10 December 2006

Lean Closer, Pilgrim! The Charts Whisper Secrets!

Yesterday, I entered my mid-late-twenties. Which means I turned 28. Which means I will never again be interested in MTV's programming. (But, really, that particular prophesy came true when I was still in college.)

Sadly, Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated December 16, meaning it was not one of my Extra Special Birthday Hits.

And what's an Extra Special Birthday Hit?

It's a song that ascends to the number one slot on your actual birthday date. You see, every Hot 100 is dated to correspond with the Saturday of the week in which it's published. So even though "Irreplaceable" is number one for this entire week, it will be recorded as a hit that peaked on December 16. Clear?

If that doesn't make sense... well... I admit that the whole thing is a bit arbitrary. But it's still fun. I like to believe that you can learn something about yourself based both on the song that was number one the day you were born and the songs that topped the chart on your actual birthday date. I call it chartology.

For instance, I am in a unique chart-ological position. I was born on December 9, 1978. That's the EXACT day that Chic's "Le Freak" became a number one song. The very day! That means I am forever and inextricably linked to "Le Freak." What does it mean?

Well, Nile Rodgers, who was the driving force of Chic, went on to write and produce the 80s-defining hit "Like a Virgin." Perhaps I, after experiencing some kind of success of my own, will also be responsible for shepherding the career of a protege. Also, Rodgers has said that "Le Freak" was written as a kiss-off to the snooty bouncers at legendary club Studio 54, who wouldn't let Chic past the velvet rope. How ironic, then, that "Le Freak" became the best-selling single of the 1970s. Maybe I will have similar success in the face of adversity.

See where I'm going with this?

There are two other songs that first hit number one on December 9: Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" and Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire." I'm not quite sure I've gained the wisdom to know what that means, but I'm sure it means something. The charts are mysterious in their revelations.

As another example, the number one song when Andrew was born was Chuck Berry's "My Ding-A-Ling." Which is awesome. But I will not use a family-friendly blog to pontificate further on why that is so. His two Extra Special Birthday Hits are "Then Came You" by Dionne Warwicke and The Spinners and "Saving All My Love For You" by Whitney Houston. Both started their runs at #1 on October 26.

First of all, Then Came Who? Does anyone remember that song? Interestingly, though, for the brief moment in which "Then Came You" was popular, Warwick was spelling her last name with an extra "e." Which suggests that Andrew is mutable. He will never be stuck in a rut, and he will always surprise us with his personal growth. And the Whitney connection? Obviously, Andrew is either going to become addicted to crack or emerge as a defining diva of his generation. I'll keep you posted.

So tell me... what are your birthdays? Just post them in the comments, and I'll give you a chart-ological reading. Don't delay. Secrets of the universe await you.

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At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Holtzwoman said...

January 21st! Chart me up!

At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Jenni said...

oh! oh!

if only i'm lucky enough to have phil collins in my chart.

January 11, 1979

show me the light, mark.

luv jenh

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

Carrie! Here's your chart-ological reading...

Based on your various web profiles, I *believe* you were born in 1981, which means the number one song the day you were born was "(Just Like) Starting Over" by John Lennon.

You have a remarkable three Extra Special Birthday Hits, and all of them peaked while you were alive.

The Jan. 21 chart-toppers are:

"Owner of a Lonely Heart" by Yes

"Two Hearts" by Phil Collins

"Grillz" by Nelly feat. Paul Wall, Ali, and Gipp

I'm interested by the romance in your chart. You begin with "(Just Like) Starting Over," which is about a love that is strong but struggling. Then you reach "Owner of a Lonely Heart," which is about being alone in favor of being hurt. Finally, though, you find yourself with "Two Hearts." Love springs anew.

So I'd say be on the look out for the love of your life after experiencing a passionate but troubled romance.

And as for "Grillz?" Clearly, your bling is in your mouth. But the charts can be subtle. "Grillz" doesn't have to mean diamonds on your teeth. My guess is that your words will prove or have already proven valuable to you. Will your facility with language define your personal relationships? Your professional life? That is where your destiny must collide with your free will.

At 12:36 PM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

Hey Jenni,

You are in a deceptive position. There are currently no songs that have hit number 1 on Jan. 11. But don't be fooled. The charts still have much to tell us.

The day you were born, the number one song was "Too Much Heaven" by The Bee Gees. As in, "nobody gets too much heaven." I'd say, you'll either be a religious leader of great influence or soon discover yourself in a period of extreme happiness.

There's also a host of songs that spent their final day at number one on January 11, including "Say You, Say Me" by Lionel Richie and Elton John's cover of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds."

This fact is mysterious. I'd wager you have skill for finding resolution to large or meaningful questions.

At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Brooker said...

Do me!! Do me!!!

June 25, 1979

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

Hey Brooke!

You've got a bumper crop of hot hits in your chart.

On the day you were born, the number one song was "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer.

You have three Extra Special Birthday Hits. These songs started their runs at number one on June 25:

"Paperback Writer" by The Beatles

"Got to Give It Up (Part 1)" by Marvin Gaye

"Foolish Beat" by Debbie Gibson

Clearly, you are meant for some unique achievement. Donna Summer was the first person to have double album go to number one. The Beatles, obviously, are the most significant rock band in history. Marvin Gaye died in a strange way (his father killed him).

And when "Foolish Beat" went to number one, Debbie Gibson was only 17. That made her the youngest person ever to write, record, and producer a number one song. (She still holds the record.)

So the stars are aligned for you! And don't be thrown off by the macabre aspect of the Marvin Gaye thing. It's just one facet of the chart-ology.

(Am I becoming Miss Cleo?)

At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Brooke said...

I think "Hot Stuff" says it all... ;)

At 10:36 PM, Anonymous AdamH said...

*tells self that age is just a number*


At 12:19 AM, Blogger N said...

Ha! Miss Cleo... "Call me now, babies!"


At 12:46 AM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

Do not even sweat it, Adam! Age ain't nothin' but a number at all!

Your birthday number one is Rod Stewart's "Maggie May."

Your Extra Special Birthday Hits? "Who Can It Be Now?" by Men at Work and "My Boo" by Usher and Alicia Keys.

Your chart tells a story. Say you heard a rapping at your chamber door. You might think the following three phrases as you went to peek out the window. "Who can it be now? My boo, Maggie May!"

This tells me that you are a storyteller. Are you? But it took the charts over 30 years to bring that complete sentence into being. So you also may be a procrastinator. I am, too. I'm supposed to writing a magazine piece right now. Whoops!

As for you, N (oh thee of the mysterious initial!)... your birthday chart topper is "Endless Love" by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross.

But brace yourself... your extra special birthday hit... yes, the only song to started its life at number one on October 16...

is "Disco Duck (Part 1)" by Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots.

That tells me you are sensitive to trends and moods. You can sense what will make a room snap to attention, and you can give it to them. Some might say you love fads, but don't listen! They're just jealous of your success!

At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Holtzwoman said...

thanks, Mark! You were right, I'm a young'un with 1981. My chartology really IS quite interesting...hmmm.

At 3:05 PM, Blogger N said...

Hmm. Disco Duck was before my time so I YouTubed it to have a listen. Aaaaand...it looks like I have a new favorite song. This is so going to play at my wedding, should such an event ever occur.

Thanks, Mark.

At 6:27 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

Ooh, please chart me! I was born September 19, 1970. I think "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" was No. 1. By the way, who's Andrew?

At 8:22 PM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

Hey, Joe!

Andrew is my boyfriend (and a generally fantastic guy). My post about the myth of Mariah Carey's seven octave vocal range gives a little snapshot of his awesomeness.

As for your chart... welcome to the club! Like me, you also have a song that started its reign at number one on the very same day you were born. And you're right, it's Diana Ross' "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."

Your other Extra Special Birthday Hits are "The Twist" by Chubby Checker and "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" by Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett.

All your songs seem to be about overcoming remarkable odds.

For instance, the subject of "Ain't No Mountain" is that nothing will stop love.

"The Twist" is notable for being the only song in chart history to peak at number one, fall off the chart, and then return to number one again. (After first appearing there on the week of Sept. 19, 1960, it returned to the top for two more weeks in Jan. of 1962).

And "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" was the first number one from Michael Jackson's "Bad" album, which went on to produce a record-setting five number one singles. No other album has ever had so many chart toppers.

Do you have incredible odds in your life that you've overcome? Did you, like, climb a mountain with no kneecaps or something? Because your chart-ological destiny is pointing in that direction. I mean, unless you have kneecaps.

At 10:23 PM, Anonymous AdamH said...

Thanks, Mark! I am a storyteller of sorts; I'm a technical writer. I spun some yarn today, let me tell you!

I'll procrastinate next week.

I'm jealous of the person who got Disco Duck. That was my favorite song in nursery school. *cues it up*

At 6:44 PM, Anonymous suzyq said...


me too, me too.

February 25, 1983

At 12:19 AM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

Well, hey there, Suzy Q!

There's a fascinating connection between your hits.

The day you were born, the number one single was "Baby, Come to Me" by patty Austin and James Ingram. I'd say this means your parents were very excited to have you. Were you a "miracle baby?"

And your extra-special birthday hits? "Jump" by Van Halen and "Take a Bow" by Madonna. As far as I'm concerned, being linked to a Madonna song is about as awesome as it gets, but that's just me.

More important, though, is the fact that all three of your songs are commands. I can only assume you are a natural leader. And since two of those songs are ballads, I'd say you're pretty subtle in your leadership skills. However, the appearance of Van Halen--a band beset by leadership problems--tells me you've earned you sophisticated style after some rocky starts. You had to change the lead singer of your heart, as it were.

At 10:33 AM, Anonymous suzyq said...

hit the spot, mark! i'm the only girl in the family, and i've been struggling for years to balance the wishy-washy in me (pisces as well, you see) with the leader. this is uncannily awesome. you should definitely have your own informercials!

At 2:08 PM, Anonymous cheerleader said...

Ooo, do me, do me!


At 1:42 AM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

Hello "Cheerleader!" If I save you, do I save the world? (Sorry. "Heroes" joke. Had to be done.)

Anyway, your chart is fascinating.

First, like me, you are in the unique club of having a song begin its time at number one on the very day you were born. On August 3, 1985, "Shout" by Tears for Fears began its run at the top.

Plus, you have THREE other extra specical birthday number ones.

"So Much in Love" by The Tymes
"Hello, I Love You" by The Doors
"Macarena (Bayside Boys Remix)" by Los Del Rio

To me, this says you are uniquely interested in telling the truth. After all, your birth song tells you to "shout, shout, let it all out."

Plus, "Hello, I Love You" is a frank declaration of love, while the song by The Tymes (covered in the 90s by All-4-One) is about a lover confessing, "So much in love are we two / That we don't know what to do."

Are you hoping to be a lawyer or a therapist? Are you the one who initiates uncomfortable but necessary conversations with family members or friends?

If so, good for you. But be careful! Because even though "The Macarena" started a dance craze--in essence, it got us all out of our shells by commanding us to put our hands on our hips and swivel--it also got very annoying very fast.

In other words, temper your knack for the truth with a sensitivity for what people can actually handle.

At 9:42 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

Mark, thanks for charting me! Actually, yes I did overcome some great odds. I was born with transposition of the great arteries (a major heart & lung malfunction) and am the oldest living survivor of the experimental surgery used to save me. So yeah, I guess you're right! This is crazy. Anyhoo, I'm new to the blog and loving it. Thanks again!

At 11:24 AM, Blogger TRAYB said...

Mark, you are a genius. April 1 is my date.

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

Hey Tray! You didn't give me your birth year, but based on my research (and the fact that we're, you know, friends) I'd say it's 1975.

And that means the number one song the day you were born was...

...wait for it...

"Lady Marmalade" by LaBelle.

You have two extra special birthday hits that started their reign on April 1.

"Eternal Flame" by The Bangles in 1989

and "Temperature" by Sean Paul, just last year.

First, let's notice the weather patterns here. "Lady Marmalade" is set in steamy New Orleans. Then you've got "Flame" and "Temperature."

Obviously, you value either sunny weather or living your life with an intensity that some would call "feverish." And you live in New York, so I'm guessing the second choice is correct.

Furthermore, "Lady Marmalade" is one of the few songs that has hit number one by more that one artist. (The second time it was sung by Christina Aguilera, Mya, Pink, and Lil' Kim).

To me, this says you are person who can reinvent portions of your life without changing the core melody, if you will, of who you are. To extend the metaphor, you may be singing in a slightly different rhythm or key, but you're always certain that the song is still "Tray."

At 5:48 PM, Blogger bob said...

Tray sent me. My bday is 1.3.71. I can't wait to see what comes up.

At 6:26 PM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

Hey Bob! Pleasure to have you!

The number one song the day you were born was "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison.

There are two songs that started their runs at number one on January 3: "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" in 1970 and "Saturday Night" by Bay City Rollers in 1976. (S-A-T-U-R... D-A-Y... NIGHT!)

It's interesting that "My Sweet Lord" and "Raindrops" imply the sky or the heavens. You may enjoy high altitudes or climbing, or you may be a spiritual person.

But with the Bay City Rollers in the mix, I'd say your desire to be spiritual is sometimes undercut by a desire to to party. More proof of that? A court declared that "My Sweet Lord" plagiarized "He's So Fine" by The Chiffons. So when you should be thinking about your spirit, your head keeps drifting back to fleshly pleasures.

But I'd say the mixture of the two is working out pretty well for you. All three of your number ones have held up really well over the years. They have a classic feel instead of sounding conspicuously like the trends of their moments... that bodes well for you. I'd say you should keep one hand on the prayer beads and the other on a Jell-O Shooter.

At 7:30 PM, Blogger bob said...

mark, how awesome and might i say spot on. This Catholic boy has made more than one appearance on a disco box. You really should have your own show on Bravo!

At 6:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please do me!!! April 12, 1981

At 10:49 AM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

April 12, 1981...

Do you have a freak flag? It must be flying constantly!

Consider this:

The #1 hit the day you were born was "Kiss on My List" by Hall and Oates.

The two songs that have started their time at #1 on April 12 are

"Philadelphia Freedom" by Billie Jean King

and "Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In" by The 5th Dimension.

In all three cases, there's a pervasive streak of people bucking the expected order.

Hall and Oates were a blue-eyed soul act... one of the few white groups that was able to make a strong showing on the R&B charts.

"Philadelphia Freedom" is Elton John's tribute to Billie Jean King, the openly lesbian tennis player who made history for winning the "Battle of the Sexes" match against Bobby Riggs. Her victory was considered a point for women's equality, since it proved men weren't necessarily superior athletes.

And "Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In" is a medley of tracks from "Hair," that rebellious musical about hippies, freaks, and burnouts.

My guess, dear Anonymous, is that you have little patience for convention.


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