15 Pop Songs That Stalled At Number Two
Not every song can make it to the top, and some of your favorites were likely stunted before their time. Here's a look at 15 memorable hits that never quite made it to No. 1.
1. "Bohemian Rhapsody" // Queen
Queen's melodramatic masterpiece is everyone's favorite karaoke song, but the operatic rock ballad only hit No. 9 in the U.S. market following its 1975 release. However, after noted rock enthusiasts Wayne and Garth did their best falsetto in 1992's Wayne's World, the song reentered the charts and peaked at No. 2, behind Kris Kross' "Jump."
2. "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" // En Vogue
Another song that those Atlanta tweens kept from the top because of the eight-week reign of "Jump"? This highlight from the iconic Oakland girl group's repertoire.
3. "Great Balls of Fire" // Jerry Lee Lewis
The Killer may have sold a million copies of his song in 10 days, and it's been covered by everyone from Dolly Parton to Tom Cruise, but this rock standard couldn't take the top spot from "At the Hop."
4. "Waiting For a Girl Like You" // Foreigner
5. "Work It" // Missy Elliott
Foreigner's record stood until 2002 when Missy Elliott tied it, spending 10 weeks stuck behind Eminem's Grammy and Oscar-winning "Lose Yourself." Missy's track got a second wind after her Super Bowl appearance earlier this year, though—it reentered the Billboard chart at No. 35.
6. "Gangnam Style" // Psy
The Korean songwriter achieved overnight global fame and broke the YouTube record for number of video views in 2012 (surpassing one—and then two—billion views), but Maroon 5's "One More Night" kept the breakout K-pop song from topping the U.S. charts. Too bad: Psy had promised to perform the song topless if he hit No. 1, and you know that would have been entertaining.
7. "Y.M.C.A." // Village People
Every roller rink and wedding reception has forced group participation with this double-entendre-filled ode to the YMCA, but its enduring appeal couldn't propel it past Chic's "Le Freak" or Rod Stewart's "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" in 1979.
8. "Get Lucky" // Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers
The French house duo released this Song of the Summer-worthy disco jam in 2013, and though it topped charts worldwide and won the Record of the Year Grammy, it never managed to overtake Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" (which Pharrell also wrote and was featured on).
9. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" // Green Day
Another Record of the Year winner that stalled at No. 2 was this standout from Green Day's 2004 rock opera album American Idiot. It spent five weeks in the shadow of 50 Cent's "Candy Shop."
10. "Be My Baby" // The Ronettes
In a travesty from 1963, the completely forgettable "Sugar Shack" by Jimmy Glimer and the Fireballs kept this distinctive and oft-imitated beauty of a song from taking the top spot.
11. "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" // Frankie Valli
This solo effort from the Four Seasons' frontman has had a lasting cultural impact and numerous soundtrack appearances, but it was held off by "Windy" from The Association.
12. "Breathe" // Faith Hill
13. "Bad Romance" // Lady Gaga
Gaga's 2009 hit screamed modern classic the moment it was released, but while "Bad Romance" sold more than 10 million copies and has become one of her signature songs and videos, it couldn't top Jay Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind."
14. "Like a Rolling Stone" // Bob Dylan
This seminal 1965 piece transformed Dylan from a folk artist to a rock icon, but No. 2 was the highest he ever charted on the Hot 100. "Like A Rolling Stone" couldn't roll past the Beatles' "Help."
15. "Rhythm Nation" // Janet Jackson
Janet's 1989 album Rhythm Nation 1814 broke all kinds of new ground, but it just barely missed a major milestone. If it weren't for Phil Collins' "Another Day in Paradise," this single would have reached the top and she would have become only the second artist in history (after her brother Michael) to score five No. 1 hits from a single album.