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This Was the First Song at the Top of the Charts the Year You Were Born

This Was the First Song at the Top of the Charts the Year You Were Born

What song topped the charts the year you were born?

 

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Since August 1958, the Billboard Hot 100 has been the authority on what’s hot in popular music across the country. Using data accumulated over each week, the Billboard Hot 100 has given credibility and visibility to musical veterans and neophytes alike with songs ranging from traditional pop to rock to rap. Click through to learn which songs opened the year in the No. 1 spot over the past 62 years.

1958: ‘Poor Little Fool’ by Ricky Nelson

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Though it wasn’t the first No. 1 of the year 1958, Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool” was the first song to top the newly formed Billboard Hot 100, which debuted in the issue of Billboard Magazine for the week ending Aug. 4, 1958. 

1959: ‘The Chipmunk Song’ by David Seville & the Chipmunks

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David Seville and the three chipmunks, Alvin, Simon and Theodore — the creation of Ross Bagdasarian — soared to the top of the charts with their Christmas ditty “The Chipmunk Song.” The song was the No. 1 single on the Hot 100 during the week ending Jan. 5, 1959. The song had the distinction of being the only Christmas song to top the charts for 60 years until “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey snagged the top spot in 2019. 

1960: ‘El Paso’ by Marty Robbins

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The melancholy ode to the Texas town was No. 1 the week of Jan. 10, 1960. The song told the story of a cowboy who kills a rival for a woman’s affections in a gunfight, forcing him to go on the run. 

1961: ‘Wonderland by Night’ by Bert Kaempfert

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The first song to top the charts in 1961 was “Wonderland by Night” by Bert Kaempfert. Kaempfert has also written songs for other chart-toppers like the Beatles, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. 

1962: ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ by The Tokens

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A calming tale about a drowsy lion, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" topped the charts at the start of 1962. The song was a folk classic and a cover of The Weavers’ “Wimoweh,” which itself was a cover of a Zulu song by South African singer Solomon Linda. 

1964: ‘There! I’ve Said It Again’ by Bobby Vinton

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Bobby Vinton’s “There! I’ve Said It Again” was the top song for the week ending Jan. 4, 1964, beating out The Kingsmen’s “Louie, Louie” and The Singing Nun’s “Dominique.” The song was also recorded by Vaughn Monroe’s band in the 1940s. 

1963: ‘Telstar’ by The Tornadoes

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"Telstar" topped the charts during the week ending Jan. 5. The song, which heavily features the clavioline, won the Ivor Novello Award for outstanding British sales in 1963. 

1965: ‘I Feel Fine’ by The Beatles

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The Beatles’ “I Feel Fine” topped the charts for the week ending Jan. 2, 1965. The song was part of the “Beatles ‘65” album, which stayed on the Billboard charts for 71 weeks. 

1966: ‘The Sounds of Silence’ by Simon and Garfunkel

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“The Sounds of Silence” began the year at the top of the charts during the week ending on Jan. 1, 1966. The song was featured on the soundtrack for the Dustin Hoffman film “The Graduate” and was also included in the Library of Congress. 

1967: ‘I’m a Believer’ by The Monkees

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“I’m a Believer” was at the top of the charts for the week ending Jan. 7, 1967. The song was written by Neil Diamond and was listed at No. 62 on Billboard’s “Hot 100 Turns 60” list. 

1968: ‘Hello, Goodbye’ by the Beatles

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“Hello, Goodbye” nabbed Billboard’s top spot the week ending Jan. 6, 1968. Paul McCartney, who wrote the song, noted that a main theme in the song was duality. 

1969: ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ by Marvin Gaye

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Marvin Gaye’s cover of the Gladys Knight & the Pips tune “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” hit No. 1 for the week ending Jan. 4, 1969. 

1970: ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head’ by B.J. Thomas

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B.J. Thomas’ ballad hit No. 1 for the week ending Jan. 3, 1970. The song won the 1970 Academy Award for best original song after appearing on the soundtrack for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” 

1971: ‘My Sweet Lord/Isn’t It a Pity’ by George Harrison

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The former Beatle’s solo song hit No. 1 the week ending Jan. 2, 1971. Unfortunately, George Harrison was found to have lifted the song’s melody from the 1963 song “He’s So Fine,” which was written by Ronnie Beck. 

1972: ‘Brand New Key’ by Melanie

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“Brand New Key” rose to the top of the charts the week ending Jan. 1, 1972. Melanie reportedly wrote the song after a 27-day fast. The singer broke her fast to go to a McDonald’s and have a burger. “No sooner after I finished that last bite of my burger … that song was in my head. The aroma brought back memories of roller skating and learning to ride a bike and the vision of my dad holding the back fender of the tire,” she said. 

1973: ‘You’re So Vain’ by Carly Simon

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The mystery surrounding who was the subject of Carly Simon’s 1973 hit “You’re So Vain” was almost as big as the song itself. The song was at its peak position of No. 1 on Jan. 6, 1973. Suspicions have ranged from actor Warren Beatty to Simon’s ex-husband James Taylor. Simon confirmed that Beatty inspired the second verse, but the main character of the song remains a secret. 

1974: ‘Time in a Bottle’ by Jim Croce

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“Time in a Bottle” was 1974’s first hit, topping the charts for the week ending Jan. 5, 1974. The song was released posthumously after Jim Croce’s tragic death in a plane crash during a concert tour in Louisiana. 

1975: ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ by Elton John

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Elton John’s take on the Beatles’ classic song was No. 1 the week of Jan. 4, 1975. Elton John recorded the song with John Lennon (credited as Winston O’Boogie) after collaborating with Lennon on his first No. 1 solo hit, “Whatever Gets You Through the Night.” 

1976: ‘Saturday Night’ by the Bay City Rollers

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“Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers topped the charts the week ending Jan. 6, 1976, making it the first No. 1 of the United States’ bicentennial year. The song saw new life after being included in the soundtrack for the series “The Umbrella Academy.” 

1977: ‘Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)’ by Rod Stewart

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“Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” was the top song during the week ending on New Year’s Day 1977. The song spent eight weeks at No. 1 and features a spoken word part by Britt Ekland. 

1978: ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ by the Bee Gees

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“How Deep Is Your Love” topped the charts the week of Jan. 7, 1978. All three Gibb brothers, Maurice, Barry and Robin, shared writing credit for the song. 

1979: ‘Too Much Heaven’ by the Bee Gees

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The Bee Gees opened the year at the top of the charts again in 1979 with “Too Much Heaven.” The song was originally created for the “Music for UNICEF” concert. 

1980: ‘Please Don’t Go’ by KC and the Sunshine Band

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“Please Don’t Go” was the first No. 1 of the 1980s, topping the charts the week of Jan. 5, 1980. The song marked the last recording by the band’s original members. 

1981: ‘Starting Over’ by John Lennon

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“Starting Over” or “(Just Like) Starting Over” was a posthumous hit for John Lennon, who was shot and killed in December 1980. 

1982: ‘Physical’ by Olivia Newton-John

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Olivia Newton-John’s single “Physical” opened up 1982 spending its 16th week atop the Billboard Hot 100. 

1983: ‘Maneater’ by Daryl Hall & John Oates

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“Maneater” was the first No. 1 of 1983 and Hall & Oates’ longest-running chart-topper with five weeks on the chart. Despite “Maneater” ostensibly being about a romantically dismissive woman, John Oates claimed the song was actually about New York City.

1984: ‘Say, Say, Say’ by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson

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The duet between Sir Paul McCartney and the King of Pop topped the charts the week ending Jan. 7, 1984. Though McCartney and Michael Jackson had recorded another duet, “The Girl Is Mine,” a year prior, the two would later have a falling out after Jackson outbid McCartney for the rights to The Beatles’ catalog in 1985. 

1985: ‘Like a Virgin’ by Madonna

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“Like a Virgin,” Madonna’s catchy single, topped the charts during the week ending Jan. 5, 1985. The song’s lasting popularity was fueled by many risque performances of the song through the years, including the 1984 Video Music Awards and the Blonde Ambition Tour. 

1986: ‘Say You, Say Me’ by Lionel Richie

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“Say You, Say Me” a ballad by former Commodore Lionel Richie kicked off 1986. The song was part of the soundtrack to “White Nights,” which starred dance legends Gregory Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov. The song won the Oscar for best original song in 1986. 

1987: ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ by The Bangles -

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“Walk Like an Egyptian” was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the week ending Jan. 3, 1987. Though the song was a lighthearted hit for The Bangles, it was banned for being “too insensitive” during the Persian Gulf War and in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. 

1988: ‘Faith’ by George Michael

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George Michael, formerly of the band Wham!, struck gold with the guitar-plucking “Faith” in 1988. In all, the song spent a month at No. 1. It was also part of the soundtrack to the Roman Polanski-directed “Bitter Moon.” 

1989: ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorn’ by Poison

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“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” was No. 1 the week ending Jan. 7, 1989. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” was written by Bret Michaels after overhearing another man during a phone call with his girlfriend at the time. The song is Poison’s only No. 1 hit. 

1990: ‘Another Day in Paradise’ by Phil Collins

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Former Genesis drummer Phil Collins’ lament on the plight of the homeless was No. 1 the week ending Jan. 6, 1990. The song went on to win song of the year at the 33rd Grammy Awards. 

1991: ‘Justify My Love’ by Madonna

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“Justify My Love” was at the top of the charts during the week ending Jan. 5, 1991. In yet another explicit music video, Madonna engaged in sexual intercourse with a man and woman in a hotel room. 

1992: ‘Black or White’ by Michael Jackson

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“Black or White,” the single off Michael Jackson’s album “Dangerous,” topped the charts the week ending Jan. 4, 1992. Continuing the trend of ‘90s singles with controversial videos, Jackson’s original video for the song contained an additional four minutes following the end of the song, during which Jackson vandalized cars and storefronts (some containing racial slurs) and danced in what was considered to be a sexually explicit nature. 

1993: ‘I Will Always Love You’ by Whitney Houston

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“I Will Always Love You,” one of Whitney Houston’s signature songs, was originally written and recorded by country star Dolly Parton. Houston’s version was No. 1 in the new year and went on to win the Grammy Award for record of the year; album of the year; and best pop vocal performance, female. 

1994: ‘Hero’ by Mariah Carey

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“Hero” was No. 1 the week ending Jan. 8, 1994. Carey re-recorded the song as a mashup with her song “Never Too Far” in 2001. 

1995: ‘On Bended Knee’ by Boyz II Men

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“On Bended Knee” was No. 1 the week ending Jan. 7, 1995. The music video for the song featured cameos by noted actresses Kim Fields, Lark Voorhies and Victoria Rowell. 

1996: ‘One Sweet Day’ by Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men

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After nabbing the top spot on the charts at the start of 1994 and 1995, Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey joined forces on the first top song of 1996 during the week ending Jan. 6, 1996. The song was nominated for best pop collaboration and record of the year at the 38th Grammy Awards.

1997: ‘Un-Break My Heart’ by Toni Braxton

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“Un-Break My Heart,” Toni Braxton’s signature song, was at the top of the pop charts during the week ending Jan. 4, 1997. Ironically, “Un-Break My Heart” was never intended for Braxton. She was originally offered Celine Dion’s hit “Because You Loved Me” while Dion was offered “Un-Break My Heart.” The switch of the songs worked out in the artists’ favor. “Un-break My Heart” won the Grammy for best female pop vocal performance in 1996. 

1998: ‘Something About the Way You Look Tonight/Candle in the Wind’ by Elton John

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The double-sided single, which also featured Elton John’s tribute to the late Princess Diana, was in the middle of a 14-week run at the top of the charts during the week ending Jan. 3, 1998.

1999: ‘I’m Your Angel’ by Celine Dion & R. Kelly

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This Celine Dion and R. Kelly duet was No. 1 the week ending Jan. 2, 1999. Dion would later have the song removed from streaming services in the fallout following the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly.”

 

2000: “Smooth” by Santana ft. Rob Thomas

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Rob Thomas and Carlos Santana had the honor of having the first No. 1 of the new millennium when “Smooth” held the top spot during the week ending Jan. 1, 2000. Smooth went on to win Grammys for record of the year and best pop collaboration with vocals. 

2001: ‘Independent Women Part 1’ by Destiny’s Child

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The Destiny's Child song, which appeared on the soundtrack for “Charlie’s Angels,” was No. 1 the week ending Jan. 6, 2001. 

2002: ‘How You Remind Me’ by Nickelback

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“How You Remind Me” was No. 1 the week ending Jan. 5, 2002. The song has seen continued life since it was released, even finding its way into a 2018 “Saturday Night Live” sketch with Sterling K. Brown. 

2003: ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem

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“Lose Yourself,” Eminem’s semi-autobiographical song from the “8 Mile” soundtrack, was holding the Billboard Hot 100’s top spot during the week ending Jan. 4, 2003. The song went on to win the Academy Award for best original song in 2003 and Eminem performed the song on the Oscars stage 17 years later during the 2020 ceremony. 

2004: ‘Hey Ya!’ by Outkast

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Outkast’s upbeat lament on love, “Hey Ya!,” was the country’s No. 1 song the week ending Jan. 3, 2004. “Hey Ya!” won the Grammy for record of the year, best urban/alternative performance and best short form music video at the 46th Grammy Awards. 

2005: ‘Let Me Love You’ by Mario

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“Let Me Love You,” which was written by Ne-Yo, was a single off of Mario’s album “Turning Point.” The song was No. 1 on New Year’s Day during the week ending Jan. 1, 2005, and was nominated for the Grammy for best male R&B vocal performance.

2006: ‘Don’t Forget About Us’ by Mariah Carey

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“Don’t Forget About Us” was a single off of “The Emancipation of Mimi,” which was widely considered to be a comeback album for Mariah Carey. The song was No. 1 the week ending Jan. 7, 2006, and spent a total of 21 weeks on the chart. 

2007: ‘Irreplaceable’ by Beyoncé

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“Irreplaceable” was a single off of “B-Day,” Beyoncé’s sophomore album. The song went on to receive a Grammy nomination for record of the year. Ne-Yo wrote the song and praised Beyoncé’s performance of it, saying, “She had some stuff that she wanted to get off her chest, and that's what she did.”

2008: ‘Low’ by Flo Rida ft. T Pain

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The world was introduced to rapper Flo Rida through his track “Low,” an ode to an attractive woman in the club and her alluring dance moves. During the week ending Jan. 5, 2008, the song was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

2009: ‘Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)’ by Beyoncé

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"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," the bouquet-toss anthem heard ‘round the world, peaked at No. 1 on Dec. 12, 2008, and sailed into the new year, still holding on to the No. 1 spot the week ending Jan. 3, 2009. The song was actually a B-side to “If I Were a Boy” with a simpler video than its counterpart, but the Fosse-esque choreography and catchy lyrics caught on, cementing the song’s lasting popularity. 

2010: ‘Tik Tok’ by Kesha

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Kesha’s party song was No. 1 the week ending Jan. 2, 2010. The song, which references waking up in the morning “feeling like P. Diddy,” also featured a cameo from the hip-hop mogul.

2011: ‘Firework’ by Katy Perry

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Katy Perry’s song of empowerment was at the top of the charts the week of New Year’s Day 2011. Perry says the song was inspired by the novel “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac and her desire to be put into a firework and shot across the sky.

 

2012: ‘Sexy and I Know It’ by LMFAO

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This confident tune was at the top of the charts the week ending Jan. 7, 2012. LMFAO was a duo descended from musical royalty. Redfoo, or Stefan Kendal Gordy, is the grandson of Motown founder Berry Gordy and he sings in LMFAO with his nephew Sky Blu. The two are also the godsons of Smokey Robinson. 

2013: ‘Locked Out of Heaven’ by Bruno Mars

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Before the Grammy Award-winning smash “24K Magic,” Bruno Mars topped the charts with the pop-rock ditty “Locked Out of Heaven.” The song peaked at No. 1 in December 2012 and enjoyed a 36-week run on the charts. 

2014: ‘The Monster’ by Eminem ft. Rihanna

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“The Monster” wasn’t the first collaboration between Rihanna and Eminem, who’d also sung together on “Love the Way You Lie.” “The Monster” remained at No. 1 for three weeks. 

2015: ‘Blank Space’ by Taylor Swift

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Taylor Swift’s song “Blank Space” was No. 1 the week ending Jan. 3, 2015. Swift says the song was, in part, an answer to the many things the media and music listeners find annoying about her. 

2016: ‘Hello’ by Adele

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The lead single off Adele’s album “25” was the first single atop the Billboard Hot 100 the week of Jan. 2, 2016. The song took home Grammys for record of the year, song of the year and best pop solo performance. 

2017: ‘Starboy’ by The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk

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“Starboy,” off The Weeknd’s album of the same name, was the top song the week ending Jan. 7, 2017. The Weeknd recorded the song in Paris with Daft Punk. 

2018: ‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran

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With the monster hit “Shape of You” firmly under his belt, Ed Sheeran opened 2018 at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Perfect.” The song has two versions, one of Sheeran alone and another that’s a duet with Beyoncé. 

2019: ‘Thank U, Next’ by Ariana Grande

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Ariana Grande’s breakup song “Thank U, Next” was the top song the week ending Jan. 5, 2019. The song’s music video featured an homage to teen movies like “Bring it On” and the Tina Fey-directed comedy “Mean Girls.” “Thank U, Next” was Grande’s first No. 1 and her 11th top-10 song. 

2020: ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ by Mariah Carey

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Nearly 62 years after the Hot 100 was invented and “The Chipmunk” song topped the chart as the first No. 1 of 1959, and 25 years after the song’s initial release, Mariah Carey’s uptempo Christmas hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You” snagged the top spot. The song peaked at No. 1 just before Christmas on Dec. 20, 2019, and was still holding onto the top spot during the week ending Jan. 4, 2020.