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20 Biggest Songs of the Summer: The 2000s

The new millennium kicks off with record-breaking summer temperatures and lots of club bangers

Rolling Stone India Sep 05, 2014
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Beyonce| Photo Credit: Peter Lindbergh

Beyonce| Photo Credit: Peter Lindbergh

Just as disco ruled the charts for much of the Seventies, the Hot 100 has lived in the club for most of the millennium’s first decade ”“ especially in the summer. Timbaland and the Neptunes made rap funkier (and more danceable) than ever, while hitmakers like Dr. Luke made sure that even pop had plenty of bumping beats.

Gwen Stefani and Nelly Furtado went hip-hop, Shakira went reggaeton and Fergie went pretty much everywhere.From Jay to Bey, here are the biggest Oughts hits that dominated the charts between June and September, dictated by peak chart positions and total length of run on the Hot 100. We’ve also filtered out some of the less seasonal ballads, such as lighter-wavers by Mariah Carey and Matchbox Twenty.

By Al Shipley

20. Lifehouse, “Hanging by a Moment”

Lifehouse’s debut single was a grunge-pop sleeper hit that wound up being the Hot 100’s top song of 2001 ”“ on the chart for nearly every week of the year, despite never hitting Number One. It peaked at Number Two in the summer, held off by the Moulin Rouge soundtrack’s cover of “Lady Marmalade.”

19. Gnarls Barkley, “Crazy”

Before “Crazy,” Cee Lo Green was a moderately successful solo artist and former member of rap group in tatters. Danger Mouse was a burgeoning indie-rap producer best known for viral mashups. After the surprise international chart success of “Crazy,” Cee Lo became a household name and primetime TV star; Danger Mouse now produces best-selling albums for the Black Keys, Beck and, soon, U2.

18. Aaliyah, “Try Again”

After Aaliyah ruled the summer of 1998 with the Dr. Dolittle soundtrack single “Are You That Somebody,” she returned in 2000 with her first major film role, in Romeo Must Die, as well as another soundtrack hit. Sadly, “Try Again” was her first and last chart-topper ”“ her 2001 death cut short a great career in music and a promising future in film.

17. Juvenile feat. Soulja Slim, “Slow Motion”

Soulja Slim was a New Orleans rap legend that recorded albums for No Limit, but he never scored a mainstream hit before he was gunned down in late 2003. His posthumously released Juvenile collaboration, “Slow Motion,” climbed to the top of the Hot 100 in the summer of 2004.

16. Shakira feat. Wyclef Jean, “Hips Don’t Lie”

Shakira released Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 in late 2005 to disappointing sales for her first English language album in four years. A few months later “Hips Don’t Lie” was tacked onto a re-release as a reggaeton-flavored last ditch attempt. It saved the album and became her biggest American hit.

15. Lil Kim feat. 50 Cent, “Magic Stick”

50 Cent’s collaboration with Lil Kim missed the deadline to appear on his blockbuster debut Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. Instead, “Magic Stick” became a hit for Kim’s La Bella Mafia. In classic 50 Cent fashion, he began beefing with Kim before they could shoot a video for the song.

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14. Avril Lavigne, “Complicated”

In 2002, Avril Lavigne’s debut single hit Number One in her native Canada, but stalled at Number Two in the States. She would conquer both charts in 2007 with the spring jam “Girlfriend.”

13. Gwen Stefani, “Hollaback Girl”

“Hollaback Girl” was the beginning of an era. As the first song to sell a million copies as a digital single, it shot to Number One on the Hot 100 shortly after Billboard began factoring iTunes sales. And Gwen Stefani’s flirtation with hip-hop swag ended up being a harbinger of an era in which rap-savvy caucasian pop stars like Ke$ha and Iggy Azalea routinely top the charts.


12. Fergie, “Big Girls Don’t Cry (Personal)”

Black Eyed Peas hook crooner Stacy Ferguson’s solo debut The Dutchess spanned two summers, with its first chart-topper, “London Bridge,” hitting in the summer of 2006 and its third becoming one of the biggest hits of 2007. But even if the jangly, quiet-verse-loud-chorus tune was far from her work with BEP, will.i.am stayed close, playing bass and providing what he called “an Edie Brickell type production” for the track.


11. ‘N Sync, “It’s Gonna Be Me”

Although ‘N Sync racked up record-breaking album sales, their Hot 100 hits never seemed to match their massive popularity ”“ “I Want You Back” missed the Top 10 and even “Bye Bye Bye” only got as high as Number Four. But they did top the chart just once, for a couple weeks in the summer of 2000, with “It’s Gonna Be Me.” Once on his own, Justin Timberlake would seize the spot on four separate occasions.


10. Lil Wayne feat. Static Major, “Lollipop”

Two years of delayed release dates and countless guest verses built the anticipation for Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III to a fever pitch by the summer of 2008. And when it did finally arrive, the album sold a million copies in a week and the lead single raced to the top of the Hot 100.


9. The Black Eyed Peas, “Boom Boom Pow””¨

The Black Eyed Peas can make a legitimate claim to having owned the charts for an entire summer. “Boom Boom Pow” started the journey in April 2009, and then handed the baton to “I Gotta Feeling,” who carried it to October.

8. Usher, “U Remind Me”

In early 2001, Usher announced his third album, All About U, with a goofy single called “Pop Ya Collar” that flopped on the charts. That summer, he rebooted the album with a new title, 8701, and released a new lead single, “U Remind Me,” that restored Usher to his usual spot at the top.

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7. Eve feat. Gwen Stefani, “Let Me Blow Ya Mind”

No Doubt were still going strong when Gwen Stefani first tiptoed into solo stardom, first on Moby’s 2000 single “South Side” and then with Eve’s 2001 Dr. Dre-produced hit “Let Me Blow Ya Mind.” When she finally did go solo a few years later, Gwen reunited with Eve and Dre for her own single “Rich Girl,” which peaked at Number Seven.


6. Rihanna feat. Jay-Z, “Umbrella”

For nearly every year since “Pon De Replay” introduced her to the world, Rihanna has had one of the biggest jams of the summer. But none of them reigned over the season as decisively as “Umbrella” did over 2007.

5. Katy Perry, “I Kissed A Girl”

“I Kissed A Girl” created something of a summer dynasty. Since Katy Perry’s first single produced by pop mastermind Dr. Luke topped the charts in 2008, they’ve soundtracked several more together with hits like 2010’s “California Gurls,” 2011’s “Last Friday Nite (T.G.I.F.)” and, to a lesser extent, this year’s “Birthday.”


4. Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland, “Promiscuous”

Early in her career, Nelly Furtado was the earthy singer-songwriter of “I’m Like A Bird” fame who Missy Elliott and Timbaland took out of her element for the “Get Ur Freak On” remix. A few years later, Furtado’s career got a reboot when she reunited with Timbaland for a series of thumping hits from 2006’s Loose.


3. Nelly, “Hot In Herre”

Perhaps no song has ever been a more perfectly premeditated summer jam: Nelly and the Neptunes, fresh off of running the two previous summers, join forces to convince the world it’s too hot for clothes. A year later, another St. Louis rapper, Chingy, slurred his R’s to create the summer hit “Right Thurr.”


2. Beyonce feat. Jay-Z, “Crazy In Love”

Beyonce and Jay Z are currently on their first co-headlining concert series, the On The Run tour. But hip-hop and R&B’s royal couple first announced their personal and professional alliance more than a decade ago with a pair of hit collaborations, Hov’s “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” and this summer smash that launched B’s solo debut, Dangerously In Love.


1. The Black Eyed Peas, “I Gotta Feeling”

The second single of BEP’s summer 2009 takeover, “I Gotta Feeling” sold 8 million copies to become the highest selling digital single of all time. The first US chart-topper produced by French dance star David Guetta, the song would also pave the way for the American pop breakthroughs of other European EDM producers like Afrojack and Calvin Harris.

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