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Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia

Slate Magazine

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Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia
Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia

Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia

Slate Magazine

318
Followers
579
Plays
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About Us

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.

Latest Episodes

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...

27 MIN1 w ago
Comments
The Bridge: Rain Sounds and Moody Goths

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. ...

75 MIN3 w ago
Comments
State of the World Edition

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 feat...

25 MINSEP 13
Comments
The Bridge: Ladies of the Canyon and the Rhythm Nation

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 ...

77 MINAUG 31
Comments
We Are Stardust, We Are Gold-Certified

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

26 MINAUG 16
Comments
The Bridge: Nostalgic for Number Ones

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

71 MINJUL 26
Comments
Without The Beatles

The Bridge: Farewell, Lilith Fan

EHow 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

27 MINJUL 19
Comments
The Bridge: Farewell, Lilith Fan

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

78 MINJUN 28
Comments
The Lullaby of Broadway Edition

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 en...

26 MINJUN 15
Comments
The Bridge: The "Give My Regards" Edition

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

84 MINMAY 31
Comments
The Invisible Miracle Sledgehammer Edition

Latest Episodes

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...

27 MIN1 w ago
Comments
The Bridge: Rain Sounds and Moody Goths

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. ...

75 MIN3 w ago
Comments
State of the World Edition

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 feat...

25 MINSEP 13
Comments
The Bridge: Ladies of the Canyon and the Rhythm Nation

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 ...

77 MINAUG 31
Comments
We Are Stardust, We Are Gold-Certified

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

26 MINAUG 16
Comments
The Bridge: Nostalgic for Number Ones

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

71 MINJUL 26
Comments
Without The Beatles

The Bridge: Farewell, Lilith Fan

EHow 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

27 MINJUL 19
Comments
The Bridge: Farewell, Lilith Fan

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

78 MINJUN 28
Comments
The Lullaby of Broadway Edition

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 en...

26 MINJUN 15
Comments
The Bridge: The "Give My Regards" Edition

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

84 MINMAY 31
Comments
The Invisible Miracle Sledgehammer Edition