Radio Hits One: Shinedown's Marathon Of Rock-Radio Domination


One of Billboard's biggest recent chart records was set last week, when Katy Perry marked 52 consecutive weeks in the top 10 of the Hot 100. She became the first artist to stay there for the entire year thanks to four singles from her sophomore album Teenage Dream, all of which peaked at No. 1. That's a feat of serious magnitude, but not necessarily longevity: lots of successful albums keep spinning off hits for a full year, and time will tell if Teenage Dream's fifth single will keep her hot streak going much longer. Meanwhile, on one of the trade publication's genre-specific charts, there's a smaller but also impressive accomplishment being achieved.

The Jacksonville, Florida rock band Shinedown released their third album, The Sound of Madness, in June 2008. When its lead single, "Devour," made its first chart appearance--in the issue of Billboard dated May 31st, 2008--George W. Bush was still president, Michael Jackson was still alive, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull had just tarnished your childhood memories. Three years later, that album's sixth single, the ridiculously titled "Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)" is currently at No. 10 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. That string of hits would be a rare accomplishment at any point in chart history, but at a time when popular music seems to be moving faster than ever, and labels only mount prolonged singles campaigns for the very biggest superstars, it's virtually unheard of.

At least one Shinedown track has been on at least one of Billboard's charts for all but about 11 of the 157 weeks since "Devour"'s debut. Five topped the Mainstream Rock chart, while "If You Only Knew" settled for No. 2. The album itself has logged 126 non-consecutive weeks on the Billboard 200. That's probably pretty amazing to learn if you have no clue or only a vague idea of who Shinedown are, which is understandable; it's now been about a decade since any rock band has risen to fame that could be reasonably described as a household name. Linkin Park, Nickelback and the White Stripes have been the only 21st-century acts with name recognition on the level of '90s holdovers like the Foo Fighters and Green Day. Meanwhile, rock radio playlists are stocked with bands like Shinedown and Three Days Grace, who are treated like superstars on those stations and pretty much nowhere else.

The only other album I've been able to find that's kept its singles on Billboard consistently for three years straight is Shania Twain's Come On Over, which charted 12 of its 16 tracks on the country chart from November 1997 to November 2000. Along the way, several of those songs became massive crossover pop hits; the album sold 40 million copies worldwide, becoming one of the biggest albums of the '90s and the biggest country album of all time. By comparison, Shinedown's The Sound of Madness has gone platinum exactly once, and only one of its singles, "Second Chance," cracked the Hot 100's top 40. But in a couple weeks, The Sound of Madness will have beaten Come On Over's longevity record, since "Diamond Eyes" is too high on the rock charts to drop off anytime soon.

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