Rock Crossovers That Peaked On The Pop Chart First

There have been just over 1500 songs finding their way to both the rock and pop charts since 1980. Most of these songs were what I call rock-to-pop crossovers. They hit their peaks on the rock chart before they peaked on the pop chart, sometimes months earlier. Every once in a while, a rock song peaks on the pop chart first. In fact, 86 times, or just over five percent of the time, rock songs were pop hits first. Here is the complete list of these songs in chronological order by pop peak in blue. Rock peak is red.

Most recently, at the bottom of the list, Lorde hit #17 pop then went on to hit number 8 rock. Find full weekly pop charts by clicking blue peak numbers. Find full rock charts by clicking red peak numbers.

1 How Do I Make You Linda Ronstadt
1980
2 Cars Gary Numan
1980
3 Late In The Evening Paul Simon
1980
4 Don’t Want To Wait Anymore Tubes
1981
5 Heart Like A Wheel The Steve Miller Band
1981
6 You Keep Runnin’ Away 38 Special
1982
7 I Do The J. Geils Band
1982
8 Goodbye To You Scandal
1982
9 Shame On The Moon Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
1983
10 Don’t Forget To Dance The Kinks
1983
11 Sitting At The Wheel The Moody Blues
1983
12 Union Of The Snake Duran Duran
1983
13 The Sign Of Fire The Fixx
1983
14 Send Me An Angel Real Life
1983
15 Remember The Nights The Motels
1984
16 Middle Of The Road The Pretenders
1984

In the 1980s, album rock stations were not quite ready to play the new music sometimes called new rock, new wave, and now called alternative. These songs became popular on a split-off format and on the recent video rage. Due to the heavy demand, rock stations could not ignore this new revolution and eventually played many of these songs, including Thompson Twins.

17 Hold Me Now Thompson Twins
1984
18 The Ghost In You The Psychedelic Furs
1984
19 Stay The Night Chicago
1984
20 Go For Soda Kim Mitchell
1985
21 Lucky In Love Mick Jagger
1985
22 Every Step Of The Way John Waite
1985
23 The Best Man In The World Ann Wilson
1987
24 In God’s Country U2
1987
25 Everywhere Fleetwood Mac
1988
26 Not Just Another Girl Ivan Neville
1988
27 We Didn’t Start The Fire Billy Joel
1989
28 I Remember You Skid Row
1990
29 I’ll See You In My Dreams Giant
1990
30 Epic Faith No More
1990
31 Home Sweet Home Motley Crue
1991
32 Not Enough Time INXS
1992
33 Keep The Faith Bon Jovi
1992
34 Pets Porno For Pyros
1993
35 Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm Crash Test Dummies
1994
36 Fall Down Toad The Wet Sprocket
1994
37 You Better Wait Steve Perry
1994
38 Get Over It Eagles
1994
39 Doll Parts Hole
1994
40 Live Forever Oasis
1995
41 Gel Collective Soul
1995
42 I’ll Be There For You The Rembrandts
1995
43 J.A.R. Green Day
1995
44 Geek Stink Breath Green Day
1995
45 My Friends Red Hot Chili Peppers
1995
46 Your Little Secret Melissa Etheridge
1995
47 Waiting For Tonight Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
1995
48 Heaven Beside You Alice In Chains
1996
49 Stupid Girl Garbage
1996
50 But Anyway Blues Traveler
1996
51 So Much To Say Dave Matthews Band
1996
52 Head Over Feet Alanis Morissette
1996
53 Lovefool The Cardigans
1997
54 You Were Meant For Me Jewel
1997
55 Elegantly Wasted INXS
1997
56 Where Have All The Cowboys Gone? Paula Cole
1997
57 Hole In My Soul Aerosmith
1997
58 All For You Sister Hazel
1997

The Wallflowers is one of few groups that had two songs find pop chart peaks before rock chart peaks. These songs were promoted on both pop and rock stations early, but were better suited to rock stations where they stuck around longer to reach a peak.

59 Three Marlenas The Wallflowers
1997
60 Heroes The Wallflowers
1998
61 Can’t Get Enough Of You Baby Smash Mouth
1998
62 Thank U Alanis Morissette
1998
63 You Get What You Give New Radicals
1999
64 Smooth Santana Featuring Rob Thomas
1999
65 The Real Slim Shady Eminem
2000
66 Stan Eminem Featuring Dido
2000
67 I Did It Dave Matthews Band
2001
68 When It’s Over Sugar Ray
2001
69 Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of U2
2001
70 We Are All Made Of Stars Moby
2002
71 Without Me Eminem
2002
72 Cleanin’ Out My Closet Eminem
2002
73 Lose Yourself Eminem
2002

Rock stations became a bit resistant to play songs by rapper Eminem. But they did play those songs and some became big rock hits. Three Eminem songs peaked on the pop chart first.

74 Hey Ya! OutKast
2003
75 The Geeks Get The Girls American Hi-Fi
2005
76 Move Along The All-American Rejects
2006
77 Far Away Nickelback
2006
78 Lips Of An Angel Hinder
2006
79 Stolen Dashboard Confessional
2007
80 Sorry Buckcherry
2008
81 Leave Out All The Rest Linkin Park
2008
82 Paper Planes M.I.A.
2008
83 I Don’t Care Fall Out Boy
2008
84 Don’t Stop (Color On The Walls) Foster The People
2012
85 Get Lucky Daft Punk Featuring
Pharrell Williams
2013
86 Tennis Court Lorde
2014

Why do you think these songs hit pop first then rock? Let me know.

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