundtrack album and a constellation of Woodstock stars were crushing the Billboard charts. This month’s Hit Parade offers a new take on Woodstock: To understand its legacy, you have to look at the charts long after August 1969. Chris Molanphy counts down 10 acts—some of them music legends, some of them short-lived hitmakers—who were materially boosted by the festival: from a guy hanging out backstage who got shoved onstage by desperate show organizers; to the band who loathed the whole experience yet saw their albums reach new chart heights; to the young man who arrived with no discography but kicked off one of the longest hitmaking careers in rock history. Podcast production by Chau Tu. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
30/08/191h 17m

The Bridge: Nostalgic for Number Ones

In this monthly mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Tom Breihan, senior editor at Stereogum and writer of their long-term blog project “The Number Ones,” a chronological review of every song that’s hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Tom gives Chris his reviews of the three Lennon-McCartney hits Chris discussed in the last full-length Hit Parade episode. Plus, 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 trivia question of her own. While this episode is available to all listeners, only Slate Plus members are allowed to be on the show. Once you become a member, you can enter as a contestant here. You can also enter if you’re already a Slate Plus member. 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
16/08/1926m 17s

Without The Beatles

This month, Hit Parade explores the legacy of songs by The Beatles topping the charts...without The Beatles. This is the story of how a discarded Beatles song, a superstar vanity cover, and a bizarre disco medley managed to top the charts with Beatles songwriting credits, but without the fab four.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
26/07/191h 11m

The Bridge: Farewell, Lilith Fan

How much do you know about the women rockers who dominated the '90s? Find out in the latest episode of Hit Parade: The Bridge. In this monthly mini-episode of Hit Parade, Host Chris Molanphy is joined by T. J. Raphael, senior producer of the Slate Podcast Network. Together, they quiz one listener contestant with some music trivia. The player also has the opportunity to turn the tables: They get a chance to try to stump Molanphy, a music journalist for the past 25 years, with one of their own trivia questions. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now, and then enter as a contestant here. You can also enter if you’re already a Slate Plus member.  Want your question featured in an upcoming show? Email a voice memo to hitparade@slate.com.   Podcast production by T. J. Raphael Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
19/07/1927m 58s

The Lullaby of Broadway Edition

Musical theater is one of America’s greatest cultural products—and in the mid–20th century, it also dominated the Billboard charts, from My Fair Lady to West Side Story. But the rise of rock and roll in the ’60s sidelined showtunes on the radio. And even when Broadway tried to rock—from Hair to Jesus Christ Superstar—a new generation grew wary of characters breaking into song (unless they were animated mermaids, teapots or lions). And yet, in the 21st century, Broadway music has staged a cultural comeback: taking over our movie screens, making shows out of jukebox hits, and raising a new generation to believe they can rap like Hamilton and Lafayette. In this Tonys month, Hit Parade dances down the Great White Way to chronicle the tangled history of the Broadway musical on the pop charts.    Email: hitparade@slate.com    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/06/191h 19m

The Bridge: The "Give My Regards" Edition

Think you know music? Hit Parade, the music history podcast from Slate, is back with a new episode of The Bridge. In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, Host Chris Molanphy is joined by T. J. Raphael, senior producer of the Slate Podcast Network. Together, they quiz one listener contestant with some music trivia. The player also has the opportunity to turn the tables: They get a chance to try to stump Molanphy, a music journalist for the past 25 years, with one of their own trivia questions. Chris is also joined by Elizabeth Craft, an assistant professor of musicology at the University of Utah. Her research focuses on musical theater from the early 20th century to the present; she’s published on the musicals of Lin-Manuel Miranda, including a recent article on the politics and political reception of Hamilton, and she’s currently working on a book on Broadway legend George M. Cohan. If you’d like to be a contestant on an upcoming show, sign up for a Slate Plus membership, and then enter as a contestant here. You can also enter if you’re already a Slate Plus member.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
14/06/1926m 41s

The Invisible Miracle Sledgehammer Edition

When a band member leaves to go solo, usually it means the band’s best days are over. That’s what everybody thought when Peter Gabriel left Genesis in the ’70s. Except not only did the band survive—fronted by drummer-turned-singer Phil Collins, they got bigger. Then Collins went solo…except he didn’t ditch Genesis. In fact, his success made them bigger—one of the definitive pop bands of the 1980s, as Collins’s monstrous drum sound took over pop music. By mid-decade, current and former members of Genesis—even side projects from its guitarists—were all competing head-to-head on the Billboard charts. On Hit Parade, we explore the knotty family tree of Genesis, the unlikeliest group ever to become a Hot 100 juggernaut. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
31/05/191h 24m

The Bridge: Monster Drums Edition

Think you know music? Hit Parade, the music history podcast from Slate, is back with a new episode of The Bridge. In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, Host Chris Molanphy is joined by Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding of the podcast Switched on Pop. Together, they quiz one listener contestant with some music trivia. The player also has the opportunity to turn the tables: They get a chance to try to stump Molanphy, a music journalist for the past 25 years, with one of their own trivia questions. If you’d like to be a contestant on an upcoming show, sign up for a Slate Plus membership, and then enter as a contestant here. You can also enter if you’re already a Slate Plus member.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
17/05/1925m 52s

The Posthumous Hits Edition, Live from Seattle

Spin̈al Tap was right: Death sells. When musical icons die, their songs and albums climb the charts all over again—sometimes, a legendary artist even scores his or her only No. 1 hit. In this very special episode recorded live from the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Hit Parade pours one out for the legends who topped the charts from beyond the grave. Chris is joined by some of America’s top music writers to discuss the unusual circumstances that brought everyone from Otis Redding to Janis Joplin, John Lennon to Kurt Cobain, Biggie Smalls to Prince to the top of the charts after their untimely passings.  Email: hitparade@slate.com    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
26/04/191h 30m

Coming Soon: Hit Parade, Live in Seattle!

Join Chris Molanphy for an evening of stories and trivia, at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle Washington, Saturday, April 13th, 2019. Tickets are going fast at Slate.com/LIVE Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
04/04/191m 25s

The Everybody Say YEAH! Edition

When you think of Stevie Wonder’s legendary career, what chart-toppers come to mind? “Superstition,” right? Maybe “I Wish”? Okay, but what about the start of his career, on the Motown of the ’60s? You may not know that Wonder had only one Hot 100 No. 1 in his first decade—as “Little” Stevie Wonder—and it was truly exceptional, as in bizarre: a semi-improvised live recording of a “12 Year-Old Genius” refusing to leave a Chicago stage and say goodnight. Here’s the story of “Fingertips, Part 2,” and the years that launched a true pop icon. Wonder’s imperial run of classic, chart-topping, Grammy-dominating ’70s albums had their seeds in the joyous virtuosity, and fierce independence, on display in his very first hit. Email: hitparade@slate.com   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
29/03/191h 8m

The Bridge: Cover Queens and The Boy Wonder

Host Chris Molanphy reflects on the previous full length episode of the show, and invites one Slate Plus member to play some music trivia related to an upcoming episode. This month, Molanphy is joined at the mic by T. J. Raphael, senior producer of the Slate Podcast Network. Together, they discuss some of the best cover songs of all time from the likes of Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, and more. After a break, Molanphy is joined by one listener for some music trivia related to the next full-length episode of Hit Parade, which is all about Stevie Wonder. How does it all work? The contestant is asked three trivia questions, and the player also has the opportunity to turn the tables—they get a chance to try to stump Molanphy, a music journalist for the past 25 years, with one trivia question of their own. If you’d like to be a contestant on an upcoming show, sign up for a Slate Plus membership here, and then enter as a contestant here. You can also enter to play if you’re already a Slate Plus member. Want your question featured in an upcoming show? Email a voice memo to hitparade@slate.com.   Podcast production by T. J. Raphael  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
15/03/1922m 27s

The Bad Moon on the Rise Edition

In just a couple of years, Creedence Clearwater Revival generated one of the most amazing runs of hits in American pop history: from “Proud Mary” to “Green River,” “Bad Moon Rising” to “Travelin’ Band.” Reportedly, they even outsold the Beatles in America in 1969. But for all their success with those John Fogerty–penned classics, CCR never held the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100. All of those hits were No. 2s: a dubious Billboard chart record they hold to this day, for most No. 2s without a No. 1. True, it was the late ’60s, and CCR had the bad luck to be competing with such chart titans as Paul Simon and Sly Stone…but sometimes they were held back by No. 1 songs that are barely remembered today. In this episode of Hit Parade, we break down the sequence of events that relegated CCR—a future first-ballot Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band—to the charts’ permanent runner-up slot. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/02/191h 3m

The Bridge: R. Kelly and Music's #MeToo Reckoning

Hit Parade, the music history podcast from Slate, is back with a new episode of The Bridge. In this monthly mini-episode, Host Chris Molanphy reflects on the previous full length episode of the show, and invites one Slate Plus member to play some music trivia related to an upcoming episode. This month, Molanphy is joined at the mic by T. J. Raphael, senior producer of the Slate Podcast Network. Together, they discuss the sexual assault allegations facing artist R. Kelly, and whether the #MeToo movement will finally change the music industry. After a break, Molanphy is joined by one listener for some music trivia related to the next full-length episode of Hit Parade, which is all about Creedence Clearwater Revival. How does it all work? The contestant is asked three trivia questions, and the player also has the opportunity to turn the tables—they get a chance to try to stump Molanphy, a music journalist for the past 25 years, with one trivia question of their own. If you’d like to be a contestant on an upcoming show, sign up for a Slate Plus membership here, and then enter as a contestant here. You can also enter to play if you’re already a Slate Plus member. Want your question featured in an upcoming show? Email a voice memo to hitparade@slate.com.  Podcast production by Danielle Hewitt. Take the Slate podcast survey here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
15/02/1924m 31s

The Gaga is Born Edition

A Star Is Born, the movie Hollywood can’t stop remaking, is a fairy-tale about the American dream factory. But it has also, always, been a reflection of the woman in the lead role—and the latest version stars a woman who has been playing a role for more than a decade: Stefani Germanotta, a.k.a. Lady Gaga. When Gaga scored her first No. 1 hit, “Just Dance,” 10 years ago this month, critics thought her fame might be short-lived. But Gaga had a lot to say about The Fame, and within a year she had shifted the sound of the Top 40 in her electro-pop direction. And then, in the mid-2010s, she shifted her own sound, belting out pop standards for everyone from Tony Bennett to Julie Andrews. What happens if this shape-shifter pivots from Grammys to Oscars? And what will that say about the themes of A Star Is Born: artifice, authenticity and agency? This episode is brought to you by Slack, the collaboration hub for work. Learn more at Slack.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
25/01/191h 9m

Music Trivia: Grammys and Gaga Edition

Think you know music? Hit Parade, the music history podcast from Slate, is back with a new episode of The Bridge. In this monthly mini-episode of Hit Parade, Host Chris Molanphy reflects on the previous full length episode of the show, and invites one Slate Plus member onto the show to play some music trivia related to the upcoming episode. How does it all work? Contestants are asked three trivia questions, and the player also has the opportunity to turn the tables—they get a chance to try to stump Molanphy, a music journalist for the past 25 years, with one trivia question of their own. This month, Molanphy is joined at the mic by T. J. Raphael, senior producer of the Slate Podcast Network. Together, they reveal which artist won the coveted spot of this year’s U.K. Christmas No. 1, look ahead to the 2019 Grammy Awards, and discuss the next full length episode of Hit Parade, which is all about the rise of Lady Gaga. If you’d like to be a contestant on an upcoming show, sign up for a Slate Plus membership here, and enter as a contestant here. You can also enter to play if you’re already a Slate Plus member. Want your question featured in an upcoming show? Email a voice memo to hitparade@slate.com.   Podcast production by T. J. Raphael.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
18/01/1923m 25s

The Christmas is All Around Edition

In the UK, the No. 1 song the week of Christmas is a big deal. The media breathlessly covers the contest, and there are even wagers placed on what song will reach the top of the charts as pop stars and record labels jockey for position. While there are patterns to the kinds of songs that tend to do well in this perennial sweepstakes, often the winner is a fluke: Everything from Queen to the Flying Pickets to Bob the Builder has taken the crown. It was even parodied in the smash British Christmas comedy film Love, Actually—and one year in the late aughts, the British public rebelled en masse against a music-TV impresario, making a statement with the unlikeliest Christmas topper ever. But in an age when songs sell less than they stream, and hits tend to snowball, will the sun set on the fluky British Christmas No. 1 empire?  Email: hitparade@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
21/12/181h 13m

Music Trivia: The Christmas Music Edition

Think you know music? Quiz yourself with the latest episode of Hit Parade: The Bridge. This month, Host Chris Molanphy is joined by Jessica Goldstein, the culture editor at ThinkProgress and a journalist whose work has appeared in Vulture and The Washington Post, among other places. Her October article in Entertainment Weekly, “Britney Spears wanted to be a star: An oral history of '...Baby One More Time,'” was an inspiration for the November episode of Hit Parade. Chris is also joined by one listener contestant to play some music trivia, which is all about holiday music. If you’d like to be a contestant on an upcoming show, sign up for a Slate Plus membership here, and enter as a contestant here. You can also enter to play if you’re already a Slate Plus member. Want your question featured in an upcoming show? Email a voice memo to hitparade@slate.com.   Podcast production by T. J. Raphael. Additional support for this episode comes from Danielle Hewitt and Merritt Jacob.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
14/12/1825m 20s

The Give Me a Sign Edition

From a very young age, Britney Spears seemed destined for stardom. The kid from Louisiana had landed a role on the revived Mickey Mouse Club and styled herself as a belter of power ballads. But to score her first No. 1 hit, Spears would team up with an introverted Swedish songwriter named Max Martin. He was trying to write American R&B and instead, through Britney and her high-school dance formations, created a new template for über–American teen-pop. This month, we go inside the Stockholm music factory—and its decades-long history, from ABBA to Ace of Base—that gave rise to a new generation of millennial pop, from the Backstreet Boys and *N Sync to Robyn and Taylor Swift.  Email: hitparade@slate.com  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
30/11/181h 14m

Music Trivia: ’90s Teen-Pop Edition

Think you know music? Quiz yourself with the latest episode of Hit Parade: The Bridge. This month, on the heels of the 2018 midterm elections, Host Chris Molanphy is joined by T. J. Raphael, senior producer for the Slate Podcast Network, to talk about musicians who make political endorsements. Chris is joined by one listener contestant to play some music trivia, which is all about '90s teen pop. If you’d like to be a contestant on an upcoming show, sign up for a Slate Plus membership here, and enter as a contestant here. You can also enter to play if you’re already a Slate Plus member. Want your question featured in an upcoming show? Email a voice memo to hitparade@slate.com.   Podcast production by T. J. Raphael.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
16/11/1820m 52s

The Oh. My. God. Becky Edition

In Hit Parade’s “Def Jams Edition,” we told you about rap’s first wave in the ’80s. But in this sequel (don’t believe the hype!) we enter the ’90s with still no No. 1 rap hits on the Hot 100—even though the music was starting to dominate both streets and stores: from conscious rappers like Public Enemy, to gangstas like N.W.A, to left-field innovators like De La Soul. It would take Billboard rebooting its charts in 1991 tallying record sales more accurately than ever with SoundScan data—for rap to get a fair shake on the charts. That boosted a new wave of crossover acts, from P.M. Dawn to Arrested Development to Sir Mix-a-Lot. But rap’s elders were not entirely thrilled at these new chart-toppers…and some rappers literally bum-rushed the show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
26/10/181h 24m

Music Trivia: The '90s Hip-Hop Edition

Think you know music? Hit Parade is back with a new episode of The Bridge. This month, Chris Molanphy is joined by Slate's Mike Pesca. Together, they reflect on the last full-length Hit Parade episode, which was about The BeeGees, and look ahead to next month, which is all about ‘90s hip-hop. If you’d like to be a contestant on an upcoming show, sign up for a Slate Plus membership here, and enter as a contestant here. You can also enter to play if you’re already a Slate Plus member. Want your question featured in an upcoming show? Email a voice memo to hitparade@slate.com.   Podcast production by Danielle Hewitt  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/10/1822m 2s

The Nights on Broadway Edition

Those falsettos, those white suits, those toothy smiles: You think you know the Bee Gees. But their story goes back much further than the ’70s, and it’s full of twists. From their roots as an eclectic harmony band in Australia and their first wave of Beatlesque fame, through their domination of the disco revolution and their years as an punchline, the Bee Gees stayed alive because of the Gibb brothers’ harmonies and especially their impeccable songs. This month, Hit Parade traces the influence of the brothers Gibb on virtually every popular genre, from pop to R&B, rock to easy-listening, country to…yes, even hip-hop.  Email: hitparade@slate.com   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/09/181h 31m

Music Trivia: The Aretha Franklin Edition

Think you know music? Hit Parade is back with a new episode of The Bridge. This month, we honor Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, who died on August 16th. If you’d like to be a contestant on an upcoming show, sign up for a Slate Plus membership here, and enter as a contestant here. You can also enter to play if you’re already a Slate Plus member. Want your question featured in an upcoming show? Email a voice memo to hitparade@slate.com.   Podcast production by Danielle Hewitt  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
31/08/1827m 27s

Madonna: The Veronica Electronica Edition (Encore)

In 1998, Madonna was at a career crossroads. After dominating the ’80s with hits like “Like a Virgin” and “Open Your Heart,” she spent the first half of the ’90s wavering between roles as a provocateur (Erotica, Sex) and adult-contemporary balladeer (“I’ll Remember,” “Take a Bow”). That’s when she took a sharp left turn, working with producers and deejays in the burgeoning electronica scene. If it even was a scene: The very term “electronica” was a music-business confection, and by 1997 it was more hype than hit. But the result of Madonna’s experiment—her acclaimed ’98 album Ray of Light—was not only one of her biggest smashes ever. It also helped turn electronic music into viable pop. Email: hitparade@slate.com   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
16/08/181h 15m

The Feat. Don’t Fail Me Now Edition

Guest performers have existed since, literally, the beginning of the pop charts—the first Billboard No. 1 hit had a featured vocal by Frank Sinatra. Throughout the rock era, some very starry guests have helped out with hits by everyone from the Beatles to Carly Simon to Chaka Khan. But for a long time, those guests received no credit at all. Today, their names are all over the pop charts. On this episode, we trace the evolution of the guest performer, from Mick Jagger to Bobby Brown to Cardi B.  Email: hitparade@slate.com   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
27/07/181h 13m

The Deadbeat Club Edition, Part Two

In the second part of our two-part episode about the B-52’s and R.E.M.—the bands that put Athens, Georgia on the map, and helped define new-wave rock in the early ’80s—we trace how they transformed themselves from hipsters to hitmakers. One band waited years to graduate from an indie label to the majors. The other almost quit after an AIDS-related tragedy, before their pop breakthrough. By the end of the ’80s, their hits—from “Orange Crush” to “Stand,” “Channel Z” to “Love Shack”—brought them squarely into the mainstream, just as “alternative rock” was coming to define a new sound for the ’90s.  Email: hitparade@slate.com  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
13/07/1855m 28s

The Deadbeat Club Edition, Part One

The B-52’s and R.E.M. don’t sound all that much like each other. One group were avatars of kitsch, fusing punk, girl-group and garage rock—even Yoko Ono—into a retro-nuevo style all their own. The other group were mysterious, elliptical, often indecipherable, but they reinvented jangly guitar and classic-rock influences to make a new kind of New Wave. Together, this pair of distinctive bands helped make Athens, Georgia the epicenter of alternative cool in the ’80s and ’90s. In part one of this two-part episode of Hit Parade, we present the story of how the B-52’s and R.E.M. created a scene out of a college town—and became the most prominent queer-friendly, gender-fluid bands of their era.  Email: hitparade@slate.com  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
29/06/181h 3m

Music Trivia: The MTV and Alt-Rock Edition

The Bridge is back, and this time it's tackling some music trivia about the heyday of MTV, and some alt-rock favorites. Play along at home and quiz yourself by listening to The Bridge. If you’d like to be a contestant on an upcoming show, sign up for a Slate Plus membership, and then enter as a contestant here. You can also enter if you’re already a Slate Plus member. Want your question featured in an upcoming show? Email hitparade@slate.com.  Podcast production by T. J. Raphael Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
15/06/1818m 51s

The Twerking and Chatrouletting Edition

Even before the launch of MTV, the music video has been making pop songs buzzworthy. And since the early ’80s, it has transformed also-rans into hitmakers—from the Buggles and Duran Duran to Peter Gabriel and a‑ha. But until the early 2010s, watching a video didn’t count on the Billboard charts. That all changed thanks to YouTube—and the biggest immediate beneficiary from the addition of video to the charts was a rising pop star, incubated on the Disney Channel, but looking to change her image. Miley Cyrus was born into hitmaking, line-dancing, multimedia royalty, and she used video titillation—and even the social site Chatroulette—to top the charts. But what did all that provocation mean for…y’know, the music? And how is video still making hits—including the song that’s No. 1 this very week in 2018?  Chris Molanphy explains it all.  hitparade@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
25/05/181h 6m

Music Trivia: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Edition

Think you know music? Hit Parade, the pop-chart history podcast from Slate, is back with a new episode of The Bridge. In this monthly mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy answers some listener mail and invites one contestant onto the show to play some music trivia. Players also have the opportunity to turn the tables on him: They get a chance to try to stump Molanphy, a music journalist for the past 25 years, with their own trivia question. This month, The Bridge tackles the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and some some music trivia from the ‘00s. Play along at home and quiz yourself by listening to the The Bridge here. If you’d like to be a contestant on an upcoming show, sign up for a Slate Plus membership, and then enter as a contestant here. You can also enter if you’re already a Slate Plus member. Want your question featured in an upcoming show? Email hitparade@slate.com.  Podcast production by T. J. Raphael Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/05/1820m 13s

Hit Parade: The You Give Rock a Bad Name Edition

Bon Jovi are many things: platinum-selling, chart-topping and now, Hall of Fame–inducted. That angers music critics, who have been slagging off this band of hard-rock prom kings since the 1980s. Among the haters is Hit Parade host Chris Molanphy, who has loathed Bon Jovi since high school. But even he can’t deny it: Bon Jovi are hugely influential. In the wake of their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, Chris puts aside his animus to explain how the biggest band in hair metal have remained strangely relevant—thanks to their deathless hits, their album sales and, more recently, their influence on a certain hair-metal-loving Swedish pop producer.  Email: hitparade@slate.com   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
27/04/181h 11m

Music Trivia: Welcome to Hit Parade—The Bridge

Think you know music? Hit Parade, the pop-chart history podcast from Slate, is rolling out a new feature. Every month, the show will test a listener contestant in a special mini episode called The Bridge.  Host Chris Molanphy will invite one person onto the show to play some music trivia, and contestants have the opportunity to turn the tables on him: They’ll get a chance to try to stump Molanphy, a music journalist for the last 25 years, with their own trivia question.  If you want to play along at home and quiz yourself, listen to the first episode of The Bridge here. If you’d like to be a contestant on an upcoming show, sign up for a Slate Plus membership, and then enter as a contestant here. You can also enter if you’re already a Slate Plus member.  Email: hitparade@slate.com  Podcast production by T. J. Raphael Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
20/04/1811m 22s

Hit Parade: The Veronica Electronica Edition

In 1998, Madonna was at a career crossroads. After dominating the ’80s with hits like “Like a Virgin” and “Open Your Heart,” she spent the first half of the ’90s wavering between roles as a provocateur (Erotica, Sex) and adult-contemporary balladeer (“I’ll Remember,” “Take a Bow”). That’s when she took a sharp left turn, working with producers and deejays in the burgeoning electronica scene. If it even was a scene: The very term “electronica” was a music-business confection, and by 1997 it was more hype than hit. But the result of Madonna’s experiment—her acclaimed ’98 album Ray of Light—was not only one of her biggest smashes ever. It also helped turn electronic music into viable pop. Email: hitparade@slate.com    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
29/03/181h 13m

Hit Parade: The Def Jams Edition

Watching this year’s Grammy Awards, it’s clear hip-hop is the dominant genre in popular music. But back in the ’80s, it was an influential but still underground style looking fora place on the charts and  some mainstream respect. That is, until Run-DMC met Aerosmith. This month, how some out-of-favor ’70s rockers teamed up with the top crew in rap to remake an old hit—in the process, opening lanes for a trio of punks-turned-MCs, and a witty hip-hop lothario. We’re still feeling the reverberations today.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
23/02/181h 28m

Hit Parade: The B-Sides Edition

Sometimes record executives and even the musicians themselves get it totally, completely wrong: thinking that throwaway, wacky song was destined for a single’s B-side, only to find it’s actually the No. 1 hit—from the Beatles to Beyoncé. At our first-ever live Hit Parade—recorded at The Bell House in Brooklyn, New York— host and trivia-meister Chris Molanphy and special guest Ted Leo break down some of the most improbable chart-toppers of all time.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
26/01/181h 24m

Hit Parade: The Silver Medalists Edition

On the Billboard Hot 100, two  can be the loneliest number. While having a No. 1 song can define an artist’s career, there’s far less glory in finishing one spot shy  of the top slot. Yet some No. 2 hits have gone on to become classics. This month, Chris Molanphy looks at three songs that still loom large in our culture: “Shop Around” by the Miracles; “We Got the Beat” by the Go-Gos; and “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/12/1753m 36s

Hit Parade: The Queen of Disco Edition

Donna Summer was a hitmaker for two decades and a dancefloor deity for more than three. Her collaborations with Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte were formative in dance, electronic and rock music, influencing everyone from David Bowie and Blondie to Madonna and Moby. But the rock establishment was stinting in its appreciation—whether at Comiskey Park in 1979, or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the 2000s. This month, we examine how Summer became the Queen of Disco…and how she transcended that role altogether.  Email: hitparade@slate.com    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
24/11/171h 14m

Hit Parade: Le Petty Prince Edition

In 2004, Prince joined Tom Petty onstage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony for what is now regarded as the institution’s greatest live performance. They were both first-ballot inductees—but their similarities go much deeper. On this month’s Hit Parade, we track the surprising parallels between two artists gone far too soon: from their fights with the music industry to their hits across genres and generations—and even the songs they gave to Stevie Nicks. Petty and Prince were category-defying, label-infuriating, and among the best pop songwriters of the late 20th century.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
30/10/171h 12m

Hit Parade: The Great War Against the Single Edition

Ever since the ’60s, the recording industry emphasized the album over the single. By the ’80s, they were milking as many hits as possible from an album to convince you to buy it—from Thriller to Hysteria.  But in the ’90s, labels changed tactics and tried to kill retail singles—promoting hits to radio that you could only buy on full-length albums. Why? They wanted consumers to shell out for more profitable CDs. As a result, musicians ranging from MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, to Pearl Jam and Alanis Morissette, to Chumbawamba and Lou Bega became multiplatinum-selling artists. The industry’s ploy paid off, but it also created consumer resentment as people grew tired of paying nearly $20 to acquire one song. Here’s the story of how the recording industry toyed with consumers and chart fans, and how the internet struck back.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
29/09/171h 17m

Hit Parade: The Charity Megasingle Edition

In the mid-1980s, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and “We Are the World” gathered dozens of the biggest stars in music to put on a show for a good cause. The two songs spawned imitators, but today, the charity megasingle is a relic of pop music’s past, except around the holidays. This month, we examine how good intentions, pique, excess, and vanity led to the rise and fall of the do-gooder celebrity pop song.  Email: hitparade@slate.com   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/07/171h 6m

Hit Parade: The Imperial Elton and George Edition

When Elton John came out as bisexual in 1976, it was a really big deal. It was covered on the evening news. There were angry letters and a decline in sales. And for a generation of queer musicians, like George Michael, it was a lesson: Be careful what you reveal about your sex life to the public. On this episode, we look at the friendship, collaboration, and chart rivalry of the two British icons, who collided on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week in 1988—and later topped the chart together. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
30/06/171h 11m

Hit Parade: The Fab Four Sweep Edition

In episode two, Chris Molanphy takes a look at the historic week the Beatles swept the entire Billboard Top Five. You can see that chart right here. It’s a feat that’s never been repeated. But the Fab Four’s total domination of the pop charts was both a reflection of their massive popularity and a huge screwup by their American record label. Here’s the story of how Capitol Records nearly sabotaged the biggest rock band of all time.  Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at Slate.com/gistplus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
26/05/1751m 28s

Hit Parade: Red, Red Wine Edition

In this debut episode, Chris Molanphy tells the story of “Red, Red Wine”: a song written in the 1960s by a certain journeyman singer-songwriter who loves a Hot August Night. Improbably, it became a reggae song, before the ’60s were even over—and then, even more improbably,  in the 1980s it was transformed into a lilting, toasting reggae-pop global smash. And it would have been a flop in America if it hadn’t been for an enterprising deejay, who ignored the record labels and picked his own hits. With this song, he even started a two-year fad and a radio mutiny. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/04/1739m 7s
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