The Most Different Versions Of A Single On The Hot 100
A lot of songs have been on the charts multiple times by different artists. In the fifties, it was not unusual for multiple versions of the same song to be on the charts and even in the top ten at the same time. Christmas songs have to be excluded from this search since streaming and radio airplay threaten to eventually take over the charts every year.
It’s natural to wonder which song holds the record for the most charted versions in the Hot 100. I’m still wondering thanks to Hallelujah (which was up to nine by 2016, after which I don’t have any chart information yet).
Two other songs appear to be tied for the record.
For a long time, the record belonged to the eight different versions of Stand By Me that reached the charts nine different times.
Ben E. King recorded the first charted version of Stand By Me in 1961 and it reached #4 on the Hot 100.
Earl Grant is best known for his 1957 hit The End, which reached #7 in 1958. He never reached the top forty again, but in 1965 he recorded an instrumental version of Stand By Me that reached #75.
Spyder Turner only reached the Hot 100 twice: his version of Stand By Me reached #12 in 1967 and later that year he peaked at #95 with the ironically titled I Can’t Make It Anymore.
Jimmy Ruffin recorded a song that was written for the Spinners and took What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted to #7 in 1966. His brother David left the Temptations and had a solo hit in 1969; My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me) reached #9 in 1969. The two of them teamed up on a cover of Stand By Me that only got to #61 in 1970 before returning to solo careers (and each of them had one more top ten hit later).
I’m pretty sure that John Lennon had a few hit records both in a previous group and as a solo artist before releasing his version of Stand By Me in 1975. The single got to #20; it was five years before he reached the Hot 100 again.
Urban Cowboy spawned nearly a dozen successful singles, some of which even crossed over from the Country chart to the Hot 100 in 1980. Mickey Gilley’s version of Stand By Me reached the top of the Country chart and #22 on the Hot 100 that year, his only top forty pop single.
Maurice White reached #50 with his version of Stand By Me. He exactly matched Spyder Turner when his only other entry on the Hot 100 was a record that reached #95 the next year.
The film Stand By Me used Ben E. King’s version of Stand By Me on its soundtrack and it vaulted his original single back up to #9.
Four family members from the Chicago area formed Young Warriors 4 the Cause and later shortened their name to 4 the Cause. Their version of Stand By Me only reached #82 in the US but was a top ten hit in at least eight countries.
Unchained Melody also charted for nine different runs and also has an additional wrinkle: the Righteous Brothers are on that list twice because a new version had to be recorded when they used the song in the film Ghost. The original version hit #4 in 1965. That version was re-released on various compilation albums but was not available as a CD or cassette single in 1990, so the Righteous Brothers re-recorded the song and reached #19 with the new version.
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