Pipe down! Better yet, pipe into this. This week on the Hot 100, the collaboration between will.i.am and Britney Spears, “Scream & Shout”, rises to #6. It’s the first main-credited solo top ten hit for the leader of the Black Eyed Peas and twelfth for Spears. Question is, which word has appeared in the top ten more times before? “Scream” or “Shout”? You may be yelling at the top of your lungs when you find out. I would save your voice, however. Here they are:
MICHAEL & JANET JACKSON – “Scream” (#5, 1995)
One of the most hotly anticipated singles of the decade went in with a roar but bowed out pretty quickly despite two big names and a $7 million music video, which has influenced a number of other videos over the years. The song debuted on the radio during the third full week of May, with a CD single release just a week afterwards, combining in a huge #5 debut on the Hot 100 on the chart dated June 17. However, the airplay suddenly stopped building less than a month after it debuted and the single sales, though strong for a few weeks, started dropping by the end of July. The hype was just too big and it couldn’t sustain it. Both artists would hit the #1 spot on the Hot 100 after this single before Michael passed away in 2009. Janet’s last hit on a genre-specific chart was as recent as 2010.
USHER – “Scream” (#9, 2012)
This singer’s latest album, Looking 4 Myself, was one of his more polarizing to date in that it took him into a more dance and electronic direction, which alienated a lot of his Urban audience despite a few hits at the format. This was his only major mainstream hit from the album, which got to #6 on CHR radio and #9 on the Hot 100. 2013 marks the 20-year mark for Usher on the national charts, and I’m sure he’ll be around with some more big singles for years to come. (This is the most recent occurrence of the word “scream” appearing on the charts.)
JOEY DEE & THE STARLITERS – “Shout (Part One)” (#6, 1962)
Several months earlier, the band had a big debut #1 hit in “Peppermint Twist”, knocking out Chubby Checker‘s rereleased version of “The Twist”. This was followed by the similar “Hey, Let’s Twist”, which only got to #20. By that point, the countdown was all twisted out with a twister of songs by Billy Joe & The Checkmates, Gary U.S. Bonds, Sam Cooke and more. So, the band went in a different direction, recording this live version of the old Isley Brothers tune and shouting their way to a peak of #6. The band would continue to hit the Hot 100 through 1963.
ERNIE MARESCA – “Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out)” (#6, 1962)
Though he only charted with one solo song, Maresca was very successful as a songwriter, co-writing/writing two big hits for Dion in 1961, “Runaround Sue” (#1) and “The Wanderer” (#2). He was also part of the band The Regents, who did the original version of “Barbara Ann” in 1961 (#13) before the Beach Boys made it into a top seller four years later. Maresca’s song peaked within two weeks of Dee’s; in fact, for the week of May 4, both songs were in the top ten! Dee & The Starliters fell from 6-10, while Maresca soared from 16-8. Now that’s something to shout about. He continued to write and sing until the end of the decade.
TEARS FOR FEARS – “Shout” (#1, 1985)
This English duo was just coming off a #1 hit with “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”, so expectations were high for their American followup, and it did not disappoint. “Shout” hit #1 in eight countries, including the United States, and launched parent album Songs From The Big Chair into the top spot on the Albums Chart. The group had two other top-5 hits following this, and a handful of top-40 entries, their last one being “Break It Down Again” in 1993.
(We’ve had some shouters on the air and selling big since then. The most recent top-40 appearance of it was in a rereleased version of “Twist and Shout” by The Beatles in 1986. It hit #23 after it was featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Shaggy also scored a CHR radio entry in 2000 with “Dance & Shout”, which sampled “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)” by The Jacksons. It went as high as #22 on that format chart and just missed the Hot 100.)
So, there you have it. There have been two other “Scream” titles and three other “Shout” titles besides “Scream & Shout” to make the top ten. It’s a pretty close race. Will the screamers eventually topple the shouters? Will a combination of two in “Scream & Shout” prove to be a #1 record in the next few weeks? Anything can happen in the chart game. For more music information, don’t raise your voice, just follow the blog and follow me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.