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The Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles is a chart released weekly by Billboard in the United Statesmarker. It comprises 25 positions that represent songs that are close to charting on the main singles chart, the Billboard Hot 100, acting as an extension to Hot 100. Many times, however, singles halt their progress at this chart, and never debut on the Hot 100. Other songs initially appear on the Bubbling Under chart only to resurface a year or two later as a more successful hit.

The Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart can also be seen as a 25-position addendum to the Hot 100, but the chart only represents the 25 songs below position #100 which have not yet appeared on the Hot 100. If a song were to be ranked at #99 but then moved the following week to a position that is comparable to #105, it would not be eligible for the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart because it already appeared on the Hot 100 (although it would be eligible to re-enter the Hot 100 if it rebounded to such a level). The chart has sometimes been reduced to as few as 15 songs (during 1959-1960), but expanded to as many as 35 during the 1960s, particularly during years when over 1000 singles made the Hot 100 Pop charts. However, the Bubbling Under charts eventually settled down to 25 positions, from 1992 onward.

Chart history

The Bubbling Under charts first appeared in Billboard's June 1, 1959 issue. It continued until August 31, 1985, but was dropped from the magazine for seven years, apparently due to lack of interest from radio stations and retail stores. The "Bubbling Under" charts reappeared without fanfare in the December 5, 1992 issue, and continues to the present day.

Several reference books on the history of the Billboard "Bubbling Under" charts have been published by Joel Whitburn's Record Research company. The latest book (from 2005) was Bubbling Under The Billboard Hot 100: 1959-2004 (ISBN 0898201624).

British charts

The UK Charts introduced a 'bubbling under' section in the Spring of 1982 - this was a list of 25 singles added on to the Top 75 (although it didn't include any singles which were going down the chart - so many of these songs would have been below #100). In January 1983 a full top 100 was produced and the 'bubbling under' section disappeared. However, the positions 76-100 are considered unofficial, and the UK Charts remains a Top 75, although the numbers down to 100 are still made public.

Notable "bubblers"

  • "Nasty Girl" by Vanity 6 spent fifteen weeks on the Bubbling Under chart, including a record seven weeks at #101, but never cracked the Hot 100.

  • Some bubblers have become live and/or airplay staples for the artists involved, despite their lack of chart success, such as Ozzy Ozbourne's "Crazy Train" (#106 in 1981) and Randy Newman's signature tune, "I Love L.A.", which peaked at #110 in 1983.

  • Ray Charles and the Everly Brothers are tied with the most bubblers ever, with fourteen apiece. Country superstar Charley Pride is the only artist with three #101s: "A Shoulder to Cry On", "Don't Fight the Feelings of Love" and "I Ain't All Bad". All three were major country hits, with the first two hitting #1 on Billboard's Country Chart.

  • One of the most mysterious records ever to appear in any Billboard chart was "Ready N' Steady", listed as recorded by an artist named "D.A.", which spent three weeks on the Bubbling Under chart in June 1979. In a 1995 interview, Joel Whitburn stated that he believed "Ready N' Steady" did in fact exist (at least at one time), even though he had never actually seen or heard the 45; it was released by tiny Rascal Records (which Whitburn postulated was run "out of a guy's home in Detroitmarker"). However, a decade later in his "Bubbling Under The Hot 100" chart book (published 2005; see above), the entry for the record still says, "The existence of this record and artist is in question." Collectors now generally treat "Ready N' Steady" as a "phantom record", at least until Whitburn -- or someone -- can locate a copy.


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