The life cycle of a hit song is pretty well defined: a song gets released, it goes up the charts, stays there for a little while, and eventually drops, living in Spotify playlists and the radio dials of its fans, but never reappeared on the charts.
But sometimes fate steps in and, for some reason, a song will find itself charting (or at least returning to pop culture consciousness) once again years or decades later – the original version. , not an update or rework. (These are the most covered songs in the history of music.)
A common reason for this occurrence is the death of the original artist; after the sudden passing of Prince and Michael Jackson, for example, some of their greatest hits reappeared on the Billboard charts as grieving fans listened to their music again.
Another reason is TikTok. A song is used in a video that goes viral, and suddenly it’s as popular as it was the first time it came out. For proof, look no further than Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 classic “Dreams,” which once again rose to fame after a brief video of a man skateboarding while drinking cranberry juice and the lip-synching of the song went viral.
The other most common reason is the use of the song in a popular movie or TV show. Older fans are reminiscing about why they loved the song in the first place, and younger fans are seeing a great song for the first time. It happened with Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in ‘Wayne’s World’ as well as the Righteous Brothers’ ‘Unchained Melody’ in ‘Ghost’, and currently a new generation is falling in love with Kate Bush’s 1985 song ‘Running Up That Hill,” which cracked the Billboard Top 10 after appearing prominently in season four of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” (Find out which artists have had the most dominant reigns in Billboard history.)
Click here to see the classic songs that returned to the Billboard Hot 100
To determine which classic songs returned to the Billboard Hot 100, 24/7 Tempo looked at historical data. Billboard Hot 100 graphics performance. We’ve identified songs that left the Hot 100 and re-entered the chart after a period of at least 20 years. Additional chart performance data for a song’s initial appearance on the Hot 100 and its last appearance also comes from Billboard. Holiday songs were not taken into account.