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The Bridge: Ladies of the Canyon and the Rhythm Nation

How a couple of major hit-makers fulfilled their chart destinies from the ’60s to the ’90s. <audio title=”The Bridge: Ladies of the Canyon and the Rhythm Nation” src=”https://traffic.megaphone.fm/SLT3707036581.mp3″ class=”audio-player” tabindex=”0″ preload=”metadata” controls></audio> <iframe title=”The Bridge: Ladies of the Canyon and the Rhythm Nation” src=”https://player.megaphone.fm/SLT3707036581?light=true” frameborder=”no” height=”200″ scrolling=”no” width=”100%”></iframe> View Transcript Listen longer Slate Plus members […]

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Hit Parade: The Great War Against the Single Edition

The story of how the recording industry made you shell out $18 for one good song in the ’90s. Listen to Hit Parade No. 5 with the audio player below. Ever since the ’60s, the recording industry emphasized the album over the single. By the ’80s, they were milking as many hits as possible from […]

  

I Know You Got Soul: The Trouble With Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Chart

Billboard’s R&B chart once reflected the tastes of the genre’s core fans, paving the way for countless legendary artists in the process. But now, slipshod methodology has rendered it a shell of its former self, replete with dubious racial consequences. Here, for your consideration, is a Top 10 list published in Billboard magazine toward the […]

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How The Hot 100 Became America’s Hit Barometer

Listen at the audio link to Chris Molanphy and NPR’s Audie Cornish talk on All Things Considered about the history of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Hear that? On the radio? That slick, dreamy crooner dude, singing about how he’s going out of his mind over that girl? Well, she’s an animal — baby, it’s in […]

Chris Molanphy

Chris Molanphy is a chart analyst and pop critic who writes about the intersection of culture and commerce in popular music. For Slate, he hosts the Hit Parade podcast and writes their “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series. His work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, PitchforkVultureNPR Music’s The RecordThe Village VoiceBillboard, and CMJ. Chris is also a frequent guest on National Public Radio (SoundcheckAll Things ConsideredPlanet MoneyOn the Media) and on Slate’s podcasts The Gist and the Culture Gabfest.