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The Lost Factor 1995: “Come and Get Your Lost”
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    Default The Lost Factor 1995: “Come and Get Your Lost”

    From Radio Insight:

    “Come and Get Your Love” by Real McCoy should have been a hit. It followed “Another Night” and “Run Away,” two songs eagerly seized on by a Mainstream Top 40 format looking to play any uptempo available pop. It had that often-successful formula for a remake — an artist with portfolio remaking a hit (Redbone’s great moment from 1974) that was big enough to be remembered, but not played much as an oldie, a travesty of justice that not even Guardians of the Galaxy was able to rectify.
    Then there was “Scream” by Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson. The brother half of the duo had lost some momentum at radio with his previous album, Dangerous. He still obviously had the attention of a CHR format that was only starting to recover slowly from its 1993-94 depths. His sister, however, was coming off an album that had gone deep at radio; she was one of the era’s clear superstars. Like “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” by Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer 15 years earlier, it was an event that CHR radio was anxious to play, until everybody heard it.
    Those are two of the top 15 1995 hits with the highest “Lost Factor,” our calculation of the difference between a song’s popularity at the time and the airplay it receives now on broadcast radio. Both of those songs fit the profile of a lost “hit” today — a song that scaled the charts based on an artist’s momentum, but never received enough sustained power rotation to endure as a recurrent or oldie. But the highest Lost Factor of the year ticks some other familiar boxes — an MOR-flavored ballad by a teen artist, Jamie Waters’ “Hold On.” (Waters’ previous hit, “How Do You Talk to an Angel” by the Heights, still receives some airplay.)
    We last took the “Lost Factor” into the ‘90s late last June. We haven’t delved into the late ‘90s or early ‘00s yet in part because the Billboard charts, whose year-end rankings we use to calculate Lost Factor, were affected by a number of issues in those years — the numerous big hits that were never released as commercial singles and thus never charted; the practice of holding singles back to manipulate a high chart debut.*
    I did look at a second year-end calculation when I delved into 1995. Former radio syndicator and veteran chart watcher Josh Hosler has maintained a “Pop 100” chart that has different rules for weighting of airplay vs. sales and removal of recurrent titles, but, most important for our purposes, includes songs that weren’t commercial singles. Hosler uses the charts for, among other things, his Pop Music Anthology, an extensive series of Spotify playlists going back to the very beginnings of recorded music, and covering every era since, if you’re looking for lost hits of 1995, or any other time.
    In the end, I found the Billboard year-end rankings, and my Lost Factor calculations from them, to be of a piece with what we’ve seen so far. The impact of sales usually makes for the presence of some R&B hits that never fully crossed to pop radio, such as the Immature title seen here. The hits of the year that weren’t singles — “Lightning Crashes,” “When I Come Around,” “You Oughta Know” — are an issue when we look at those songs that endure today disproportionately to their 1995 acceptance, but there aren’t any such titles in the Lost Factor top 15.
    In 1995, there were six songs that made the year’s top 100 but had no airplay now, vs. three such songs in 1994. The highest lost factor for the year was a 49 vs. a 53 from the year before. I had wondered if the launch of all-‘90s WMIA (Totally 93.9) Miami, two weeks after we published our 1990-94 calculations, would lower the Lost Factor of ‘90s hits, but that station plays about 225 songs, including some local hits that never made the year-end countdown. The growth of an all-‘90s format, should it take root, is more likely to help songs that were already relatively enduring.
    Here are the 15 “most lost” hits of 1995, based on points for their standing for the year divided by the number of plays they receive now. In parenthesis is the Lost Factor, followed by the number of spins the songs received last week in the on those stations monitored by BDSRadio.

    1. Jamie Waters, “Hold On”*(lost factor: 49, spins last week: zero)
    2. Bon Jovi, “This Ain’t a Love Song”*(31, 0)
    3. Elton John, “Believe” (42, 2)
    4. Immature, “Constantly” (21, 0)
    5. U2, “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” (20, 1)
    6. Real McCoy, “Come and Get Your Love” (16, 2)
    7. 4 P.M., “Sukiyaki” (13, 4)
    8. Martin Page, “In the House of Stone and Light” (13, 5)
    9. 20 Fingers f/Gillette, “Short Short Man” (13, 2)
    10. Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson, “Scream” (11, 4)
    11. FireHouse, “I Live My Life for You” (10, 0)
    12. Stevie B, “Dream About You” (9, 0)
    13. Vanessa Williams, “The Sweetest Days” (9, 3)
    14. Annie Lennox, “No More ‘I Love You’s” (8, 3)
    15. Diana King, “Shy Guy” (6, 9)

    When you look at the comparable top 15 songs among Hosler’s calculations, which weight up pop titles to look more like what CHR radio was playing in 1995, a few songs would make the top 15 that don’t otherwise — Van Halen’s “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You”; Meat Loaf’s “I’d Lie for You (And That’s the Truth)”; Soul Asylum’s “Misery.” Those are the differences that we’d expect to see if we used, say, the Radio & Records CHR chart from that same period.
    Mainstream Top 40 radio was gradually beginning a comeback in 1995, buoyed by the rise of KHKS (Kiss 106.1) Dallas and the availability of songs like “When I Come Around” and “You Oughta Know” that were just poppy enough to cross over from Alternative. There’s still a strong presence of AC and what came to be known as Modern AC. The Martin Page hit is the sort of pop ballad that Top 40 wanted to play instead of “This Is How We Do It” or other R&B crossovers of the time, but it’s also the MOR-ish type of song that we’ve seen not endure. The Elton John and Vanessa Williams singles are both “never-quite-hits” that were riding the momentum of previous hits (“Lion King” and “Save the Best for Last”).
    It’s fun to note what’s not on here. While “Short Short Man,” a novelty hit that prompted many nervous parent/kid conversations in the car, does make the list, “Cotton Eyed Joe” by Rednex does not, mostly because it never got quite enough airplay at the time. I didn’t hear “Keep Their Heads Ringin’” by Dr. Dre much on the radio in 1995, perhaps because I was on the East Coast, but its Lost Factor is actually under a 1.0, a sign of an enduring song, perhaps because the movie Friday endures.*
    Then there’s “I’ll Be There for You” by the Rembrandts, one of the year’s most polarizing hits. It was available on vinyl, not cassette, and was never that big a Hot 100 hit as a result. It doesn’t make Billboard’s year-end chart either, but on Hosler’s listing, it’s only the No. 40 least-enduring song of the year.*
    I did use Hosler’s calculations to determine our “Lucky Stiffs,” those songs that now receive airplay disproportionate to their year-end rankings at the time, since he was able to include some major airplay hits that didn’t chart owing to the lack of a commercial single. Of songs now receiving more than 100 spins a week, the top 10 show the influence not only of those songs kept alive now by Alternative radio, but also of the R&B and Hip-Hop titles that Top 40 resisted at the time:

    1. Selena, “Dreaming of You”
    2. Smashing Pumpkins, “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”
    3. Weezer, “Buddy Holly”
    4. Total f/Notorious B.I.G., “Can’t You See”
    5. Pearl Jam, “Better Man”
    6. Green Day, “When I Come Around”
    7. TLC, “Waterfalls”
    8. Notorious B.I.G., “Big Poppa”
    9. Live, “Lightning Crashes”
    10. Luniz, “I Got 5 on It”

    Hosler’s playlists for 1995 (or any other year of the 1990s) are available here. More information on Lost Factor, with calculations stretching back to 1960, can be found here.*




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