Chart Watch

Chart Watch Extra: The Year’s Top 25 Hits

Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" rolled to a record this year. The song has sold more copies than any other song has sold in a calendar year in digital history. To find the last song that has sold as many copies in a calendar year you have to go back to the pre-digital era for Elton John's "Candle In The Wind 1997," his tribute to the late Princess Diana.

Here are the stats: "Rolling In The Deep" has sold 5,572,000 copies so far this year. The previous calendar-year sales record in the digital era was set two years ago when the Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" sold 4,762,000 copies. "Candle In The Wind 1997" sold 8,011,000 physical copies in 1997, though the rush of emotion connected to Diana's death, and the charity aspect of the single (proceeds went to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund), make it an extraordinary case.

Adele has a second song in the top 10 for the year-to-date. "Someone Like You" is #10. Adele will be the first female artist to put two songs in the year-end top 10 since Lady Gaga scored two years ago with "Poker Face" and "Just Dance" (featuring Colby O'Donis).

The year's #2 hit is "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock. It has sold 4,878,000 copies (which also breaks the Peas' calendar-year digital sales record). LMFAO consists of Stefan "Redfoo" Gordy, 36, and Skyler "Sky Blu" Gordy, 25, the son and grandson, respectively, of Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr.

Katy Perry is the only artist with three songs in the top 20 for the year-to-date. "E.T.," her collabo with Kanye West, is #3. "Firework" is #15. "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" is #19. This marks the third time in the past four years that Perry has had a song in the year-end top five. "I Kissed A Girl" was the fourth best-seller of 2008. "California Gurls (featuring Snoop Dogg) was #1 for 2010.

Pitbull and Bruno Mars each have two of the top 20 songs of 2011.

Collaborations continue to dominate popular music. Four collabos appear in the top 10 for the year-to-date. There were five collabos in the year-end top 10 last year, two in 2009 and three in 2008.

Two of the year's top 15 hits are by judges on TV talent competitions. "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera is #5. "On The Floor" by Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull is #11. Adam Levine and Aguilera are among the quartet of judges on The Voice. J.Lo is the sole female judge on American Idol. (It's worth noting that the judges fared much better than the contestants on these shows. Idol winner Scotty McCreery's "I Love You This Big" is #148 for the year-to-date, with sales of 694K.)

The music industry should be pleased with these numbers. With three chart weeks to go in 2011, 13 songs have sold 3 million or more digital copies, more than in any other year. Twelve songs topped the 3 million mark in 2010. Seven songs crossed that threshold in 2009. Just two hit the mark in 2008.

This was also the year the "F word" gained new acceptability. See #6 and #21.

Here's the low-down on the 25 best-selling songs so far in 2011.

1. Adele, "Rolling In The Deep," 5,572,000. This song topped the Hot 100 for seven weeks, beginning in May. It was Adele's first top 10 hit. It's the best-selling song by a British artist in digital history, surpassing Taio Cruz's "Dynamite." It's also the front-runner to win Grammys for Record and Song of the Year. "Rolling In The Deep" sold an additional 108K copies in 2010.

2. LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock, "Party Rock Anthem," 4,878,000. This is the year's best-selling collabo. The song topped the Hot 100 for six weeks, starting in July. It was LMFAO's first top 10 hit.  It also topped the U.K. chart for four weeks.

3. Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, "E.T.," 4,728,000. This song topped the Hot 100 for five weeks in April and May. It was Perry's fifth #1; West's fourth. The song sold an additional 131K copies in 2010.

4. Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer, "Give Me Everything," 3,709,000. This vibrant blend of pop and hip-hop reached #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K.  It was Pitbull's first #1 in the U.S.; Ne-Yo's second.

5. Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera, "Moves Like Jagger," 3,700,000. This collabo logged four weeks at #1, starting in September. It was Maroon 5's second #1; the fifth for Aguilera.

6. Cee Lo Green, "F**k You (Forget You)," 3,632,000. This smash is the year's best-selling song by a male solo artist. It's also the year's best-selling song that failed to reach #1. (It logged four weeks at #2 in March.) "F**k You" won a Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance and was a finalist for Record and Song of the Year. It sold an additional 1,688,000 copies in 2010. It was that year's #46 song.

7. Foster the People, "Pumped Up Kicks," 3,505,000. This earworm is the year's best-selling song by a group or duo that wasn't listed as part of a collabo. It spent eight straight weeks at #3, starting in September. That was the longest run at #3 for a song that peaked in that spot since LL Cool J's "Hey Lover" in 1995-1996. It was the group's first top 10 hit.

8. Lady Gaga, "Born This Way," 3,395,000. This gay-friendly anthem topped the Hot 100 for six weeks, starting in February. It was Gaga's third (and longest-running) #1 hit.

9. Nicki Minaj, "Super Bass," 3,324,000. This hip-hop smash peaked at #3 for two weeks in August. It was Minaj's second top 10 hit, following Trey Songz' "Bottoms Up," on which she was featured.

10. Adele, "Someone Like You," 3,264,000. In September, this tearjerker became the first recording that consists of just piano and vocal to reach #1 in the 53-year history of the Hot 100. The song spent five weeks at #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. It was the first song to spend five or more weeks at #1 in both countries since Katy Perry's 2008 smash "I Kissed A Girl."

11. Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull, "On The Floor," 3,244,000. J.Lo's comeback smash reached #3 in May. It was her 10th top 10 hit; her highest-charting hit since "All I Have" (featuring LL Cool J) reached #1 in 2003.

12. Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes, "Look At Me Now," 3,051,000. This collabo reached #6 in April. It was Brown's 10th top 10 hit; his highest-charting hit since "Forever" three years ago. It topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for eight weeks.

13. Rihanna, "S&M," 3,005,000. This frisky song hit #1 in April, thanks to an assist from Britney Spears. It was Rihanna's 10th song to reach #1. Rihanna, who is just 23, is one of a select group of artists ever to amass 10 #1 hits at such a young age. (The others: Elvis Presley, two of the Beatles and all three Supremes.)

14. The Black Eyed Peas, "Just Can't Get Enough," 2,898,000. This piece of catchy radio fodder reached #3 in April. It was the group's 10th top 10 hit; its highest-charting hit since its 2009 blockbuster "I Gotta Feeling."

15. Katy Perry, "Firework," 2,770,000. This firecracker of a hit topped the Hot 100 for four weeks in December and January. It was her fourth #1. It won a VMA Award as Video of the Year and is a Grammy finalist for Record of the Year. "Firework" sold an additional 2,332,000 copies in 2010. It was that year's #28 song. (If its sales hadn't been split between two years, it would have ranked #2.)

16. Bruno Mars, "The Lazy Song," 2,733,000. This laid-back ditty reached #4 in June. It was Mars' fifth top five hit.

17. Bruno Mars, "Grenade," 2,676,000. This song topped the Hot 100 for four weeks in December and January. The song, darker in tone than Mars' previous hits, was his third #1. It also topped the U.K. chart for two weeks. It is nominated for Grammys for Record and Song of the Year. "Grenade" sold an additional 2,061,000 copies in 2010. It was that year's #36 song.

18. Ke$ha, "Blow," 2,606,000. This pop-dance smash reached #7 in March, becoming Ke$ha's seventh top 10 hit. It was her follow-up to the chart-topping "We R Who We R."

19. Katy Perry, "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)," 2,579,000. This song hit #1 in August, making Perry's Teenage Dream only second album in history (following Michael Jackson's Bad) to generate five #1 hits.

20. Lupe Fiasco, "The Show Goes On," 2,559,000. This zesty song reached #9 in May, becoming Lupe Fiasco's second top 10 hit and his highest-charting hit to date. The song sold an additional 189K copies in 2010.

21. Pink, "F**kin' Perfect," 2,457,000. This was the year's second-biggest hit with the "F word" in its title. The song, Pink's follow-up to the chart-topping "Raise Your Glass," reached #2 in January. It was her 11th top 10 hit.

22. Britney Spears, "Till The World Ends," 2,439,000. This song, Spears' follow-up to the chart-topping "Hold It Against Me," reached #3 in May. It was her 10th top 10 hit.

23. Jason Aldean, "Dirt Road Anthem," 2,400,000. This is the year's best-selling country song. It's the only song by a male country solo artist to top the 2 million mark in digital history. It reached #7 in June, becoming Aldean's first top 10 hit.

24. LMFAO, "Sexy And I Know It," 2,399,000. LMFAO proved they were more than one-hit wonders when this novelty song reached #2 in November. It stayed in the runner-up slot for five straight weeks, the longest run for a #2-peaking song since Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" was runner-up for seven weeks.

25. Hot Chelle Rae, "Tonight Tonight," 2,372,000. This energetic blend of power pop and bubblegum reached #7 in July. It was the group's first top 10 hit.

Songs near the bottom of the list are vulnerable to falling out of the top 25, because a few songs are moving up fast. They include "Stereo Hearts" by Gym Glass Heroes featuring Adam Levine (currently #27 with sales of 2,333,000) and "We Found Love" by Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris (#30 with sales of 2,251,000).

As a bonus, here are three more songs that achieved distinctions of note.

92. Eminem, "Lose Yourself," 1,007,000. This 2002 smash is the oldest song among the 100 best-selling songs of 2012.This brings its sales to date to 4,241,000 copies, which is impressive because the song was already seven months old when the iTunes store opened in April 2003. The song logged 12 weeks at #1, beginning in November 2002. The motivational anthem is the "Theme From 'Rocky'" of the hip-hop era.

143. The Lonely Island featuring Akon, "I Just Had Sex," 712,000. This is the year's best-selling comedy song. It reached #30 at the end of last year, surpassing "I'm On A Boat" (featuring T-Pain) as the troupe's highest-charting hit to date.

Justin Bieber, "Mistletoe," 420,000. This is the year's best-selling holiday song, though it hasn't yet dented the top 200 for the year-to-date. It debuted and peaked at #11 in October, becoming the highest-charting holiday song since New Kids on the Block's "This One's For The Children," which hit #7 in 1989.

To My Readers: The final numbers will come in on Wednesday Jan. 4. I'll update this post that day to reflect the final rankings and sales tallies. I'll also update last week's post on the year's best-selling albums. (If you missed that one, here's a link.) I'll also write my two weekly blogs, Chart Watch: Albums and Chart Watch: Songs. Other than that, it should be a light day.

Related Links:

The 20 Rudest Musical Moments of 2011

Rest In Peace--2011--A Year In Obituaries

Yahoo! 2011 Year In Review