Making the top five on the Top 40 radio chart is no cheap thrill, so Sia and Sean Paul have reason to be very excited right now. In fact, “Cheap Thrills” looks like it may rise to #1 later this month, which could solidify its status as 2016’s Song Of The Summer. As a dark horse contender, one that entered the top 50 in early March and is now surging months later, it’s a pretty cool sight to see. It’s also a great turnaround for the Australian singer/songwriter, who just missed the top 40 late last year with “Alive”. (The two songs can be found on her This Is Acting album, released in January.)
Will it rank among the weirdest hit collaborations ever? Perhaps it’s not at the The KLF and Tammy Wynette level, but it’s still an odd one. Even more notable than that, both acts are scoring this massive single at age 40 (Sia) or higher (43, Sean Paul.) For a format that’s often seen as ageist, you’d think that a combination like that may not get a fair shake with the gatekeepers of the large U.S. radio companies. However, “Cheap” has persevered, and it won’t stop until it reaches the top.
Though Mediabase 24/7 doesn’t credit Paul at the moment, despite the fact that it’s the top-selling and top-played version at radio here, the Hot 100 and its airplay components do. So, because it ranks #6 on the Hot 100 and looks to break the top five, let’s take a look back at some of the big songs including two credited solo acts over 40 on that list, as well as Radio & Records and Mediabase:
Here are five, beginning in the 1970’s…
“Nadia’s Theme (The Young And The Restless)”, Barry De Vorzon and Perry Botkin, Jr. (1976)
Hot 100: #8, December 12
R&R: #5, November 19
This song has quite a story, which begins in 1971 with the film Bless The Beasts And Children. Then, it was called “Cotton’s Dream”. From there, it became the theme of the daytime soap opera featured in its title, and finally, ABC used the tune in a montage of clips featuring gymnast Nadia Comăneci and her routines for the 1976 Olympics. When it charted, De Vorzon was 42 and Botkin was 43.
“To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before”, Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson (1984)
Hot 100: #5, May 19
R&R: #15, May 4 and 11
One of the most polarizing ballads of the 80’s didn’t have the strength to hit the top ten on R&R, but strong sales certainly made up the difference when it came to Billboard’s rankings. Iglesias’s largely English 1100 Bel Air Place became a multi-Platinum success, a real breakthrough during that year. The Madrid-born singer was 40 then, and Nelson turned 51 the month before the song peaked.
“(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life”, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes (1987)
Hot 100: #1 for one week, November 28
R&R: #1 for one week, November 20
When we think of iconic movie songs, this has to be one of them. Dirty Dancing swept the nation in the fall of 1987, and this cut off the wildly successful soundtrack was the first single, reaching #1 in November. It was the first chart-topper for 47-year-old Medley since his 1966 hit with The Righteous Brothers, “(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration”. Warnes, who also had a #1 hit in 1982, was 40.
“Don’t Know Much”, Linda Ronstadt featuring Aaron Neville (1989)
Hot 100: #2, December 22
R&R: #4, December 8
After several versions of this song failed to break the top 40, including a solo version by the aforementioned Medley earlier in that decade, the song finally became a hit at the very end of the 80’s as a male-female duet. Ronstadt was 43, and Neville was 48 for the majority of its run, turning 49 just two days before its last week on R&R’s CHR chart. “All My Life” just missed the top ten in 1990.
“All For Love”, Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting (1994)
Hot 100: #1 for three weeks, January 22 – February 5
R&R: #1 for four weeks, January 14 – February 4
“All” was featured in Disney’s The Three Musketeers, starring Charlie Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland. The film was not a hit with the critics, but it managed to propel this collaboration to the top of the charts, marking the last #1 for all three acts on the CHR survey. (Adams hit #1 on the Hot 100 again the next year.) Stewart turned 49 in the days before it climbed to #1 on R&R, and Sting was 42.
Now, you can decide for yourself whether these entries should count or not…
“That’s What Friends Are For”, Dionne & Friends (featuring Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder) (1986)
Hot 100: #1 for four weeks, January 18 – February 8
R&R: #1 for two weeks, January 17 + 24
The single’s jacket credits the three “Friends” with a featured billing individually. However, neither trade chart chose to list all four performers, opting for the “Dionne & Friends” credit. Warwick turned 45 a few weeks before her final #1 song, while Knight was 41 at the time. (The two men, John and Wonder, were both younger than 40 then.)
“Get Lucky”, Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers (2013)
Hot 100: #2 for five weeks, June 29 – July 27
Mediabase: #2 for two weeks, July 14 + 21
The current digital release of Random Access Memories credits both featured acts. However, the initial release didn’t, only naming them in the writing and production credits. Some sources, including my personal chart, credit Williams and not Rodgers. Confused yet? If both acts count, Williams was 40 and Rodgers was 63 when the song peaked.
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