Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia Image

Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia

Podcast Series Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia

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.

Want more Hit Parade? Join Slate Plus to unlock monthly early-access episodes. Plus, you’ll get ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/hitparadeplus to get access wherever you l...

Series Episodes

Be My Baby-Baby-Baby Edition Part 2

Be My Baby-Baby-Baby Edition Part 2

Girl groups have long been underestimated—even by the producers and managers who created them. For women listeners, girl groups narrated profound emotions and expressed personal freedom—even when the singers were not so free themselves. For male listeners, girl groups provided inspiration, and a way to express matters of the heart. And for all listeners across rock and soul history, girl groups pushed music forward. In the ’60s, the Shirelles, Marvelettes, Ronettes and Shangri-Las kept rock afloat between Elvis Presley and the Beatles. In the ’70s and ’80s, girl groups from the Emotions to Exposé rebooted dance music. In the ’90s, En Vogue, TLC and Destiny’s Child fused hip-hop style with old-school soul—and the Spice Girls fired up a new generation through Girl Power. Join Chris Molanphy as we shimmy and strut through decades of bops to give girl groups the respect they deserve. You’ll love them tomorrow, because friendship never ends. Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Want more Hit Parade? Join Slate Plus to unlock monthly early-access episodes. Plus, you’ll get ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/hitparadeplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

52 mins

31 May Finished

Be My Baby-Baby-Baby Edition Part 1

Be My Baby-Baby-Baby Edition Part 1

Girl groups have long been underestimated—even by the producers and managers who created them. For women listeners, girl groups narrated profound emotions and expressed personal freedom—even when the singers were not so free themselves. For male listeners, girl groups provided inspiration, and a way to express matters of the heart. And for all listeners across rock and soul history, girl groups pushed music forward. In the ’60s, the Shirelles, Marvelettes, Ronettes and Shangri-Las kept rock afloat between Elvis Presley and the Beatles. In the ’70s and ’80s, girl groups from the Emotions to Exposé rebooted dance music. In the ’90s, En Vogue, TLC and Destiny’s Child fused hip-hop style with old-school soul—and the Spice Girls fired up a new generation through Girl Power. Join Chris Molanphy as we shimmy and strut through decades of bops to give girl groups the respect they deserve. You’ll love them tomorrow, because friendship never ends. Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Want more Hit Parade? Join Slate Plus to unlock monthly early-access episodes. Plus, you’ll get ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/hitparadeplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

1 hour 3 mins

17 May Finished

We Want It That Way Edition Part 2

We Want It That Way Edition Part 2

When you hear “boy band,” what do you picture? Five guys with precision dance moves? Songs crafted by the Top 40 pop machine? Svengalis pulling the puppet strings? Hordes of screaming girls? As it turns out, not all boy bands fit these signifiers. (Well…except for the screaming girls—they are perennial.) There are boy bands that danced, and some that did not…boy bands that relied entirely on outside songwriters, and those that wrote big hits…boy bands assembled by managers or producers, and quite a few that launched on their own. From Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers to New Kids on the Block, the Monkees to the Jonas Brothers, Boyz II Men to BTS, New Edition to One Direction, and…yeah, of course, Backstreet Boys and *N Sync, boy bands have had remarkable variety over the years. (In a sense, even a certain ’60s Fab Four started as a boy band.) Join Chris Molanphy as he tries to define the ineffable quality of boy band–ness, walks through decades of shrieking, hair-pulling pop history, and reminds you that boy bands generated some of our greatest hits, from “I Want You Back” to “I Want It That Way,” “Bye Bye Bye” to “Dynamite.” Help him “bring the fire and set the night alight.” Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

1 hour 2 mins

27 April Finished

We Want It That Way Edition Part 1

We Want It That Way Edition Part 1

When you hear “boy band,” what do you picture? Five guys with precision dance moves? Songs crafted by the Top 40 pop machine? Svengalis pulling the puppet strings? Hordes of screaming girls? As it turns out, not all boy bands fit these signifiers. (Well…except for the screaming girls—they are perennial.) There are boy bands that danced, and some that did not…boy bands that relied entirely on outside songwriters, and those that wrote big hits…boy bands assembled by managers or producers, and quite a few that launched on their own. From Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers to New Kids on the Block, the Monkees to the Jonas Brothers, Boyz II Men to BTS, New Edition to One Direction, and…yeah, of course, Backstreet Boys and *N Sync, boy bands have had remarkable variety over the years. (In a sense, even a certain ’60s Fab Four started as a boy band.) Join Chris Molanphy as he tries to define the ineffable quality of boy band–ness, walks through decades of shrieking, hair-pulling pop history, and reminds you that boy bands generated some of our greatest hits, from “I Want You Back” to “I Want It That Way,” “Bye Bye Bye” to “Dynamite.” Help him “bring the fire and set the night alight.” Podcast production by Kevin Bendis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

1 hour 4 mins

13 April Finished

Gotcha Covered Edition Part 2

Gotcha Covered Edition Part 2

Cover songs once had a simple playbook: Artists would faithfully rerecord a song—note for note and word for word. They might modernize the instrumentation. If they were feeling radical, they’d punch up the vocals a bit. Now it’s hard to say what a cover is anymore. If Ariana Grande turns “My Favorite Things” into “7 Rings,” does that qualify? When Drake says he’s “Way 2 Sexy,” is he covering Right Said Fred? The recent chart success of “Fast Car”—country star Luke Combs’ very traditional take on Tracy Chapman’s folk classic—has reinvigorated interest in cover songs. Sometimes, isn’t just remaking the song as-is enough? Join Chris Molanphy as he explains the chart considerations and artistic motivations that rebooted the cover song, and whether a straight-up remake will ever top the Hot 100 again. We’re long past the days of “Twist and Shout,” “Venus” and “I’ll Be There.” Podcast production by Olivia Briley. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

46 mins

29 March Finished

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