According to The Whitburn Project, a spreadsheet of music data, more than 37 thousand songs have been on the Billboard Chart since the late 1800s and “moon” made the list of “Top 100” words. Although the number of titles is well into five digits, less than nine thousand words are used in those titles, which means “moon” is in about 24 percent of them.
The Whitburn Project, named after Billboard historian Joel Whitburn, was officially created in 1998. The project began among record record collectors in 1978 and was taken to Usenet at its inception in the late 1970s. Usenet started at least a decade before the current iteration of the internet and was originally used by university students and faculty, along with the “tech geeks” of the day.
One of those Usenet forums consisted of fifteen music collectors who joined together to create an MP3 collection of all the Billboard Chart Top 40 songs, an act that is now a criminal offense. Eventually that list of song titles became The Whitburn Project. The database includes each song’s title, weekly chart position, label, songwriters and duration. There is even a column for the number of beats per minute in each song.
The Project’s database tracks everything from “One Hit Wonders” to the 100 most popular words in song titles (shown below). From this data, it has been extrapolated that although the 1960s had more original song one-hit wonders than all other decades, the three decades that were dominated by these single-hit groups were the 50s, 90s and 2000s.
NASA has an entire page devoted to “Moon Songs,” created by Dr. Steven Williams. The infographic lists everything from Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata in 1801 to Roger Daultry’s Under a Raging Moon in 1985. Some Billboard Chart favorites on this list were Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon in 1954 and Audrey Hepburn singing Moon River in 1961, athough it is not certain whether they made the Top 100 list. NASAs “Moon Song” page also lists ten songs about Project Apollo, “colorful” moon songs, geographical ones such as Neil Diamond’s Tennessee Moon, and finally, an index of lunar songs from A to Z. A copy of the infographic can be downloaded at the site. This July 19 marks the forty-fifth anniversary of man’s landing on the moon.
Scientists have long studied the moon and its phases, which are detailed at sites like MoonPhases.info. The site lists the dates of all the full moons in the current year and at least the five years prior. This site also shares definitions of all the moon types with tidbits like: “in months with two full moons, the second is called a Blue Moon.”
Last year the Billboard Chart listed their Top 100 number one hits of all time, but “moon” was not in the title of any of the songs on that list. The closest “moon song” is the Credence Clearwater Revival (CCR) song Bad Moon Rising, which sat at number two for a number of weeks in 1969.
By Jenny Hansen