Alternative Songs

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Alternative Songs (also called Alternative and formerly known as Modern Rock Tracks and Hot Modern Rock Tracks) is a music chart in the United States that has appeared in Billboard magazine since September 10, 1988. It lists the 40 most-played songs on modern rock radio stations, most of which are alternative rock songs. The chart was introduced as a companion to the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and its creation was prompted by the explosion of alternative music on American radio in the late 1980s.

The chart is based solely on radio airplay. As of 2012, approximately 80 radio stations are electronically monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems.[1] Songs are ranked by a calculation of the total number of spins per week with its "audience impression", which is based upon exact times of airplay and each station's Arbitron listener data. The chart had 30 positions when it was introduced in September 1988, and was expanded to 40 positions on September 10, 1994.[2]

Many rock artists do not release commercial singles in the United States. Several popular songs which were not released as commercial singles did not qualify for the Hot 100 before December 1998, but performed very well on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.

During the first several years of the chart, it regularly featured music that did not receive commercial radio airplay anywhere but on a few modern rock radio stations. This included many electronic and post-punk artists. Gradually, as alternative rock became more "mainstream" (particularly spearheaded by the grunge explosion in the early 1990s), the Modern Rock Tracks and Mainstream Rock Tracks charts began featuring more of the same songs. Today, the Alternative chart favors more alternative rock, indie rock, and punk rock bands while the Mainstream Rock chart favors more hard rock, post-grunge and heavy metal.

The chart was renamed Alternative Songs beginning with the June 20, 2009 issue after Billboard fully absorbed Radio & Records, whose similar chart was called "Alternative" instead of "Modern Rock".[3]

The first number-one song on the Modern Rock Tracks chart was "Peek-a-Boo" by Siouxsie and the Banshees. The current number-one song, for the issue dated July 22, 2017, is "Feel It Still" by Portugal. The Man. The Red Hot Chili Peppers hold the record for most number-one songs at thirteen, a record they have held since 2016.

Chart achievements[edit]

  • Artists with the most number-one songs:[4]
Red Hot Chili Peppers (13)
Linkin Park (11)
Green Day (11)
Foo Fighters (10)
U2 (8)
Cage the Elephant (7)
  • Artists with the most cumulative weeks at number one:
Red Hot Chili Peppers (86)
Foo Fighters (82)
Linkin Park (71)
Green Day (56)
Muse (45)
  • Artists with the most top 10 songs:
Red Hot Chili Peppers (25)
U2 (23)
Foo Fighters (22)
Green Day (22)
Pearl Jam (19)
  • Three songs have debuted at number one on this chart:
"What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" by R.E.M. (1994)
"Dani California" by Red Hot Chili Peppers (2006)
"What I've Done" by Linkin Park (2007)
"Savior" by Rise Against (65 weeks)[6]
"First" by Cold War Kids (64 weeks)
"Do I Wanna Know?" by Arctic Monkeys (58 weeks)
"1901" by Phoenix (57 weeks)
"Uprising" by Muse (53 weeks) – Uprising slipped out of the chart the week after its 52nd week, then returned for its 53rd and final week at #10.
  • The following songs have spent 52 weeks on the list:
"The Kill" by Thirty Seconds to Mars
"Face Down" by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
"Paralyzer" by Finger Eleven
"Feel Good Drag" by Anberlin
"Animal" by Neon Trees
"Trojans" by Atlas Genius
"Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons
"Safe and Sound" by Capital Cities
"Sweater Weather" by The Neighbourhood
"Out of My League" by Fitz and The Tantrums
"Pompeii" by Bastille
"Dangerous" by Big Data featuring Joywave
"Stolen Dance" by Milky Chance
19 weeks
"Madness" – Muse (2012–13)
18 weeks
"The Pretender" – Foo Fighters (2007)
17 weeks
"Uprising" – Muse (2009–10)
16 weeks
"Scar Tissue" – Red Hot Chili Peppers (1999)
"It's Been Awhile" – Staind (2001)
"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" – Green Day (2004–05)
15 weeks
"Sex and Candy" – Marcy Playground (1997–98)
"What I've Done" – Linkin Park (2007)
14 weeks
"By the Way" – Red Hot Chili Peppers (2002)
"Dani California" – Red Hot Chili Peppers (2006)
13 weeks
"Otherside" – Red Hot Chili Peppers (2000)
"How You Remind Me" – Nickelback (2001)
"Rope" – Foo Fighters (2011)
"Radioactive" – Imagine Dragons (2013)
"Believer" – Imagine Dragons (2017)
12 weeks
"Hemorrhage (In My Hands)" – Fuel (2000–01)
"Numb" – Linkin Park (2003)
"New Divide" – Linkin Park (2009)
"Somebody That I Used to Know" – Gotye featuring Kimbra (2012)
"Stressed Out" – Twenty One Pilots (2015–16)
11 weeks
"My Own Worst Enemy" – Lit (1999)
"Kryptonite" – 3 Doors Down (2000)
"Pork and Beans" – Weezer (2008)
"You're Gonna Go Far, Kid" – The Offspring (2008)
"Lay Me Down" – The Dirty Heads featuring Rome Ramirez (2010)
"Lonely Boy" – The Black Keys (2011–12)
"Sweater Weather" – The Neighbourhood (2013)
"Fever" – The Black Keys (2014)
"Renegades" – X Ambassadors (2015)
"Heathens" – Twenty One Pilots (2016)
10 weeks
"Wonderwall" – Oasis (1995–96)
"All My Life" – Foo Fighters (2002–03)
"Tighten Up" – The Black Keys (2010–11)
"Come a Little Closer" – Cage the Elephant (2013–14)
"Do I Wanna Know?" – Arctic Monkeys (2014)
"Stolen Dance" – Milky Chance (2014)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The charts" (fee required). The Sun Herald. 2005-08-25. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  2. ^ "Alternative Songs: Top Alternative Songs Chart: September 10, 1994". Billboard. 
  3. ^ Gary Trust (2009-06-10). "Chart Beat: Pink, Black Eyed Peas, Shinedown". Billboard. Archived from the original on 14 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-13. 
  4. ^ Rutherford, Kevin (January 24, 2017). "Green Day Lands 11th No. 1 on Alternative Songs With 'Still Breathing'". Billboard. Retrieved January 28, 2017. 
  5. ^ Trust, Gary (September 30, 2013). "Chart Highlights: Rihanna Returns, Fitz And The Tantrums Rule Rock, Yandel Leads Latin Airplay". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Rise Against - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  7. ^ Trust, Gray. "Kenny Chesney Scores A Perfect 10". Billboard. Archived from the original on 28 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  8. ^ Bush Back Atop Alternative Songs With Self-Released 'The Sound of Winter'. Billboard. Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  9. ^ "Modern Rock Tracks". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 106 (27): 102. July 2, 1994. Retrieved June 13, 2013. 
  10. ^ Macdonald, Patrick (December 23, 1994). "Music Notes". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Lorde First Woman in 17 Years to Top Alternative with 'Royals'". Billboard (magazine). 16 August 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  12. ^ White, Emily (September 8, 2015). "Elle King Is Just Second Woman to Top Alternative Songs Chart in Two Decades". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 9, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Lorde Links Longest Alternative Songs Reign By A Woman With 'Royals'". Billboard (magazine). 16 September 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  14. ^ "Muse's 'Madness' Rewrites Record For Longest-Reigning Alternative Songs No. 1". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 

External links[edit]