The most popular summer song of the last 44 years

Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus were the talk of summer 2019 with their hit

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Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus were the talk of summer 2019 with their hit “Old Town Road.”
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Columbia Records

  • Everyone always wonders what song will break out to be the undisputed song of the summer.
  • Insider used Billboard’s charts to choose the highest-ranking summer song of each year from 1975.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Every year, there’s a battle to see which song can claim the title of “the song of the summer.”

It can become a point of contention as people argue over whether or not Carly Rae Jepsen is beating Justin Bieber or why Rita Ora isn’t getting her due recognition, but it’s a fun accolade to give an artist.

The jury is still out on which song will be this year’s biggest hit, but we used Billboard’s charts to choose the highest-ranking summer song for each year.

Whether or not you agree with the top song, here are the No. 1 summer songs from 1975 to 2019.

Anjelica Oswald contributed to a previous version of this article.


1975: “One of These Nights” — The Eagles

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Timothy B. Schmit, Glen Frey, and Don Henley of the Eagles perform during “History Of The Eagles Live In Concert” in 2013.
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Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Listen on Spotify.


1976: “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” — Elton John and Kiki Dee

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Kiki Dee and Elton John in the song’s music video.
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YouTube/EltonJohnVEVO

Watch the video.


1977: “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” — Andy Gibb

Watch him on YouTube.


1978: “Shadow Dancing” — Andy Gibb

Watch him on YouTube.


1979: “Bad Girls” — Donna Summer

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Donna Summer in 2010.
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Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Watch her on YouTube.


1980: “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” — Billy Joel

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Billy Joel in the “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” music video.
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YouTube/billyjoelVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


1981: “Jessie’s Girl” — Rick Springfield

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Rick Springfield in the “Jessie’s Girl” music video.
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YouTube/RickSpringfieldVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


1982: “Eye of the Tiger” — Survivor

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This is a screenshot from the “Eye of the Tiger” music video.
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YouTube/SurvivorVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


1983: “Every Breath You Take” — The Police

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The entire video is in black and white.
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YouTube/ThePoliceVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


1984: “When Doves Cry” — Prince

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Prince starts the video in a bathtub.
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YouTube/Prince

Watch the video on YouTube.


1985: “Shout” — Tears For Fears

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English pop/rock band Tears for Fears formed in 1981.
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Mercury

Listen on Spotify.


1986: “Papa Don’t Preach” — Madonna

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Madonna rocked short hair.
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YouTube/Warner Bros. Records

Watch the video on YouTube.


1987: “Alone” — Heart

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Look at that epic hair.
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YouTube/HeartVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


1988: “Roll With It” — Steve Winwood

Listen on Spotify.


1989: “Right Here Waiting” — Richard Marx

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That hair.
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YouTube/RichardMarxVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


1990: “Vision of Love” — Mariah Carey

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Mariah Carey in the video for “Vision of Love.”
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YouTube/MariahCareyVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


1991: “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” — Bryan Adams

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Bryan Adams performing the song live at Wembley in 1996.
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YouTube/BryanAdamsVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


1992: “Baby Got Back” — Sir Mix-A-Lot

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Sir Mix-a-Lot in 2015.
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Mike Windle/Getty Images for Dick Clark Production

Listen on Spotify.


1993: “(I Can’t Help) Falling In Love with You” — UB40

Listen on Spotify.


1994: “I Swear” — All-4-One

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Can’t help singing along.
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YouTube/All-4-One (Official channel)

Watch the video on YouTube.


1995: “Waterfalls” — TLC

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Don’t go chasing waterfalls.
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YouTube/TLCVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


1996: “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” — Los Del Rio

Listen on Spotify.


1997: “I’ll Be Missing You” — Puff Daddy and Faith Evans feat. 112

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Puff Daddy and Faith Evans performed together in 2016.
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Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Live Nation

Listen on Spotify.


1998: “The Boy is Mine” — Brandy and Monica

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Brandy and Monica in 1999.
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Dan Callister / Stringer/Getty

Listen on Spotify.


1999: “Genie in a Bottle” — Christina Aguilera

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She showed off her dance moves in the video for “Genie in a Bottle.”
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YouTube/CAguileraVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


2000: “Bent” — Matchbox Twenty

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Rob Thomas in the “Bent” video.
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YouTube/Matchbox Twenty

Watch the video on YouTube.


2001: “U Remind Me” — Usher

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Usher broke it down in the video for “U Remind Me.”
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YouTube/UsherVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


2002: “Hot In Herre” — Nelly

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Nelly’s song got everyone dancing.
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YouTube/NellyVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


2003: “Crazy in Love” — Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z

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Beyoncé has always ruled the world.
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YouTube/BeyonceVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


2004: “Confessions Part II” — Usher

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Usher let loose in the “Confessions Part II” video.
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YouTube/UsherVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


2005: “We Belong Together” — Mariah Carey

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Mariah knows how to make a summer song.
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YouTube/MariahCareyVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


2006: “Promiscuous” — Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland

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This is a jam.
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YouTube/NellyFurtadoVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


2007: “Umbrella” — Rihanna feat. Jay-Z

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She made umbrellas cool.
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YouTube/RihannaVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


2008: “I Kissed a Girl” — Katy Perry

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This song shot Katy to the top.
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YouTube/KatyPerryVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


2009: “I Gotta Feeling” — The Black Eyed Peas

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We dare you not to sing along.
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YouTube/BlackEyedPeasVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


2010: “California Gurls” — Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg

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This was a vibrant video.
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YouTube/KatyPerryVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


2011: “Party Rock Anthem” — LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett and GoonRock

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Every day I’m shufflin’.
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YouTube/LMFAOVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


2012: “Call Me Maybe” — Carly Rae Jepsen

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This is a catchy song.
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YouTube/CarlyRaeJepsenVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


2013: “Blurred Lines” — Robin Thicke feat. T.I. and Pharrell

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The song and video were controversial.
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YouTube/RobinThickeVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


2014: “Fancy” — Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX

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The video was inspired by “Clueless.”
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YouTube/IggyAzaleaMusicVEVO

Watch the video on YouTube.


2015: “Cheerleader” — OMI

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Omi had a hit.
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YouTube/UltraMusic

Watch the video on YouTube.


2016: “One Dance” — Drake feat. WizKid and Kyla

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Drake has some interesting dance movies.
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YouTube/DrakeVEVO

Watch him on YouTube.


2017: “Despacito (Remix)” — Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, featuring Justin Bieber

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Luis Fonsi in the official video.
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LuisFonsiOfficial/YouTube

Listen to the song on YouTube.


2018: “In My Feelings” — Drake

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Drake inspired us all to get up and dance in our feelings summer 2018.
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Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records/YouTube

The song was on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 10 weeks and inspired a viral Internet challenge.

You can watch the music video here.


45. “Old Town Road” — Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus

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Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nas X sing in the music video for “Old Town Road.”
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Columbia Records

The undisputed song of summer 2019 was Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” which sat atop the Hot 100 Billboard chart for 17 weeks. The song beat the record set by Mariah Carey’s 1996 song “One Sweet Day.” It stayed on top of the Billboard charts for a total of 19 weeks.

The song’s celebrity-filled music video features cameos from Chris Rock, Vince Staples, Haha Davis, and more.

You can watch the music video here.