Sometimes multiple hit songs have the exact same title. Here are 11 titles that have been used on at least 11 hit songs.
There are thousands and thousands of different songs that share the same title, because why get creative when you could just pick a title like One or Desire or Beautiful Day. (I have a thing about U2.) I mean, look at my example: The title for this post is so convoluted it is going to get like zero people reading. But that’s my journey.
Sometimes, through the forces of sheer random chance and large numbers, multiple songs with the same title become hits.
In fact, there have been — apropos-ly for this website — 11 different song titles that have hits by at least 11 different artists. And I’m not talking about covers, either; at least 11 unique songs with the same title, all of which made the Billboard Hot 100.
Here are those 11 titles, along with the most successful song with each title, the best song and other notable (and possibly non-hit) versions. Warning: My heavy ’90s music influence is just all over this thing…
11 | Call Me (11 top 100 songs)
Highest ranked version: Blondie’s, #1 for six weeks in 1980
Best version: Aretha Franklin’s. Although I think a lifetime of hearing the Blondie one has Stockholm Syndromed me into coming around favorably on it.
Notable version: Tweet’s. Just when it looked like Tweet was going to be a one-hit wonder for oops there’s goes my [various clothing item] [preposition] [body part], BAM, second encore.
10 | Crazy (11 top 100 songs)
Highest ranked version: Gnarls Barkley’s, #2 for one week in 2006.
Best version: K-Ci and JoJo’s. If I picked anything else, my wife might actually file for divorce.
Notable version: I have a soft spot for Aerosmith’s Crazy from my formative years. The Willie Nelson version (and then Patsy Cline cover) should be mentioned. And, of course, Britney Spears’ (You Drive Me) Crazy just missed because of the superfluous parenthetical. And I would know, because my writing is just jam packed with superfluous parentheticals. I didn’t want to take the time to build Grantland-style web footnotes for this website, so parentheses will have to do.
9 | I Need You (11 top 100 songs)
Highest ranked version: America’s, #9 for one week in 1972.
Best version: Well, I once said the Beatles’ version was the fourth best song written by George or Ringo, so I’m not flip-flopping on that now. (Side note: Now that I have a kid, the Simpsons joke about how Bart knows the Beatles from songs on Maggie’s baby albums rings SO true. We really rocked out when Raffi’s cover of Octopus’s Garden came on Pandora this morning.)
Notable version: LeAnn Rimes’, which I’m a big fan of — even after literally (possibly figuratively) millions of reality singing show contestants melismafied it into an early grave.
8 | Without You (11 top 100 songs)
Highest ranked version: Harry Nilsson’s, #1 for four weeks in 1972.
Best version: Mariah Carey’s, a cover of the above.
Notable version: Air Supply’s, also a cover of the same damn song, but +10,000 imaginary points because everything Air Supply does is magic. I’ve got to get out to a county fair to see them live at some point before it’s too late. Also I guess some youths might care about the David Guetta/Usher version.
7 | Forever (12 top 100 songs)
Highest ranked version: Chris Brown’s, #2 for one week in 2008.
Best version: The Beach Boys’ version, but only as performed by Jesse Katsopolis at his wedding to Rebecca Donaldson in 1991.
Notable version: When I searched for “forever” in my music library, I didn’t have anything just called Forever. I DO, however, have the following: Forever Young by Rod Stewart, Forever Your Girl by Paula Abdul, Graduation (Friends Forever) by Vitamin C, Live Forever by Oasis, Forever Young by Alphaville, Now and Forever by Richard Marx, and, most important, Friends Forever from Saved by the Bell. I’m surprised that in a weaker moment I didn’t get brainwashed into downloading the Drake/Kanye/Lil Wayne Forever.
6 | Stay (13 top 100 songs)
Highest ranked version: Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs’, #1 for one week in 1960. (You’d know it if you heard it: “Staaa-aaa-aay, just a little bit long-ong-ger.”)
Best version: I’m not usually a big Rihanna guy, but her Stay is my favorite of her songs. Also, copy and paste that exact sentence and replace “Rihanna” with “Ne-Yo” and it remains true.
Notable version: Lisa Loeb’s Stay (I Missed You) doesn’t count, but if it did, I ASSURE you I would not have used precious Internet column inches on Rihanna.
5 | You (13 top 100 songs)
Highest ranked version: Lloyd (feat. Lil Wayne)’s, #9 for one week in 2007. I couldn’t remember the song — kind of the perils of combining a generic title AND a generic stage name — but listening to three seconds it came back to me.
Best version: Sorry to report that I listened to a lot of hit songs called You and couldn’t really find one for this spot.
Notable version: It wasn’t a hit, but in my research I found a song called You by someone named “Lucy Pearl” featuring Snoop Dogg. I thought that was strange, so I looked into it, and it turns out “Lucy Pearl” was a late ’90s supergroup featuring various members of Tony! Toni! Tone!, A Tribe Called Quest, En Vogue — and D’Angelo. Somehow — and I say this with genuine disappointment, not sarcasm — the results weren’t that magical.
4 | Angel (14 top 100 songs)
Highest ranked version: Shaggy’s, #1 for one week in 2001. Shaggy’s Angel was a number one hit?
Best version: I was weirdly into Natasha Bedingfield’s Angel for a minute there. Oh, and I guess Jimi Hendrix’s Angel is like good or whatever.
Notable version: The biggest surprise for me on the list was that Sarah McLachlan’s Angel wasn’t more successful on the Billboard chart than Shaggy’s. (It peaked at number four.) And that was long before it became the unofficial Pavolvian cue to change the channel because sad, sad dogs were about to be on your TV.
3 | Happy (14 top 100 songs)
Highest ranked version: Pharrell’s, #1 for 10 weeks in 2014.
Best version: Just putting on Ashanti’s Happyand hearing the opening shoutout to “Murder Inc.” whooshed me backwards in a time machine to the early 2000s.
Notable version: Happy by Marina and the Diamonds wasn’t a hit because it came out during the period where the charts were still reconciling how to handle digital sales only, but it’s one of only two songs called Happy that I’ve downloaded so it gets a shoutout. Also a bunch of no names like Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Hilary Duff and the Rolling Stones have songs called Happy that might be significant. Especially that Hilary Duff one.
2 | Runaway (14 top 100 songs)
Highest ranked version: Del Shannon’s, #1 for four weeks in 1961.
Best version: If you’ve gotten this far and drawn any conclusions about my tastes, you’ll be zero percent surprised that I’m giving the Real McCoy’s version the “best” spot. Although, if I can block out what Kanye is and just focus on the music, I really liked his Runaway too. And that Del Shannon Runaway is a classic.
Notable version: Bon Jovi’s first single (and hit), in 1984, was called Runaway. It’s on their Greatest Hits album, but as the 14th of 16 tracks, so, you know.
1 | Hold On (16 top 100 songs)
Highest ranked version: Wilson Phillips’, #1 for one week in 1990.
Best version: Even though the Wilson Phillips version could’ve qualified for my 11 Songs From Past Decades That Got Played Out in the 2000s list thanks to its major integration into both Bridesmaids and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle — damn, it’s still a masterpiece.
Notable version: En Vogue’s Hold On came out the same year as Wilson Phillips’ and also did quite well (they were 8th and 1st on the year-end Billboard chart, respectively) — but that gap seems wider and wider as time passes. Due credit? En Vogue’s never gonna get it. Whoa whoa whoa whoa.