Tom Breihan’s The Number Ones Is A Book Now

Tom Breihan’s The Number Ones Is A Book Now

Hi, everyone. I wrote a book. If you’ve been reading the Number Ones, the column where I review every #1 hit in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, then you might’ve already seen a few references to this thing, but I’ve now got the green light to officially announce it. The book is called The Number Ones: Twenty Chart-Topping Hits That Reveal The History Of Pop Music, and I’ve been working on it for a long time. The book is a sort of extension of the column, but it’s also a whole different thing. None of my columns are reprinted in the book; it’s a wholly original work.

The basic idea behind the book is to use the Billboard singles charts, and the #1 spot specifically, as a way to look at the history of pop music in America. I’ve chosen 20 songs that were historically important as #1 hits. Sometimes, the songs themselves are great leaps forward; I’ve got chapters, for instance, on the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” and Prince’s “When Doves Cry.” Sometimes, though, the songs simply stand in as indicators of a changing world. I wrote entire chapters on George McCrae’s “Rock Your Baby” and Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” because I’ve identified them as, respectively, the first disco and rap songs to reach #1. You will probably disagree with at least a few of the songs that I picked. I hope you do. That’s part of the fun.

I’ve been writing about these #1 hits for a few years now, and I’ve written hundreds of columns. Even though the project is ongoing, the book is a kind of culmination of the work. The songs in the book aren’t all great, canonical works, but they all mark turning points. The charts were different after all of these songs reached #1, and all of them helped show where things were going. The first song in the book is Chubby Checker’s “The Twist.” The last is BTS’ “Dynamite.” If you like the column, I’m hoping you’ll like the book, too.

The Number Ones: Twenty Chart-Topping Hits That Reveal The History Of Pop Music is out 11/15 via Hachette. You can pre-order it here.

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