Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles

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The Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles is a chart released weekly by Billboard in the United States. It comprises 25 positions that represent songs that are close to charting on the main singles chart, the Billboard Hot 100, acting as an extension to Hot 100. Many times, however, singles halt their progress on this chart, and never debut on the Hot 100. Other songs initially appear on the Bubbling Under chart only to resurface a year or two later as a more successful hit.

The Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart can also be seen as a 25-position addendum to the Hot 100, but now only represents the 25 songs below position 100 which have not yet appeared on the Hot 100. If a song were to be ranked at #99 but then moved the following week to a position that is comparable to #105, it would not be eligible for the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart because it already appeared on the Hot 100 (although it would be eligible to reenter the Hot 100 if it rebounded to such a level). Throughout the sixties and early seventies songs could appear on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart even after Hot 100 runs; for example Helen Shapiro's "Walkin' Back to Happiness" entered the Hot 100 at #100 on December 4, 1961, yet reentered the twenty-position Bubbling Under on three separate occasions up until January 13, 1962. The chart has sometimes been reduced to as few as 15 songs (during 1959-1960), but expanded to as many as 35 during the 1960s, particularly during years when over 1000 singles made the Hot 100 pop charts. However, the Bubbling Under charts eventually settled down to 25 positions, from 1992 onward.

Chart history

The Bubbling Under charts first appeared in Billboard's June 1, 1959 issue. It continued until August 31, 1985, but was dropped from the magazine for seven years, apparently due to lack of interest from radio stations and retail stores. The "Bubbling Under" charts reappeared without fanfare in the December 5, 1992 issue, and continues to the present day.

Several reference books on the history of the Billboard "Bubbling Under" charts have been published by Joel Whitburn's Record Research company. The latest book (from 2005) was Bubbling Under The Billboard Hot 100: 1959-2004 (ISBN 0898201624).

Notable "bubblers"

  • "Nasty Girl" by Vanity 6 spent 15 weeks on the Bubbling Under chart, including a record seven weeks at #101, but never cracked the Hot 100. Luther Vandross' "Think About You" also never made the main chart, despite spending 43 weeks bubbling under in 2004.
  • During the 1960s, there were as many as 35 slots in the Bubbling Under chart; 43 songs grabbed the very bottom rung at #135, including tunes from Sammy Davis, Jr. ("If I Ruled The World"), Donovan ("Summer Day Reflection Song"), Doris Day ("Send Me No Flowers"), The Applejacks ("Tell Me When", a Top 10 UK hit) and Shirley Ellis, with "Ever See A Diver Kiss His Wife While The Bubbles Bounce About Above The Water?", the longest-titled song ever to "bubble under". ("Coal Man", by Sir Mack Rice, is the only song to spend two weeks at #135 and peak there, in 1969.)
  • Some bubblers have become live and/or airplay staples for the artists involved, despite their lack of chart success, such as Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" (#106 in 1981) and Randy Newman's song, "I Love L.A.", which peaked at #110 in 1983.
  • Ray Charles and the Everly Brothers are tied with the most bubblers ever, with 14 apiece. Country superstar Charley Pride is the only artist with three #101s: "A Shoulder to Cry On", "Don't Fight the Feelings of Love" and "I Ain't All Bad". All three were major country hits, with the first two hitting #1 on Billboard's Country Chart.
  • One of the most mysterious records ever to appear in any Billboard chart was "Ready N' Steady", listed as recorded by an artist named "D.A.", which spent three weeks on the Bubbling Under chart in June 1979. In a 1995 interview,[1] Joel Whitburn stated that he believed "Ready N' Steady" did in fact exist (at least at one time), even though he had never actually seen or heard the 45; it was released by tiny Rascal Records (which Whitburn postulated was run "out of a guy's home in Detroit"). However, a decade later in his "Bubbling Under The Hot 100" chart book (published 2005; see above), the entry for the record still says, "The existence of this record and artist is in question." The most recent edition of Whitburn's "Top Pop Singles" book, published in 2009, includes both Top 100 and Bubbling Under singles -- but D.A. is not listed. Collectors now generally treat "Ready N' Steady" as a "phantom record", at least until Whitburn -- or someone -- can locate a copy.


  1. ^ <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>Horowitz, Rick (1995-06-30). "Listmania: Joel Whitburn is on top of the charts". Deseret News. Retrieved 2009-11-06.


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