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iGEN by Ted Volk
The Place Where Radio and Records come Together Without Talking
MUSINGS ON THE MODERN ROCK CHART
3/27/15


If you’re working the Modern Rock format then you know that, so far, it’s been Groundhog Day every Monday this year, with big releases knocking out the panel in short order. I do think that at some point we’ll run out of name bands putting out new music. My guess is that sometime around the middle of May, we‘ll be saying, “There’s nothing to add.” For now, though, the big records keep coming.

This week, it’s Warner Bros. turn to close out the panel in one day. Congrats to Rob Goldklang on closing out Muse's new single, "Dead Inside." Over the years, a constant of the format has been Muse delivering big songs. Their last leadoff single was "Madness," which ended up being #1 for a record-breaking 19 weeks.

Can they beat their own record? It's a staggering statistic; I’d put it up there with Joe DiMaggio getting a base hit in 56 straight games in 1941. 

Modern Rock as a format is still new, relatively speaking. In the '80s, there were plenty of Modern Rock bands, but it wasn’t a format, outside of a few stations. Right around Sept. 1988, we saw our first chart, and Siouxsie and the Banshees had the first #1 with "Peek-a-Boo." Most insiders would cite1991 as the springboard for where the format is today. It was the beginning of the grunge sound, led by Nirvana, that expanded from a select few outlets, like KROQ L.A., KITS San Fran, 91X San Diego, WFNX Boston, WLIR Long Island and WHFS Washington, to the nearly 70 stations we have now. It's still a niche format, by all accounts, as Top 40 has over 170 reporters, but it’s also an important one for breaking career acts. Looking back at the longest #1s of all time, it’s who you might think.

  1. Muse - “Madness” 19 weeks (2012)
  2. Foo Fighters - “Pretender” 18 weeks (2007)
  3. Muse - “Uprising” 17 weeks (2009)
  4. Red Hot Chili Peppers - “Scar Tissue” 16 weeks (1999)
  5. Staind - “It’s Been Awhile” 16 weeks (2001)
  6. Green Day - “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” 16 weeks (2004)
  7. Marcy Playground - “Sex And Candy” 15 weeks (1997)
  8. Linkin Park - “What I’ve Done” 15 weeks (2007)

It’s fun to look back and see that Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was only #1 for one week. U2’s “Mysterious Ways” bounced it. As the guy who worked that record, I can tell you that even back then programmers preferred the all-daypart records. It was really hard to get PDs to move “Smells Like Teen Spirit” to all dayparts. In 1995, Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know” lasted five weeks in the top spot. Beck, who just won Album of the Year at The Grammys, had “Loser” at #1 for five weeks in 1994.

I’m sure my partner and President, Karen Glauber, doesn’t recall Nickleback’s “How You Remind Me” being #1 for 13 weeks in 2001 [KG replies: Thanks for reminding me].

It all leads me back to how impressive and important Muse is to Modern Rock. If there’s a band that can break their record, more than likely it will be Muse themselves.