The Billboard music charts have been recording the most popular songs in America for decades now, and there are few better chronicles of the country’s music tastes and how they’ve shifted. Glancing at them reveals a lot of classics that were big in their time, but sometimes, like in the case of these 12 songs, America’s tastes were pretty strange.
Isaac Hayes – “Theme From Shaft“
I mean, it’s not surprising to see that the godfather of funk got a charting hit, but it IS surprising that it’s the theme song from a blaxploitation movie.
Aladdin Soundtrack – “A Whole New World”
Aladdin was a pretty big deal when it came out, enough so that its biggest song got onto the pop charts! (Personally I like “Friend Like Me” better).
Falco – “Rock Me Amadeus”
What does this song even have to do with Mozart again? Also why was this so popular?
Brian Hyland – “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”
Fun fact: the bikini was actually considered pretty risqué when this song hit the air, but sales of the swimsuit skyrocketed. Thanks Brian Hyland!
Captain & Tenille – “Muskrat Love”
It’s a song about mediocre romance with an absolutely bizarre title, and yet somehow it was massively popular. Weird.
If you’re confused about how these songs charted, wait ’til you see the rest…
Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots – “Disco Duck”
It’s Rick Dees doing a stupid Donald Duck impression over an annoying disco beat. What was wrong with us?
Naploeon XIV – “They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haa”
I don’t even know what this song is. Is it even really a song?
Gilbert O’Sullivan – “Clair”
This sounds like a pretty solid romance song… until you find out that it was written about a three-year-old girl. Yeah.
Chuck Berry – “My Ding-A-Ling”
The world’s highest-charting dick joke, ladies and gentlemen! Seriously, don’t tell me that this is anything else.
MECO – “Star Wars Cantina Band Remix”
That’s right, Star Wars was so insanely popular after its release that a disco remix of its music could hit #1 on the Billboard charts.
Jim Henson – “Rubber Duckie”
Yup, a Sesame Street song actually hit the charts. No, we are not kidding.
Carl Douglas – “Kung Fu Fighting”
I’m not sure I wanna know what “funky China men from funky Chinatown” are.