Sometimes all that’s needed is a little push.
And in the case of “Shallow,” the award-winning hit single from A Star Is Born – both sung by and starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – the two performers gave their signature duet all the push it needed last week…and then some…to get it to No. 1 on the charts.
And now Gaga’s Little Monsters fan base couldn’t be happier!
Released nearly half a year ago in late September – just before the movie debuted in theaters – the emotional ballad was an expected hit but initially struggled on the Billboard Hot 100, first debuting at a modest No. 28 and then leaping to No. 5 after the film’s initial impact. Since then, however, the song has languished in the lower reaches of the top 20, while other songs moved up and down around it.
For instance, since its chart début, six different songs have reached No. 1 (and five of those are still in this week’s top ten along with “Shallow”…more on that later).
Today, the ballad has finally completed its 22-week journey to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and is now the No. 1 song in America – after leaping there from No. 21 – thanks to the buzz created by the duo’s steamy performance at last week’s Academy Awards (along with its win in the category of Best Original Song).
“Shallow” instantly becomes Gaga’s fourth No. 1 single, after her first hit, “Just Dance” (January 2009), her second single “Poker Face” (April 2009) and her last No. 1 “Born This Way” (February 2011). It’s also Cooper’s first No. 1 single (and first single overall, placing him in the category of artists who’ve achieved No. 1 with their very first release, just as Gaga did with “Just Dance” a decade ago).
“Shallow” joins the Best Original Song winner from the prior adaptation of A Star Is Born – Barbra Streisand’s “Evergreen” – in reaching No. 1, making it the first time that two different adaptations of the same film have produced Oscar-winning, No. 1 Hot 100 hits.
As a duet, it’s also only the seventh time that a song from a movie pairing two different solo singers has reached No. 1. And all seven were male-female collaborations.
The first was in 1978 when John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John teamed up for “You’re The One That I Want” from Grease. Then, in 1981, Diana Ross and Lionel Richie topped the chart for nine weeks with the title track from the movie Endless Love, a film hardly anyone saw then or since.
There were three more in the ‘80s: 1982’s An Officer and a Gentleman produced the Oscar-winning, No. 1 song “Up Where We Belong” by Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes; 1985’s White Nights gave us “Separate Lives” by Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin; and 1987’s Dirty Dancing spun off another Oscar winner, “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” by Bill Medley & (again) Jennifer Warnes.
The sixth occurred when Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle teamed up for “A Whole New World” from the animated Disney film Aladdin in 1993.
Another song from a motion picture by a duo reached No. 1 in 1968 – “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon & Garfunkel from the movie The Graduate. However, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel weren’t individual solo stars just teaming up at that point, they regularly recorded as an established duo.
Gaga’s Monsters can take pride in knowing that their heroine and Cooper are only the second duo to both star in a movie and sing on a No. 1 song from it, following Travolta and Newton-John in Grease, as none of the other singers starred in their respective songs’ films.
“Shallow” is also now tied for the tenth-longest climb to No. 1 in Hot 100 history with its 22-week journey. The record still belongs to “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix),” the slow-climbing single by Los Del Rio, which took 33 weeks to reach the top in 1996.
To further illustrate that last point, the song that Gaga and Cooper displaced from No. 1 – “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande – is only in its sixth chart week, making this one of those rare occasions when a newer hit is knocked out of No. 1 by a much older one.
Ironically, all five of the immediate No. 1 predecessors to “Shallow” are still in the top ten (including “7 Rings” and “Thank U, Next” by Grande, “Without Me” by Halsey, “Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee and “Sicko Mode” by Travis Scott), making this one of those rare times that six current or former No. 1 singles are in the top ten simultaneously.
Finally, “Shallow” joins 18 other Best Original Song winners to reach No. 1 on the Hot 100, including “Evergreen” and “A Whole New World,” among others.
Whew! I’d say that’s some pretty deep stuff, especially for a song about trying to escape the “Shallow” existence of show biz life, or trying not to fall into it.
But we all knew that “Shallow,” being the event record that it was upon its release, was going to be big. We just didn’t think it would take five months for it to realize all of its potential.
Congrats go to Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga… and, of course, her loyal Monster fan base, who were over the moon when they heard the news…and likely were key contributors in helping their goddess get back to the top!
DJRob is a freelance blogger who covers R&B, hip-hop, pop and rock genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff! You can follow him on Twitter @djrobblog.