This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.

Chart Displacement

"I've had #1's that people have forgotten and songs that didn't crack the top 10 that have touched people's lives deeply. That was when I started letting go of chart numbers."
Kathy Mattea, on her 1990 hit "Where've You Been", which only reached #10 on Hot Country Songs (Mattea had four #1 hits on that chart)

Every musician has a Signature Song; usually, this is related to how popular the song was during its prime, as measured by charts such as the Billboard Hot 100. However, this is not always the case. This can happen in multiple ways.

  • Their best-known song wasn't their biggest hit, placing below songs that either aren't as well-known or are even almost, if not completely, forgotten. That can happen in a variety of ways.
    • The song wasn't well-known when it was released and became better-known later on through use in commercial media and/or retroactive acclaim. This is especially prevalent if the bigger hit was never that big a hit anyway and likely to fade into complete obscurity.
    • The more famous song was controversial in some way, thus causing some stations not to play it or some vendors not to sell it to the point that this impacted its chart ranking. Often, the notoriety of the song is what keeps it in the public memory after it peaks.
    • The more famous song's peak position was impacted by low sales due to it having a limited or no single release, often to boost sales of its parent album. Many radio hits from the '90s were ineligible to chart on the Hot 100 without a physical single release. This practice by the record labels, which inadvertently robbed several artists of #1 singles entirely due to the bottom line, ultimately resulted in Billboard being forced to change its own rules on "album cuts" charting on the Hot 100 in December 1998.
    • Radio listeners who were fans of Casey Kasem's chart shows American Top 40 and Casey's Top 40 will notice a lot of discrepancy when comparing the chart counted down on any of his '90s shows to that same week's Hot 100. When he made the jump to a new syndication group in 1988 and started Casey's Top 40, he began using the charts from Radio & Records magazine instead of the Billboard Hot 100, and continued to use it when he returned to AT40 ten years later. That meant his show was immune to the above "airplay-only" business that made songs that were undeniably hits ineligible for the Hot 100. Likewise, that also meant that the chart on Kasem's show also included songs that were radio hits first and foremost, and didn't have enough momentum to get very high on the Hot 100. Rick Dees' competing radio countdown show and the 1980s music television series Solid Gold also relied on Radio & Records to determine which songs they played.
    • The more famous song was never given a radio push, despite its popularity with audiences.
    • The higher-peaking song had a high launch on the charts due to a strong debut sales week, but failed to have longevity and fell off the chart quickly.
    • After the song peaked in airplay, it got less recurrent airplay compared to the lower-charting song. Thus, younger audiences are exposed to the lower-charting song rather than the higher-charting.
    • The bigger song was a Black Sheep Hit, and thus feels out of place compared to their other work, which can cause limited recurrent airplay.
    • The bigger song came after their overall peak in popularity and thus is not as well-known compared to their material that was made in their prime. This is most common on format-specific charts (see below), where the high-peaking song came long after their success on the mainstream charts ebbed.
    • The higher-charting song had its position augmented due to chart manipulation, while the better-known song achieved its peak naturally.
    • The higher-charting song came during a period when the charts were unnaturally sparse and/or the lower-charting song came during a period when the charts were severely backed up with huge hits.
    • The better-known song was not actually a single, but had some element to it that made it popular after the fact.
  • One of their most well-known songs is their highest-charting, but they had other less-remembered songs that charted higher than their other more iconic material. Often, this can be seen in a different era or album.
  • Format-specific. Their highest-charting song on one format, such as rock, country, or alternative, isn't as well-known as their other material, but it's averted on the mainstream chart. Songs that were a hit on such a format and don't cross over are likely to be forgotten quickly. Still, it's a surprise because usually it's the biggest home-format songs that become pop crossovers.
  • The song crossed over and became a hit in the United States, but it was not their biggest hit back home. Like the format-specific example above, this is a surprise because usually the biggest international crossovers are their biggest hits in their native country. It's not uncommon for an international artist's biggest American hit to also become their best-known song back home, even if it wasn't their highest-charting song there, although sometimes their highest-charting homeland hit is their best known over there.
  • First and Foremost. The song was later covered and outpeaked by a later artist, but despite this the original remains the most enduring.
  • Covered Up. The original placed higher than the cover, but people still remember the cover better anyways. The reverse is very common, as listed above, but this is much rarer.
  • A song is more associated with the featured artist than with the lead. Even if that song is their best-known song, it's not as associated with them as their other material (although that song can be still seen as the signature for the featured artist). Alternately, the song is associated with the lead, but the featured artist rapidly falls from popularity, taking memory of the song with them.
  • An artist's solo career or side project scores a bigger hit than they ever did with their main career, but because the solo career/side project remains far less known than their main act, their biggest hit is lesser known.

Contrast with One-Hit Wonder, where the artist's Signature Song was their only major hit. The two can overlap in some rare cases: either a well-known artist's only top 40 hit isn't as well-known as other songs of theirs, or an artist is actually only remembered for one song, but it wasn't their highest-charting. In extremely rare circumstances, an artist who only had one top 40 hit is remembered as a one-hit wonder for a different song.

Examples

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    Alternative Rock 
  • 10,000 Maniacs' only two top 40 hits were covers: A live version of "Because the Night" from MTV Unplugged (it peaked at #11) and a cover of Roxy Music's "More Than This" that was their first single featuring new vocalist Mary Ramsay (it made #25). This is despite their original material being some of the most commercially accessible of any 1980s/1990s Alternative Rock band; singles like "Like The Weather" (#68), "Trouble Me" (#44), "These Are Days" (#66) and "Candy Everybody Wants" (#67) are all better known today than those covers despite each one narrowly missing out on the Top 40.
  • 311 had two Top 40 hits, but the biggest of the two wasn't "Down", but rather "All Mixed Up" (which peaked at #36, beating out the former by one spot), which probably isn't their second ("Amber") or third (their cover of "Lovesong") best-known song. "Lovesong" and "Down" topped the Alternative charts, yet "Amber" petered out at #13!
  • 30 Seconds to Mars has hit #1 on the alternative charts three different times but "The Kill" only reached #3. Averted on the Hot 100, where it was their biggest hit overall.
  • The 1975's biggest hit on the U.S. alternative charts went to #4 but it wasn't "Chocolate", "Sex", "Love Me", or "The Sound", but rather "Somebody Else", which received considerable critical acclaim, but is considerably lesser known compared to the aforementioned quartet of songs.
  • The All-American Rejects avert this on one hand, as their 2009 signature "Gives You Hell" peaked at #4. The biggest hit on their 2005 breakthrough album Move Along wasn't the Title Track (#15) or "Dirty Little Secret" (#9), but rather the #8 "It Ends Tonight", which isn't quite as well-known as the other two. Their breakthrough hit "Swing Swing", which still gets quite a bit of airplay, missed the Top 40 entirely and peaked at #60.
  • All Time Low only had one entry on the Hot 100, but it wasn't "Dear Maria, Count Me In" but rather "Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don't)".
  • Arcade Fire's biggest hit on the alternative charts was the #16 "Ready to Start", which isn't quite as well-known as "Wake Up" or "Rebellion (Lies)" (neither of which charted). Also, their only Hot 100 entry was "Reflektor", which similarly, is not as well-known as "Wake Up".
  • The Arctic Monkeys are a strange example. They had two #1 hits in the UK, "I Know You Look Good On the Dancefloor" remains their signature there but the other, "When the Sun Goes Down", (both from Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not) isn't as well known as "Do I Wanna Know?" (from AM) which only hit #11 back home. In the US, this is averted where "Do I Wanna Know?" was their only chart entry on the Hot 100.
  • AWOLNATION only had one #1 hit on the alternative songs chart, and surprisingly it wasn't "Sail", which only peaked at #5. Instead it was "Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)". Nonetheless, "Sail" was their only Top 40 hit, and their only visit to the Hot 100.
  • The Barenaked Ladies easily avert this, as their signature "One Week" spent (you guessed it) a single week on top of the Hot 100. Their second Top 40 hit was the less remembered "Pinch Me", which made it to #15. Nowadays, if you hear a Barenaked Ladies song other than "One Week" on American pop or rock radio, it's not going to be "Pinch Me", but something else that originally peaked much lower, like "It's All Been Done" (#44), the Rock Spectacle live version of "Brian Wilson" (#68), "The Old Apartment" (#80) or the live version of "If I Had $1,000,000" (not issued as a single and didn't chart).
  • Beck is an aversion overall. His signature "Loser" was his only Top 10 hit, and his only visit to the overall Top 40. However, he's had two #1 hits on alternative radio: The aforementioned "Loser" from 1994 and… "E-Pro" from 2005. "E-Pro" isn't as well known to the public as songs like "Where It's At" and "Devil's Haircut".
  • blink-182 easily avert this, as their signature "All the Small Things" was their only top 40 hit and one of three #1s on alternative. Their second #1 on alt, and the closest they ever got to the top 40 again was "I Miss You", another classic. However, many would be surprised to learn that songs like their Breakthrough Hit "Dammit", as well as "What's My Age Again?", "Adam's Song", "Man Overboard", "The Rock Show", and "First Date", all fell short of the top spot. As for their third #1 alt radio hit, and their only hit on mainstream rock? "Bored to Death", the lead single off their most recent album, largely to due to interest in how they sounded without Tom DeLonge.
  • Bloc Party had two hits on U.S. alternative radio. One of them was "Banquet", no surprise there. The other song had to have been "Helicopter", right? Nope, it was "I Still Remember", which ironically enough is mostly forgotten today. Even more surprising is that "Banquet" was actually the lower charting of the two, hitting #34 to "Remember"'s #24. In the UK, this is also played straight, as neither "Banquet" nor "Helicopter" were among their four top 10 hits there.
  • Boys Like Girls had 3 top 40 hits: "The Great Escape", "Love Drunk", and "Two is Better Than One" with Taylor Swift. The former is still their most famous song, but actually peaked the lowest out of all of them.
  • Cage the Elephant has had seven #1 hits on alternative radio, but their signature "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" peaked at #3. Nevertheless, "Wicked" was their highest entry on the mainstream charts. Also played straight on the Hot 100 — they had two chart entries, and "Wicked" was the lower charting of the two, only reaching #83. The song that beat it? "Shake Me Down", by five spots. It's not even their second best-known song (an honor that likely goes to "Come a Little Closer").
  • CAKE only had one #1 hit on modern rock radio. Was it "The Distance" or "Short Skirt/Long Jacket"? Actually, it was neither but rather their hit in-between, "Never There".
  • The Cardigans' highest charter in their native Sweden made it all the way to #2. Many would be surprised to learn that it wasn't their worldwide megahit "Lovefool", or even their second best-known song "My Favourite Game". Rather, it was the completely forgotten cover of Talking Heads "Burning Down the House", a duet with Tom Jones. What is also surprising is that "Lovefool", despite being their biggest hit in every other country, never made it further than #15 back home, while "My Favourite Game" was a far bigger hit, reaching #3.
  • Coheed and Cambria have had six entries on the alternative charts (the highest-peaking being the #13 "A Favor House Atlantic"). However, their signature "Welcome Home" was the lowest-peaking of all of them, at #36, though it achieved a #25 on the Mainstream Rock chart, their highest peak there. The same holds true for the Hot 100, where "The Suffering" was their only song to touch the Bubbling Under chart.
  • Coldplay:
    • Overall they avert this, as their sole #1 was "Viva la Vida". They had two more Top 10 hits by themselves (thus discounting "Something Just Like This", their equally-credited collaboration with The Chainsmokers). Surely they were "Clocks" and "Yellow", right? Nope, those bowed out at #23 and #48 respectively. Those other hits were actually "Speed of Sound" and "A Sky Full of Stars". The former isn't even the best-known song from X&Y (an honor that likely goes to the #59 "Fix You").
    • The highest charting song from Mylo Xyloto? It has to be "Paradise". Nope, it was "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" (by one spot).
  • Counting Crows' only had one #1 single on the Modern Rock chart, but it wasn't "Mr. Jones" (#2) or "A Long December" (#5), but "Einstein on the Beach (For An Eggman)". "Einstein" is probably the single most obscure song to ever top the alternative chart, because it was taken from, of all things, a Geffen Records rarities compilation. Needless to say, the song was very quickly forgotten once it dropped off the chart.
  • Cracker only had one #1 hit on the modern rock charts, but it wasn't their signature "Low", which only hit #3, but the far less iconic "Teen Angst". This is averted on the Hot 100 as "Low" was their only entry on that chart, and the mainstream rock chart where it was their biggest hit by a long shot.
  • The Cranberries had three Top 40 hits. Of course, one was the iconic "Linger", but the other two surprisingly enough weren't "Zombie" and "Dreams", but the considerably lesser known Siamese Twin Songs "Free to Decide" and "When You're Gone", which hit #22 together. "Zombie" was an airplay-only single, while "Dreams" surprisingly petered out at #42; despite having great longevity as a recurrent, it wasn't as big as one would think.
  • The Cure
    • An interesting variation in the UK. Their iconic 1979 single "Boys Don't Cry" made the Top 40 in the UK in 1986... but only in a new and widely disliked re-recording that the band almost immediately regretted and is now difficult to find.
    • They had three top 40 hits in the U.S.: The #40 "Just Like Heaven", the #2 "Love Song", and the #16 "Friday I'm In Love". Despite the widely varying chart peaks, they are all equally iconic.
    • Indeed, considering its iconic status, "Just Like Heaven" wasn't even a particularly big hit in the UK either, only reaching #29. They've had four top ten singles in their home country, and while most Brits would correctly guess that two of those were "The Love Cats" and "Friday I'm In Love", the chances are that most would struggle to identify "Lullaby" and "High" as the others. "Lesser" hits like "In Between Days", "Close To Me" and "A Forest" are much better remembered.
    • Despite being perhaps their best known song, "Love Song" was only a smash hit in the United States. In the band's native UK, it missed the Top 10 and peaked at #18. In pretty much every other country where the band was a consistent chart presence, it was outpeaked by another Disintegration single, "Lullaby". That song is well remembered by fans of the band, but hasn't nearly had the staying power that "Love Song" has.
    • The highest charting single off their 1996 album Wild Mood Swings wasn't the pop song "Mint Car" (#58 US, #31 UK), but the messy, hookless "The 13th" (#44 US, #15 UK), now largely remembered as being the single that completely destroyed the band's momentum as a charting pop group in both countries.
  • The Dandy Warhols easily avert this, as their signature "Bohemian Like You" was their biggest hit in both the U.S. and the UK. Their second biggest hit must have been "We Used To Be Friends", right? Nope. It was "Not If You Were the Last Junkie On Earth". "Friends" is more known for being the Veronica Mars theme than for being a single, and in the U.S. it was never even promoted to radio. In the UK it is still their third highest charter (excluding a mashup of "Bohemian" with Mousse T.'s "Dandy" released in 2006).
  • Death Cab for Cutie have this on both the Hot 100 and alternative charts. "Soul Meets Body" was their highest-charting song on the former, reaching #60, while "You Are A Tourist" was their sole #1 on the latter. Neither song is as well-known as "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" or "I Will Possess Your Heart" - while the latter was their only other song to reach the Hot 100, "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" only reached #28 on the alternative charts, making it their second lowest-charting single since signing to Atlantic. "The Sound of Settling", which is considered to be their breakthrough single on the alternative radio format, did not make the Billboard modern rock chart. It too is better known and has more recurrent play than their only #1 on that chart.
  • Dropkick Murphys have only notched a solitary entry onto the Billboard alternative chart, but it wasn't their Platinum-certified single "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" or their Red Sox anthem "Tessie", but their quickly forgotten 2012 Christmas song "The Season's Upon Us".
  • Everclear's highest charter wasn't "Santa Monica" but rather "Wonderful". As "Wonderful" was the song that marked their transition from a firmly alternative post-grunge band to a more mainstream pop-rock act, it's not as well remembered as their earlier material. While "Santa Monica" was Everclear's only #1 on Mainstream Rock, their sole #1 on Alternative was… "Everything to Everyone", which is still well known (certainly more so than "Wonderful"), but not as much as "Father of Mine" or "I Will Buy You A New Life", let alone "Santa Monica".
  • Fall Out Boy's highest charter, "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race", is not only far away from being their Signature Song (being best remembered for its memetic mondegreens), it's not even the best known song off its parent album Infinity on High (that would be "Thnks fr the Mmrs", which peaked nine spots lower). This is especially odd, since "Scene"'s robust digital sales debut had it open one space short of topping the charts (it got stuck behind Beyoncé's "Irreplacable"). "Sugar, We're Goin' Down" and "Dance, Dance" (which are probably tied for the title of the band's signature) only reached #8 and #9, respectively.
  • Florence + the Machine's two top 10 alternative hits both reached #8: Of course, one was "Dog Days Are Over", but the other? "What Kind of Man". While still well-known, it's not exactly as iconic as "Shake It Out" or "You've Got The Love". Many Americans will also be surprised that "Days", "Shake", and "Kind" didn't do as well as they would expect in their native U.K., only reaching #23, #12, and #37 there, respectively. Their only UK #1 was "Spectrum (Say My Name)".
  • Foo Fighters:
    • Their highest-charting song is "Best of You", a classic but not as well-known as "Everlong" or "My Hero" (neither of which charted; in fact, they only reached the Top 40 on two other occasions, with "The Pretender" and "Learn to Fly"). In fact, of their three Top 40 hits, "Best of You" is likely the least-known of them.
    • They hit #1 on the alternative charts ten times and the mainstream rock charts six times. Impressive, but among that vast collection of #1 hits on both formats, none of them were "Everlong". Same can be said for "My Hero", though "The Pretender" topped both charts (ruling alternative for a then-record 18 weeks).
  • Fountains of Wayne easily avert this, as "Stacy's Mom" was, for the most part, their only song to chart anywhere and they are today considered a quintessential One-Hit Wonder of the 2000s. However, they had one bigger hit on the alternative charts — the 1996 #14 hit "Radiation Vibe" ("Mom" only made it to #33). That song is fondly remembered by critics and Power Pop fans, but doesn't have the same mainstream recognition as "Stacy's Mom".
  • "Only Happy When It Rains" is one of Garbage's most famous songs, but they actually had three bigger hits. While "Stupid Girl" (their only Top 40 entry) is still well-known, "Push It" and "Special" aren't nearly as well-remembered today.
  • Most people wouldn't be surprised to learn that Gin Blossoms only had one Top 10 hit. They will be surprised to learn however that it wasn't "Hey Jealousy", which only reached #25, but the somewhat less remembered "Follow You Down", a #9 hit. Although "Follow You Down" was a hit on its own, the real reason it peaked so high was that its CD single included "Til I Hear It From You", the band's hugely popular (at the time) contribution to the Empire Records soundtrack. The song was only available for sale as part of the film's soundtrack or on the CD single (you can read more about its weird release history here). The single was listed on the charts as a "Double A-side", which was rare for 1996, because both songs were getting airplay. Nowadays? Despite all of the hype and acclaim "Til I Hear It from You" received at the time, it's nowhere to be found as a radio recurrent, with "Hey Jealousy", "Found Out About You" and "Allison Road" all eclipsing it.
  • Goldfinger had three entries on the Alternative chart, but none of them were "Superman". The reason why "Superman" is considered their signature was because it featured on the iconic video game Tony Hawk's Pro Skater.
  • Good Charlotte had three Top 40 hits, yet surprisingly their signature "The Anthem" only reached #43. The biggest hit, "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous", is easily their runner-up, yet is not quite as well-known as "Anthem". Their other two hits? One was "Dance Floor Anthem (I Don't Want To Be in Love)", which is still well-known but not as much the former two, and probably not even their third best-known song (a title that likely goes to "Girls & Boys", which only reached #48). Their third hit, however? "The River", their collaboration with Avenged Sevenfold, which peaked at #39 and was almost instantly forgotten.
  • Green Day:
    • It's not surprising that "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" reached #2, but what is surprising is that none of their 90s songs - including "Basket Case", their breakthrough pop radio hit "When I Come Around" or "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" - ever touched the Hot 100. They only hit the airplay charts because of rules against songs not released as physical singles. Nevertheless, "Good Riddance", which just missed top 10 in airplay, is still very well-known.
    • From American Idiot, the two top ten hits off the album were "Boulevard" and "Wake Me Up When September Ends". The last top 40 hit must be the title track. Nope, it only peaked at #61 because it was released as a single shortly before Billboard started including iTunes sales in their chart algorithm (it likely would have gone to #1 had its Itunes sales counted). Their third top 40 off the album was "Holiday", "Boulevard"'s Siamese Twin Song, which is far from forgotten, but not quite as iconic as the title track.
    • They've had five #1 hits on mainstream rock. The first of which was "Boulevard", which isn't too surprising, nor is it all that surprising that their second was "Holiday". The third was "Know Your Enemy" from 21st Century Breakdown, which isn't even the best-known song from its parent album (see below). As for the fourth and fifth? "Bang Bang" and "Still Breathing", both released in 2016, years after their prime.
    • 21st Century Breakdown only produced one song that topped both the modern and mainstream rock charts, but it wasn't "21 Guns" (which only hit #3 and #17 respectively), but rather "Know Your Enemy", which isn't quite as well-known. Averted on the Hot 100 where "Guns" was the bigger hit than "Enemy".
    • Back on Alternative radio, they've scored eleven #1 singles, yet "Good Riddance" fell just short at #2.
  • A weird variation with The Hives. Their #6 alternative hit and sole Hot 100 entry "Hate to Say I Told You So" is easily their most famous song stateside, but Americans would be surprised to learn that back home in Sweden it never charted at all. Their biggest hit there is the #4 "A Christmas Duel", a duet with Cyndi Lauper of all people. They also had a #19 with "Walk Idiot Walk" but it's mostly forgotten outside their fanbase, and the only other song most people can name is "Tick Tick Boom" (due to how many times it was used in the media), which only barely scraped the alternative charts.
  • Imagine Dragons' only #1 on the Hot Pop Songs chart wasn't "Radioactive", which only hit #2, but "Demons". Back on the Hot 100, though, "Radioactive" is their champion, having hit #3 to "Demons"' #6.
  • Incubus is an aversion. Their signature "Drive" was their only Top 40 hit and the first of four #1s on modern rock. However, what were the other three? "Megalomaniac", "Anna Molly"… and then there's "Love Hurts", which isn't nearly as well known as songs that didn't hit the top like "Pardon Me", "Stellar", "Wish You Were Here" and "Dig".
  • James Bay downplays this trope. He scored his first American Top 40 hit in July 2016 with the #16 "Let It Go" (not to be confused with the legendary song from Frozen). However, it has not overshadowed his Breakthrough Hit "Hold Back the River" in public consciousness, despite the fact that it never charted on the Hot 100 (falling just short at #101). Instead, they're known roughly the same, which is notable considering they're eons apart in terms of chart peaks.
  • Jet's only #1 on both the mainstream and alternative rock songs chart was not their signature "Are You Gonna Be My Girl", but "Cold Hard Bitch", although the former was their highest charting song on the Hot 100. Still, "Bitch" is easily better remembered than the band's other top 40 hit, "Look What You've Done".
  • Johnny Marr is one of the most iconic guitarists in the Alternative Rock genre. Yet, in his entire career, he only performed on just two top 40 hits in the United States, and neither of them were with The Smiths (who never charted at all in America) or his tenure with Modest Mouse (who never made the Top 40): The first was "Kiss and Tell", a #31 hit for former Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry, on which he played lead guitar as a session musician (Marr did quite a bit of session work, but this was the only time he made the Top 40 as one). The second was the #38 hit "Getting Away with It" by Electronic, a supergroup he was in with New Order singer Bernard Sumner and occasionally Pet Shop Boys frontman Neil Tennant. Needless to say, neither song is nearly as well known as most of The Smiths or Modest Mouse singles he played on, or for that matter the music of the Smiths' other face Morrissey.
  • Keane is easily an aversion, as their signature "Somewhere Only We Know" was the band's biggest hit in both the US and UK. But on the alternative charts, "Somewhere" was beaten out by "Is It Any Wonder?", which hit #18 to the former's #32. While the two songs were of relatively equal status when they were released (with "Somewhere" being stronger on adult pop and "Wonder" on rock radio), the former is by far the better-known song today.
  • The Killers avert this trope overall, as "Mr. Brightside" was their only Top 10 hit — but "Somebody Told Me" only hit #51. The two are just as equally iconic despite the 41-spot difference in their peaks. Their other two top 40 hits, "When You Were Young" (a #14 hit) and "Human" (#32), are still two of of their best-known songs, although not as much as the either of the former two.
  • Kings of Leon had two top 40 hits, "Use Somebody" and… the almost-equally iconic "Sex On Fire"? Nope, "Radioactive".
    • Not only that, but the band had terrible luck early in their career on alternative radio. Before "Sex on Fire", only one of their singles made the top 40 of Billboard's alternative charts. It wasn't "Molly's Chambers", "Four Kicks" or "On Call", but the considerably less remembered "The Bucket".
  • The La's' "There She Goes" never reached the Top 40 in the United States, with a remix of it falling just short at #49. While this is an aversion for The La's as it was their only chart entry, a version of it did crack the Top 40 stateside. That version being by Christian Rock band Sixpence None the Richer, which hit #32. Today, Sixpence is solely remembered for "Kiss Me", their one original hit, while the original by The La's gets all the airplay today.
  • Lana Del Rey had three Top 40 hits: "Summertime Sadness", "Young & Beautiful" and… "Video Games"? "Born To Die"? "Blue Jeans"? Nope, it was "West Coast".
  • Marianas Trench had two top 10 hits in their native Canada… "Cross My Heart" and "All to Myself", right? They were actually "Haven't Had Enough" (still fairly well-known, if not on the level of the first two) and "Say Anything"; the latter, their biggest hit at #3, was released when the Canadian charts relied solely on sales of physical singles.
  • Matt and Kim had two minor hits on alternative radio. Surely one of them had to be their signature "Daylight"? Believe or not it never charted (though it was their only Hot 100 entry, peaking at #95). Their two songs to chart on alternative are "Let's Go" and "Get It", none of which are even their second best-known song ("Cameras").
  • Metric's highest charter on the U.S. Alternative charts hit #11, but it wasn't "Help, I'm Alive" or even "Gold, Guns, Girls", but the completely forgotten "Breathing Underwater" from 2013 after their popularity waned considerably.
  • Midnight Oil is labeled as a One-Hit Wonder in America due to "Beds Are Burning". And yet their only chart-topper in the U.S. is a later single, "Blue Sky Mine" (both Mainstream Rock, where "Beds Are Burning" hit #6, and Alternative, which didn't exist at the time of the other song).
  • Modest Mouse's biggest hit on the Hot 100 wasn't "Float On", but rather "Dashboard", which is easily their second-best known hit but still not quite as iconic as "Float On". While "Float On" was one of two #1s on alternative, "Dashboard" wasn't the other one, but rather "Lampshades on Fire".
  • Mumford & Sons had three Top 40 hits: "I Will Wait", "The Cave" and… "Little Lion Man"? Actually, that only reached #45. The third Top 40 hit was "Believe", which was forgotten as soon as it finished its run.
  • Muse:
    • They're an aversion overall. Their signature "Uprising" was their sole Top 40 entry and they've been a mainstay of alternative radio since Absolution. However, "Feeling Good" and "Butterflies and Hurricanes" never charted anywhere in the U.S. despite being generally well-known. "Feeling Good" didn't chart in America largely because their Origin of Symmetry album wasn't released at all there until 2005, owing to Executive Meddling.
    • Black Holes and Revelations produced three Top 10 hits on alternative radio. Believe it or not, "Knights of Cydonia", which is easily the most enduring song off the album, was actually the lowest charting of the three, only making the Top 10 at exactly #10. The other two, "Starlight" and "Supermassive Black Hole" placed #2 and #6 respectively. While they're not forgotten, they aren't quite as well-known as "Cydonia".
    • Additionally, none of these songs listed here were their highest charting on mainstream rock. That honor goes to 2015/16's "Reapers", which was distributed exclusively to mainstream rock radio. It's virtually unknown outside their fanbase and that audience and even less known than the album's big alternative hit, "Dead Inside".
  • My Chemical Romance averts this, as "Welcome to the Black Parade" was their biggest hit on both the pop and rock charts. They had one other top 40 hit, "Helena", which while still well-known isn't on the level of "Sing" or "Teenagers". Also of note, "Teenagers" wasn't a top 10 hit on alternative, as it only landed at #13.
  • Nerf Herder had one minor alternative rock radio hit in the mid-to-late '90s. It must've been the Buffy theme, right? Nope, it's the much less memorable "Van Halen". While it is probably their best known song, the full version of the Buffy theme is just over a minute long and entirely instrumental, which would make it an unlikely fit for radio even if it were ever officially promoted as a single in the first place.
  • Nine Inch Nails
    • They only had one song hit the Top 20, "The Day the World Went Away", driven entirely by the huge sales of its CD single (the song didn't even chart on the alternative chart, which isn't surprising, considering its a wildly uncommercial Noise Rock song). Suffice to say, it's not nearly as iconic as songs like "Closer", "Hurt", "March of the Pigs", "Happiness in Slavery", "Head Like a Hole", or "The Hand That Feeds". It should also be noted that only the lattermost song was a #1 hit (their first of four) on the alternative rock charts (and their only other top 40 hit, hitting #31).
    • The highest charting song from Year Zero is "Survivalism", its lead single. It hit #1 on the alternative charts but plummeted down afterwards, and is today nowhere near as memorable as its follow-up "Capital G", which only made it to #6.
  • Nirvana:
    • They avert this trope, as their legendary "Smells Like Teen Spirit" peaked at #6 on the Hot 100, and was their first of five #1's on Modern Rock radio. However, "Spirit" wasn't their only #1 hit on mainstream rock (it only peaked at #7); it was actually "You Know You're Right", released eight years after Cobain's death. Also surprising is the fact that they've outpeaked it on that chart five different times with "Come As You Are", "In Bloom", "Heart-Shaped Box", "Rape Me/All Apologies", and "About a Girl".
    • Not quite so averted on a larger scale though, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is easily the most remembered song of 1992 if not of the 90s in general (as stated by such sources as VH-1) and is by far the most streamed song of the '90s on Spotify. It was just the #32 song of 1992 on the Billboard Year-End Chart. While some of the songs that beat it are still well known (like "Baby Got Back", "Under The Bridge", "Black or White", "Life Is a Highway", or "Jump Around"), others are pretty much forgotten (like "All 4 Love", "I Love Your Smile", "Masterpiece", and "Live And Learn").
    • Some of "Teen Spirit"'s low chart peaks were because Top 40 radio was still a major part of the Hot 100, and "Teen Spirit" didn't do too well on that front: Many pop stations of the day balked at its abrasive sound and only played it late at night, if at all. The result? While a top 10 hit on the Hot 100 due to its huge single sales numbers, it peaked at just #41 on the airplay charts. Their biggest pop radio hit was the unplugged version of "About a Girl", which made it to #22 despite being ineligible for the Hot 100 because there was no physical single for sale.
    • Not even the chart it made #1 on is safe from this. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" topped the Modern Rock chart for just a single week in November of 1991...and was then promptly dethroned by U2's "Mysterious Ways", which sat at the top spot for the next nine weeks. In those nine weeks, "Teen Spirit" arguably became more popular than when it was at the top of that chart (its Hot 100 peak happened in this time frame) — and while "Mysterious Ways" remains iconic, it still isn't close to the legendary status of "Teen Spirit".
  • No Doubt's highest-charting single reached #3. "Don't Speak"? No, it was "Underneath It All". "Don't Speak" was ineligible to enter the Hot 100 due to a lack of a physical single release (if it had, it would have very likely been a #1 hit). "Just A Girl" (which peaked at #23) and "Spiderwebs" (which also had no physical single release) are probably also better remembered than "Underneath it All" or their other two top 10 hits, "Hey Baby" and their cover of Talk Talk's "It's My Life". Lead singer Gwen Stefani is an aversion, as her signature song "Hollaback Girl" was her only #1 hit.
  • Oasis:
    • "Wonderwall" was not amongst their eight #1 hit singles in the UK, but it was their biggest hit across the pond.
    • While "Wonderwall" is Oasis's best known song on both sides of the Atlantic, their runner-ups are different, and each performed relatively poorly in the other country. In the UK, their second best known song is "Don't Look Back in Anger", which only hit #10 in the U.S. alternative charts and stalled in the 50s of the overall airplay charts. Meanwhile, in America, "Champagne Supernova" is what they're probably better recognized for. It unfortunately wasn't a hit anywhere else it charted, and wasn't released as a single at all in the UK.
  • The Offspring had three #1 hits on the Alternative charts. It's no surprise that two of them were "Come out and Play" and "You're Gonna Go Far Kid", but the third? "Hit That", which is nowhere near as iconic as some of their songs that missed the top like "Self-Esteem" and "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)". Their two #1 hits on the Mainstream Rock charts were "Gone Away", a 1997 song that's not forgotten but not as well known as their bigger hits, and "Coming For You", which was released in 2015, long after their peak in relevance.
  • Panic! at the Disco:
    • They've managed two Top 40 hits: "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" and… "Nine in the Afternoon", right? Nope, that fizzled at #51. The other Top 40 hit was "Hallelujah", which only reached #40 and was instantly forgotten. It isn't even the best-known song from its parent album (see below).
    • Death of a Bachelor had three charting singles: "Hallelujah", "Emperor's New Clothes" and "Victorious". The latter is easily the best-known, but it actually peaked the lowest of the three.
    • They had three Top 10 hits on the alternative charts, but "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" only reached #12.
  • What was Pearl Jam's highest charting hit? Was it "Alive," "Even Flow", or "Jeremy"? Actually it wasn't any of them, but a cover of the 60's standard "Last Kiss". Furthermore, none of those three songs or even "Last Kiss" ever topped the Modern or Mainstream Rock charts, with "Daughter" being the first Pearl Jam song to top both charts.
    • Unlike a lot of artists here who were denied Hot 100 placements of their big hits due to an unintended consequence of Executive Meddling, it was actually Pearl Jam themselves who requested their most popular songs not be released as singles. Despite several of their songs having huge pop radio airplay — particularly "Better Man", "Daughter" and "Jeremy" — the only songs the group ever released as physical singles were noisy, heavy or experimental rock songs like "Spin the Black Circle" or "Who You Are", which all sold in high quantities and made the Top 40 despite minimal airplay. They eventually released some of their most popular songs as singles long after interest waned: "Jeremy" in 1995 (it still made #79 on the Hot 100) and "Alive" in 1999 (it didn't chart). The band relaxed their stance towards singles around the release of "Last Kiss", which resulted in its huge sales and radio airplay; The song not appearing on any studio albums drove its sales and it remains their best selling single. Shortly thereafter, the Hot 100 allowed songs not released as singles to chart, and the lead singles off of most their subsequent albums have all narrowly missed the top 40 until rock in general stopped crossing over.
  • The Pixies highest charting song on modern rock? "Here Comes Your Man", which hit #3. It's not nearly as well known as "Where Is My Mind?", "Monkey Gone to Heaven", and "Debaser". In fact, "Where Is My Mind?" was never released as a single, while "Debaser" never charted. Though "Monkey Gone to Heaven" did make Top 5, it was outpeaked by the even less well-remembered "Velouria".
  • Placebo had two entries on the alternative charts: "Pure Morning" and… "Every You Every Me"? No, it was the far less well-remembered "Infra-Red".
  • The Postal Service only had one entry on the Billboard Alternative chart, but it wasn't their Platinum-certified single "Such Great Heights" or its two equally well known follow-ups "We Will Be Become Silhouettes" and "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight". Instead, the song was their one-off reunion single "A Tattered Line of String" from 2013. The three songs didn't become alternative radio standards until years after their release, and their popularity is why "Tattered" even charted in the first place. "Tattered" has since faded into obscurity while the other three songs, and "Such Great Heights" in particular, continue to be massive radio recurrents on the format.
  • The Presidents of the United States of America's only Top 40 hit, and by extension their only Hot 100 entry, is "Peaches". Today, it's not quite as iconic as its predecessor, "Lump" (although still well-known enough to make VH-1's 100 Greatest Songs of the '90s). At the time of their release, the two songs had roughly the same popularity, but only "Peaches" was eligible for the Hot 100. Averted on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, where "Lump" outpeaked "Peaches" by 16 spots, and on the alternative chart, where "Lump" was their only #1 hit.
  • Radiohead barely had two Top 40 hits. The highest-charting, of course, was "Creep" at #34. Their only other Top 40 hit, "Nude", peaked at #37 in 2008, due to sales of fan-made remixes made for a competition. It isn't nearly as iconic as "Karma Police" or "Paranoid Android".
  • Republica only had one Top 10 hit in their native UK. Surprisingly, it wasn't "Ready to Go", which only reached #13. Instead, their sole Top 10 was the long-forgotten "Drop Dead Gorgeous", a #7 hit. Easily averted stateside, where "Ready to Go" hit #7 on the alternative charts and #56 on the Hot 100, compared to "Drop Dead Gorgeous" only reaching #39 and #93 respectively. Not to mention, "Ready to Go" was used in numerous media in America at the time (while "Drop Dead Gorgeous" was not), further making it better known to the US. While "Ready to Go" has always been the only song by them most Americans can name, even in the UK it's become all they're remembered for.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers:
    • Overall they avert this trope, as "Under the Bridge" (from Blood Sugar Sex Magik) and "Dani California" (from Stadium Arcadium) were their biggest Top-10 hits. Their third top 10 hit was from their album Californication, but it wasn't the title track (which peaked at #69). The correct answer was the #9 "Scar Tissue", another classic that isn't quite as well-remembered as "Californication".
    • The Red Hot Chili Peppers have had many #1 singles on both rock formats (including 13 on the alternative chart, the most of any artist), yet none of them were "Under the Bridge".
    • The band has performed "Give It Away" (which wasn't among their nine Top 40 hits) live the most out of any other song - about 750 times in 25 years - even beating out "Under the Bridge", which has been performed about 650 times. While "Give It Away" was their first of twelve #1's on Modern Rock, it is seen as an example of Early Installment Weirdness since it mimics the band's old style far more than their newer Alternative Rock concerns. Still, the band performed it at Super Bowl XLVIII alongside Bruno Mars.
    • In fact, the other singles from Blood Sugar Sex Magik - "Breaking the Girl", "Suck My Kiss", and "Soul to Squeeze"note  - are played regularly today on old rock stations, surpassing even "Give It Away". However, only "Soul to Squeeze" was a Top 40 hit on the Hot 100, and that didn't live up to the popularity of "Give It Away", let alone "Under the Bridge".
  • Rise Against:
    • They only had one chart entry — 2011's "Help Is on the Way", which peaked at #87. It's also their highest charter on both alternative and mainstream rock, peaking at #2 and #6 respectively. However, while not forgotten, it's not as well known as songs like "Savior" and "Prayer of the Refugee". Nor is it quite as well-known as "Hero of War", "Swing Life Away", and "Give It All".
    • Many would be surprised that "Give It All", one of their best-known songs, barely scraped the alternative charts with a #37 peak. Part of the reason why it's so well-known is the fact that it was featured in the blockbuster smash video game Need for Speed: Underground 2.
  • The Script had four top 40 hits (including their signature "Breakeven"), but "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" only reached #86.
  • Silversun Pickups play this straight and avert it. Their signature "Panic Switch" was their only Hot 100 entry and sole #1 on alternative. However their other signature "Lazy Eye" stalled at #5 on alternative, beaten by the less memorable #3 "The Pit" and #4 "Nightlight".
  • The Smashing Pumpkins' biggest hit chartwise was "1979", which peaked at #12 and topped both rock charts. It's a classic, but it isn't as well-known as "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" (#22 on the Hot 100, #2 on Alternative radio, and #4 on Mainstream Rock). "1979" is still their second best-known song, however. Their third best-known song, "Today", reached #56 on Hot 100 Airplay, #4 on Alternative and only #28 on Mainstream rock.
  • Smash Mouth had three Top 40 hits – "All Star", their cover of "I'm a Believer" and… "Walkin' on the Sun"? Nope, it wasn't eligible to chart due to the lack of a physical release. It almost certainly would've been a Top 10 hit had it been a physical single. Their other Top 40 was the completely forgotten "Then the Morning Comes", which actually peaked at #11 or fourteen spaces higher than "Believer". Additionally, "Sun" was their only #1 hit on the alternative charts, but isn't quite as well known as "All Star", which only reached #2. Averted on the mainstream chart where "All Star" was their only Top 10 hit.
  • Sonic Youth are technically a No-Hit Wonder, never having a single song chart on the Hot 100. They did, however, have some success on the modern rock charts, where five songs charted. Their signature "Kool Thing" was one of the two that reached the top ten. The other top ten hit? "100%", which, while not forgotten in their fanbase, is not nearly as iconic as "Teen Age Riot", "Dirty Boots" or "Sugar Kane".
  • Soundgarden's signature "Black Hole Sun" was their highest charter, but they had other songs that charted higher than their other well-known songs such as "Outshined", "Rusty Cage", "Spoonman", and "Fell On Black Days". This includes their other two '90s mainstream rock hits, namely "Burden In My Hand" and "Blow Up the Outside World" from Down on the Upside, and three of their comeback singles in the '10s topped the charts, but aren't nearly as well-known.
  • 90s rock group The Soup Dragons are largely known for their Baggy cover of The Rolling Stones song "I'm Free". They actually had a song top it two years later, when "Divine Thing" hit #35 in the US and #2 on the alt-rock charts, compared to "I'm Free" only hitting #70 and #3, respectively. It's a rare case where a so-called One-Hit Wonder's biggest hit is not their "one hit".
  • The Starting Line's only entry on the Alternative charts wasn't "The Best of Me", but rather the long forgotten "Island (Float Away)" four years later.
  • Staind is a total aversion, as their signature "It's Been Awhile" peaked at #5 and ruled both rock charts (20 weeks on mainstream, and 16 on alternative). Most people would guess that "Outside", which is easily their second best-known song, also topped rock radio and was their only other Top 40 hit, when in truth it bubbled under and stalled in the tens on rock radio. The correct answer is "So Far Away", which isn't quite as known. To be fair, a version of "Outside" did top the mainstream rock charts, placed #2 on alternative, and reached #56 on the Hot 100... but it wasn't credited to Staind. Instead it was a live version performed by frontman Aaron Lewis with credited backing vocals from Fred Durst on the Family Values tour. This version topped the charts before the official version from Staind, or even its parent album, was ever released.
    • Lewis himself qualifies with his Country Music releases. His most commercially successful country song was "Country Boy", which was RIAA certified platinum despite only reaching #50 on the country charts; by comparison, both "Endless Summer" and "Forever" barely notched the top 40. "Country Boy" is also the lower-peaking of his two entries on the Hot 100, behind "Outside".
  • Stone Temple Pilots' only #1 hit on the alternative rock chart was neither "Plush" nor "Interstate Love Song", but "Between The Lines", their last major hit with Scott Weiland. This is subverted on the mainstream rock charts, where "Lines" only hit #2 and the former two were among their seven #1 hits.
  • The Strokes' only Hot 100 entry was "Juicebox", which isn't nearly as well known as "Last Nite". Averted on the alternative charts, where their sole Top 5 was "Last Nite", though played straight to an extent as "Juicebox" placed #9 but isn't even their second most well known song. That honor likely goes to either "Reptilia" (#19) or "Someday" (#17).
  • Sugar Ray scored four Top 40 hits on the Hot 100: "Every Morning", "Someday", "When It's Over" and… "Fly", right? Actually, "Fly" spent six weeks on top of the Hot 100 airplay chart, but it never appeared on the Hot 100 because it was never released as a physical single. If not for this rule, it could've potentially topped that chart. That fourth Top 40 hit was "Falls Apart", which, due to sounding more like the band's original punk-funk-metal sound, is mostly forgotten today.
  • Switchfoot had two #5 hits on the Alternative charts, "Meant to Live" and…"Dare You To Move"? Nope, "Dark Horses". This is averted, however, on the Hot 100, where "Live" hit #18 and "Move" landed just one spot higher, and both songs are remembered almost equally.
  • Supergrass had just one alternative chart entry, but surprisingly, it wasn't their Signature Song "Alright", despite that song's huge airplay on MTV and college radio. Instead, "Cheapskate", released as a single only in the United States, squeaked in at #35 in 1997. That song is completely obscure now, and "Alright" (and to a lesser extent, "Richard III") gets massive airplay as a recurrent.
  • TV on the Radio managed to get a #27 hit on the alternative charts. "Wolf Like Me"? Actually, it was "Happy Idiot" in 2014. The former peaked 10 spaces lower.
  • Twenty One Pilots have had three top 5 hits: their signature "Stressed Out", "Ride" and "Heathens". Those are easily their three best-known songs, but many would be surprised to hear that their fourth most-famous song, their Breakthrough Hit "Tear in My Heart", only reached #82.
  • Two Door Cinema Club managed two minor hits on alternative radio in the United States, but neither of them were "Something Good Can Work". They were "What You Know" and "Sleep Alone", neither of which are well-remembered today.
  • U2 had six top 10 hits in the U.S. Five of them are classics: "With or Without You", "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (their two #1's), "One", "Mysterious Ways", and "Desire". Then there's "Discotheque", which is all but forgotten today and far less remembered than non-top 10s like "New Years Day", "Sunday Bloody Sunday", "Pride", "Where the Streets Have No Name", "Beautiful Day", and "Vertigo", to name a few.
  • Vampire Weekend's signature "A-Punk" only reached #25 on the alternative chart. Their only Top 10 is the much less well-known "Unbelievers" and two other songs of theirs also outranked "A-Punk" on the charts. Also played straight on the Hot 100; although they never made it out of the "bubbling under" charts, "Horchata" charted a few spots higher than "A-Punk", largely due to it being the first song released off their then-heavily anticipated second album Contra.
  • Wavves had a song scrape the bottom of the alternative charts. "Nine Is God"? It was actually "Demon to Lean On", which isn't quite as well-known. To be fair, "Nine is God" was never made for any of their original material and its fame comes from the fact that it was made for the megahit video game Grand Theft Auto V.
  • The Wallflowers were among the victims of the rules against songs not released as physical singles: as such Signature Song "One Headlight" was excluded from the Hot 100 - it topped the rock charts and hit #2 on the airplay one - and the band's only entry there is the far less known "Sleepwalker" (#73).
  • Weezer:
    • Their only pop hit came in 2005 with their #10 hit "Beverly Hills", which also became their first #1 hit on the alternative side. While it introduced Weezer to a new generation of listeners, it isn't as well remembered as some of their songs from the '90s, namely "Buddy Holly" and "Say It Ain't So".
    • Speaking of "Say It Ain't So", it only reached #51 on the airplay chart and #7 on alternative charts, and did not cross over to pop radio like "Beverly Hills" and to a lesser extent "Buddy Holly" did. Despite the vast difference in peaks ("Buddy Holly" reached #2 on alternative, #18 on airplay, and #17 on pop), they're roughly equals in how iconic they are, and moreso than "Beverly Hills". And that's not without comparing its icon status to "Pork and Beans" and "Perfect Situation", their other #1 alternative hits (the former is better known for its meme-themed video than the song itself).
    • Fewer will realize that their only Top 10 hit on mainstream rock was "Back to the Shack" in 2014, years after their peak.
  • The White Stripes' only top 40 hit on the Hot 100 was the #26 "Icky Thump" in 2007, thanks to strong first week sales; while hardly obscure, it is today nowhere near as iconic as their 2003 classic "Seven Nation Army", which stalled at a less-impressive #76. Ironically enough, "Army" has become the only song they are known for to the public at large.
  • X Ambassadors' biggest hit was the #15 "Sucker for Pain" from the Suicide Squad soundtrack, which was also equally credited to rappers Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign and Logic as well as fellow indie rock group Imagine Dragons. Because it's a collaboration that is more likely to be associated with anyone but them, and was made for a movie rather than one of their own albums, it's unlikely it'll displace the #17 "Renegades" as their signature or even the #20 "Unsteady" as runner-up.
  • You Me at Six is an example on both sides of the Atlantic:
    • Their only U.S. hit is the #4 rock hit "Room To Breathe". While it's easily their best known song in the U.S., it's not even close to being it in the U.K. — American audiences will be surprised that "Room To Breathe" was the least successful of their sixteen charting songs, peaking at a measly #182.
    • This is a straighter example in their native UK — They've had five Top 40 hits there and eleven songs reach the Top 100, with the highest charter being the #11 "Lived a Lie", but their signature "Bite My Tongue" only reached #124.

    Comedy 
  • Country Music parodist Cledus T. Judd never had much chart success, with most of his popularity coming from comedic music videos released throughout the mid-90s. His 1996 breakthrough album I Stoled This Record even managed to go gold despite having no chart singles at all. So what is his highest chart ranking? His spoof of Toby Keith's "I Love This Bar" titled "I Love NASCAR", featuring Keith himself on guest vocals, at #48 — which charted in late 2004, well after Judd's career had peaked.
  • The Lonely Island's only Top 40 hit wasn't "I'm On A Boat", but rather "I Just Had Sex" (which faded into obscurity when featured artist Akon's career took a beating — although T-Pain's reputation hasn't exactly helped the former either).
  • Ray Stevens averts this overall, as "The Streak" and the Black Sheep Hit "Everything Is Beautiful" both hit #1 on the Hot 100, with the former, along with his cover of "Misty" and "Shriner's Convention" comprising his three Top 10 hits at country. But some of his classics, such as "Mississippi Squirrel Revival", "It's Me Again, Margaret", and "Would Jesus Wear a Rolex" didn't chart as highly — the former only got to #20 on the country charts, and the latter two failed to crack the top 40. Also, "Everything Is Beautiful" only got to #39 on the country charts despite being more successful in other formats.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's more famous songs tend to fall under this. "Dare to Be Stupid" didn't chart at all, while "I Lost on Jeopardy" and "Fat" only scraped the very bottom of the Hot 100. Conversely, "King of Suede" got to #62, but is far more obscure than some of his songs which didn't chart (it's the only single of his that hit the Hot 100 but does not have an article on The Other Wiki). That said, "White & Nerdy", one of his most famous songs, is also his highest charting.

    Country 
Country Music artists in general are prone to this for several reasons. First off, few country singles were issued as physical releases, thus rendering them ineligible for the Hot 100 until 1998. Also, even among those that did cross over and/or have physical singles, country was woefully under-represented in the Hot 100 for many years.

Even within the country genre itself, the charts in The '80s were determined entirely from submission of radio playlists, thus meaning that songs that did get to #1 inched their way up the Top 10 one rung at a time, then fell drastically after a single week at the top. As a result, many songs that would certainly have been monstrous hits back then did not get the long runs that their longevity would have indicated. The charts began to be tracked via Nielsen SoundScan in January 1990, which digitally tracks airplay among stations monitored by Billboard.

Also, in 2012, the Billboard country chart was split into two separate charts: one keeping the old methodology of tracking only airplay (Country Airplay), and one tracking digital downloads, crossover airplay, streaming, etc., similarly to the Hot 100 (Hot Country Songs, the former name of the airplay-only chart). As a result, many songs have vast discrepancies in their Country Airplay vs. Country Songs peaks, particularly songs that do well in airplay but poorly in downloads/sales or vice-versa.

Finally, from 2009 to 2017, all syndicated country countdown shows (American Country Countdown, Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40, etc.) used the Mediabase country charts (ACC reverted to using Country Airplay in August 2017), which have significant overlap in which stations they survey, but have slightly different tabulation methodologies that are easier to manipulate. As a result, countless songs in The New '10s have gotten last-minute pushes to the highest possible position on the Mediabase chart, which often undercuts their position on Billboard.

  • Trace Adkins' most famous song by far is "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk", but it's not his highest-charting at country (he has four #1 country hits, and "Badonkadonk" only got to #2, having been blocked by "Jesus, Take the Wheel"). It isn't even his biggest hit on the Hot 100, where its #30 peak is eclipsed by the #12 peak of "You're Gonna Miss This" (which did get to #1 at country, and was such a huge hit largely because Adkins was on The Celebrity Apprentice at the time of its release). To a lesser extent, "Every Light in the House" is still one of his most famous songs on country radio despite only reaching #3 on the country charts, and "Rough & Ready" was popular enough to become his first gold single despite a meager #13 peak.
  • You'd think Alabama would avert this, as all but two of their single releases in the entire decade of The '80s hit #1. However, one of those two exceptions, "My Home's in Alabama" at the start of the decade, is still one of their most famous songs despite peaking at #17. Conversely, their longest-lasting #1 hit is 1990's "Jukebox in My Mind", which is seldom thought of as one of their cornerstone songs, due to it coming after they became much Lighter and Softer near the turn of the decade. (It was also their first #1 after the change to Nielsen SoundScan.)
  • Lauren Alaina's highest entry on the Hot 100 is not her Breakthrough Hit "Road Less Traveled" nor her guest appearance on Kane Brown's own breakthrough hit "What Ifs", but rather her debut single "Like My Mother Does", which got to #20 on the Hot 100 due to initial buzz following her coronation as the runner up on American Idol Season 10. Averted on Country Airplay, where "Road" became her first #1 in 2017.
  • Before he focused his efforts on songwriting, Rhett Akins had two top 10 hits, one of which got all the way to #1. It was not the still frequently-played "That Ain't My Truck", but rather the much lesser known "Don't Get Me Started".
  • Jason Aldean:
    • His debut single "Hicktown" is still one of his most famous songs, despite only reaching #10. Also, "My Kinda Party" only got to #2 because the Kelly Clarkson duet "Don't You Wanna Stay" started taking off prematurely, thus leeching airplay from "Party".
    • On the Hot 100, this is overall averted, as the very popular "Dirt Road Anthem" is his highest showing at #7 (although this is mainly due to it being remixed with Ludacris). However, some may be surprised that his second-highest Hot 100 peaks are "Take a Little Ride" and "Burnin' It Down", both of which got to #12 on the Hot 100 (and #1 on the country charts). This is because both were lead singles that got huge first-week spikes before tapering off.
  • Gary Allan has topped the country charts four times, but none of them were "Smoke Rings in the Dark", "Right Where I Need to Be", "Best I Ever Had", or "Watching Airplanes", all better known than his first #1 hit "Man to Man". This also applies on the Hot 100, where "Man to Man" holds his highest peak of #25. "Best" and "Airplanes" are two of his only three singles to achieve RIAA certifications (the third of which is "Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)", which averts this by being a #1 country hit and his second-highest Hot 100 hit).
  • Deborah Allen's highest charted hit was not "Baby I Lied", but rather its followup "I've Been Wrong Before", which got to #2. "Baby" is probably better remembered because it was her only crossover.
  • The Amazing Rhythm Aces' only top 10 on the country charts wasn't "Third Rate Romance", which fell one spot short, but the long-forgotten "Amazing Grace (Used to Be Her Favorite Song)". However, "Romance" was their only top 40 pop hit, and interest in the song was reignited when Sammy Kershaw covered it in 1994.
  • John Anderson had five #1 hits in his career. Four of them were obvious: his Signature Song "Swingin'" (also his only Hot 100 entry), plus "Black Sheep", "Straight Tequila Night" (which sparked a Career Resurrection in 1992 after a nearly six-year dry spell), and "Money in the Bank". The first of the five was "Wild and Blue", the predecessor to "Swingin'", which is nowhere near as well-remembered as "She Just Started Liking Cheatin' Songs" (#13), "I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I'm Gonna Be a Diamond Someday)" (#4), or "Seminole Wind" (#2).
  • Rodney Atkins' highest ranking on the Hot 100 does not belong to his signature songs "If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)" and "Watching You" (which were also the Billboard Year-End top country songs of 2006 and 2007 respectively, making him one of the only artists to get that honor two years in a row), but rather to the much lesser-known "Take a Back Road" in 2011, by which point his star had faded considerably. Meanwhile on the country charts, he's had four other #1 hits for a total of six — and one of those six is not fan favorite "Farmer's Daughter", but rather the far lesser-known "It's America" from 2008.
  • Bobby Bare's only #1 hit was the Shel Silverstein-penned "Marie Laveau". While somewhat well known, it isn't quite as famous as "Detroit City" or "500 Miles Away from Home", which are also his highest hits on the Hot 100 (barring the bizarre case of "All American Boy", which was erroneously credited to Bill Parsons). It also came much later in his career than those songs.
  • The Bellamy Brothers' debut single "Let Your Love Flow" only got to #21 on the country charts, but still gets a lot of recurrent airplay at both oldies and country because it was also their only #1 on the Hot 100. "Old Hippie" is also one of their most famous songs (to the point that they recorded two sequel songs) despite only hitting #2 at country.
  • Big & Rich hit the #1 spot on the country charts and top 40 of the Hot 100 only once...but it wasn't with their 2004 smash "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)", but rather with "Lost in This Moment". The latter is also a major Black Sheep Hit as it's a sensitive ballad, and most of their famous songs (including "Save a Horse") were novelties. For comparison, "Save a Horse" only got to #11 on the country charts (due in part to the Top 10 being ridiculously top-heavy) and #56 on the Hot 100. They hit the country Top 10 another time in 2014 with "Look at You" and got another #11 with its followup "Run Away with You", but these songs are not as remembered due to coming much later in their career (in a case of Later Installment Weirdness, both are ballads like "Moment"). In addition, their high positions were due to their independent label doggedly pushing them up the charts as long as possible (an increasingly common tactic in country music in The New '10s).
  • Clint Black has a huge catalog of Top 10 hits, including thirteen #1 hits, but his cover of Eagles' "Desperado" only got to #54. This is because "Desperado" was from a multi-artist tribute album and was never sent out as a single, but remained popular after the fact. Conversely, "Nobody's Home" is tied with "Like the Rain" as his longest-lasting #1 at three weeks, and was the top country hit of 1990 on the Billboard Year-End charts, but it's far from his most popular song (much lower ranking on iTunes, lesser rotation on classics formats, far fewer appearances on concert setlists even in The '90s).
  • Blackhawk's most popular song, "Goodbye Says It All", only got to #11. Four of their songs fared better: the still popular "Every Once in a While" and "I'm Not Strong Enough to Say No" both got to #2, while the #3 "Like There Ain't No Yesterday" and #4 "There You Have It" are far lesser known relative to the #9 "I Sure Can Smell the Rain" and #7 "That's Just About Right". "There You Have It" goes double, as it is their only hit on the Hot 100 at #41 despite being one of their most obscure songs overall.
  • Suzy Bogguss' most famous songs are her covers of Ian Tyson's "Someday Soon" and Nanci Griffith's "Outbound Plane", which only got to #12 and #9 respectively. She had five songs match or outpeak the latter, with her highest ranking going to the somewhat lesser known #2 "Drive South" (itself a cover of the Forester Sisters).
  • Debby Boone's only #1 hit on the country charts was not "You Light Up My Life", but rather the far more obscure "Are You on the Road to Lovin' Me Again". However, "Light" was her only #1 on the Hot 100.
  • Garth Brooks:
    • His only Top 40 pop hit is "Lost in You" from the abortive In The Life Of Chris Gaines project. This is because Garth rarely issued physical singles, thus causing many of his songs during his peak period to be ineligible for the Hot 100, and country radio airplay wasn't a major component of the Hot 100 until the late '90s. The highest he ever got on the Hot 100 as himself was the #46 peak of the long-forgotten "Wrapped Up in You" (which hit #5 country) in 2001, well after his career had peaked.
    • His only song to receive pop radio airplay during his peak was his 1994 cover of Kiss' "Hard Luck Woman", which he performed in a folk-pop style (and featured KISS themselves as his backing band!) that allowed it to squeak onto some Top 40 playlists (with its airplay chart peak of #26, it would have been his first Top 40 hit, but - you guessed it - it was ineligible for the Hot 100 since it wasn't issued as a physical single). The cover is considerably less known to audiences nowadays than "Friends in Low Places" or "The Thunder Rolls" or KISS' original version.
    • Meanwhile on the country charts, he sent thirteen songs to the penthouse, but no one would guess that this total includes the seldom-remembered "What She's Doing Now" (especially baffling, since it's tied with his Signature Song "Friends in Low Places" for his longest-lasting #1 at four weeks), "Somewhere Other Than the Night", and "She's Every Woman" (which zoomed to the top only because it was a lead single, then quickly fell from public consciousness). It's especially notable in that these are the only #1 hits not present on his 1998 Double Live album, which was otherwise a solid representation of his biggest hits. Meanwhile his total of #1 hits does not include such famous cuts as "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)", "Rodeo", "Papa Loved Mama", his cover of New Grass Revival's "Callin' Baton Rouge" (all of which can be found on Double Live), or his 2005 comeback hit "Good Ride Cowboy".
  • Brooks & Dunn has four gold-certified singles. Surprisingly, two of them were "Believe" and "Hillbilly Deluxe", which only got to #8 and #16 respectively... and are nowhere near as famous as the likes of "Brand New Man", "Boot Scootin' Boogie", "My Maria", "Ain't Nothing 'bout You", or "Red Dirt Road". In terms of airplay, "Lost and Found" and "Rock My World (Little Country Girl)" are still remembered quite fondly despite only hitting #6 and #2 respectively (and both are especially notable for being two of the only six singles in their entire career to be sung by Kix Brooks instead of Ronnie Dunn), while the #4 "Hard Workin' Man" is also fairly well-remembered due to it netting them their first Grammy. They avert this overall, as "Ain't Nothing 'bout You", "Boot Scootin' Boogie", and "My Maria" are their longest-tenured #1 hits, with "Ain't Nothing 'bout You" and the equally-iconic "Red Dirt Road" holding their highest Hot 100 rankings at #25.
  • Despite being his Breakthrough Hits, Luke Bryan's "Do I" and "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)" only got to #2 and #4 respectively. The latter is also his highest-certified single, at triple-platinum.
  • Jimmy Buffett has two #1 country hits and an additional Top 10, but none of these are his Signature Song "Margaritaville" — that only got to #13. However, it is his biggest hit on the Hot 100 at #8. His two #1 hits, though featured credits on other artists' singles that came very late in his career (Alan Jackson's "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" in 2003, and Zac Brown Band's "Knee Deep" in 2011), are well-known songs in their own right. However, the same can't be said of his third Top 10 entry, his 2004 cover of "Hey Good Lookin'" as a Massive Multiplayer Crossover featuring Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, and George Strait, which zoomed to #8 because of its star power before quickly falling from public consciousness.
  • Tracy Byrd had two #1 hits, but his three most iconic songs — "Watermelon Crawl", "The Keeper of the Stars", and "I'm from the Country" — are not among them. Instead, the honor goes to "Holdin' Heaven" (1993) and "Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo" (2001; also his only top 40 on the Hot 100). "Drinkin' Bone" is also one of his most popular recurrents despite only reaching #7, due in part to its very short play length of 2:12, which makes it ideal for radio stations that want to squeeze in one last song before the top of the hour.
  • Chris Cagle's only #1 hit was not "Chicks Dig It" (his most-downloaded song), "What Kinda Gone", "What a Beautiful Day", or "Miss Me Baby" (his most-viewed music video on YouTube), but rather "I Breathe In, I Breathe Out". Some of this may be due to "I Breathe In, I Breathe Out" existing only on a reissue of his debut album. "Look at What I've Done" is also an extremely popular song of his, despite never being released as a single.
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter had but one #1 hit in her career with "Shut Up and Kiss Me", which, while fairly memorable in its own right, is not as well-known as the #2 "Down at the Twist and Shout" and "He Thinks He'll Keep Her", or the #4 "I Feel Lucky" and "Passionate Kisses". Averted on the Hot 100, where "Passionate Kisses" is her highest showing at #57.
  • Jason Michael Carroll garnered tons of buzz for his debut single "Alyssa Lies". While it is his highest chart entry on Hot Country Songs at #5, it's not his highest Hot 100 ranking; that instead went to follow-up "Livin' Our Love Song", which ranked one rung lower on Hot Country Songs. Also, "Love Song" is his only gold single and not "Alyssa".
  • Jeff Carson had exactly one #1 hit out of his three visits to the Top 10, but it was not the iconic Tear Jerker "The Car" — instead, it was the now-forgotten ballad "Not on Your Love".
  • Johnny Cash:
    • He averts this on one hand, as many of his signature songs, including "Ring of Fire", "I Walk the Line", "Folsom Prison Blues" and "A Boy Named Sue", reached #1 on the country charts (with the latter being his biggest hit on the Hot 100, reaching #2). His cover of "Hurt", however? That didn't get any higher than #56. Other signature songs of his that didn't top the charts include the June Carter Cash duet "Jackson" (#2), "I Still Miss Someone" (which he never issued as a single, it was the B-Side to "Don't Take Your Guns To Town"; although many artists covered it over the years, Cash's is seen as the First and Foremost version), "Cry! Cry! Cry!" (#14), "Ragged Old Flag" (#31), and "Delia's Gone" (didn't chart).
    • Speaking of his cover of "Hurt", the original by Nine Inch Nails reached #8 on modern rock compared to Cash's cover only reaching #33. Today, while the Nine Inch Nails version is still well-known, it's the Cash version that's the most enduring; "That song isn't mine anymore", indeed.
  • Cash's longtime wife and collaborator June Carter Cash cut several songs both independently and with her husband. Many of them hit the country charts, including two that went to #2, but only one hit the top 40 of the Hot 100. Surely that one Top 40 hit was "Jackson", right? Nope, it was a cover of "If I Were a Carpenter".
  • Kenny Chesney has a long string of #1 hits that seem to fall from public consciousness as soon as their chart runs end (when's the last time you even remembered that "Live a Little" existed?). But on the other hand, his list of Signature Songs includes the #11 "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" and #2 "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems" and "I Go Back". Notably, the latter spent seven weeks in the #2 position, all of them behind "Live Like You Were Dying" — and the amount of airplay received by "I Go Back" while it held down the #2 position would have set a record for the most airplay ever received by a #1 country song had "Dying" not been garnering even more airplay those weeks! He also popularized Mac McAnally's "Back Where I Come From" despite never releasing it as a single, to the point that it appeared on his first Greatest Hits Album and was one of the only album cuts to remain in his set list for a significant period of time (by comparison, McAnally's version got to #14 in 1990). Meanwhile on the Hot 100, his highest peaks are "Out Last Night" and "The Boys of Fall" (#16 and #18 respectively), both of which were lead singles that quickly faded from public consciousness. He also averts this overall on the country charts, as his longest-lasting #1 hits are "The Good Stuff" (which was also the biggest country music hit of 2002 according to the Year-End charts) and "There Goes My Life".
  • Mark Chesnutt had eight #1 hits, but none of them were "Bubba Shot the Jukebox", which only got to #4. Conversely, when's the last time anyone remembered "I Just Wanted You to Know", "Gonna Get a Life", or his cover of "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", all of which did hit #1? (The Aerosmith cover goes double, as it was also his only Top 40 hit on the Hot 100.)
  • Roy Clark's only #1 hit was not "Thank God and Greyhound", but rather the far more obscure "Come Live with Me".
  • Patsy Cline has two #1 hits, but neither of them is "Crazy", by far her most famous song — it only got to #2. Averted on the Hot 100, where it holds her highest peak at #9.
  • David Allan Coe is best known for "The Ride" and "You Never Even Called Me by My Name", but neither is his biggest hit. Instead, that honor goes to the lesser-known "Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile", which hit #2 but is never thought of one of his more memorable songs due to being a Black Sheep Hit.
  • If you hear a Confederate Railroad song on the radio, there's a very good chance that it'll be "Trashy Women". However, that song only got to #10, and three singles of theirs fared better ("Jesus and Mama" at #4, "Queen of Memphis" at #2, and "Daddy Never Was the Cadillac Kind" at #9).
  • John Conlee had seven #1 hits in his biggest hit making period ranging 1978-1989, but none of them were his Signature Song "Rose Colored Glasses", which only hit #5. To a lesser extent, "Friday Night Blues", "Miss Emily's Picture", and "I Don't Remember Loving You" are pretty famous despite not hitting #1 either.
  • Downplayed example with Corbin/Hanner. None of their singles ever hit the top 40, but "Work Song" is still played by many country stations on Monday mornings despite not being their highest-charting hit. It was also their only song to get a music video.
  • Billy Currington's longest lasting #1 hits are "Good Directions" and "Do I Make You Wanna", the latter of which is nowhere near as well-known as "People Are Crazy" (easily his Signature Song), "Must Be Doin' Somethin' Right", or "Hey Girl".
  • Billy Ray Cyrus's "Some Gave All" is one of the only songs of his not named "Achy Breaky Heart" that you're likely to hear on country radio. However, "Some Gave All" only got to #52, as it was never officially released as a single — but country music is notorious for its patriotism, so the song often gets trotted out for patriotic song binges during Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.
  • Lacy J. Dalton's most famous song by a long shot is "16th Avenue", which got to #7. However, two songs ("Takin' It Easy" and "Everybody Makes Mistakes") outpeaked it.
  • Dan + Shay's highest Hot 100 ranking of #42 is not any of their #1 Country Airplay hits ("Nothin' Like You", "From the Ground Up", and "How Not To"), but rather their debut single "19 You + Me", which only got to #11 on Country Airplay. "19 You + Me" is also their best-selling single overall, with "How Not To" actually ranking lowest in overall sales.
  • One of Dave & Sugar's most-played songs is "Queen of the Silver Dollar", which only got to #25. Unlike most examples of 1970s and 1980s country songs that get a lot of airplay despite low peaks on the country charts, it wasn't even a crossover.
  • Billy Dean's most famous song by a long shot is "Let Them Be Little", which only hit #8. Dean had nine songs fare better on the charts, including a trio of #3 hits, from his strongest hit-making period ranging from 1990-1996; by comparison, "Let Them Be Little" was released in mid-2004, long after his career had peaked. Also, his only #1 is a featured credit on Kenny Rogers' 2000 hit "Buy Me a Rose" (which also featured Alison Krauss).
  • John Denver has topped both the country and Hot 100 charts multiple times, but "Take Me Home, Country Roads" did neither — it only got to #2 on the Hot 100 and #50 on the country charts. "Rocky Mountain High" also got to #9 on the Hot 100, and didn't make the country charts at all, but it's still not unheard of to hear the song on a country station.
  • Diamond Rio has five #1 singles on the country charts. This notably includes their 1991 debut "Meet in the Middle", which made them the first country band ever to send a debut single to #1, along with their Turn of the Millennium pop crossovers "One More Day", "Beautiful Mess", and "I Believe". The fifth? Their 1997 hit "How Your Love Makes Me Feel" which, despite being their longest-lasting #1 hit at three weeks, is also leagues more obscure than a the #2 "Love a Little Stronger" or "Unbelieveable", the latter of which was also their first hit on the Hot 100.
  • Joe Diffie's most popular song in terms of downloads and recurrent airplay is "John Deere Green". It is not one of his five #1 hits, having only reached #5. The #3 "Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)" is also quite popular, certainly more so than his debut release "Home" or "If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets)". Also, his only Top 40 hit on the Hot 100 was "A Night to Remember", which has been forgotten due to Later Installment Weirdness (it was a ballad, and most of his famous songs were novelties).
  • Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl" doesn't rank among their six #1 hits on country (it only got to #13), and is only their fourth highest ranking on the Hot 100 (behind the #7 peaks of "Long Time Gone" and "Landslide", and the #4 peak of "Not Ready to Make Nice"). Relatedly, both "Long Time Gone" and "Landslide" only got to #2 on the country charts.
  • Dave Dudley had only one song top the country music charts. Surely it was the iconic trucking anthem "Six Days on the Road", right? Nope, that only got to #2; his lone #1 was "The Pool Shark". "Six Days" was also his only hit on the Top 40 of the Hot 100.
  • Holly Dunn's most famous song by far is "Daddy's Hands", which only got to #7. (It's also one of the only releases from Mary Tyler Moore's MTM Records that's been kept in print.) For comparison, Dunn had eight other songs land in the Top 10, two of which ("Are You Ever Gonna Love Me" and "You Really Had Me Going") went to #1. The displacement is so strong that when she died in November 2016, most news articles read something to the effect of "'Daddy's Hands' singer Holly Dunn dead at 59." "Maybe I Mean Yes" is also remembered despite not even hitting top 40, albeit mainly as her Creator Killer — she pulled the song due to Moral Guardians misinterpreting the song as a condonement of date rape, but the damage had already been done.
  • Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road" didn't even chart on the country format, although it did peak at #10 on Mainstream Rock Tracks. Despite this, it's one of his most famous songs alongside "Guitar Town" (his highest-charting country hit at #7), it's a staple of classic-country and alternative country playlists, and is overall better-known than his only other Top 10 country hit, "Goodbye's All We've Got Left".
  • Jace Everett's only entry on Hot Country Songs was not "Bad Things", but rather its predecessor "That's the Kind of Love I'm In". "Bad Things" didn't even chart upon first release (due mainly to Epic Records closing its Nashville branch around the time of the single's release), but it was repopularized when it was chosen as the Real Song Theme Tune of True Blood a few years later.
  • Tyler Farr's only #1 hit on Billboard was not his Signature Song "Redneck Crazy", but rather the lesser known "A Guy Walks Into a Bar" one year later. This is because both "Redneck Crazy" and its successor "Whiskey in My Water" got last-minute airplay pushes to hit #1 on Mediabase which did not translate as well on Billboard; both songs only got to #3 there.
  • Bobbie Gentry's highest country chart entry was not "Ode to Billie Joe" or "Fancy", but rather a cover of The Everly Brothers' "All I Have to Do Is Dream" featuring Glen Campbell in 1970. However, "Billie Joe" averts this on the Hot 100, where it is her highest ranking at #1, and "Fancy" was Covered Up by Reba McEntire.
  • Vince Gill may be the most extreme example of this. His most famous song by far is "Go Rest High on That Mountain", which hit #14 in 1995. He has out-peaked that song a whopping twenty-eight times with his solo releases, and four more with guest appearances on other artists' songs. At this point, it's probably barely even worth noting that while all seven of his #1 hits (four as a lead artist, three as a featured artist — Reba McEntire's "The Heart Won't Lie", Chris Young's "Sober Saturday Night", and the Massive Multiplayer Crossover "Forever Country", albeit credited to "Artists of Then, Now, and Forever"), this total does not include other popular songs such as "Whenever You Come Around", "Look at Us", and "When I Call Your Name". He also plays this straight on the Hot 100, where his only solo entries are "Tryin' to Get Over You", "Whenever You Come Around", "If You Ever Have Forever in Mind", and "Feels Like Love", the latter two of which are actually the highest at #60 and #52 despite being far more obscure songs. In fact, his only Top 40 entries on the Hot 100 are as a duet partner on longtime wife Amy Grant's "House of Love", and the aforementioned "Forever Country".
  • Lee Greenwood had seven #1 singles on the country radio charts, none of which were "God Bless the U.S.A." On the Hot 100, this is averted, as it was Greenwood's only Top 40 hit there seventeen years after release.
  • Hunter Hayes has two #1 hits. One is obviously "Wanted", and the other is not "I Want Crazy", but rather the far less remembered "Somebody's Heartbreak". Averted on the Hot 100, where "Crazy" is a very close second behind "Wanted" (#19 and #16 respectively).
  • Bobby Helms had two #1 hits on the country charts, but "Jingle Bell Rock" only got to #13. However, it is his biggest Hot 100 hit at #6.
  • Ty Herndon has had three #1 hits, of which only one reached the Top 40 of the Hot 100. It was not his 1995 breakthrough debut smash "What Mattered Most" (which set airplay records for a debut single and was almost singlehandedly responsible for making his debut album go gold), but rather the less-remembered "It Must Be Love" (featuring an uncredited guest vocal from Sons of the Desert) in 1998.
  • George Jones:
    • His first charted single "Why Baby Why" only got to #4, because a competing version by Webb Pierce and Red Sovine blunted its chart run. Although many other artists cut it over the years (most notably, both the Sovine/Pierce version and another by Charley Pride in The '80s made it to #1), "Why Baby Why" is still thought of primarily as a George Jones song.
    • Other very popular songs during his peak hit making period (from The '50s to the end of The '80s) that didn't reach the summit: "The Race Is On" (#3), "A Good Year for the Roses" (#2), "Tennessee Whiskey" (#2), "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes" (#3), and "The One I Loved Back Then (The Corvette Song)" (#3).
    • Of special note are two songs in The '90s: "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair" (#34) and "Choices" (#29), both of which remain among his most iconic. They came at a point when Jones was considered too old to still be a radio draw, a fact that "Rockin' Chair" even lampshaded; that song's profile was also boosted by ten other contemporary country stars performing a Call and Response over the final chorus (which got it that year's Vocal Event award from the Country Music Association). Meanwhile, "Choices" was largely popularized due to controversy over the Country Music Association only allowing him to perform an abridged version of the song; Jones refused to even attend the telecast in protest, and when Alan Jackson caught wind of this, he also protested by cutting short his own performance to sing part of "Choices" himself.
    • "Finally Friday" was never even a single (it was the B-side of "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair"), but it is a fairly popular song due to many country stations playing it during drive time on Fridays.
  • The Judds:
    • One of their most famous songs is "Love Can Build a Bridge", which only got to #5. It's certainly more remembered than "Maybe Your Baby's Got the Blues" or "Change of Heart", which did top the charts.
    • Wynonna Judd's Breakup Breakout in 1992 netted her four #1 hits. Amazingly, three of those four were her first three solo releases ("She Is His Only Need", "No One Else on Earth", and "I Saw the Light", all from 1992), all of which are still well remembered. The fourth was not "A Bad Goodbye" (duet with Clint Black) or "Tell Me Why", but rather the lesser-known "To Be Loved by You" in 1996, by which point her star power had already faded considerably.
  • The Kentucky Headhunters' highest chart entry was not their Signature Song "Dumas Walker" (which only got to #15), but rather the song after it, their #8-peaking cover of Don Gibson's "Oh Lonesome Me". In 1993, frontmen Ricky Lee and Doug Phelps split to form the duo Brother Phelps, which outpeaked all of the Headhunters' singles that year with the #6 "Let Go"; however, that song was quickly forgotten due to that duo's different sound and short life (the duo split in 1995 when Doug rejoined the Headhunters).
  • Toby Keith:
    • "A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action", "Wish I Didn't Know Now", and "Stays in Mexico" are among his more popular songs despite none of them reaching #1 — at the least, certainly more popular than "Me Too", "Love Me If You Can", or "She Never Cried in Front of Me".
    • "Red Solo Cup" only got to #9 on the country charts, but is his highest Hot 100 peak at #15.
  • Sammy Kershaw's most popular song is "Queen of My Double Wide Trailer", which only got to #7 — a peak he outperformed seven times. Even Kershaw himself admits that the song alone was responsible for making its corresponding album go platinum, despite that album also containing his only #1 hit, "She Don't Know She's Beautiful".
  • This trope is all over the place with Miranda Lambert on the country charts. "Kerosene" only got to #15, "Gunpowder & Lead" to #7, "Automatic" to #3, and "White Liar" and "Mama's Broken Heart" to #2note . Conversely, "Heart Like Mine" does not rank among her most famous songs despite hitting #1. This is also true on the Hot 100, as the Carrie Underwood duet "Somethin' Bad" got to #19 thanks to a download spike from the combined name recognition, but it ultimately failed to leave an impact comparable to, say, "Mama's Broken Heart" or her biggest hit overall, "The House That Built Me".
  • Rodeo star and singer/songwriter Chris LeDoux has a large catalog of well-known songs, but many would be surprised to find out that "This Cowboy's Hat" didn't even crack the Top 60, peaking at #63 while the original version of it, recorded by Porter Wagoner in 1983, peaked at #35 on the charts, or that "Five Dollar Fine" or "Bareback Jack" didn't even chart. Even "Cadillac Ranch", his biggest solo hit, only got to #18 (his highest charting hit overall being the #7-peaking Garth Brooks duet "Whatcha Gonna Do with a Cowboy").
  • Zig-zagged with Little Big Town. "Boondocks" remains one of their most famous songs despite only getting to #9, most likely due to it being their Breakthrough Hit. Also, "Girl Crush" only got to #3 on the Country Airplay charts, but topped Hot Country Songs and is their biggest hit on the Hot 100 — and one of the most successful crossover hits of the '10s (even though it was never actually a radio crossover).
  • Little Texas had only #1 hit in their career. Surely it was one of their rocking up-tempos like "God Blessed Texas" or "Kick a Little", or even the well-known ballad "What Might Have Been", right? Nope, it was "My Love", a now-obscure ballad and their only hit during their tenure with Warner Bros. Records with keyboardist Brady Seals singing lead instead of usual lead singer Tim Rushlow.
  • Patty Loveless topped the country charts five times, but none of those was her most famous song "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye", which only got to #3. And while four of her five #1 hits are still fairly popular ("Timber, I'm Falling in Love", "Blame It on Your Heart", "You Can Feel Bad", and "Lonely Too Long"), one would be surprised to find that the other one is not "I'm That Kind of Girl" (#5) or "I Try to Think About Elvis" (#3), but rather the far less known "Chains" from 1990.
  • Despite having several 10 hits on the country charts, Martina McBride only got to #12 with her Signature Song "Independence Day". This is because several stations refused to play it. Other famous songs of hers, such as "Concrete Angel" and "My Baby Loves Me", also do not rank among her five #1 hits on country radio, a total which does include the now-obscure "Wild Angels" and "Wrong Again"; "This One's for the Girls" zig-zags this, as it went to #3 country but was her only #1 hit on the AC charts. In addition, "Strangers" was never even a single, but it stayed in her setlist for a very long time and even appeared on her Greatest Hits Album.
  • Kathy Mattea had four #1 hits. While three of them are fairly well known (her Signature Song "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses", plus "Come from the Heart" and "Burnin' Old Memories"), the fourth is not "Where've You Been" (#10), "Love at the Five and Dime" (#3), "Walking Away a Winner" (also #3), or "455 Rocket" (#21), but rather the far more obscure "Goin' Gone", which was the first of the four. It is for this reason that Mattea provides the page quote.
  • Lila McCann had two Top 10 country hits, neither of which was her debut "Down Came a Blackbird".
  • Neal McCoy has had two #1 hits. One was obviously "Wink", and what was the other? Was it "The Shake", "They're Playin' Our Song", or his 2005 comeback "Billy's Got His Beer Goggles On"? Nope, it was "Wink"'s predecessor "No Doubt About It", which also happened to be his first major chart hit (everything prior had gotten no higher than #26). "No Doubt" and "Beer Goggles" are also his highest Hot 100 rankings at #75 each.
  • Reba McEntire has a massive catalog of hits, including 25 chart-toppers, but many would be surprised to find that the total excludes several keystone songs such as "Only in My Mind" (one of only two singles that she ever wrote, it topped out at #5), her covers of Bobbie Gentry's "Fancy" (#8) and Vicki Lawrence's "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" (#12), "She Thinks His Name Was John" (which stalled at #15 because many stations refused to play a song about a woman dying of AIDS), "I'm a Survivor" (later the Real Song Theme Tune to her sitcom Reba, it peaked at #3), or her duet version of "Because of You" (#2). Also, her highest Hot 100 placement goes to the now largely obscure "What Do You Say" from 1999 (#31 on the Hot 100, #3 country). Finally, two of her biggest #1 hits came in the 21st century, by which point her musical output was more sporadic due to other commitments, and she was largely considered too old to be a consistent radio draw: "Consider Me Gone" (late 2009-early 2010) is her longest-lasting #1 hit at four weeks thanks to the charts stagnting over the holiday season, and "Turn On the Radio" (2010) is her only gold single.
  • Tim McGraw has had twenty-five #1s on the country charts. Surprisingly, his Breakthrough Hit "Indian Outlaw" isn't among them - it only reached #8, despite being one of his biggest hits on the Hot 100 at #15. This is yet another example of a song's chart run being blunted by some stations refusing to play it, specifically due to its politically incorrect and cartoonish portrayals of Native Americans. The #5 "Red Rag Top" is another example of a very popular song that was held back due to objection over its lyrics (one line mentions abortion). He averts this overall, as "Live Like You Were Dying" is his longest-tenured #1 on the country charts, while the Faith Hill duet "It's Your Love" is his highest Hot 100 ranking as a lead artist at #7 (his highest overall being a featured credit on Nelly's #3 hit "Over and Over").
  • Roger Miller only had two #1 hits in his career. "King of the Road" is obviously his most famous song, and "Dang Me" to a lesser extent, but many would be surprised to find that "Chug-a-Lug", "England Swings", "Husbands and Wives" (Covered Up by Brooks & Dunn, whose version outpeaked Miller's on the country charts), "Old Toy Trains", and "Whistle Stop" didn't chart as well — in fact, "Whistle Stop" only got to #86 on the country chartsnote , but remains popular due to its appearance in Robin Hood (and much later, for being Sampled Up in the viral "Hampsterdance"). "Old Toy Trains" is at least justified in that it was a Christmas single.
  • Ronnie Milsap's "Stranger in My House" does not rank among his many #1 hits, despite being among his most popular. It ended up stalling out at #5, because some stations objected to its hard-rock guitar solo, and either cut it out of the song or refused to play it entirely. "Prisoner of the Highway" is also a popular cut despite only reaching #6 and being out of print for several years. Also, his longest-tenured #1s are "It Was Almost Like a Song", "Only One Love in My Life", and "My Heart", none of which are as popular as "Smoky Mountain Rain", "Any Day Now" (both of which also topped the AC charts), "Lost in the Fifties Tonight (In the Still of the Night)", "(There's) No Gettin' Over Me" (also his highest Hot 100 ranking at #5), "Pure Love", or "What a Difference You've Made in My Life".
  • John Michael Montgomery has had three Top 40 hits on the Hot 100. Two of those three ("The Little Girl" and "Letters from Home") are unsurprising as they rank among his biggest hits, despite coming very late in his career. But would anyone guess that the first of the three was not one of his biggest mid-90s hits such as "I Swear" (which came close at #42), but rather the forgotten "Hold On to Me" from 1998? At country, all of his #1 hits are fairly well remembered except for "If You've Got Love", which quickly fell from public consciousness, while his #4 debut "Life's a Dance" and the #2 country peak of "Letters from Home" are far more enduring.
  • Montgomery Gentry topped the country charts five times, but none of those five were "Hillbilly Shoes", "She Couldn't Change Me", "My Town", "Speed", "Gone", or "Where I Come From", all of which are far more famous than "Back When I Knew It All" or "Roll with Me", which did top the charts. "Gone" and "Where I Come From" also happen to be their only gold-certified singles.
  • Craig Morgan's highest Hot 100 ranking and only gold single do not go to "That's What I Love About Sunday", but rather to its successor, "Redneck Yacht Club". "Sunday", however, was his only #1 country hit, and the biggest hit of 2005 on the Billboard Year-End chart for the country format. "Almost Home" is easily one of his most famous songs as well, despite only reaching #6.
  • Lorrie Morgan had three #1 hits, none of which were "Something in Red" (her most-downloaded song), "Watch Me", or "Except for Monday". While among her #1 hits, "Five Minutes" and "What Part of No" are hardly obscure, the same can't be said of "I Didn't Know My Own Strength".
  • Juice Newton's "Angel of the Morning", "Queen of Hearts", and "Love's Been a Little Bit Hard on Me" only got to #22, #14, and #30 respectively on the country charts, but all three remain very popular due to their much better showings on the Hot 100 and AC charts.
  • Nitty Gritty Dirt Band avert this overall, as their three #1 hits on the country charts, especially "Fishin' in the Dark", are all well-known. However, other iconic songs such as "Stand a Little Rain", "High Horse", "Workin' Man (Nowhere to Go)", and "Dance Little Jean" do not share those honors. But "Mr. Bojangles" did not hit the country charts at all, and "An American Dream" only got to #58; despite this, both were smashes on the Hot 100 (at #9 and #13 respectively).
  • K. T. Oslin's 1987 Breakthrough Hit "80's Ladies" only got to #7, but was one of her most famous songs at the time, even netting her the CMA award for Song of the Year. Despite its Unintentional Period Piece, it's somewhat better remembered than any of her #1 hits.
  • Brad Paisley's "Whiskey Lullaby" (with Alison Krauss) only got to #3, because it got caught behind the one-two punch of "I Go Back" and "Live Like You Were Dying", both of which had exorbitantly high airplay for their peaks. It's also the only one of his four double-platinum certified singles not to reach #1. To say the least, it's certainly a better known song than "The World", "Anything Like Me", or "Perfect Storm", which (along with the Keith Urban duet "Start a Band") are his only chart-toppers in the digital era not to be certified at all. Additionally, the LL Cool J duet "Accidental Racist" is one of his most famous songs (albeit not for good reasons) despite not even being a single.
  • Dolly Parton has "Coat of Many Colors" among many of her Signature Songs, but it is not among her many #1 hits (it only got to #4). "Jolene" was one of her many #1s on country, but it only hit #60 on the pop side. "I Will Always Love You" hit #1 for her in 1974 and again in 1982 (the latter being a rerecording for the soundtrack to The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), but the first release did not enter the pop charts at all, and the second only got to #53. Averted overall, as both "9 to 5" and the Kenny Rogers duet "Islands in the Stream" hit #1 on country, Hot 100, and AC. There's also the curious case of "Two Doors Down", which was sent to country in a version by Zella Lehr, while Dolly's version never charted at country (it was the B-side of "It's All Wrong but It's All Right"); however, Dolly's version is the only one that country radio plays.
  • Rascal Flatts' cover of Tom Cochrane's "Life Is a Highway" (from the soundtrack to Cars) only got to #18 on the country charts, but remains one of their most popular songs. It also has their second-highest Hot 100 ranking at #7, only one space lower than their Signature Song "What Hurts the Most". Its low country peak is because, like Clint Black's version of "Desperado", it was never officially a single (at the time, "My Wish" was the current single on country radio), while the high Hot 100 placement was due almost entirely to downloads fueled by the movie.
    • Conversely, their still very popular debut "Prayin' for Daylight" only got to #3, while much more forgettable songs such as "Stand", "Take Me There", "Here", "Here Comes Goodbye", or "Banjo" did make the summit. "Here Comes Goodbye" and "Take Me There" go double, as they are the band's third- and fourth-highest ranking hits on the Hot 100 after "Life Is a Highway" and "What Hurts the Most" — this is because these two songs were lead singles that got early download and airplay spikes before tapering off completely.
  • Collin Raye had four #1 hits. Three of them were "Love, Me", "My Kind of Girl", and "I Can Still Feel You", all of which (particularly "Love, Me") remain among his most known songs. The fourth was not "That's My Story", "Little Rock", "I Think About You", or "Little Red Rodeo", but rather the forgettable ballad "In This Life".
  • Zig-zagged with Jerry Reed. "East Bound and Down", his Signature Song from Smokey and the Bandit, only peaked at #2 on the country charts. It's certainly a more famous song than one of is #1 hits, "Lord, Mr. Ford" — but his other two #1 hits, "When You're Hot, You're Hot" and "She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)" — are still well remembered. Also, "Amos Moses" was his highest placement on the Hot 100 at #8, but at country, it only got to #16.
  • Restless Heart averts this on the Hot Country Songs charts, as all six of their #1 hits are well-remembered. But on the Hot 100 and AC charts, it's a different story. Their highest Hot 100 ranking and second-highest AC ranking go to 1992's "When She Cries", their first release after the departure of lead singer Larry Stewart, and their only #1 on the AC charts was the also-Stewart-less "Tell Me What You Dream" (featuring Canadian smooth jazz saxophonist Warren Hill) one year later. Neither song was well-remembered in the long run, at least not compared to "I'll Still Be Loving You" (their third-highest AC ranking and only other Top 40 on the Hot 100).
  • Chase Rice is a Two-Hit Wonder with "Ready Set Roll" and "Gonna Wanna Tonight", which peaked at #5 and #2 respectively. But it's the former of the two that is considered his bigger hit, as it has a higher Hot 100 ranking and has been certified platinum.
  • LeAnn Rimes had exactly one #1 country airplay hit in her career. Surely it was her debut smash "Blue" right? (Nope, #10.) Her take on "How Do I Live"? (Didn't even hit the country top 40; Trisha Yearwood's version was the bigger hit there.) "Can't Fight the Moonlight" from Coyote Ugly? (Wasn't released to country.) The only time she topped the country charts was with her third release, "One Way Ticket (Because I Can)", one of her few singles that did not cross over and is thus more obscure now. This is averted on the Hot 100, where the #2 peak of "How Do I Live" is her best showing.
  • Kenny Rogers largely averts this, as "The Gambler", "Lady", and "Islands in the Stream" (featuring Dolly Parton) are hands down his biggest hits, and the latter two were among a very small number of songs to reach #1 on the country, Hot 100, and AC charts. However, the former's #16 peak on the Hot 100, while still impressive, is outranked by the far lesser known "She Believes in Me", "You Decorated My Life", "Don't Fall in Love with a Dreamer" (featuring Kim Carnes), "I Don't Need You", "Share Your Love with Me", and "What About Me?" (featuring Carnes and James Ingram). Conversely on the country charts, "The Greatest" is well known despite only peaking at #26, and his rendition of "Mary, Did You Know?" featuring Wynonna Judd is one of the most famous renditions of that song, despite never hitting top 40.
  • If the name John Wesley Ryles is ever brought up for anything other than his extreme prolificacy as a session vocalist, it's most likely for his 1968 debut single "Kay", which got to #9. No one remembers his higher-charting "Once in a Lifetime Thing", which hit #5 in 1977.
  • Sawyer Brown has three #1 hits, but none of them were "All These Years" (their most-downloaded song on iTunes), "The Walk", or their covers of George Jones' "The Race Is On" and Dave Dudley's "Six Days on the Road" (curiously, the originals of both are also examples for the original artists). Their first #1 hit, "Step That Step", is largely ignored due to massive Early Installment Weirdness, as most of their hits in The '80s were bubblegum country-pop that generally did not stand up as well as their more substantial post-1990 material (with "The Walk" generally seen as the Growing the Beard moment).
  • SHeDAISY seems to be best known for their 1999 debut "Little Good-Byes", plus their comeback songs "Come Home Soon" and "Don't Worry 'bout a Thing" in 2004-05. However, none of these is their highest peak; instead, that honor goes to the lesser-known "I Will... But" in 2000.
  • Blake Shelton's "Ol' Red" is one of his Signature Songs, a fan favorite, and a popular recurrent, despite only reaching #14 on the country charts. The same is true to a lesser extent with "Playboys of the Southwestern World", which only got to #24. "Kiss My Country Ass" is very popular as well, and one of the only album cuts he still sings in concert, even though Shelton's version was never a single (although a version by writer Rhett Akins hit the bottom of the charts in 2005 before Shelton covered it).
  • Sturgill Simpson's Signature Song "Turtles All the Way Down" didn't even chart (which would be quite the feat for such a psychedelic-sounding, philosophically deep song). His only entry on Hot Country Songs is a 2016 cover of Nirvana's "In Bloom", which jumped in at #48 due to downloads but did not receive airplay on country radio (in fact, he has never entered the Country Airplay chart).
  • Daryle Singletary hit the Top 10 three times, with the #2 hits "I Let Her Lie" and "Amen Kind of Love", and the #4 "Too Much Fun". But if you hear him at all on the radio, it will almost certainly be the last of these.
  • The only song for which most people remember Jo-El Sonnier is his cover of Richard Thompson's "Tear Stained Letter", which he took to #9 in 1988. Its peak is two spaces lower than the now-forgotten "No More One More Time".
  • Southern Pacific's most famous songs are "Any Way the Wind Blows", "Reno Bound", and their A Cappella cover of Peter and Gordon's "I Go to Pieces", all of which peaked lower than the lesser-known #2 "New Shade of Blue" from 1988. In fact, the "I Go to Pieces" cover only got to #31. According to Word of God, this is because programmers were hesitant to touch a song that was a covernote  and a cappellanote . However, the cover was a staple of their live shows long before its release, and the very reason that country radio was hesitant to touch it may also be why it's one of their most remembered songs.
  • The Statler Brothers had four #1 hits, but none of them were "Flowers on the Wall", "Bed of Rose's" (Trope Namer for This Bed of Rose's), "Do You Remember These", "The Class of '57", "I'll Go to My Grave Loving You", "The Official Historian on Shirley Jean Berrell", their cover of Ricky Nelson's "Hello Mary Lou", or "More than a Name on a Wall". In addition, three of those four came in The '80s, a period less remembered due to Later Installment Weirdness brought on by Jimmy Fortune replacing Lew DeWitt on tenor vocals and occasional songwriting duty. Among those four, the only one during DeWitt's tenure was the hardly-obscure "Do You Know You Are My Sunshine", while the only one of the three during Fortune's tenure that anyone seems to remember is "Elizabeth". "Flowers" averts this on the Hot 100, where it is their only top 40 hit at #4.
  • Doug Stone's most famous song is his 1990 debut single "I'd Be Better Off (In a Pine Box)", which is not one of his four #1 hits (it only got to #4). Also, his only Hot 100 entry is "I Never Knew Love", which is nowhere near as well-known as "Pine Box" or any of his #1 hits.
  • George Strait had a record-breaking 44 #1 hits on Billboardnote , but this massive total does not include a few of his cornerstone songs such as "Marina del Rey", "Amarillo by Morning", "The Fireman", or the Alan Jackson duet "Murder on Music Row" (although that one was never even a single). His only platinum single, "Give It All We Got Tonight", only got to #2note , and two of his gold singles have lower rankings ("Troubadour" at #7, and "I Got a Car" at #17). Also, among his #1 hits, the longest lasting are "Love Without End, Amen", "I've Come to Expect It from You", and "One Night at a Time", the latter two of which are nowhere near as famous as the likes of "Check Yes or No", "I Cross My Heart", "Write This Down", "Give It Away", "All My Ex's Live in Texas", etc.
  • Three of Sugarland's biggest hits — their debut single "Baby Girl", along with "Stay" and "Stuck Like Glue" — all only got to #2 on the charts, and all are certainly more famous than "Settlin'"note , "Already Gone", or "It Happens". "Stuck" averts this on the Hot 100, where it has their highest placement at #17.
  • Another artist with multiple chart hits, but only one #1, is Pam Tillis. Surely that #1 hit was "Maybe It Was Memphis", which is by far her most famous song? Nope, that only got to #3 in 1991; the comparatively lesser-known "Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)" was her lone chart-topper in 1995.
  • Although Aaron Tippin is best known for his patriotic, blue-collar themes, the song that exemplifies those best — his debut release "You've Got to Stand for Something" — only got to #6. "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly" zig-zags this, as it only got to #2, but is his only Top 40 hit on the Hot 100 at #20 (due, no doubt, to it being rush-released right after 9/11). In a very strange case of this, all three of Tippin's #1 hits are fairly well known ("There Ain't Nothin' Wrong with the Radio", "That's as Close as I'll Get to Loving You", and "Kiss This"), all three are also against his usual style — "Radio" and "Kiss This" are novelty songs, while "Loving You" is an impassioned ballad of unrequited love which features him using a much different singing style than usual.
  • Randy Travis:
    • His second Warner Bros. Records single "1982" remains one of his most famous despite only getting to #6. Its predecessor "On the Other Hand" is a subversion, as it only hit #67 on its first release, but the label chose to rerelease it on the success of "1982"... and the re-release became his first #1 hit.
    • Given that his first three albums (Storms of Life, Always & Forever, and Old 8×10) remain his most famous by a long shot, it's surprising that "I Won't Need You Anymore" from Always & Forever never seemed to rise to the same pantheon as the other chart-toppers off that set of albums. Likewise, "Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart" was his longest-lasting #1 at four weeks (and his first #1 after the change to Nielsen SoundScan), but it seems to have fallen into the same abyss as nearly anything else post-Old 8×10. Had SoundScan existed in The '80s, it's extremely likely that songs such as "Forever and Ever, Amen" (hands-down his Signature Song) or "I Told You So" would've had extremely long runs at the top.
  • Trick Pony's only Top 10 hit was not "Pour Me", but rather the somewhat less-remembered "On a Night Like This".
  • Travis Tritt had five #1 hits on the country charts, a total that includes the well known ballads "Anymore" and "Foolish Pride" plus the now obscure "Help Me Hold On", "Can I Trust You with My Heart", and "Best of Intentions", but omits far more notable songs such as "Put Some Drive in Your Country" (#28), "T-R-O-U-B-L-E" (#13), "Take It Easy" (#21; the song came from the same covers album that provided Clint Black's rendition of "Desperado"), and a handful of #2's: "I'm Gonna Be Somebody", "Here's a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)", "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'" (a duet with frequent collaborator Marty Stuart, and Stuart's highest chart peak), and "It's a Great Day to Be Alive" (which is his most-downloaded song on iTunes). The displacement of "Put Some Drive In Your Country" is most obvious in the fact that it was on his Greatest Hits Album while the much-higher charting "Nothing Short of Dying" and "Lord Have Mercy on the Working Man" were not (although the latter may be due to it being a Massive Multiplayer Crossover). "Bible Belt" (a track featuring Little Feat from 1991's It's All About to Change) is also a very popular cut despite not being released as a single, due to it appearing in My Cousin Vinny.
  • Tanya Tucker's breakthrough cover of Helen Reddy's "Delta Dawn" remains one of her most iconic songs despite only reaching #6. "Texas (When I Die)" and "Two Sparrows in a Hurricane" are also among her most downloaded songs, with respective peaks of #5 and #2.
  • Josh Turner's most famous song is his second single "Long Black Train", which only got to #13. Also, "Time Is Love" was the top country song on the 2012 Billboard Year-End charts, despite only peaking at #2 on the airplay charts.
  • Shania Twain had three Diamond albums in the U.S. and three Top 10 hits. However, "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!", easily her most iconic song, never made it past #23 at pop. It also was not among her seven #1 hits on the country singles charts. Likewise, "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" is still one of her most popular songs despite only reaching #11 on the country charts and #87 on the Hot 100.
  • Carrie Underwood's American Idol coronation song "Inside Your Heaven" is her only #1 on the Hot 100 after it had a huge sales launch following her victory. Today, it's all but forgotten compared to the likes of "Before He Cheats" and "Jesus, Take the Wheel", which are among her many #1s on the country charts. And what is her second-highest Hot 100 peak? Surprisingly, not any of her famous singles, but rather her 2007 cover of The Pretenders' "I'll Stand by You", which was put on a charity album called Idol Gives Back and got a one-week download spike taking it to #6 on the Hot 100.
  • Keith Urban has had several #1 hits, but this total does not include "Stupid Boy" (#3) or "Cop Car" (#8). The latter is particularly notable as it is one of his only two platinum-certified singles despite being his lowest-peaking airplay single since 1999. Also, "Better Life" is tied with "Somebody Like You" as his longest-lasting #1 airplay hit at six weeks, but the former is nowhere near as popular as the latter in terms of downloads/sales or recurrent airplay. This is because "Better Life" hit a "soft" chart in the latter half of 2005, staying at the top so long only because no other songs around it were big enough hits to dethrone it. Meanwhile on the Hot 100, his highest peak is not one of his big crossovers like "You'll Think of Me" or "Making Memories of Us", but rather the #16 peak of the much lesser-known "Kiss a Girl". This is because that song got a one-week sales spike due to Urban performing the song with Kris Allen on a season finale of American Idol.
  • Phil Vassar had two #1 hits, but neither of them was "Love Is a Beautiful Thing", which only got to #2. The chart-topping honors go instead to "Just Another Day in Paradise" (probably his second-most popular song) and "In a Real Love", the latter of which is nowhere near as popular as "Six-Pack Summer", "Last Day of My Life"note , or even "I'll Take That as a Yes (The Hot Tub Song)" (which only got to #17).
  • Porter Wagoner had two #1 hits, neither of which was "Green Green Grass of Home" (#4) or "The Carroll County Accident" (#2).
  • Clay Walker had six #1 hits, and while none of them are particularly obscure, none of them were "Hypnotize the Moon", "Then What?" (aka "that song with all the steel drums in it"), "The Chain of Love", or "Fall". He also has two songs that ranked in the Top 40 of the Hot 100: "The Chain of Love" at #40, and the now much more obscure "You're Beginning to Get to Me" one space higher.
  • Steve Wariner's list of #1 hits does not include "Kansas City Lights" (#15), his cover of Bob Luman's "Lonely Women Make Good Lovers" (#4, the same position that Luman's version peaked), nor any of his solo singles from his brief Career Resurrection lasting from about 1998-2000: "Holes in the Floor of Heaven", "Two Teardrops", and "I'm Already Taken", the last of which was a re-recording of his 1978 debut single. (The comeback was spurred by a guest vocal on Anita Cochran's "What If I Said", which did hit #1 but has been forgotten from both artists' standpoints due to Cochran being a One-Hit Wonder). Conversely, "You Can Dream of Me", "Life's Highway", and "Where Did I Go Wrong" are never thought of as being his most famous songs even though all of them did hit #1.
  • Bryan White's most-downloaded song is "God Gave Me You", which spent a single week at #40 in 1999 before falling from sight. This is because it surged in popularity after appearing on the Philippine TV show Eat Bulaga. By comparison, White has had four #1 hits. And if you guessed that one of those #1 hits was "I'm Not Supposed to Love You Anymore" or his duet on Shania Twain's "From This Moment On"note , you'd be wrong — those only got to #4 and #6 respectively, yet are far more popular than "Sittin' on Go", easily the least-known of his four chart-toppers.
  • Keith Whitley racked up five #1 hits and five more Top 10 hits in his career, with several of his songs being posthumously released after his sudden 1989 death from alcohol poisoning. While four of those #1 hits remain beloved classics ("Don't Close Your Eyes", "When You Say Nothing at All" [later re-popularized by Alison Krauss & Union Station], "I'm No Stranger to the Rain", and "It Ain't Nothin'"), this leaves the question as to what the fifth of those #1 hits was. It was not "Miami, My Amy", "Ten Feet Away", or "I'm Over You", but rather the far less popular "I Wonder Do You Think of Me", which was coincidentally his first posthumous release. (The B-side, "Brother Jukebox", was Covered Up by Mark Chesnutt.)
  • Hank Williams, Jr.'s signature songs include "Family Tradition", "Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound", "A Country Boy Can Survive", and "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight", and his Posthumous Collaboration with his iconic father on "There's a Tear in My Beer", none of which hit #1. (He has rereleased "A Country Boy Can Survive" multiple times over the years, and both it and "Family Tradition" are his only gold-certified singles.) They're certainly more famous than his first #1 hits, "Eleven Roses" and "All for the Love of Sunshine" (featuring the Mike Curb Congregation), which have long since been forgotten due to their massive Early Installment Weirdness.
  • Hank Williams III's only chart entry on the country charts was 2001's "I Don't Know". Although the song peaked outside of the Top 40 at #50, that was still considered to be a solid showing for an Alternative Country artist on mainstream country radio at the turn of the millennium. Hank III has since disowned the album that the song comes from and has not played "I Don't Know" live since it came out, to the point where his current fanbase may not even know it exists.
  • Trisha Yearwood had five #1 hits. The total includes her debut single "She's in Love with the Boy" and 1994's "XXX's and OOO's (An American Girl)", both of which still rank among her most famous. However, no one would imagine that the other three are "Thinkin' About You" (the follow-up to the latter), "Believe Me Baby (I Lied)", or "Perfect Love", none of which are nearly as well-known as "Walkaway Joe" (featuring Don Henley), "The Song Remembers When", "How Do I Live" (her version was bigger at country, while LeAnn Rimes' version was bigger at pop), or "In Another's Eyes" (duet with Garth Brooks), all of which only got to #2. Likewise, "Georgia Rain" and "On a Bus to St. Cloud" are fan favorites despite only peaking at #15 and #59 respectively.
  • While Dwight Yoakam's two #1 hits "Streets of Bakersfield" (duet with Buck Owens) and "I Sang Dixie" rank among his most famous, many would be surprised to find that some of his other famous songs such as "Honky Tonk Man" (Covered Up Johnny Horton), "Guitars, Cadillacs", "Little Sister", "Ain't That Only Yet" (which won him a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance), or "Fast as You" did not reach the summit. His covers of "Suspicious Minds" (for the film Honeymoon in Vegas) and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" are also very popular despite only getting to #35 and #12 respectively; the latter is also his highest Hot 100 showing at #64.
  • Zac Brown Band is a weird example. On their native country format, they aren't even close to being one-hit wonders. Nor are they one-hit wonders on the Hot 100, as they've managed multiple Top 40 hits. On the rock charts? Their only success was "Heavy Is the Head", featuring Chris Cornell. To rock audiences, it's the only song they can name despite the fact that it never charted on Hot 100. However, country audiences are mostly oblivious to "Head", due to it not being made for that format ("Homegrown" was the active country single and Hot 100 hit at the time). Meanwhile on the country charts, their biggest #1 hit is "Keep Me in Mind", which is nowhere near as famous as "Chicken Fried", "Toes", "Colder Weather", or "Knee Deep".

    Dance / Electronic 
  • AlunaGeorge is a weird variation of this trope. Worldwide, their best-known song by far is DJ Snake's remix of "You Know You Like It", which was their only visit to most worldwide charts. Back home in the UK? This isn't even close to being the truth. The remix is their lowest-charting entry, reaching a mere #67, or rather twenty-eight space lower than the original version of the song. Their highest charter locally is the #17 "Attracting Flies". Additionally, their biggest success back home wasn't even their own song, but rather "White Noise", their collaboration with Disclosure. Speaking of Disclosure, see their entry below.
  • Aphex Twin has three Top 40 hits on the UK Singles Chart. Two are, of course, "Come to Daddy" and "Windowlicker", which are still well known to this day, if notably out of range for his usual material. The other, however, is the long forgotten "On", which managed to even outdo "Daddy" in placement (although, considering the nature of "Daddy", it's nothing short of lightning in a bottle it managed to chart at all). Averted in America, where "Daddy" and "Window" are his only charting songs on any Billboard chart (if both on separate charts - "Daddy" on the Heatseekers chart (#137), "Window" on the Dance Singles chart (#15)). "Avril 14th", a song of equal or maybe even greater popularity than the previously mentioned two, was never even released as a single.
  • Avicii had two top 40 hits in America. One, of course, was his signature smash "Wake Me Up!" The other was "Levels", right? Wrong; it was "Hey Brother," which was forgotten immediately after it fell off the charts.
  • Calvin Harris's biggest hit as a lead artist in the U.S. is the #3 "This Is What You Came For", featuring Rihanna. While it remains to be seen if it becomes his best known song in America overall, it's likely to be more associated with Rihanna than Harris as she is a far bigger name than him; thus, it's unlikely to dethrone "Summer", his next biggest hit and one of his rare vocal turns, as his signature. Other than "Came", the hits least associated with him are probably his Ellie Goulding collaborations ("I Need Your Love" and "Outside"). Chances are, the only way he can possibly challenge "Summer"'s spot as his signature will be to sing again or hire a vocalist not well-known enough to take the spotlight away from him.
  • The Chemical Brothers only had one chart entry in America, the long forgotten "Setting Sun", which isn't nearly as well known as "Hey Girl Hey Boy" or "Galvanize". In the UK, they had two #1 hits, but neither of them were "Hey Girl Hey Boy" or "Galvanize" — they were "Block Rockin' Beats" and "Setting Sun".
  • David Guetta had two #4 hits in the USA, but neither was "Titanium", which peaked at #7. Those #4 hits were actually "Without You" (featuring Usher) and "Turn Me On" (featuring Nicki Minaj); while the former is definitely better-known than the latter, it's mostly associated with Usher. Guetta's 2015 collaboration with Minaj, "Hey Mama", is also much better-known than "Turn Me On" despite peaking four spaces lower.
  • Depeche Mode avert this in the U.S., where "Enjoy the Silence" was their only Top 10 hit on the Hot 100. However, in the UK, it peaked at #6, their highest-charting singles being three #4s. However, none of them were "Just Can't Get Enough", "Everything Counts", "Strangelove" or "Personal Jesus", among other songs they're well-known for - they were "People Are People" (still a relatively well-remembered song, if not quite as iconic as the aforementioned hits) and the lesser-known "Barrel of a Gun" and "Precious".
  • Disclosure is known in the U.S. mostly for 2012's "Latch", which became a hit in 2014 stateside after it was re-issued following the explosive rise of Sam Smith. It was their only hit in America, going up to #7. It's easy for Americans to imagine that as being their only success, given that its success was mostly due to Smith's popularity than anything else. Back home, however, it actually wasn't their biggest hit, where it only reached #11 back when it actually was new. That honor goes to the #2 "White Noise" featuring AlunaGeorge. Additionally, "Latch" was also outpeaked by a single spot by "You & Me". Also, their second collaboration with Smith was 2015's "Omen", which failed to recapture the success of "Latch" only peaking at #64 stateside. However, they do have another song that's fairly well-known in the U.S. — "Magnets", their collaboration with Lorde. Despite not charting on the Hot 100, it's probably better known than "Omen" due to it being their only success on alternative radio.
  • Fatboy Slim's only Top 40 entry wasn't "The Rockafeller Skank", but rather "Praise You".
  • Icona Pop had two #1 hits on the dance charts. One of them must have been "I Love It"… right? Nope, it never made it past #25 there. The two #1s are "All Night" and "Emergency". Averted overall, since "I Love It" was their only Top 10 hit in the US, and by extension, their only entry on the Hot 100.
  • Jamiroquai:
    • Their only Hot 100 entry wasn't "Virtual Insanity", "Space Cowboy" or "Canned Heat", but rather the completely forgotten "Alright" (which only reached #78).
    • While "Cowboy" and "Heat" were among their five #1s on the dance charts, "Insanity" was actually their smallest hit on that chart (only reaching #34) and was outpeaked fourteen times.
    • In the UK, their only #1 was the track they did for Godzilla (1998), "Deeper Underground", which is frequently on setlists but not as well-remembered by casuals.
  • Justice's signature "D.A.N.C.E." was their highest charter in the UK and the closest they ever got the Hot 100 in the United States. In their native France however, it only hit #11 and was beaten by the much less well-known #5 "Civilization". In fact, it probably doesn't even hold the distinction of being their second best-known song (that honor likely goes to "Waters of Nazareth").
  • Kygo scored his first Top 40 hit in 2017 with the #10 "It Ain't Me", but it's unlikely to displace the #92 "Firestone" or the non-charting "Stole The Show" as his signature, particularly because it's more associated with Selena Gomez than him (as she is much more famous than he is).
  • Major Lazer's biggest hit in America is 2016's #2 "Cold Water". However, it only became a hit because it featured Justin Bieber, and thus it does not displace the #4 "Lean On" as their signature. Even then, it's not quite as well-known as "Lean On" overall, regardless of Bieber's presence, given that it's the second biggest song of all time on Spotify.
  • Massive Attack never charted on the Hot 100 in the US, but "Teardrop" did cross over on the Bubbling Under chart, at #10. However, "Teardrop" was not their only charting single on the Dance charts, which was instead given to "Safe From Harm" at #35. In this case, "Harm" probably isn't so much "forgotten" as much as it's overshadowed by another track from parent album Blue Lines, "Unfinished Sympathy", which is just behind "Teardrop" in the run-in for their signature. "Teardrop" eventually entered the Dance/Electronic Digital Songs chart, but even over there, it was beaten by "Paradise Circus", which is even less known than "Harm".
  • Moby's only Top 40 hit, "South Side" (which featured Gwen Stefani), is not nearly as well-remembered as "Natural Blues" or "Porcelain".
  • New Order's highest charter in America had to be "Blue Monday", right? Actually, it only charted at #68 as a remix released five years after the original (and below Orgy's 1999 cover which hit #56). Their two top 40 hits were "True Faith" and "Regret", which are among their best known singles, but aren't as iconic as "Blue Monday". Neither of these could even take the position of their second best known song, an honor that likely goes to "Bizarre Love Triangle" (which only peaked at #98, and beaten by Frente!'s 1994 cover at #49 — but that's even less known than Orgy's "Blue Monday").
  • Orbital's two singles that reached the top 10 of the UK and Ireland charts were "The Saint", a remake of the theme to the classic TV series for use in its 1997 movie adaptation, and "Satan Live", a live version of an earlier Butthole Surfers' sampling track, both at #3. The former was essentially forgotten by the group soon after touring for In Sides ended, and the latter was quickly forgotten about in favor of the original. What's more, what many would consider their signature, "Halcyon", only reached #37 in the UK, making it their lowest charting single that cracked the UK top 40, and their only other charting single in Ireland, "The Box", while definitely more well-known than "Saint" or "Satan", is not quite on the same level as "Halcyon", or, for that matter, their breakout "Chime". On the U.S. Dance Charts, three singles, including "Chime" (#23) and "Halcyon" (#33) both charted. The third single? "Are We There?", which hasn't reached the heights of either the other singles that charted or "The Box"
  • The Prodigy's three best-known songs all came from their hit album The Fat Of The Land, which is an example on both sides of the Atlantic:
    • They had two #1 hits in their native UK, "Breathe" and "Firestarter", which are both electronic classics. What was their only #2 hit? No, it wasn't "Smack My Bitch Up" (#8), but rather "Everybody in the Place" (which isn't even the best-known single on their album Experience; that honor goes to the #5 "Out of Space").
    • In the United States, they had two Hot 100 entries, with the #30 "Firestarter" and "Smack". Because of the controversy surrounding its lyrics and music video, "Smack" now makes up most of their airplay despite stalling at #89. Still, "Breathe" was their biggest hit on Alternative radio.
  • Skrillex:
    • He scored his only pop hit with the #8 "Where Are Ü Now" as a member of Jack Ü (also known as "Skrillex and Diplo"). However, since it's universally seen as Justin Bieber's song and sounds nothing like his signature dubstep style, it probably won't displace "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" and "Bangarang" as his signature.
    • As a pure lead artist, he also had one Top 40 hit: 2016's "Purple Lamborghini" featuring Rick Ross for the Suicide Squad soundtrack. Because it is more associated with its parent movie than him, and quickly fell down the charts, it could not displace either two of his classic singles.
  • Thomas Dolby's only top 20 hit in the UK was… "She Blinded Me With Science"? That only reached #49. It was actually "Hyperactive". Averted, however, in the U.S.
  • Tiesto's highest charter on the Billboard Hot 100 wasn't "Red Lights", but rather the follow-up "Wasted".
  • Underworld's "Born Slippy .NUXX" only reached #27 on the dance charts, a position that they outpeaked six times. They had two songs that entered the Hot 100, but neither of them were "Born Slippy .NUXX", or anything else from their "Underworld Mk. 2" incarnation - they were "Underneath the Radar" and "Stand Up", both from their days as an 80's synthpop act.
  • Zedd's biggest hit was in 2017 with the #7 "Stay", a song equally-credited to Alessia Cara. Whether it will become more well-known overall than his 2013 Breakthrough Hit "Clarity", a #8 hit, remains to be seen, but it's unlikely to be displaced as his signature, given that unlike on "Stay", Zedd is the sole lead artist on "Clarity".

    Hip-Hop / R&B 
  • 112's highest peaking song (excluding their feature on Puff Daddy's The Notorious B.I.G. tribute "I'll Be Missing You", which was #1 for 11 weeks) is the #4 "Peaches & Cream", which is still quite well remembered but not as much as "Cupid" or "Anywhere", which peaked at #13 and #15 respectively.
  • 2 Chainz had several Top 40 hits (the highest of which being the #13 "Mercy", an equally-credited collaboration between him and rappers Kanye West, Big Sean, and Pusha T), but his signature "Birthday Song" only peaked at a measly #47.
  • Aaliyah's sole #1 surprisingly wasn't "One in a Million", which only reached #25, but "Try Again". In fact, she outpeaked that song on eight different occasions.
  • Alicia Keys had 3 #1 hits as a lead. They were "Fallin'", "No One" and… "If I Ain't Got You" or even "Girl on Fire"? Nope, those only reached #4 and #11. The third #1 was "My Boo", a long-forgotten duet with Usher.
  • Beastie Boys scored three Top 40 hits. If you guessed two of them were "Fight For Your Right" (their highest charting hit, despite major Creator Backlash) and "Intergalactic", you're right. What was the third? "No Sleep Till Brooklyn", "Paul Revere", "So Whatcha Want", or "Sabotage"? Nope, it was the now forgotten "Hey Ladies", which also holds the curious distinction of being the very first song to chart on both the Billboard Hot Rap Singles and Modern Rock charts — both had only just been introduced when the single was released.
  • The Black Eyed Peas:
    • They had three #1 hits. They were "I Gotta Feeling", "Boom Boom Pow", and… "Imma Be", which is far less famous than the likes of "Where Is The Love?", "Let's Get it Started" and "My Humps", to say the least.
    • Fergie as a solo artist is a similar case. She had three #1 hits; if you guessed two of them were "Glamorous" and "Big Girls Don't Cry", you're correct. Most people would probably guess the other #1 was "Fergalicious"; it's certainly better-known than "Glamorous". However, it actually fell short at #2 behind Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable". The other #1 was "London Bridge", her debut single which did not have as much staying power. will.i.am, however, averts this, as his highest charting song "Scream & Shout" is easily his signature.
  • B.o.B had a #1 hit in 2010 with his debut single "Nothin' on You", which remains his only #1 song to this day. However, his signature song is often considered to be "Airplanes" featuring Hayley Williams, which fell just short of the top spot at #2. The main reason for this is because "Nothin' on You" features Bruno Mars, who would later become a pop megastar eclipsing B.o.B., leading to the song being more associated with him. Additionally, much like the Taio Cruz example below, "Airplanes" long outlived and far outsold "Nothin' on You".
  • Bobby Brown topped the Hot 100 with his signature "My Prerogative", so he averts this trope. However, what was his next highest charter? "Rock Wit'cha", "Every Little Step", or "Don't Be Cruel"? It was actually "On Our Own". Despite being used as the Theme Song for Ghostbusters II, it's almost completely forgotten today.
  • Bruno Mars' longest running #1 as a lead artist was "Locked out of Heaven", the lead single of Unorthodox Jukebox. While it's hugely iconic, it's not quite at the status of his two #1's from Doo-wops and Hooligans, "Just The Way You Are" and "Grenade". If his longest-running #1 overall, his spot on Mark Ronson's 14-week chart-topper "Uptown Funk", is taken into account, as it is universally considered a Mars song anyway, then it's completely averted as it is easily both artists' signature songs. Also, of his seven #1 hits, "The Lazy Song" was not one of them. It's one of his best known songs, despite being disowned by Mars himself. Finally, one of Mars' most well-known songs, "Marry You", peaked at only #85, but it has remained in the public consciousness in part because of its continued use as a wedding song and a lasting pop radio presence.
  • When you ask a hip-hop head to name a Busta Rhymes song, they'll come up with a wide variety of answers such as "Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check", "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See 'Em", "Dangerous", "Fire It Up", "Break Ya Neck" and "Pass the Courvosier" (and those are only his charting hits). However, they probably wouldn't name "What's It Gonna Be?!" or "I Know What You Want", his two highest charting entries on the Hot 100, both peaking at #3. While the latter is definitely better remembered than the former, it's probably more associated with Mariah Carey than him. The former is largely known for having one of the most expensive music videos ever made, but its then-eyecatching special effects are are a lot less dazzling two decades on.
  • Chamillionaire's biggest hit on the hip-hop charts wasn't "Ridin'", but rather the far less memorable "Hip Hop Police". This is averted on the Hot 100, where "Ridin'" was easily his biggest hit.
  • Chris Brown had two #1 hits, one of which was the well-known "Run It!". What was the other one? "With You", "Forever", "Deuces", "Yeah 3x" and "Look at Me Now" are all reasonable guesses, but it was actually "Kiss Kiss", which faded into relative obscurity after Brown and featured artist T-Pain's careers took a beating.
  • Color Me Badd had two #1 singles, but neither was "I Wanna Sex You Up".
  • The Commodores had two #1 hits: "Three Times a Lady" and..."Brick House"? Nope, it was the less memorable "Still".
  • Cypress Hill easily averts this trope, as their signature "Insane in the Brain" was their only Top 40 hit. However, they have a strong Periphery Demographic with rock fans, even with those who don't normally listen to hip-hop. As a result, they've managed several hits on rock radio. However, "Insane", the song you're most likely to hear on the rock format nowadays, never charted there, as the format was not very friendly to hip-hop acts at the time of its release. The rock hits were 2000's "(Rock) Superstar", 2004's "What's Your Number", and 2010's "Rise Up". Today, only the formermost song remains well-known, though not to the extent of "Insane".
  • Destiny's Child had four #1s. "Say My Name", Independent Women Part 1", and "Bootylicious" were three of them. The other was either "Survivor" or "Jumpin', Jumpin'", right? Nope, it was "Bills, Bills, Bills". Face of the Band Beyoncé had two #1s off of her debut album, "Crazy in Love" and "Baby Boy". The shocking part is that although the former is far more famous, the latter actually spent nine weeks on top compared to eight for the former. However, "Irreplaceable", her ten-week champion from 2006, is still one of her most iconic songs overall (and the top song of 2007).
  • DJ Khaled has had three top 10 hits (including the #1 "I'm the One"), but "All I Do Is Win" petered out at #24.
  • Dr. Dre averts this on one hand, as his signature "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang" peaked at #2. He had three more Top 10 hits as the lead artist, but none of them were "Still D.R.E.", "Forgot About Dre" and "The Next Episode". Believe it or not, they never made it past #93, #25 and #23, respectively. The others are "Fuck wit Dre Day (And Everyone's Celebratin')", "Keep Their Heads Ringin'" and "I Need a Doctor" (the latter commonly being thought of as Eminem's song).
  • DMX had two Top 40 hits: "Party Up" and… "X Gon' Give It to Ya"? Nope, "Get at Me Dog".
  • Drake has had 13 top 10 hits, but "The Motto" (best known as the song that gave rise to "YOLO") only reached #14.
  • E-40 had three top 40 hits - "Rapper's Ball", "U and Dat" and "Tell Me When To Go". The latter is easily the best-known out of the three, despite being the lowest-charting (and the second is probably associated more with T-Pain than with him).
  • Eminem:
    • Many of his most famous songs (including his signature "Lose Yourself") reached #1, but most people would be surprised to find out that "My Name Is" fizzled out at #36 and "Stan" never made it past #51. In fact, Dido's "Thank You", the song that the latter adopted its hook from, peaked at #3 despite nowadays being much less remembered.
    • Most would assume that three of his five #1 hits were "Without Me", "The Real Slim Shady", and "Cleanin' Out My Closet", but they just missed the spot, with the former at #2 and the latter two at #4. One of those five #1s was the relatively forgotten "Crack a Bottle".
    • The Marshall Mathers LP 2 produced two Top 5 hits — "The Monster" of course was one of them being its sole #1, but the other must've been "Rap God", right? Actually, "Rap God" only reached #7. The other Top 5 was the #3 "Berzerk". Far from obscure, but not quite as well known. "Berzerk" hit #3 because it was the album's lead single which had strong first-week sales; meanwhile "Rap God" is hailed as one of Eminem's all-time greatest tracks, and arguably even eclipsed "The Monster" in public consciousness.
  • Eric B. & Rakim only had one charting entry on the Hot 100. It wasn't "Paid In Full", "Eric B. Is President", or "I Ain't No Joke", but rather the much-less remembered "Juice (Know the Ledge)". Their only Top 40 appearance was a featured credit on Jody Watley's now-long forgotten #9 hit "Friends".
  • Etta James had nine top 40 hits, but "At Last" was not among them.
  • Fabolous had four Top 10 hits: "Breathe", "Can't Let You Go", "Into You" and "Make Me Better". The first is the best-known of the four, but it charted the lowest.
  • Flo Rida easily averts this overall, as his 10-week 2008 chart-topper "Low" is easily his signature. However, his 2015 EP My House falls into this status, having produced two Top 10 hits — "G.D.F.R." and the title track. The former stalled at #8 while the latter made it to #4. However, when all is said and done, "G.D.F.R." will likely be the more enduring of the two, due to it being a club anthem and that it was used in a couple blockbuster films (Furious 7 and Deadpool).
  • Fort Minor, a side project of Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda, hit #4 with "Where'd You Go" in 2006. The follow-up "Remember the Name" stalled at #66 before plummeting off the charts, and the project was cancelled shortly after. Sounds like your typical one-hit wonder, right? Well, that's mostly true, except most say that the latter song was the "one hit". It's been used numerous times in media, became a sports anthem, and has overshadowed anything else they've ever done, while the former has faded into general obscurity.
  • The Fugees is a weird example. Their highest charter only reached #29, it was their only Top 40 hit, and it was neither their cover of "Killing Me Softly" nor "Ready or Not", but rather "Fu-Gee-La". However, that's because despite being a massive airplay hit and a worldwide chart-topper, "Killing Me Softly" was not eligible to chart on the Hot 100 because it was not released as a physical single. It undoubtedly would've made the Top 10, if not #1, if it were. Meanwhile, "Ready or Not", which was also not released physically, peaked at a mere #69. Averted with Lauryn Hill as a solo artist, as her signature "Doo Wop (That Thing)" was her only #1 hit and nothing else came close.
  • Ginuwine's highest-charting song wasn't "Pony", but rather "Differences".
  • Gucci Mane's only top 40 hit wasn't "Spotlight", but rather "Wasted".
  • Ice-T had two solo entries on the Hot 100, but his best-known song (his band Body Count's "Cop Killer") was never released as a single. That song has never been re-released, and became known for the controversy surrounding its lyrics.
  • J Cole had his first top 10 hit in 2016 with "Deja Vu", but because it only charted due to the release of his album 4 Your Eyez Only and wasn't released as a single until 2017, it's unlikely to become better-known overall than songs like "Work Out" and "Power Trip".
  • Jason Derulo's first and only #1 hit is his debut single, 2009's "Whatcha Say". While it's not particularly forgotten today, it's not nearly as well-remembered or iconic as 2014's "Talk Dirty" (featuring 2 Chainz), which only peaked at #3, or 2015's "Want to Want Me", which peaked at #5.
  • Jay-Z's only #1 hit as a lead artist was "Empire State of Mind" featuring Alicia Keys, which is quite well-known, especially as an anthem for residents of the Big Apple. His signature "99 Problems," however? That one didn't get any higher than #30.
  • Juvenile had two Top 40 hits — 1999's "Back That Azz Up", which only reached #15, and 2003's "Slow Motion", a chart-topping smash. What happens next? The former becomes his most iconic song, a staple of parties across the country, and the song you're more likely to hear on urban stations, while the latter fades into relative obscurity.
  • Kanye West topped the hip-hop charts twice: "Gold Digger" and… "Stronger"? Nope, that only reached #30. The other #1 was the aforementioned "Mercy". While still an urban classic, it isn't nearly as legendary as "Stronger". He averts this on the Hot 100, where "Gold Digger" and "Stronger" both topped the chart, while "Mercy" only made it to #12.
  • Kendrick Lamar scored his first #1 hit (as a lead) in 2017 with "HUMBLE." However, time will tell if it can supplant the #81 "Alright" as his signature. Despite its low peak, "Alright" is well-known due to it becoming an anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement, being named the top song of 2015 by outlets like Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, and The New York Times, being nominated for Song of the Year at the VMAs, and winning a Grammy for Best Rap Song.
  • Lil Jon's biggest hit was "Get Low", which is easily his best-known song today. Most people would guess his next-biggest hit was his spot on DJ Snake's "Turn Down for What", but it was actually "Lovers & Friends" (just barely, though). Even "Snap Yo Fingers" is probably better-known than that song.
  • Lil Wayne overall is an aversion — his signature "Lollipop" was his sole #1 hit as a lead artist. His next biggest hit, the #3 "She Will", is completely forgotten today and isn't even the best known song on The Carter IV (that would be the #9 "6 Foot 7 Foot") or even second (#5 "How to Love"). "A Milli", which is better known than "Love", peaked one spot below at #6.
  • LL Cool J's two highest-charting hits reached #3, but neither of them were "Mama Said Knock You Out", "I Need Love" or "I Can't Live Without My Radio" (the former two peaked at #17 and #14 respectively, while "I Can't Live Without My Radio" did not chart on the Hot 100). One was the fairly well-remembered Boyz II Men collaboration "Hey Lover", but the other was the largely forgotten "Loungin'". Even fewer will realize that his sole #1 hit was not as a lead, but as a feature, which came in 2003 on Jennifer Lopez' largely forgotten "All I Have".
  • Ludacris had two #1s as a lead artist, but neither was "Move Bitch" (which only peaked at #10). They were "Stand Up" and "Money Maker". Not entirely obscure, but not as well known as "Move Bitch".
  • Mac Miller's biggest hit on the Hot 100 as a lead (thus excluding his feature on Ariana Grande's "The Way", which is still the most famous song he's ever been on) wasn't his signature "Donald Trump", but rather "Loud". Also surprising is that the former was outpeaked three other times by "Frick Park Market", "Party on Fifth Ave.", and "Smile Back", none of which are as well-known. The main reason "Donald Trump" remained so enduring was due to said businessman's media ubiquity during his presidential campaign, and with him winning presidency of the nation (and the song re-entering the iTunes charts afterwards), it's unlikely that any song will ever be able to displace it as Miller's overall signature.
  • Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men were two of the biggest artists of the 1990s, spawning #1 hit after #1 hit throughout the decade. You may know the former for songs like "Hero", "Fantasy", "Always Be My Baby", and "We Belong Together", while you may know the latter for songs like "End of the Road", "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday", and "I'll Make Love to You." Now, those songs were huge, but chart record-wise they barely compared to a certain other song. In late 1995 through early 1996, both acts shared the longest running #1 song in the history of the Billboard Hot 100: "One Sweet Day," an R&B ballad that spent 16 weeks at the top of the chart. Nowadays? It's not nearly as memorable as those other singles. However, it still has a large following with chart enthusiasts, and is still often used to mourn the loss of a loved one.
  • MC Hammer averts this trope overseas, as his signature "U Can't Touch This" topped the charts in a few countries. Back home in the USA, "Touch" was massive radio hit, but it actually wound up as the lowest-peaking of his five Top 10 hits; It stalled at just #8… because Capitol Records only released it there as a rare 12-inch single (it would have almost certainly topped the Hot 100 if it were more widely available). His biggest hit stateside, believe it or not, is "Pray", a now-obscure #2 hit that sampled Prince's "When Doves Cry". His second best-known song, "Too Legit to Quit", only peaked at #5, just one below Hammer's long-forgotten "Have You Seen Her".
  • Missy Elliott had three songs that charted higher than "Get Ur Freak On", which peaked at #7. "Work It", her highest charting song, still gets steady airplay on urban stations, but "Hot Boyz" and "Lose Control", the other two, are largely obscure today.
  • Nas had three Top 40 hits as the lead artist — "Sweet Dreams", "Made You Look", and "I Can". However, none of them are considered his signature. That honor goes to "N.Y. State of Mind", which was never released as a single. Of the three, "Made You Look" is the best known, but even then it's an example as it was the lowest charting of the three.
  • Ne-Yo averts this overall, as his signature "So Sick" was his only #1 as a lead. However, his only #2 wasn't "Miss Independent" or even "Closer", but rather "Because of You". While far from obscure, it isn't quite as well-known.
  • Nelly had four #1 hits: "Hot In Herre", "Dilemma", and... "Ride wit Me" and "Country Grammar"? Actually, they never made it past #3 and #7, respectively. The other two are the much less remembered "Shake Ya Tailfeather" and "Grillz".
  • New Boyz's biggest hit wasn't "You're A Jerk", but rather the long-forgotten "Tie Me Down".
  • Nicki Minaj had a #2 hit in 2014 with "Anaconda" which got there through sheer Memetic Mutation. Naturally, it faded out of public consciousness when it died down, and isn't as well remembered as "Super Bass" (#3) or "Starships" (#5).
  • The Notorious B.I.G. had four Top 10 hits: "Big Poppa", "One More Chance", "Hypnotize" and "Mo Money Mo Problems" (the latter two being posthumous #1s). While all of his hits are classics (especially the two #1s), none are quite on the level of his debut single "Juicy". It is widely hailed as one of the greatest hip-hop songs of all time, despite never making it past #27.
  • Master producer Pharrell Williams managed two Top 10 hits on the R&B charts. One, of course, was his signature champion "Happy". The other was "Frontin'", right? Nope, that song never touched the R&B charts (although it reached #5 on the Hot 100). The other Top 10 hit was "Come Get It Bae", which isn't nearly as memorable.
  • Prince had five #1 hits. Three of them ("When Doves Cry", "Let's Go Crazy" and "Kiss") remain among his most iconic songs. The other two were "Batdance" and "Cream", neither of which are as well-known as "Purple Rain" (#2), "1999" (#12), "Little Red Corvette" (#6), "Raspberry Beret" (#2) or "Sign o' the Times" (#3). When he died in 2016, it was "Purple Rain" that led the cavalcade of his recharting songs.
    • Even more blatant in the UK where his only number one came with 1994's "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World". Needless to say it's far less remembered than classics like "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy".
  • Public Enemy had only one top 40 hit on the Hot 100. Must've been "Fight The Power" or even "Bring the Noise", right? Nope, it's the long-forgotten "Give It Up".
  • R. Kelly had two #1 singles. Surely they were "I Believe I Can Fly" and "Ignition", right? They were actually the still remembered "Bump n' Grind" and the long-forgotten "I'm Your Angel" (featuring Céline Dion).
  • Rich Homie Quan's highest charting single was "Flex (Ooh Ooh Ooh)", which peaked at #26; while that song is still quite well known, it's not as popular as his signature "Type Of Way", which only reached #50.
  • Rick Ross had three Top 40 hits, but neither of them were "Hustlin'" (which only reached #54). His highest charter was "The Boss", which is largely forgotten today mainly because it is more associated with T-Pain, whose career hasn't aged too well into the '10s. The second Top 40 hit was the even less remembered "Aston Martin Music", which is more associated with Drake than him. Third was "Purple Lamborghini", where Ross got equal billing with Skrillex, and that song was quickly forgotten.
  • Rihanna:
    • On one hand, she averts this. Of her eleven #1s as a lead artist, seven of them remain very iconic — "S.O.S.", "Umbrella", "Disturbia", "Only Girl (In the World)", "Rude Boy", "We Found Love" (her 10-week champion) and "Diamonds". On the other hand, some are not as remembered, such as "Take a Bow", "What's My Name?" and "S&M", which while not forgotten aren't quite as well known as some her other songs that didn't hit #1. These include "Don't Stop the Music", "Where Have You Been", and "Stay", which are likely better known to general audiences and get more airplay than those songs do today. Time will tell whether or not "Work", her latest #1, remains well-remembered after its peak.
    • She has scored a whopping eleven #1 hits on the pop songs chart (including hits such as "Rude Boy" and "We Found Love"), but surprisingly none of them were her signature "Umbrella", which fell just short at #2.
  • Hip-Hop / Rap Rock pioneers Run–D.M.C. avert this on one hand. Their legendary cover/remix of "Walk This Way" was their highest charting single and only Top 10 hit. However, they had two other Top 40 hits. Most would guess from a wide variety of songs such as "It's Like That", "Sucker MCs", "Rock Box", "King of Rock", "My Adidas", "Christmas in Hollis", or "It's Tricky". All are good guesses, but many would be surprised to learn that only the lattermost song charted on the Hot 100, fizzling out at #57. The other two Top 40 hits were the long-forgotten "You Be Illin'" (the follow-up to "Walk This Way", but has since been overshadowed by the much more enduring "It's Tricky") and "Down with the King" (released in 1993, well after their peak in overall popularity). On the other hand, a strange example in that overseas their biggest hit by far wasn't "Walk This Way", but a dance remix of "It's Like That" in 1997, which topped numerous charts worldwide but was mostly unnoticed back home.
  • Everyone knows about Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It", but did they know it only reached #19? Or that they had three songs chart higher, including two songs that went Top 5? All of them are still iconic, with "Whatta Man" being the best known of them all. The other two, "Shoop" and "Let's Talk About Sex", were mostly forgotten until they were revived in 2016 thanks to Deadpool and being sampled in a European hit called "Sex", respectively. Still, they aren't on the level of "Push It".
  • ScHoolboy Q's has two Top 40 hits as a lead — "Studio" and "THat Part". However, neither are considered his signature. That title goes to "Collard Greens", a song that only barely scraped the bottom of the Hot 100.
  • Sisqo's "Thong Song" reached #3 on the pop charts, but most people have forgotten about his number-one "Incomplete." This is probably because only "Thong Song" was a major hit on pop radio, while "Incomplete" relied on sales (with a "Thong Song" B-side) and R&B airplay to reach the peak.
  • Snoop Dogg's iconic "Gin & Juice" only hit #8 on the Hot 100. He outpeaked it four different times — all in the 21st century. While "Drop It Like It's Hot" (his only #1 hit) remains iconic, his other three hits "Beautiful", "Sexual Eruption", and "Young, Wild, & Free" (the latter sharing equal billing with Wiz Khalifa — and it's honestly more associated with Khalifa than Snoop — and featuring Bruno Mars) aren't quite on that level.
  • T.I.:
    • He both plays this straight and averts this. He had two #1 hits as a lead, "Whatever You Like" and "Live Your Life". "Whatever" topped the Hot 100 for seven weeks to "Life"'s six, but the latter is generally better remembered today than the former, likely because it features guest vocals from Rihanna. However, because of Rihanna's appearance on the song, the song is primarily associated with her despite the fact that she was just the featured artist and T.I. the lead. Because "Life" isn't considered his song in the eyes of the public, "Whatever" is still seen as his Signature Song.
    • An isolated example, but his 2014 album Paperwork produced two singles — "About the Money" featuring Young Thug which fizzled out at #42 and only peaked at #12 on rhythmic, and "No Mediocre" featuring Iggy Azalea, which hit #33 and became a rhythmic chart-topper. However, since the latter was always more associated with Azalea, with her being the reason it became a hit, it wasn't able to displace "Money" as being the album's signature. Couple this with the fact that Azalea plummeted into Deader Than Disco status, and this became the signature entirely.
  • Twista's only #1 hit was "Slow Jamz", which isn't nearly as iconic as his #6 "Overnight Celebrity". Nowadays the former is associated more with Kanye West, but even then it's far from one of his best-known songs.
  • T-Pain's only lead #1 hit was not "I'm 'n Luv (Wit a Stripper)", which only hit #5, but rather the much less remembered "Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')".
  • Usher managed nine #1 hits, seven of which ("U Remind Me", "U Got It Bad", "Yeah!", "Burn", "Confessions Part II", "Love in This Club" and "OMG") remain classics to this day. The other two were "Nice & Slow" and the aforementioned "My Boo" (see the Alicia Keys example above), which are more obscure than non-#1s like "You Make Me Wanna…", "U Don't Have to Call", "Caught Up", "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love", "More" and "Scream".
  • Vanilla Ice's only #1 was his signature "Ice Ice Baby". Most people would be surprised to hear that he had another top-5 hit. Was it the "Ninja Rap"? Nope, it was a rap remix of "Play That Funky Music", which Wild Cherry blacklisted into obscurity.
  • V.I.C.'s only top 40 hit on the Hot 100 wasn't "Wobble", as popularized by the iconic dance craze, but rather "Get Silly". Because it was written and produced by Soulja Boy, and contains with his signature "Soulja Boy Tell 'Em" intro, many people though it was his song and were unaware both songs were by the same artist. Regardless, "Get Silly" was a minor hit that was quickly forgotten, and since Soulja Boy's career has not aged well into the New Tens it has remained that way; thus it's not surprising that V.I.C. is remembered as a one-hit wonder for an iconic rap dance song than one associated with a now-despised rapper.
  • Will Smith had two #1 hits, "Getting Jiggy Wit' It" and... "Men in Black"? Actually, "Men in Black" was ineligible to enter the Hot 100 due to a chart quirk preventing non-physical singles from entering at the time (though it did top the airplay chart). The other #1 hit is "Wild Wild West". Even "Miami" (which reached #17) is probably better remembered than that song.
  • Wiz Khalifa is a weird example. He has two #1 hits on the Hot 100; of course, one was his signature megahit "See You Again", which ruled for twelve weeks. The other one? "Black & Yellow". While it's far from obscure, it's not nearly as well-remembered as other hits from the time period (like "Party Rock Anthem", "Give Me Everything" and "Rolling in the Deep") are, largely because it was a rap song with minimal crossover play but plenty of viral appeal. Most people who do remember it won't remember that it hit #1, and will assume his second #1 was his spot on Maroon 5's "Payphone"; in fact, said guest spot is widely seen as his only other notable song besides "Again" to mainstream audiences.
  • Young Jeezy's only Top 5 hit wasn't "Put On" but rather "Soul Survivor", featuring Akon.

    Pop / Pop Rock 
  • 5 Seconds of Summer's signature "She Looks So Perfect" only reached #24, and they've outpeaked it twice with "Amnesia" and "She's Kinda Hot", but both had very quick fall-offs and aren't nearly as well remembered.
  • Air Supply only had one #1 in the U.S., "The One That You Love", which isn't quite as well known as "Lost in Love" or "All Out of Love".
  • A Ha's sole #1 hit in the UK and Ireland wasn't "Take On Me". It was "The Sun Always Shines on TV". Averted, however, in the U.S., where it was easily their biggest hit and only top 10.
  • Alanis Morissette averts this, as "Ironic" was her biggest hit, reaching #4 on the Hot 100. People will be surprised she only had one other top 10 hit, due to most of her songs being ineligible due to the lack of physical single releases. That must have been "You Oughta Know", right? Not exactly. It was actually "You Learn", with a live version of "Know" as its B-side.
  • Andrew Gold had a big hit in 1977 with "Lonely Boy"; its follow-up, "Thank You For Being a Friend," stalled in the 20s and quickly faded into obscurity...only to be revived later on through the classic sitcom The Golden Girls and ultimately outlived "Lonely Boy" in public consciousness.
  • Avril Lavigne's only #1 was "Girlfriend", which, although a classic, isn't quite as famous as "Complicated", which was stuck at #2 behind Nelly's "Dilemma".
  • The B-52s had five Top 40 hits in the US, but "Rock Lobster" (which peaked at #56) and "Private Idaho" (which made it to #74) weren't among them. Their highest charting songs, "Love Shack" and "Roam" (both #3 hits) remain among their most popular songs. The other three, however - "Deadbeat Club", "Good Stuff" and their cover of "Meet the Flintstones" - are almost completely forgotten.
  • Most people would assume Backstreet Boys' highest charting song on the Hot 100 was either "I Want It That Way" or "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)". It was actually "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)".
  • Berlin easily avert this, as their only #1 hit was "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun, which is by far their most famous song. Although they were cult new wave icons, the mainstream will likely be hard-pressed to name any other song of theirs, and will be surprised to find out that they had another top 40 hit. That song, "No More Words", although it still gets sporadic airplay, likely isn't even their second best known song: "The Metro" and "Sex (I'm A...)" are probably both more known than it.
  • Billy Joel had three #1 hits: "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me", "Tell Her About It" and "We Didn't Start the Fire". Many will be surprised that he didn't hit the top with such songs as "Piano Man" (#25), "Movin' Out" (#17), "Only the Good Die Young" (#24), "Uptown Girl" (#3), "She's Always a Woman" (#17) or "The River of Dreams" (#3).
  • Bonnie Tyler had two smash top 5 hits: The chart-topping "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and...."Holding Out for a Hero", right? Nope; the latter never made it past #34. Her actual other hit was "It's a Heartache" from the 70s.
  • Bow Wow Wow's cover of "I Want Candy" is much better known than the original version by the Strangeloves, even though the original was a #11 hit while the cover only hit #62.
  • Brenda Lee had two #1 singles, but her most enduring song, "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", never made it past #14.
  • Britney Spears' biggest hit on the Hot 100 was her signature "...Baby One More Time". Her other #1 hits, "Womanizer", "3", and "Hold It Against Me" aren't nearly as well-remembered, versus more iconic songs like "Oops, I Did It Again", "I'm A Slave 4 U", "Toxic", and "Till The World Ends".
  • The Brothers Johnson's highest charting song on the Hot 100 wasn't Quentin Tarantino favorite "Strawberry Letter 23", but the less iconic "I'll Be Good to You".
  • Christina Aguilera had 5 #1 hits in her career, but her most enduring song, 2003's "Beautiful", stalled out at #2.
  • Cyndi Lauper had a #1 hit with "Time After Time". While still considered an '80s classic, it doesn't quite compare in legendary status to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", which fell just short at #2. And let's not get started on comparing "Girls"' fame to that of her other #1 hit, "True Colors"...
  • Daniel Powter only had one song hit the Top 5 in his native Canada. Was it "Bad Day"? Wrong, that stalled at #7. His sole Top 5 was "Love You Lately", which outpeaked his big hit by two spots; this is because the Canadian charts relied solely on physical single sales until Billboard introduced the Canadian Hot 100 in 2007. This song, like the rest of his discography besides his debut single, is completely forgotten today even in his home country. Nonetheless, "Bad Day" was his sole #1 hit down south, and by extension, his only visit to the Hot 100.
  • Demi Lovato's highest charting song is her debut single "This Is Me", a duet with Joe Jonas from the Camp Rock soundtrack. It reached #9 (her only single digit entry) through sales alone without any pop radio airplay. It's almost completely forgotten today compared to her later material she made once she left Disney, such as "Give Your Heart a Break", "Heart Attack", "Cool for the Summer" and "Confident".
  • Ellie Goulding's highest charting hit in the U.S. is the #2 "Lights"; although it's hardly obscure and still her best-selling single there, it's not quite as iconic as "Love Me Like You Do" from the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, which peaked one rung lower. This is averted in most other countries, where "Love Me Like You Do" was easily her biggest hit.
  • Elton John had 12 #1 hits stateside in his long career, but many of his most iconic songs aren't part of that total. This includes "Your Song" (#8), "Tiny Dancer" (#41), "Rocket Man" (#6), "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (#2), "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" (#6), and his songs from The Lion King (the #4 "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" and the #18 "Circle of Life").
  • Enrique Iglesias had two chart-topping hits: "Bailamos" and… "Hero"? Nope, that only reached #3. It was actually "Be with You" (which, while not forgotten, isn't quite as well-known).
  • Exposé's only #1 hit wasn't "Point of No Return", but rather "Seasons Change".
  • Fifth Harmony's two best-known songs (and likely, the only songs of theirs non-fans will be able to recognize), are the #12 "Worth It" and #4 "Work From Home". Despite the eight-position advantage the latter song has, it hasn't overshadowed the former quite as much as it would seem. The former is still the higher-selling of the two hits.
  • Downplayed with Five for Fighting: His biggest hit on the Hot 100 by far was the #14 "Superman (It's Not Easy)", while runner up "100 Years" peaked at a distant #28. Despite the fourteen-position difference in chart peaks, both songs are remembered roughly the same.
  • Gloria Estefan had two solo #1 singles (and one with her band Miami Sound Machine), but none of them were "Conga".
  • Due to being ineligible for Hot 100 entry until long after it peaked in popularity, The Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" only hit #9, a lower showing than songs like "Name" and "Slide".
  • A very weird variation of this happened with Gregg Alexander, who was the sole member of New Radicals. Their signature "You Get What You Give", often held up as one of the biggest (but also most beloved) one-hit wonders of The '90s, only reached #36. Then he closed down the project to focus on being a songwriter. In 2002, he wrote Santana and Michelle Branch's "The Game of Love", which sounds very similar to "Give" but with female vocals. Despite making it all the way up to #5, it's almost completely forgotten compared to "Give", which peaked thirty-one spaces lower.
  • Halsey is a bizarre variation. On one hand she easily averts this, as her only #1 was her megahit collaboration "Closer" with The Chainsmokers, which is far and away the best-known song that she has ever been involved with. She had two other top 40 hits to date, one of which was "Now or Never". Most would assume that third Top 40 was either "New Americana" or "Colors". Actually, the other Top 40 song she was in was Justin Bieber's "The Feeling", which hit #31 due the hype of his comeback album Purpose, dropped of the charts immediately afterwards and was never released as a single. It's almost completely unheard of outside of her and Bieber's fanbases. Also, despite "New Americana" making it to #60 on the Hot 100 and #18 on alternative (her only real success there, despite being her home format) while "Colors" didn't chart anywhere, they're roughly equal in how well-known they are.
  • Jason Mraz averts this, as his signature song "I'm Yours" was indeed his biggest hit, reaching #6 on the Hot 100. He had one other top 10 hit that reached #8. It had to have been "The Remedy", right? Nope, that only made it to #15. It was actually 2012's "I Won't Give Up", which isn't nearly as iconic.
  • Jennifer Lopez had four #1 singles, but her most memorable songs, "Jenny from the Block" and "On the Floor", both peaked at #3.
  • Jessie J:
    • The popular UK singer's only Top 5 hit stateside was her #3 hit "Bang Bang". However, since it only became a hit because it had Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj on board, it probably can't displace "Price Tag" or "Domino" as her signature. It's still unquestionably her best-known song, but it's just not really associated with her.
    • Also of note, despite "Domino" far outpeaking "Price Tag" (#6 to #23), it hasn't nearly eclipsed it to the same extent that is seen with most other combinations of songs with similar peaks.
  • John Mayer's biggest hit "Say" is still fairly well-known, but it's not quite as famous as "No Such Thing", "Your Body is a Wonderland", or "Waiting on the World to Change".
  • JoJo only had one Top 5 hit in the United States, and surprisingly it wasn't her 2004 Breakthrough Hit "Leave (Get Out)"; that only reached #12. Rather, it was "Too Little Too Late" from her 2006 follow-up album, which is not obscure but still not quite as known.
  • Justin Bieber:
    • He topped charts worldwide in 2015 and 2016 with "What Do You Mean?", "Love Yourself" and "Sorry", but "Baby" only reached #5. Averted in France and Scotland, the only countries where "Baby" topped the charts.
    • What was the biggest hit from My World? It must've been "One Time". However, it was actually "One Less Lonely Girl" (by one spot).
  • Katy Perry has nine #1 hits, but "Hot n' Cold" only hit #3.
  • Kelly Clarkson hit the #1 spot three times — but her signature classic "Since U Been Gone" got stuck at #2.
  • Kim Wilde only had one #1 hit in America, it must be "Kids in America" right? Actually, it's a cover of The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On" in 1986, a song that's somewhat forgotten today (largely due to First and Foremost) while her 1981 single is the one people remember her for (and for the record, "Kids in America" never made it past #25).
  • Kylie Minogue's two Top 10 hits in America? The #3 "Loco-Motion" and the #7 "Can't Get You Out Of My Head." Of course, the latter is the better remembered of the two today as it was not a cover.
  • Lady Gaga had three #1 hits in the US: "Just Dance", "Poker Face", and "Born This Way". All of them are classics. Many will be surprised to learn, however, that "Bad Romance" fell just short at #2 (behind Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind" and Kesha's "TiK ToK").
  • Lorde has four Top 40 hits: "Royals", "Team", "Green Light", and... "Tennis Court"? Actually, it's "Yellow Flicker Beat" from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack (its run being overshadowed by the surprise breakout of the Jennifer Lawrence-sung "The Hanging Tree" from the film's score).
  • Madonna had a whopping 12 #1 hits including "Like a Virgin" and "Like a Prayer". Another one of those 12 #1s must have been "Material Girl", right? Nope, that fell just short at #2. Surprisingly, her Breakthrough Hit "Holiday" was not among her thirty-eight Top 10 hits.
  • Mandy Moore's only top 40 hit in the U.S. was "I Wanna Be With You". It's not nearly as well known as its predecessor, "Candy", which peaked at #41, "In My Pocket", "Crush", and "Cry", which all failed to chart, and her songs from the Tangled soundtrack like "I See The Light".
  • Maroon 5 has had three #1 hits. If you guessed one of those was "Moves Like Jagger", you were right. Surprisingly, "She Will Be Loved", "This Love", "Payphone", and "Sugar" were not among the other two. They were actually "One More Night" (their nine-week champion, nowadays better remembered for being the song that infamously kept PSY's "Gangnam Style" from reaching the pole position) and "Makes Me Wonder".
  • Was Matchbox Twenty's only #1 hit "3 AM" or "Unwell"? It's actually the far less iconic "Bent". The former reached #3 on the airplay charts but never officially charted due to rules preventing physical singles from charting at the time, while the latter only reached #5.
  • Melanie Martinez has managed two entries on the Hot 100. Were they "Dollhouse" or "Pity Party"? Surprisingly, they weren't any of her own original material. They were actually her covers of The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" and Alex Clare's "Too Close" from her time on The Voice in 2012.
  • Michael Jackson:
    • Thriller had three #1s: "Billie Jean" (his longest-running #1), "Beat It," and… the last one has to be the title track, right? Nope, that only hit #4. His third #1 from the album is "The Girl Is Mine," his largely forgotten lead single duet with Paul McCartney. It isn't even as well-known as the likes of "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and "P.Y.T.", let alone "Thriller."
    • Similarly, Bad produced five #1 hits, yet "Smooth Criminal" only reached #7. While none of the album's #1s are obscure, "Smooth Criminal" went on to become one of Jackson's most recognized songs (with an equally recognizable cover in 2001 by nu-metal band Alien Ant Farm), and definitely gets more play these days than "I Just Can't Stop Lovin' You" or "Dirty Diana".
    • Jackson's chart displacement in the UK is even worse. Despite being as huge there as he was in his home country, he had only two number ones there in the 1980s: the ballads "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" and "One Day In Your Life" - the latter by far his biggest seller of the decade, despite being a 1975 recording put out by Motown (whom he was no longer with) as a blatant attempt to cash in on the success of Off The Wall. "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" is seemingly completely forgotten now, and few fans or even causual listeners would consider "One Day In Your Life" essential Jackson - or remember it went to number one where "Beat It", "Billie Jean", "Bad" and so many more memorable songs failed.
  • Michelle Branch's only Top 10 hit as a lead wasn't "Everywhere", but rather "All You Wanted", which is still well-known but not quite on the level of "Everywhere". Her biggest hit overall? Her spot on Santana's "The Game of Love", which is totally forgotten today (see the Santana and Gregg Alexander examples).
  • Milli Vanilli had three #1 hits throughout their short-lived heyday, but many would be surprised to learn that none of them were their signature "Girl You Know It's (-Girl You Know It's-Girl You Know It's-Girl You Know It's-Girl You Know It's-Girl You Know It's-Girl You Know It's) True," which peaked at #2.
  • Neil Diamond had three #1 hits, but "Sweet Caroline" only peaked at #4.
  • Nelly Furtado was massive in her heyday, but she only had two #1 hits. One, of course, was "Promiscuous". The other must've been "I'm Like A Bird", right? It was actually "Say It Right"; while certainly not forgotten, it's not quite as well-known as "I'm Like A Bird".
  • NSync, while absolutely massive, only managed one #1 hit atop the Hot 100. Must be "Bye Bye Bye", right? Nope, it only reached #4. That honor goes to "It's Gonna Be Me" (still easily second place for them).
  • One Direction's "Best Song Ever," their highest-charting song (#2), is not widely-known outside their fandom like "What Makes You Beautiful" and "Story of My Life" are. Additionally, Zayn Malik has since split from the band and now goes by "Zayn". His debut single "Pillowtalk" topped the Hot 100; time will tell if it or any of his songs become better known to the public than 1D's discography.
  • Paula Cole's debut single "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?" peaked at #8, but isn't nearly as well remembered as her follow-up "I Don't Want to Wait", which just missed the Top 10. The main reason for this is that the latter was the Theme Song to Dawson's Creek.
  • P!nk has hit #1 four different times, but many would be surprised to learn that her signature "Get This Party Started" stalled at #4.
  • Rebecca Black fell into this trope when "Saturday" (powered by music video streams) debuted on the Hot 100 a few spots higher than "Friday" peaked.
  • A chart quirk that prevented the Rembrandts' "I'll Be There For You" from charting until long after it peaked in airplay incidentally gave it a #17 peak, a few rungs lower than their long-forgotten 1991 hit "Just The Way It Is, Baby." Of course, the real reason the song is so iconic today is that it was the theme to Friends.
  • Rick James' signature "Super Freak" was actually beaten on the charts by the long-forgotten "You & I" by three spots; it hit #13 to "Freak"'s #16.
  • Robbie Williams scored seven UK #1 hits, but "Angels" only reached #4.
  • Romeo Void's sole Top 40 hit wasn't "Never Say Never", which never charted, but rather the mostly forgotten "A Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing)".
  • Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You", despite being one of her best-known songs, only reached #14 in the United States via a live version (the original only reached #65). "Angel" hit #4, but even then it fell one spot short of "Adia", which is mostly forgotten today.
  • Selena Gomez' highest charter as the frontwoman of Selena Gomez & The Scene was not "Love You Like a Love Song", but rather "Who Says", which outpeaked the former by one spot. Even "Naturally", the fourth-biggest song from the project, is better-known than "Who Says".
  • Sia downplays this: her only #1 hit in the U.S. was 2016's "Cheap Thrills", one of her best-known songs. Despite this, it hasn't quite eclipsed songs like "Chandelier" (#8) and "Titanium" (#7) in the public consciousness as their chart peaks may suggest.
  • Stephen Bishop's highest charting song was not "It Might Be You" from the Tootsie soundtrack, but the far less famous "On and On". It also lost out by a few spots to the even less memorable "Save it for a Rainy Day".
  • Taio Cruz hit the top with "Break Your Heart" in 2010. Follow-up "Dynamite" peaked at #2, but proved to have a much longer life and eventually sold a lot more than "Break Your Heart" did.
  • Taylor Swift:
    • She's managed five #1 hits, but her earlier hits "Love Story", "I Knew You Were Trouble", and "You Belong With Me" didn't make the cut.
    • The Hot Country Songs charts tell a similar story: debut single "Tim McGraw" stopped at #6, while "Teardrops on My Guitar" and "Mean" only got to #2, and "Back to December" to #3 (although the latter two got to #1 on Mediabase). With the case of "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together", it's more complicated. The song debuted at #13 on Hot Country Songs (due to the entire iHeartMedia block adding it at once), but quickly began slipping — at the time, Hot Country Songs was determined entirely by airplay from country stations, and the song just wasn't cutting it with listeners or programming directors. But one month into its chart run, Billboard refactored the country charts, along with many of its other genres: the old, airplay-only methodology was transferred to a new chart called Country Airplay, while the Hot Country Songs name was used for a new chart that also factored in airplay from other formats, streaming, and digital sales (effectively making it a country-only version of the Hot 100). As a result, "Together" continued to fizzle out at Country Airplay, but strong sales and success at pop and adult contemporary radio kept it at the top of Hot Country Songs for an absurdly long time. So while it was still a total flop with country listeners, it still had the honor of setting new country chart records, despite getting there a totally different way.
    • Speak Now produced three Top 10 hits: "Mine", "Back to December" and… "Mean"? The third one was actually the title track, which isn't as well-known (and wasn't even released as a single).
    • "Jump Then Fall" and "If This Was a Movie" both peaked at #10 on the dot, but these were due solely to one-week download spikes; neither song was a single, and in fact, both were such short blips on the radar that neither has a Wikipedia article, which is extremely rare for a 21st-century Top 10 hit.
  • Prolific producer Timbaland also had a few hits to his name as a solo artist, but only one song on which he was the lead artist went to #1. Was it "The Way I Are" or even "Apologize"? No, those songs peaked at #3 and #2, respectively. The song you're looking for is "Give It to Me" featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake, which isn't nearly as remembered (and actually finished three spots below "The Way I Are" on the year-end chart despite being a bigger hit at the time).
  • Tracy Chapman's biggest hit, "Give Me One Reason", is still well-known, but it can't beat "Fast Car" as her signature.
  • Train's highest charting song was their #3 comeback single "Hey, Soul Sister" from 2010, which while hardly obscure is not quite as iconic as "Drops of Jupiter" from their much more acclaimed first run. Their only other top 10? "Drive By", another song from their comeback run that is not nearly as remembered as their other major '00s hits, "Meet Virginia" and "Calling All Angels".
  • Vitamin C's biggest hit was not "Graduation (Friends Forever)", but "Smile".

    Metal / Hard Rock 
  • A Day to Remember's only Top 10 on mainstream rock was "Paranoia". While still fresh in people's minds, it's not at the level of "All I Want", which peaked at #21. Averted on the alternative charts, where "All I Want" was their biggest hit by far. "Paranoia" probably isn't even their second best known song (that would likely be the ballad "End of Me")
  • Adelitas Way had one #1 hit on the mainstream rock charts. It has to have been "Sick", right? Nope, that got stuck at #2; it was "Criticize".
  • When asked to name an Alice in Chains song, many would name "Man in a Box", "Rooster", "Would?", "Them Bones", "Angry Chair" and "Down in a Hole". Less likely to come up is "No Excuses", their highest-charting entry on the Hot 100. "No Excuses" was also one of their five #1s on the Mainstream Rock chart; the other four come from the band's reunion era with William DuVall, with "Check My Brain" also being their only #1 on alternative. Needless to say, none of them are nearly as well-known as the aforementioned Layne Staley-era songs from the 90's.
  • All That Remains' sole #1 on the mainstream rock charts was "Stand Up" - while hardly obscure, it isn't quite as well-known as their Breakthrough Hit and signature song "Two Weeks", which only reached #9 (and was outpeaked by three other songs). In fact, "Stand Up" isn't even their second best-known song - that honour would go to "This Calling", which preceded their days of charting hits - or even the best known song off its parent album A War You Cannot Win - that would most likely be the #2 ballad "What If I Was Nothing".
  • None of Anthrax's four charting hits were "Bring the Noise" or "Madhouse".
  • Asking Alexandria have had four charting hits on mainstream rock (the highest-peaking being "Moving On", at #6). However, it seems unlikely that any of them will displace "Final Episode" (which came long before they ever started getting radio play) as their signature.
  • Avenged Sevenfold:
    • Their highest charting song on the Hot 100? The #51 hit "Nightmare". Far from being unknown, but still not considered their signature (that would be the #60 "Bat Country"). It also missed the top of the mainstream rock charts, as it peaked at #2 behind Disturbed's "Another Way to Die". It's not even the best known song off its parent album, despite it being the title track — that honor most likely goes to "So Far Away", which is an aversion on rock as it was the album's only #1.
    • They had three #1 hits on mainstream rock, yet surprisingly none of them were "Bat Country" or "Beast and the Harlot". While "Bat" was a #2 hit on the chart and broke them through the mainstream, "Beast" never made it past #19 despite being nearly as well known. The three #1 hits were "So Far Away", "Hail to the King", and "Shepherd of Fire", which are still well known although not to the same extent as "Bat" and "Beast".
    • The highest charting hit off their self-titled 2007 album was unsurprisingly "Almost Easy", which hit #4 on mainstream and #6 on the Bubbling Under charts. Their only other top 10 was the #9…"Afterlife"? Nope, it was the far less iconic "Scream". This is averted on alternative, as "Afterlife" hit #20 to "Scream"'s #26 ("Almost Easy" was still their biggest hit from the album on that chart, reaching #6).
  • Black Sabbath:
    • The Ronnie James Dio era saw multiple hits in the UK and US mainstream rock charts. Certainly the highest charter of that era was "Heaven and Hell", right? That never charted due to never being released as a single. Their biggest hit with Dio on vocals was the completely forgotten "Turn Up the Night" (#37 in UK, #24 on US mainstream rock).
    • Since the mainstream rock charts didn't exist back in the '70s, their classics never charted. Their highest charters on mainstream rock were well after their prime. 1998's "Psycho Man" hit #3 and 2013's "God is Dead?" hit #7.
  • Breaking Benjamin:
    • What was their only #1 hit from Phobia? "The Diary of Jane", right? It was actually "Breath", which is not quite as well known as "Jane". Their other signature "I Will Not Bow" averts this, as it was a #1 hit and only top 40 pop hit. 2015's "Failure" was their biggest hit on the Mainstream Rock format, ruling the charts for nine weeks, good enough for Billboard to name it the biggest rock song of the year. Even if "Failure" survives in recurrent airplay, it's unlikely it will dethrone "Jane" or "Bow" as their signature.
    • An isolated example with "Blow Me Away". It is well remembered for its association with Halo 2 and is a concert staple, but it never charted due to never being released as an official single. However, years later, there was a version of it that made it to #5 on mainstream rock. A remix of it from the greatest hits album, featuring female vocals from Syd Duran of the band Valora (and credited to the band itself as a feature), became a Top 5 hit for the band. However, it's not nearly as well-known as the original, which still remains the most enduring version.
  • Bring Me the Horizon:
    • Their biggest hit on US mainstream rock off 2013's Sempiternal wasn't "Shadow Moses" (which didn't chart) but rather the much less well-known "Sleepwalking". Ultimately averted, as their 2015 album That's the Spirit produced their first #1 with "Throne", which is easily their signature.
    • Speaking of which, That's the Spirit produced two Top 5 hits. Obviously one was "Throne", but the other had to be "Drown", right? Actually that only reached #8. The other Top 5 was the #2 "Happy Song", which isn't quite as well-known.
  • Bullet for My Valentine's biggest hit on the rock charts by far was 2010's "Your Betrayal". While still fairly well known, it's not nearly as much as "Tears Don't Fall", which only made #24. Many would also be surprised that their famous "Hand of Blood", one of their best known songs, was never officially released as a single. Similar to Rise Against and Mudvayne, its fame comes from its memorable inclusion in the Need for Speed series (in this case, the legendary Most Wanted).
  • Chevelle averts this on the Hot 100, where their signature "The Red" was their highest charter. However, they've had five #1s on mainstream rock and only one song sit atop the modern rock charts — but "The Red" was neither one. "Send the Pain Below" was the first of five #1s on the former and their sole #1 on the latter, and while a classic (and likely the runner-up) isn't quite on the level of "The Red".
  • CKY had two top 40 rock hits, "Flesh Into Gear" and "Familiar Realm", but their signature "96 Quite Bitter Beings" failed to chart.
  • Clutch have had three charting songs on the Mainstream Rock charts. If you guessed that two of them were "Electric Worry" and "The Mob Goes Wild", you're right... but what was the third, and highest-charting? The Rap Metal parody "Careful With That Mic", which is not nearly as well-known as songs like "10001110101", "The Regulator" or "Cypress Grove".
  • Coal Chamber's only entry on mainstream rock charts was their cover of Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey", featuring guest vocals from Ozzy Osbourne. It's not nearly as well-remembered among their discography when compared to their signature "Loco". In fact, it's not even as well-known as Coal Chamber's other songs such as "Big Truck", "Sway", and "Fiend". The fact that it's both a cover and only got airplay due to Ozzy probably doesn't help its case.
  • Deep Purple had two #4 hits in the U.S., one of which was "Smoke on the Water". The other? Their debut single "Hush", which isn't as well known as songs like "Highway Star" and "Soldier of Fortune" (neither of which charted), but is still a fondly remembered piece of psychedelia. Their third Top 40 hit? The long-forgotten "Kentucky Woman".
  • Deftones' "Change (In the House of Flies)" was their biggest hit on alternative, and the closest they ever got to the Hot 100, but on mainstream rock it was beaten by songs from their later material, namely Koi No Yokan's hits "Tempest" and "Swerve City", as well as Gore's "Prayers/Triangles" and "Phantom Bride". In fact, the same could be said for "Diamond Eyes", their second best known song.
  • Dio's "Rainbow in the Dark" was their biggest chart hit, but they have four other largely forgotten songs that outpeaked "Holy Diver", which only reached #40 on the chart. For comparison, Killswitch Engage's highest charter on mainstream rock was their #12 cover of "Holy Diver" and it's not even one of their best known songs, let alone close enough to eclipse the original.
  • Disturbed:
    • They came this close to the Top 40 in Spring 2016, long after their prime, with a cover of "The Sound of Silence", which peaked at #42. The cover is still fresh in people's minds, yet it will never be as iconic as their debut signature "Down with the Sickness" (#104 on the Hot 100, #5 Alternative, and #8 Mainstream), nor is it their second (likely "Stricken") or third ("Indestructible") best-known song. Before "Silence" became the biggest "hit" in Disturbed's career, that honor went to "Prayer" (a #3 hit on both rock charts, and a #58 hit overall), which is nowhere near as well-known as "Silence", let alone their Top 3 songs.
    • They've had seven #1 singles on Mainstream Rock radio, none of which were "Sickness", "Stricken", "Indestructible", or even "Prayer". The best-known of the bunch are a cover of "Land of Confusion", "Inside the Fire" and (you guessed it) "Silence".
  • Drowning Pool's only well-remembered song today is their debut hit "Bodies", especially after the controversy surrounding its chorus. While it was by far their biggest hit on modern rock radio and the only song of theirs to go anywhere near the Hot 100, on the mainstream charts it was outperformed twice — by the #5 "37 Stitches" and #4 "Feel Like I Do", both sung by Ryan McCombs. People who do remember their other songs will likely remember other Dave Williams-era songs like "Tear Away" and "Sinner", and "Step Up", their biggest hit with Jason Jones, better than any of the McCombs songs.
  • Evanescence
    • They had three smash Top 10 hits — "Bring Me to Life", "My Immortal", and… "Going Under" right? Nope. "Going Under" never made it past #104. The other Top 10 is "Call Me When You're Sober", which isn't quite as well-known as "Under", a song that like "Life" is still held as a nu metal classic to this day (although not nearly as much in the mainstream). "My Immortal" wasn't released to rock radio, but the other three songs were their Top 5 hits on alternative radio (with "Life" being their only #1 there; but "Sober" outpeaked "Under" by one position).
    • They had two Top 10 hits on mainstream rock, but they weren't "Bring Me to Life" or "Going Under". Those two peaked a #11 and #26 respectively. The two were "Sober", their biggest hit on that format surprisingly enough, and the other was "What You Want" in 2011, released years after the band's peak. You are probably more likely to hear "Life" and "Under" (or even "Immortal") played on mainstream rock today than their two actual Top 10 hits.
  • Extreme's only #1 on the Mainstream Rock charts wasn't "More Than Words" or even "Hole Hearted", but the relatively forgotten "Rest in Peace". It may also surprise people that "Hole" was a much bigger hit than "Words" on rock despite the latter being their only #1 pop hit.
  • Faith No More's sole #1 on the Modern Rock charts wasn't "Epic"; it was "Midlife Crisis". Nonetheless, "Epic" was their only top-40 hit on the Hot 100. Also, it's the song you're more likely to hear on rock radio nowadays.
  • Five Finger Death Punch:
    • They only had one charting entry on the Hot 100 — "Under and Over It". Not only is it far from being their best-known song, it's not even the best known song from American Capitalist. That honor likely goes to "Coming Down", which was their first #1 on mainstream rock. It isn't even the album's runner up — that would be the #2 "Remember Everything".
    • The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1 produced only one #1 hit on mainstream rock. If you thought it was "Wrong Side of Heaven", you're actually wrong. That fell just short at #2. It was "Lift Me Up", which despite featuring guest vocals from the legendary Rob Halford, isn't nearly as well-known. When counting both volumes of the album, it's probably not even as well-known as their cover of "House of the Rising Sun".
    • Got Your Six produced three Top 3 hits on mainstream rock, and surprisingly "Jekyll and Hyde" was the lowest charting of the three. It was beaten out by "My Nemesis" and "Wash It All Away", which hit #2 and #1 respectively.
  • Fozzy's only top 40 hit on the rock charts: "Lights Go Out". It's far less known than their signature "Enemy", and even that is less known than the song most associated with Chris Jericho: his longtime wrestling entrance music "Break Down the Walls", which isn't even by them.
  • Ghost hit #1 on mainstream rock for the first time with "Square Hammer" in 2017. While new, it's unlikely to displace the #4 "Cirice" from 2015 as their signature or even the #5 follow-up "From The Pinnacle To The Pit" as their second-best known song.
  • Godsmack's highest charter was "Straight Out of Line", which peaked at #73 on the Hot 100, #1 on mainstream rock, and #9 on modern rock. Not only is it not their best-known song overall, it's not even the best-known song from its parent album Faceless, an honor that in both categories easily goes to "I Stand Alone" (which only peaked at #103 on the Hot 100 and #20 on modern rock, though it also topped the mainstream rock charts). In fact, it can't even hold the title of being their second best-known song. That honor goes to "Voodoo" (which only hit #5 on mainstream rock, though it was their biggest success on modern).
  • Guano Apes' highest charter in their native Germany was "Kumba Yo!", which isn't nearly as well known as "Open Your Eyes". They also outpeaked it in Belgium with "Lords of the Boards" and Italy with their cover of "Big In Japan". Nonetheless, "Open Your Eyes" was their one and only visit to the mainstream rock charts in the United States, and by extension, any American chart whatsoever.
  • Halestorm has had three #1 hits on mainstream rock, "Freak Like Me", "Apocalyptic", and "Amen", but none of them are considered their signatures. The frontrunners are "I Miss the Misery" and "Love Bites (So Do I)", which both fell just short at #2, and their Breakthrough Hit "I Get Off", which stalled at #6.
  • Helmet's only Top 20 hit on mainstream rock wasn't their signature "Unsung" (which only reached #32), but rather "Exactly What You Wanted".
  • Highly Suspect scored their first #1 on Mainstream Rock with "My Name is Human" in 2016. While it's still new, it's unlikely to displace the #4 "Lydia" as their overall signature.
  • Hinder:
    • They are easily an aversion, as their signature "Lips of an Angel" was their biggest hit, if not only entry, on every chart it appeared on. Few people will recall that they actually had another top 40 hit. Was it "Get Stoned"? Nope, it was the far less memorable "Better than Me".
    • On the rock charts, "Lips" was one of two #3 hits...the other of which was not "Stoned" or "Better", which peaked at #4 and #15 respectively, but the forgotten "Use Me".
  • Hollywood Undead's signature "Undead" was easily their biggest hit on alternative radio, where it hit #12, and their only song to go anywhere near the Hot 100. However, on mainstream rock they had one song chart higher by a single spot: "Hear Me Now", a #9 hit, which is almost completely forgotten and not even as well known as their other, much lower charting songs such as "Young" and "Everywhere I Go". Even "Bullet", which did not chart due to never being released as a single, is probably better known overall.
  • Hurt only had one top 10 rock hit, which was also their only top 40 on alternative: "Ten Ton Brick", which is nowhere near as well remembered as their debut single "Rapture", which only hit #17, one spot below the also forgettable "Falls Apart".
  • In 2017, I Prevail had a #12 hit on mainstream rock with "Alone". However, it's very unlikely to supplant their cover of "Blank Space" as their signature, as that was their only entry on the Hot 100.
  • In Flames hit the Top 20 on mainstream rock for the first time with "The Truth" in 2017, which is nowhere near as well-known as their earlier songs like "Behind Space" and "Moonshield", or even later songs like "Take This Life" and "Cloud Connected" — to name a few.
  • Iron Maiden's only #1 in their native UK wasn't "Run to the Hills" or "The Number of the Beast"… it was the Razzie-winning "Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter"! Still, none of their singles ever charted on the Hot 100 (at most 5 songs in the Rock charts, peaking at #8), making them No Hit Wonders Stateside.
  • Jane's Addiction only had one Hot 100 entry. Was it "Mountain Song", "Stop!" "Jane Says", or "Been Caught Stealing"? It was actually the long-forgotten "Just Because", which came in 2003, over a decade after their peak.
  • Killswitch Engage did this twice, one for each vocalist.
    • What was Howard Jones' biggest hit on Mainstream Rock? "Holy Diver", a #12 hit, which is a well-known cover of the Dio classic, but not as well known overall as "My Curse", which only reached #21 (and since it's a cover, it's not as remembered as their original material).
    • What about Jesse Leach? His signature is generally considered to be "In Due Time", but that wasn't the highest charter, it only reached #26. That title goes to the #15 "Always", which was forgotten the moment it finished its run.
  • Korn:
    • Their only top 40 hit on the Hot 100? "Did My Time" (helped by cross-promotion with Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life), which, to say the least, is far less famous than their signature "Freak on a Leash". Moreover, it's not even close to the top spot, being behind songs like "Blind", "A.D.I.D.A.S.", "Got the Life", "Here to Stay", and "Falling Away from Me". In fact, even songs that came after "Did My Time" are probably better known, such as "Coming Undone", "Twisted Transistor", and "Narcissistic Cannibal". Speaking of which...
    • Even fewer people will realize that their only #1 on the Mainstream Rock songs chart was "Never Never" in 2013, years after their prime. In fact, not only is it far from being their best known song, it's not even their most well-known song of their 2010s output (that honor likely goes to "Narcissistic Cannibal", mainly due to it being a collaboration with Skrillex).
    • Also surprising is that "Freak on a Leash" only peaked at #6 and #10 on modern and mainstream rock respectively. Truth be told, Korn's biggest hit on modern rock was the less-remembered "Here to Stay". On mainstream rock? We won't even bother listing all the songs here because they outpeaked it fourteen different times (and tying with two other songs at #10). Also, "Freak" never charted on the Hot 100 but a version of it did — the 2007 acoustic version featuring Evanescence frontwoman Amy Lee reached #89. Today, while not completely forgotten (mostly because of Lee's presence), this version is in the shadow of the original.
    • The Serenity of Suffering's biggest hit on mainstream rock was "Take Me", which isn't even close to being the best-known song on the album (that honor goes to "Rotting In Vain"), or even the second ("Insane"), or even the third ("A Different World").
  • Lacuna Coil's signature song, "Our Truth", hit #35 on the Mainstream Rock chart, their lowest showing of their five entries. The biggest hit they had there was the #28 "Trip the Darkness", which isn't obscure but not nearly as known as "Our Truth". Their second best known song, "Spellbound", peaked at #30.
  • Lamb of God only had one entry on the mainstream rock, "Overlord", which is nowhere near as well-known as songs like "Redneck", "Black Label", or "Laid to Rest".
  • Limp Bizkit:
    • They only had one #1 hit on modern rock during their prime. Was it "Nookie", "Break Stuff", "My Way", "Rollin'", or "Take a Look Around"? It was actually "Re-Arranged", which is nowhere near as well known as those songs. Averted overall as the aforementioned "Rollin'" was their highest chart entry on the Hot 100.
    • Significant Other produced three Hot 100 entries. Surprisingly, "Break Stuff" wasn't one of them and "Nookie" was the lowest charting of the three. The two that outpeaked it are "N 2 Gether Now" (which featured Method Man), and as mentioned above, "Re-Arranged".
  • Linkin Park:
    • Overall they avert this, as "In the End" (from Hybrid Theory) peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 behind Jennifer Lopez' largely-forgotten "Ain't It Funny", and was their first of ten #1 Modern Rock songs. They had two more Top 10 hits, both from the Transformers franchise, which were "New Divide" and "What I've Done". The latter is easily the better-known of the two, despite peaking one slot lower than "Divide". In fact, "Divide" isn't even as well known as "Numb" (which missed the mark at #11, with the Jay-Z remix reaching #20), "One Step Closer", "Crawling" (neither of which went Top 40), "Papercut" (which never even made the Top 100 due to never being released officially in the U.S.!) or "Breaking the Habit" (which only reached #20).
    • Two of their seven #1 hits on mainstream rock were indeed "Numb" and "What I've Done", but "In the End" stalled at #3.
    • Minutes to Midnight produced two Top 40 hits — "What I've Done" and... "Bleed It Out"? Nope. It was the mostly forgotten "Shadow of the Day".
    • The only Top 40 hit from A Thousand Suns wasn't "Waiting for the End", but rather "The Catalyst".
  • Living Colour only had one Top 5 hit on mainstream rock. If you guessed it was "Cult of Personality", you're actually wrong. That only reached #9. Their one #5 hit was the long-forgotten "Type". Averted overall, as "Cult" was their biggest hit on the Hot 100.
  • No one will ever guess what Marilyn Manson's only Top 10 hit on mainstream rock was. Was it "The Beautiful People", their cover of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)", "The Dope Show", "Rock is Dead", "Disposable Teens", their cover of "Tainted Love"... it was none of those. In fact, it was none of their '90s or '00s output. Their only Top 10 was "Deep Six" in 2015, well beyond their mainstream peak in popularity. Their biggest hit on the alternative charts was their cover of "Personal Jesus". While still not as iconic as their earlier hits (or the Depeche Mode original), it's nevertheless far better known than "Deep Six". Manson never entered the Hot 100, but their best showing was the #122 "The Dope Show".
  • Mastodon had their first Top 5 hit on mainstream rock with "Show Yourself" in 2017. While it's still new, it seems highly unlikely to displace "Blood and Thunder" as their signature song. "Oblivion", their second best known song, peaked at #30, the second lowest charting of their seven mainstream rock entries.
  • Megadeth only had one Top 5 hit on mainstream rock, and it wasn't "Symphony of Destruction" but rather the completely forgotten "Trust". Also surprising is that "Symphony" only peaked at a measly #29, and they outpeaked it 12 different times. Suffice to say, it's the song you're most likely hear on the radio today. Averted overall as it was their only chart entry on the Hot 100.
  • Metallica:
    • They've had eight #1 hits on Mainstream Rock radio. First in line was "Until It Sleeps", their sole Top 10 hit on the Hot 100. Suffice to say, none of these nine #1's are nearly as iconic as Metallica's older classics, such as "Master of Puppets", "Battery", "Whiplash" (these three did not chart - but the first even got certified Gold), "One" (#35 Hot, #46 Mainstream), "Enter Sandman" (#16 Hot, #10 Mainstream), "Nothing Else Matters" (#34 Hot, #11 Mainstream), "Sad But True" (#98 Hot, #15 Mainstream), and "The Unforgiven" (#35 Hot, #10 Mainstream).
    • Garage Inc. produced two hits — One reached #1 on mainstream rock, the other stalled at #4. Most would assume their cover of Thin Lizzy's "Whiskey in the Jar" was the #1, but it was actually the 10-week champion, their cover of Bob Seger's "Turn the Page", which isn't quite as well-known overall.
  • Motörhead's only Top 10 hit in their native UK wasn't "Ace of Spades" (which only reached #15) but a live version of their self-tiled song. Of course, they never had a hit on any format stateside, making them No Hit Wonders there.
  • Mötley Crüe:
    • On one hand, they avert this, as their signature "Dr. Feelgood" peaked at #6. Their other top 10 hit, the ballad "Without You", is far less known, and people know their other harder stuff better like "Girls, Girls, Girls", "Kickstart My Heart", and "Smokin' in the Boys Room". Speaking of which...
    • Their cover of "Smokin' in the Boys Room" reached #16, becoming their first Top 40 hit. A lot of people seem to be unaware that it's a cover of song by Brownsville Station, which has been completely eclipsed despite ranking thirteen spaces higher. When the original is brought up, it's only to talk about Brownsville's status as a One-Hit Wonder.
  • Mudvayne easily averts this trope, as their signature "Happy?" was their only entry on the Hot 100 and sole Mainstream Rock #1. They had five more Top 10 singles on that format, but surprisingly, "Not Falling" just missed the mark at #11 and their Breakthrough Hit "Dig" peaked at a measly #34. Both of them are easily better known than their other Top 10s. Surprisingly, "Determined", never charted anywhere at all despite being well-known. Much of what made it famous was due to it being included in Need for Speed: Underground 2, a massively successful video game with a lot of nostalgia value.
  • Nonpoint only had one song go near the Hot 100. Was it "Bullet with a Name"? Actually, it was a cover of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight".
  • Otep only had one entry on mainstream rock — "Smash the Control Machine". It's not nearly as well known as songs like "Ghost Flowers", "Apex Predator", and "Confrontation".
  • Ozzy Osbourne:
    • He had two Top 40 hits, but they weren't "Crazy Train" and "Bark at the Moon" (both of which only managed to bubble under). They were actually "Close My Eyes Forever" (a duet with Lita Ford) and "Mama I'm Coming Home" (his only solo Top 40 hit), both of which are Black Sheep Hits that are mostly forgotten today.
    • On mainstream rock radio, "Crazy Train" only peaked at #9, while "Bark at the Moon" (his second-best known song) never made it past #12. Ozzy had two #1s on the chart, both in the 21st century: 2007's "I Don't Wanna Stop" and 2010's "Let Me Hear You Scream". While the former is still well-remembered today (though still not as much as his older songs), the latter not so much.
  • Pantera:
    • They had four Top 40 hits on the Mainstream Rock charts, none of which were their signatures "Cowboys from Hell" or "Walk". Their highest charter, a #21 cover of Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan", has long since faded into the shadow of the Sabbath original.
    • Also played straight in regards to Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul's short lived nu metal side project Damageplan (best known as "the band Darrell was in when he got murdered"). They had a #16 hit with "Save Me", and while that's easily the signature for Damageplan, it's not nearly as well known as Pantera's work despite charting higher than anything they have done.
  • Papa Roach:
    • They only had one entry on the Top 40, "Scars", which peaked at #15. This is off Getting Away With Murder, which saw them abandoning their Nu Metal / Rap Metal sound in favor of Alternative Metal leaning towards Hard Rock. However, "Scars" isn't as well remembered today as their Breakthrough Hit and Signature Song "Last Resort". While "Last Resort" fizzled out at #57, it's easily one of the most iconic songs of the Nu Metal era.
    • "Last Resort" was their only #1 on Alternative radio. On Mainstream Rock, it and "Scars" (which both peaked at #4) weren't among their three #1's on that format. They were actually the later singles "Lifeline", "Face Everything and Rise", and "Help". Neither are even considered to be their third best-known song (an honor that likely goes to "Forever") or even fourth best-known ("Getting Away with Murder").
    • Additionally, this is averted overseas where "Last Resort" was their biggest hit. It went Top 5 in the UK and Germany, Top 10 in Austria, and Top 20 in Ireland and Canada's rock charts. "Scars" only reached #82 in Germany, and didn't chart anywhere else outside the US.
    • A more isolated example, but their 2015 album F.E.A.R. produced two Top 5 mainstream rock hits: The chart-topping "Face Everything and Rise" and the #5 "Gravity". Despite the former hitting #1 and placing four spaces higher than the latter, "Gravity" ultimately ended up being the better known of the two. This is primarily because it features vocals from Maria Brink of In This Moment. While they aren't nearly as successful as Papa Roach in terms of radio hits, sales, and overall recognition in general (though to be fair Papa Roach have been around much longer), they are currently more popular on the mainstream rock/metal market than them due to being a newer act.
  • A Perfect Circle's only #1 on both mainstream and alternative rock radio was "Weak and Powerless", which while still well-known isn't quite as recognized as their debut single, "Judith", which reached #4 and #5 on those charts respectively. The lesser-known "The Outsider" also beat "Judith" by one spot on mainstream and tied it on alternative. "Weak" and "Outsider" were their only Hot 100 entries, with "Judith" falling short at #105.
  • P.O.D.'s highest charting song on the mainstream rock charts hit #3. Surprisingly, it wasn't anything from Satellite, but the relatively obscure "Lost in Forever", released in 2012. Their two best known songs, "Alive" and "Youth of the Nation", only hit #4 and #6, respectively, which is also an example of its own as "Youth" is generally the better-known of the two. Even more strangely, "Youth" was out peaked by the also-forgotten follow-up to "Forever", "Beautiful" (#5). This is averted on alternative, where "Youth" and "Alive" hit #1 and #2 respectively, marking their only top 10s on the chart, and on the Hot 100, "Youth" was their only top 40, with "Alive" bowing out at #41.
  • Powerman 5000 had only one top 10 hit on the rock charts, but it wasn't "When Worlds Collide" or even "Bombshell", but the far less known "Free". However, "Worlds" was their only top 20 on alternative.
  • Primer 55 scraped a #37 hit on Mainstream Rock radio. Was it "Loose", the only song most people can name from them if they can name any at all? Nope, it was the completely forgotten "This Life".
  • Primus is an aversion overall, as "Wynonna's Big Brown Beaver" was their only entry on the Hot 100 airplay charts. However, they had only one top 10 hit on the mainstream rock charts: a #2 cover of Black Sabbath's "N.I.B." featuring Ozzy Osbourne. Today, it's not nearly as well known as Sabbath's original version or Primus's most popular original material, such as "Beaver", "My Name is Mud", or "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver". "Beaver" was their only other top 40 hit on rock radio, but it only hit #23. They had six top 40s, however, on alternative (with "Mud" peaking at #9), none of which were "N.I.B."
  • Rage Against the Machine's highest charting entry on the Hot 100 was "Bulls on Parade", which hit #62. Many will be surprised to learn that their signature "Killing in the Name" never charted anywhere in the US (though it topped the UK charts in Christmas 2009... 17 years after release). That being said, "Bulls" is easily second place for them. "Guerrilla Radio", their highest-charting song on both rock formats, will be their third best-known song.
  • Red only had one top 10 hit on the rock charts: it must have been "Breathe Into Me", right? Wrong, that fizzled out at #15. It was rather "Death of Me", which isn't quite as well-known. "Breathe" also wasn't one of their two charting entries on modern rock radio ("Death" and "Already Over").
  • Royal Blood's only #1 on the mainstream rock charts wasn't "Out of the Black" or "Figure it Out", but rather "Little Monster". It's still well known but not quite as much as the other two. "Ten Tonne Skeleton" is another one of their most popular songs, but it didn't chart anywhere as it wasn't a single. Also surprising is that "Come On Over", also very well-known, never charted anywhere in the United States due to never being released as an official single there.
  • Saliva's biggest hit was the #51 "Always", which was their sole #1 on Alternative radio and peaked at #2 on Mainstream Rock alongside "Ladies and Gentleman" (#25 Alternative). These two songs, plus two songs from 2001's Every Six Seconds; "Your Disease" (#7 Alternative, #3 Mainstream) and "Click Click Boom" (#25 Alternative, #15 Mainstream); fought for the title as Saliva's signature in their prime. As the band faded into obscurity, "Click" (which didn't even bubble under) emerged the victor, thanks to it surviving as a sports anthem and appearing in various soundtracks. While "Always" and "Ladies" are still somewhat well-remembered (though not as much as "Click"), "Disease" has faded into almost complete obscurity.
  • Scorpions' biggest hit on the charts, "Wind of Change", is well-remembered for marking the end of the Cold War, but is nowhere near as iconic as "Rock You Like a Hurricane."
  • Sevendust's highest charting song on the rock charts was "Unraveling" in 2010, a song that's all but forgotten compared to the likes of "Denial", "Black", "Driven", and "Enemy".
  • Sick Puppies' two biggest hits both peaked at #2 on rock. One, of course, is their signature "You're Going Down". The other? "There's No Going Back", which isn't as well known as songs like "All The Same" (the "Free Hugs Campaign" song and their biggest Alternative hit) and "Maybe" (their only song that came close to crossing over to pop). Also, "Maybe" was their only Hot 100 entry despite not being nearly as well-known as "You're Going Down".
  • Skillet scored their first #1 on Mainstream Rock radio in 2016 with "Feel Invincible". While it's still new, it's unlikely to replace 2009/10's "Awake and Alive" (which fell short at #2, though it was their only entry on the Hot 100, peaking exactly at #100), "Monster", or "Hero" as their signature.
  • Slipknot:
    • Their signature "Psychosocial" was the closest they ever got to the Hot 100. However, they had two #2 hits on mainstream rock, but neither was "Psychosocial". They were actually "Snuff" and "The Devil In I"; while not obscure, neither are nearly as iconic as "Psychosocial". They also outpeaked it with "Duality" and "Dead Memories" which peaked at #5 and #3 "Dead Memories" — another displacement as the latter isn't as well known as the former, let alone "Psychosocial". "Duality", however was their biggest hit on alternative radio (#6), yet is not quite as iconic as "Psychosocial". Believe it or not, "Psychosocial" was actually the second-lowest charting song on mainstream rock from All Hope Is Gone, above only "Sulfur" and behind "Snuff" and "Dead Memories". Yet "Psychosocial" is the only song from the album that gets played live today (mainly due to their Creator Backlash against it). Furthermore, "Wait and Bleed", their signature from their early years, peaked at a measly #34 on the mainstream rock charts. Additionally, they had six Top 10 hits on mainstream rock charts, yet "Before I Forget" fell just short at #11.
    • Also an example for Corey Taylor. The biggest hit of his career was not scored with Slipknot, but with Stone Sour; namely, "Through Glass". "Through Glass" is easily Stone Sour's signature song, so they avert this. Believe it or not, Stone Sour, although not nearly as famous or successful with album sales, have actually done far better than Slipknot on radio, mainly due to having been much more active, especially in the 2010s, than Slipknot. In fact, all four number one rock hits that Taylor has been involved with, and both of his visits to the Hot 100, have been Stone Sour songs.
  • Stabbing Westward had two entries on the Hot 100 airplay charts, but neither of them were "Save Yourself". They were "What Do I Have to Do?" and "Shame", both of which outpeaked it in modern rock. Averted however, on mainstream rock, where it placed #4 and was their biggest hit on that format.
  • Starset hit #4 on mainstream rock in 2017 with "Monster". While well-known, it's doubtful it will be able to replace their Breakthrough Hit "My Demons", a #5 hit from 2014, as their signature.
  • System of a Down's only Top 40 hit was the #27 "B.Y.O.B." (from the album Mezmerize), a feat they achieved with no pop radio airplay. However, it isn't quite as iconic as "Chop Suey!" (from Toxicity), which only reached #76. Even more surprising is the fact that, of all of their Hot 100 entries, "Chop Suey!" was actually the lowest charting of the bunch. Neither was their biggest hit on either rock radio format: that was rather "Aerials", their sole #1 on mainstream and first of two on alternative (the second being the lesser-known "Hypnotize"). "Chop Suey!" was released only about a month before the 9/11 attacks. The 2001 Clear Channel Memorandum was a list circulated among prominent rock radio stations at the time, detailing which songs should not be played to avoid potential triggers: as you might have guessed, "Chop Suey!" was on it. Its refrain "I don't think you trust in my self-righteous suicide" didn't really help its cause, hence its lower position.
  • Tool's only #1 hit on the rock charts was not their signature "Schism", which peaked a spot lower, but "The Pot". Nevertheless, "Schism" is one of their two highest-charters on the alternative charts, where it also hit #2 ("Vicarious", also a #2 on mainstream rock) and their sole Hot 100 entry. Two of their other most iconic songs, "Stinkfist" and "Lateralus", failed to reach the top 10 on either chart.
  • Three Days Grace:
    • Their highest-charting song on the Billboard Hot 100 was not "I Hate Everything About You", "Animal I Have Become" or "Never Too Late", but rather "Pain".
    • They've had a whopping 12 #1 hits on the mainstream rock charts, but none of them were "I Hate Everything About You". It was actually the lowest charting of the three singles released from their self-titled debut despite being the only one really remembered today — including the #1 "Just Like You". The only #1s that are still generally remembered are the One-X songs ("Animal I Have Become", "Pain", and "Never Too Late") and, to a lesser extent, the first two #1s from Life Starts Now, "Break" and "The Good Life"; "World So Cold", not so much.
    • "Riot" despite being one of their most iconic songs, only hit #12 — their only non-Top 10 hit. At the very least, it's certainly better remembered than any of the singles from Transit of Venus or Human and all of the songs from Life Starts Now (aside from maybe "Break" and "Life" as mentioned above).
  • Trivium's sole Top 10 on mainstream rock was "Until the World Goes Cold" in 2015, well after their peak in popularity. As such, it's not nearly as well-known as songs like "Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr", "Down from the Sky", or "Anthem (We Are The Fire)". In fact, even of their 2010s material, it's not their most well-known. That honor likely goes to "Strife" (which peaked at a comparatively low #24).
  • Volbeat has had six #1 hits on the mainstream rock songs chart: "Still Counting", "Heaven Nor Hell", "The Hangman's Body Count", "The Devil's Bleeding Crown", and… the other two must have "A Warrior's Call" and "Fallen", right? Nope, those respectively stalled at #2 and #11. They were actually the fresh "Black Rose" (though time will tell if it survives) and the relatively forgotten "Lola Montez".
  • Whitesnake's highest charter on mainstream rock surprisingly wasn't "Here I Go Again", which only hit #4, or "Is This Love" (#13), but rather the #2 "Fool for Your Lovin'", which isn't nearly as well-known. Averted on the Hot 100, where "Again" was their sole #1 hit, and "Is This Love" hit #2.

    Rock 
  • .38 Special's highest charting song was the #6 "Second Chance", which is far less remembered than "Hold on Loosely", which peaked at #27, or even their other top 10 "Caught Up in You". In fact, it's less remembered than the other top 10 hit called "Second Chance", Shinedown's 2009 #7 hit.
  • Ask a music fan about AC/DC's signature songs, and you'll get such responses as "Highway to Hell", "Back in Black", "You Shook Me All Night Long", "TNT", "Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)", and "Thunderstruck". But not too many people are likely going to cite "Moneytalks", (the follow-up single to the much more lasting "Thunderstruck") their highest charting hit on the Hot 100. Also, they had four #1 hits on mainstream rock, but it was none of the aforementioned singles or even "Moneytalks". Those four #1s came in The '90s and the Turn of the Millennium, well after their overall peak in terms of commercial success.
  • A weird subversion regarding Aerosmith. Their sole #1 on the pop charts was "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", a power ballad made for the 1998 movie Armageddon. It sounds nothing like their normal material, and wasn't even written by the band. Many fans would name a large number of songs, such as "Train Kept-a-Rollin'", "Dream On", "Sweet Emotion", "Walk This Way", Toys in the Attic", "Come Together", "Dude Looks Like a Lady", "Love in an Elevator" and "Janie's Got a Gun" for example, without even thinking about that song, and it gets little airplay on classic rock radio (where they play plenty of their other hits). Yet at the same time, it is their best known song to general audiences. The song introduced the band to a new generation of listeners, remains their best known song by far by younger crowds, and it is easily their most streamed song on the internet.
  • Arlo Guthrie's only top 40 hit was… "Alice's Restaurant", right? Well, it would've gone top 40 had it not clocked in at eighteen minutes. Therefore, it was ineligible for the Hot 100; his actual only top 40 hit was the forgotten "City of New Orleans".
  • Bachman-Turner Overdrive's only #1 hit had to have been "Takin' Care of Business", right? Nope, it was "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet".
  • While Bad Company's highest-charting song, the #5 "Can't Get Enough", is still a classic, many would be surprised to learn that "Bad Company" didn't even chart.
  • The Band's highest charting song, the #25 "Up on Cripple Creek" is certainly a classic — but not to the same extent as "The Weight," which stalled in the 60s.
  • The Beatles easily avert this, as all 20 of their #1 hits, like the rest of the band's discography, are still timeless classics. However, they still have several songs with surprisingly low peaks, such as "I Saw Her Standing There" (#14), "I Am The Walrus" (#56), and "Strawberry Fields Forever" (#8). This is justified, as they were all B-sides to #1 hits ("I Want To Hold Your Hand", "Hello, Goodbye", and "Penny Lane", respectively). Other iconic songs of theirs, like "Here Comes the Sun", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", "Michelle", and "Tomorrow Never Knows", were never even released as singles.
  • What was Billy Idol's only #1 hit? "Rebel Yell"? "White Wedding"? "Dancing With Myself"? Nope, it's his version of Tommy James' "Mony Mony"—and not even the studio recording that's now more commonly used, but a live version.
  • While Billy Squier's "Rock Me Tonite" is a classic (with a "classic" video), it doesn't hold up today the same way "The Stroke" does, despite the former outpeaking the latter by two spots. Surprisingly, "The Big Beat" (which has been sampled in countless hip-hop songs) never charted, and "Lonely is the Night" peaked at a measly #28 on Rock Radio.
  • Black Stone Cherry only had one top 10 hit on the rock charts, which just hit #10. It has to have been "White Trash Millionaire", right? Wrong; it's the considerably lesser-known "In My Blood".
  • Blessid Union of Souls' biggest hit, by far, was the #8 ballad "I Believe". Their best-known song, by far, is the #33 upbeat pop-rocker "Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me For Me)", although some would cite "Brother, My Brother" from the Pokemon movie (which didn't chart).
  • Neither of Blur's top-five Modern Rock hits was "Song 2", which peaked at #6 on that chart. However, on the Hot 100, "Song 2" was in fact their highest charter.
  • Bob Dylan averts this on one hand, as his highest-charting song is the iconic "Like a Rolling Stone", which peaked at #2. However, many of his most famous songs of the 60's did surprisingly poorly on the charts - "The Times They Are A-Changin'" and "Blowin' in the Wind" didn't chart as singles at all in the US, while "Subterranean Homesick Blues" stalled at #37.
  • Bob Seger's only #1 hit of his career? The largely forgotten "Shakedown". His signature song "Old Time Rock n' Roll", meanwhile, only reached #28, a position that he outpeaked seventeen times. In addition, "Turn the Page" is a very popular song of his, even though it never charted for him.
  • Bo Diddley is a revered icon and pioneer of the rock & roll genre, but he only managed a single Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100: The song "Say Man" made it to #16 in 1958 and is practically forgotten nowadays. Pretty much all of Diddley's most iconic songs, including "Bo Diddley", "I'm a Man", "Pretty Thing" and "Who Do You Love?", failed to make it onto the Hot 100 or any of its predecessor charts.
  • Bon Jovi
    • They scored four #1 hits in the '80s. Two of them were obviously "Livin' on a Prayer" and "You Give Love a Bad Name". Also, "Wanted Dead or Alive", right? It was their best-selling single after all. Actually, it never made it past #7. The other two are "Bad Medicine" and "I'll Be There for You".
    • Despite being one of their most iconic songs, "It's My Life" maxed out at #33.
  • Boston's only #1 hit is "Amanda" which is a classic ballad but nowhere near as famous as "More Than a Feeling." Even "Don't Look Back" actually peaked higher than "More Than A Feeling" and is better remembered than "Amanda".
  • Bryan Adams had four #1 hits (including classics such as "Heaven" and "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You"), but "Summer of '69" only hit #5.
  • Bruce Springsteen's biggest hit is "Dancing in the Dark", which hit #2. While well-remembered, it's not quite as much as 1975's "Born to Run" which peaked at #23, or "Born in the USA", which peaked at #9.
  • Buckcherry's only top 40 hit, the ballad "Sorry", is not nearly as well-remembered today as the hard-rocker "Crazy Bitch." While "Crazy Bitch" was their biggest hit on alternative radio, their sole number-one single on the Mainstream Rock chart was their debut single "Lit Up" (their third best-known song).
  • The Cars had four top 10 hits throughout their career, but their signature "Just What I Needed" only made it to #27.
  • Cheap Trick's only #1 single wasn't "Surrender" or "I Want You to Want Me", but rather "The Flame". While "Want" hit #7 on the charts, "Surrender" only made it to #62.
  • Chicago's three #1 hits were "If You Leave Me Now", "Hard To Say I'm Sorry", and "Look Away", all from their time as a "sell-out" adult contemporary act. Their signature "25 or 6 to 4" from their jazz-rock days, however, only hit #4.
  • Chuck Berry's only #1 hit in America? Not "Johnny B. Goode", but "My Ding-a-Ling."
  • The Clash averts this trope back home in the UK, where "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" was their sole #1. Across the pond, they had two Top 40 hits, but they weren't "Stay" or "London Calling". They were actually "Train in Vain" (#23) and "Rock the Casbah" (#8), which although not quite as iconic as the former two, are also rock classics. While "Stay" fell just short of the top 40, "Calling", surprisingly enough, didn't even chart on the Hot 100!
  • Corey Hart is best known for his 1984 #7 hit "Sunglasses at Night". However, about a year later, the ballad "Never Surrender" reached #3. Despite the chart peaks, the former song remains one of the best known songs of the 80's, while the latter remains in relative obscurity. Despite the fact that Hart had a perfectly decent career with nine Top 40 hits in the US (and three #1's back home in Canada), "Sunglasses at Night" eclipses his discography so much, that you might erroneously find him included on One-Hit Wonder retrospectives.
  • Creed:
    • Their only #1 hit was "With Arms Wide Open"; while it's certainly well remembered, particularly overseas, it's not quite as iconic as "Higher", which only hit #7 despite topping both rock charts. Much more surprising, however, is the fact that their two top 10s from Weathered, "My Sacrifice" and "One Last Breath", also outpeaked "Higher" on the charts.
    • Creed's successor group Alter Bridge never had a Hot 100 hit, but did manage one #1 on Mainstream Rock songs. Was it "Open Your Eyes", "Rise Today", or "Metalingus"? Actually, it was none of them (and to be fair, the lattermost song was never even released as a single; it's only widely known for being the theme song to legendary professional wrestler Adam "Edge" Copeland) It was instead "Isolation".
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival reached #2 on five different occasions (including the classic "Bad Moon Rising"), but their signature "Fortunate Son" only reached #14 (or #3 if you count it as the B-side to "Down on the Corner").
  • Dave Matthews Band's highest charter was 2005's "American Baby". It's not nearly as well known as their earlier hits such as "Crash Into Me" and "Ants Marching". DMB are one of many '90s artists who fell victim to the record industry's practice of not releasing big hits as CD singles, thus rendering most of their best known songs ineligible for the Hot 100 until 2000. On the radio airplay chart, which inadvertently became a more reliable way of gauging the popularity of a song in the mid and late '90s than the Hot 100, "Crash Into Me" (#19) and "Ants Marching" (#25) were two of their six Top 40 entries.
  • David Bowie:
    • He had two #1s in the United States — "Fame" & "Let's Dance", both are classics but probably not to the extent as songs like "Ziggy Stardust", "Rebel Rebel", "Changes", ""Heroes"", and "Space Oddity".
    • Many of Bowie's best known singles from the '70s weren't hits in the United States. Although he was certainly a known entity, Top 40 radio didn't really know what to do with him until his Young Americans-era Genre Shift. Partialy because of this, classics like "Starman" (#65), "Changes" (twice; #66 in 1972 and #41 in 1975), "The Jean Genie" (#71) and "Rebel Rebel" (#64) all missed the Top 40. Meanwhile, "All the Young Dudes", a song he gave away to Mott the Hoople, out-charted all of these songs and made it to #37. That song is well known, but it's not nearly iconic as any of Bowie's own hits.
    • "'Heroes'" wasn't a particularly big hit when it was released as a single in 1977. It peaked at #24 in the UK, a relative disappointment for a new Bowie single. It also did fine enough in Europe, making the Top 20 in a couple countries, but nothing particularly special (compare this to "Sound and Vision" earlier that year, which was a Top 10 smash all across the continent). Its popularity and acclaim really started to pick up in the 80s, particularly in West Germany, where it was adopted as a youth anthem. By the 2000s, "'Heroes'" was widely regarded as one of Bowie's best singles, if not one of the best he ever wrote. When his singles re-charted after his death in 2016, "'Heroes'" improved on its original 1977 chart peaks in several countries, including the UK, where it made #12.
    • In the '90s he never hit the Top 40, but did manage two Top 5s on modern rock. Surely one of them must've been "I'm Afraid of Americans", right? Nope, one was "One Shot" from the abortive Tin Machine project, and the other was "Jump They Say". Also surprising is that "Americans" only reached a measly #29 on that chart, which actually makes it the lowest charting of all his '90s material.
  • Def Leppard only had one #1 hit. It's got to have been "Pour Some Sugar on Me", right? Wrong. It's "Love Bites". "Sugar" fell just short at #2. In fact, "Love Bites" probably doesn't even hold the distiction of being the second best known song (that honor likely goes to "Photograph").
  • While Duran Duran's two #1 hits "The Reflex" and "A View To A Kill" are classics, they are nowhere near as legendary as "Hungry Like the Wolf", which only hit #3, or even "Rio", which only made it to #14.
  • Eric Clapton's only #1 as a solo artist was a cover of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff". While it's still a well-known cover, people nowadays associate it first and foremost with Marley; thus, it can't beat "Tears in Heaven", "Wonderful Tonight", or "Layla" (with Derek & The Dominos) as his signature.
  • Europe's 1987 classic "The Final Countdown" was their biggest hit in most countries, topping the charts in a few countries… but not in the USA, where it peaked at #8 and was outpeaked by the far less iconic ballad "Carrie", a #3 hit that fall.
  • Most people won't be surprised that rock band Fastball had only one top 40 hit on the Hot 100, but they surely will be when they find out that the one hit was not "The Way", but the much less remembered "Out of My Head". "The Way", which reached #5 on Hot 100 Airplay, would've surely been their highest charting song had it not been deemed ineligible for the Hot 100 due to the lack of a physical single release ("Out of My Head" also had no physical release, but it charted after the rules about physical singles were changed). However, "Out of My Head" did see something of a revival after having its chorus interpolated by Machine Gun Kelly and Camila Cabello's 2017 hit "Bad Things".
  • Finger Eleven's signature "Paralyzer" was their only Top 10 hit on the Hot 100, and topped both rock charts. Their former signature, "One Thing", was their only #1 in their native Canada, second-biggest hit on the Hot 100 and only other Top 10 on Alternative radio. Back on Mainstream Rock, "One Thing" never made it past #38 and their only other Top 10 was… "Living in a Dream", which is almost completely forgotten today except as the theme song to the 2011 Royal Rumble. Their third best known song is probably "Slow Chemical", which was never released as a single but is remembered for being the former theme song to professional wrestling icon Kane.
  • Fleetwood Mac only had one #1. Surprisingly, it wasn't "Go Your Own Way" (that only hit #10) but "Dreams". It's a classic too, but not to the extent of the former. Stevie Nicks' signature "Edge of Seventeen" fell just short of the Top 10. She outpeaked it four times with "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around", "Leather and Lace", "Stand Back", and "Talk to Me", all of which went Top 10 and three of them went Top 5. Even Destiny's Child's "Bootylicious", which sampled it, hit #1 but is much less remembered than "Edge of Seventeen".
    • Almost none of the songs that were hits for the band in the United States were as successful in the United Kingdom. For instance, not one of the singles off of their 1975 self-titled album or Rumours made the Top 20 there, despite those songs being just as well known now as they are across the pond. The band's most consistent era of hitmaking in their home country instead came in the late 1960s, when they were a blues rock band; Their instrumental "Albatross" made it to #1 and was their only UK chart topper, and they followed it up with two #2 singles: "Oh Well" and "Man of the World". The first two were very minor hits in the US, but they're obscure compared to the material they recorded after 1975.
  • A Flock of Seagulls' only top 10 hit in the UK surprisingly wasn't "I Ran", but rather "Wishing (I Had A Photograph of You)". "I Ran" only hit #43 there, but it was their sole top 10 across the pond.
  • General Public are best remembered for "Tenderness," which hit #27 in 1985. Nine years later, "I'll Take You There" hit #22, but, being a cover of a Staple Singers song, was quickly forgotten afterwards. Today, they are usually dismissed as one-hit wonders.
  • George Thorogood's highest charter on mainstream rock went to #2. "Bad to the Bone"? Nope, that peaked at a measly #27 and got outpeaked thirteen times. It was the long-forgotten "Get a Haircut", which was release in 1993, well after his peak in overall popularity. He also only had one entry on the Hot 100, but again, it wasn't "Bad" but rather his cover "Willie and the Hand Jive". Of course, the real reason for why "Bad" has eclipsed his other work is that the song was used in media so many times that it named a trope after it. His second best known song, "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer", never charted at all because it wasn't a single.
  • When people think of The Grateful Dead, certainly the first song they'll think about won't be their one Top 40 hit, 1987's "Touch of Grey", even though that song introduced a new generation of Deadheads. "Truckin'" is far and away their best known song then and now, and is considered to be so important to the history of American music that the Library of Congress declared it to be a national treasure in 1997. However, when it was released, the song only made it to #64 on the Hot 100.
  • The Greg Kihn Band had a #15 hit in 1981 with "The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em)", and two years later they hit #2 with "Jeopardy". It's easy to forget that however, since the latter has fallen into complete obscurity (despite getting parodied by "Weird Al" Yankovic) while the former is the only one that still gets airplay today.
  • Guns N' Roses:
    • They avert this on one hand, as "Sweet Child O' Mine" was their only #1 hit. Their next two biggest hits must have been "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Paradise City", right? Nope, those bowed out at #7 and #5 respectively. The next two hits were actually the Power Ballads "November Rain" (#3) and "Patience" (#4), which are far from obscure but not quite as iconic.
    • They had four Top 5 hits on mainstream rock, but none of them were "Child", "City", or "Jungle". In fact, they weren't even "Rain" or "Patience". They were "Don't Cry", "You Could Be Mine", "Civil War", and "Chinese Democracy". The former two are fairly well-known, the third isn't as much, while the lattermost song was released in 2008, well after their mainstream relevancy, and is mostly associated with the band's Dork Age, thus it is the most obscure of the lot.
  • Harry Nilsson only had one #1. You'd be forgiven for thinking it was "Coconut" due to it becoming a meme or "Everybody's Talkin'" because of its usage in Midnight Cowboy, but it was actually a cover of Badfinger's "Without You".
  • The one song Head East is best remembered for, "Never Been Any Reason" reached #68 on the Hot 100, but it surprisingly is their lowest charting of their three entries on the chart.
  • Heart had eight Top 10 hits (including two #1 hits in the 80s with "These Dreams" and "Alone"), yet their 1977 signature "Barracuda" fell just short at #11. While Heart's 70s hits make up most of their airplay, "Barracuda" wasn't even their biggest hit in that decade. That would be the #9 "Magic Man", which is relatively well-remembered, but not as much as "Barracuda" and the two #1's.
  • Huey Lewis and the News had three #1 hits. Of course, the first was "The Power of Love", and the other two were..."I Want A New Drug" and "Hip to be Square"? Nope, they were "Stuck With You" and "Jacob's Ladder".
  • Quick, what was Iggy Pop's only Top 40 hit? No, it wasn't "Lust for Life" or "The Passenger", but rather "Candy", which featured Kate Pierson.
  • Jackyl's most famous song is "The Lumberjack", probably best known for its chainsaw solo. However, it only got to #24 on the Mainstream Rock charts, a peak they outperformed four times.
  • While Jimi Hendrix's only top 40 in the U.S., his version of Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower", is one of the most iconic classic rock songs of all time, it doesn't quite match the status of "Purple Haze."
  • Joan Jett topped the Hot 100 with "I Love Rock N' Roll", one of the 1980's most memorable songs. She had two more Top 10 hits, one of which was the #8 hit "I Hate Myself For Loving You". Peaking one slot above it was… "Bad Reputation", another enduring rock tune, right? Believe it or not, "Reputation" never charted anywhere. That #7 hit was actually a cover of Tommy James' "Crimson and Clover", which has faded into obscurity like her minor Top 40 hits.
  • John Lennon had two #1 singles, but neither was the legendary "Imagine", which stalled at #3. Those two chart toppers were the far less iconic "(Just Like) Starting Over" and "Whatever Gets You Through The Night".
  • Journey's classic "Don't Stop Believin'" never made it higher than #9 on its original run, but thanks to Revival by Commercialization on such TV shows as Family Guy, The Sopranos, and Glee, it has become the best selling pre-2007 song in iTunes history! While none of the higher-peaking songs are obscure, it's probably the only song most people born in the '90s and beyond can name by them.
  • Kansas had only one top 10 hit on the Hot 100: the #8 "Dust in the Wind". While it's still a '70s rock classic, it's nowadays not quite as iconic as their second-biggest hit: the #11 "Carry On Wayward Son".
  • Kid Rock's only Top 10 hit was "Picture", a country duet with Sheryl Crownote , which peaked at #4. (And going the other way, it only got to #21 on the country charts, but remained popular even there long after the fact.) Many would be surprised to learn that his signature "All Summer Long" never made it past #23. This is a case similar to MC Hammer above, "All Summer Long" was indisputably his biggest mainstream radio hit, but because Kid refused to put his music on iTunes at the time, it had almost zero sales, keeping it from going any higher (embarrassingly underperforming a karaoke cover by Hit Masters). His final top 40 hit came from Devil Without a Cause — but surprisingly it was neither "Bawitdaba" nor "Cowboy", but the much less memorable "Only God Knows Why".
  • The Kinks' two highest-charting hits on the Hot 100 reached #6. One was "Tired of Waiting For You", which is still a well-known song, if not as iconic as "You Really Got Me", "Lola" or "All Day and All of the Night". The other? "Come Dancing", which was released in 1983, long after their commercial peak, and not nearly as well-remembered. This is partially because the American Federation of Musicians banned them from touring in the US between 1965 and 1969 at the height of their success, due to an incident in which Kinks lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Ray Davies got into a very nasty altercation with an AFM official, and thus their better-remembered material from that period did not do as well in America.
  • KISS outpeaked "Rock and Roll All Nite" with three songs: "Beth", "Forever", and "I Was Made for Loving You".
  • Led Zeppelin:
    • All of their charting hits are classics (with the highest-charting of those, the #4 "Whole Lotta Love", likely being the best-known of those), but none of them come close to the iconic status of "Stairway to Heaven" (which didn't even chart until 2007 due to not being released as a single). Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that the one time "Stairway to Heaven" hit the top 10 of the Hot 100, it was not the Zeppelin song or even a cover of it, but a #9 Neil Sedaka song that predated the rock classic by a decade.
    • Additionally, Led Zeppelin pulls this off by First and Foremost. "Kashmir" is one of Zep's most recognizable songs, possibly the second best known after "Stairway", and seen by the band as their best musical accomplishment. However, like "Stairway", it never charted due to never being released as a single (and being eight minutes long, it wasn't exactly fit for pop radio). However, a version of "Kashmir" became a hit over twenty years later — "Come with Me", by Puff Daddy featuring guitarist Jimmy Page for the Godzilla (1998) soundtrack. It hit #4 on Hot 100, yet it is almost completely forgotten today. If it's remembered at all, it's used as Snark Bait for being a poor attempt at a Rap Rock song or an insult to the original. In fact, it's probably not even the best known song off the soundtrack today — that honor likely goes to Rage Against the Machine's "No Shelter".
  • Lenny Kravitz:
    • He had 16 entries on the Hot 100, but surprisingly "Are You Gonna Go My Way?" failed to even bubble under. His highest charter was the #2 "It Ain't Over Till It's Over", which, despite making him a One-Hit Wonder for much of the 90's, isn't nearly as well remembered. The only charting entry that can compete is his #12 "Fly Away", which was not only outpeaked by the aforementioned "Over" but also "Again". Nonetheless, "Fly Away" and "Are You Gonna" were his two #1's on Mainstream Rock.
    • He also managed to do this via Covered Up. His version of The Guess Who's "American Woman" is the one best known to modern audiences, yet it only reached #49. The original isn't nearly as well-known outside of classic rock, despite the fact that it topped the Billboard Hot 100.
  • New Zealand rock band Like a Storm's biggest hit in the U.S. was the #11 "Become the Enemy". While it's still well known to rock radio listeners, it's not exactly as known as "Love the Way You Hate Me", their #21 hit from 2014.
  • Loverboy had two top 10 hits: they weren't "Working for the Weekend" and "Turn Me Loose", which stalled at a measly #29 and #35 respectively, but "Lovin' Every Minute of It" and "This Could Be the Night". In fact, they outpeaked "Weekend" five different times and "Loose" seven.
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd is an unusual case. Their only top 10 hit was "Sweet Home Alabama," which hit #8. But many of the classic rock faithful hold "Free Bird" as their most iconic song — an anthem that defined the Iconic Song Request. This is averted to general (especially younger) audiences, to which "Alabama" is far better known than "Bird" and easily their signature.
  • The Marshall Tucker Band's best-known song, "Can't You See?" fizzled out in the mid-70's, while their highest-charting, "Heard It in a Love Song", hit the Top 15!
  • Nazareth became a One-Hit Wonder with a #8 single in 1976. Was it the hard-rocker "Hair of the Dog" (not "Son of a Bitch")? Nope, it was the ballad "Love Hurts" (their one other well-known song).
  • Our Lady Peace are best remembered for the 2002 ballad "Somewhere Out There", but it was only their second biggest alternative hit after "Clumsy", and fifth biggest rock hit after "Clumsy", "Superman's Dead", "Starseed", and "One Man Army".
  • Pat Benatar's two highest-charting songs both reached #5. One of them, of course, was "Love is a Battlefield". While still hugely iconic, it's not quite as much as "Hit Me with Your Best Shot", which only hit #9. The other #5 was the far less memorable "We Belong". Impressively, "Heartbreaker", her third-best known song, only hit #23.
  • Many people will be shocked to find out that despite Phil Collins' massive catalog of #1 and Top 10 hits, "In The Air Tonight" never made it past #19.
  • Pink Floyd are an aversion as "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2" was their only #1 hit, and their only other top 40 was "Money"; however, many will be surprised that neither "Comfortably Numb" nor "Wish You Were Here" were major charting hits.
  • The Police avert this overall, as "Every Breath You Take" was their only Billboard #1. However, many would be surprised to learn that neither "Roxanne" nor "Message in a Bottle" were among their five other Top 10 hits - they peaked at #32 and #74, respectively.
  • The Psychedelic Furs' only top 40 hit was "Heartbreak Beat" (#25) but "Pretty in Pink" (#41), "Love My Way" (#44) and "The Ghost in You" (#59) are probably all more well known.
  • Puddle of Mudd's two alternative #1 hits were "Blurry" and…"She Hates Me"? Nope, the latter only hit #2. The other #1 was "Psycho". This is averted on mainstream rock where they all were among their five #1s, and on the Hot 100 where the former two consisted of their only top 40 hits.
  • Queen had two #1 hits, "Another One Bites the Dust" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love". While both songs are legendary (the former moreso than the latter), they still don't beat out the likes of "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Will Rock You", and "We Are the Champions."
  • ? and the Mysterians are commonly thought of as a quintessential one-hit wonder band for their #1 hit "96 Tears". Few people realize that they had a follow up that hit #22. It must have been "Can't Get Enough of You Baby", a.k.a the '60s song Smash Mouth covered for Can't Hardly Wait. That only hit #56, while the actual #22 was the completely forgotten "I Need Somebody".
  • The Ramones' highest charting "hit" on the charts? "Rockaway Beach", which peaked at #66. In fact, of their three charting singles, none of them were the legendary "Blitzkrieg Bop" or "I Wanna Be Sedated". Even on other charts, it was songs from the band's final years, "Pet Sematary" and "Poison Heart" (#2 and #6 at the Modern Rock charts).
  • Red Rider's "Lunatic Fringe" is a mainstay on classic rock radio, yet it never even cracked the Hot 100, though lead singer Tom Cochrane's solo version peaked at #70 in their native Canada. Their highest entry stateside was the long-forgotten "Red Hot", which peaked at #48; and in Canada, the equally forgotten "Good Times" peaked at #2. Cochrane went solo to avert this trope, as his signature "Life is a Highway" was his first of three #1's up north and went to the US Top Ten.
  • Rev Theory charted on the hot Mainstream Rock charts with eight different songs, but surprisingly none of them were "Voices", the theme song to pro wrestler Randy Orton. The best known of their charting songs, "Hell Yeah", wasn't their highest charter — that would be "Justice".
  • The Romantics had two Top 40 hits, but neither was "What I Like About You"; despite peaking at #49, it's considered one of the 80's most famous songs because of how often it's been featured in media. It's understandable that "Talking in Your Sleep" was one of their Top 40 hits — it peaked at #4 in 1983 and, although relatively obscure to modern-day audiences, is remembered enough to become a Trope Namer. Their actual other Top 40 hit was the long-forgotten "One in a Million" (#37). A cover of "What I Like About You" by a long-forgotten singer named Michael Morales (not to be confused with the convicted murderer) actually charted higher at #28.
  • Robert Palmer easily averts this, as his signature "Addicted to Love" was his only #1. He had two #2 hits...one must have been "Bad Case of Loving You", right? Nope; that stopped at #14. They were "Simply Irresistible" and "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On". While the former is still iconic, even if not at the status of the first two, the latter isn't nearly as well-known.
  • The Rolling Stones had eight #1 singles (including their signature "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and other classics like "Brown Sugar" and "Paint It Black"). This total, however, does not include "Gimme Shelter" (not a single), "Sympathy for the Devil" (not a single either, although Fatboy Slim's 2003 remix hit #97), "Start Me Up" (#2, though it was their first #1 on Mainstream Rock), "Jumpin' Jack Flash" (#3), "Wild Horses" (#28), or "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (#42).
  • Rush only hit the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 once, and topped their native Canada, with "New World Man", a song largely forgotten in relation to the likes of "Tom Sawyer" and "The Spirit of Radio."
  • Santana:
    • They had two #1 hits. One of them, of course, was their signature "Smooth", a smash collaboration with Rob Thomas that ruled the charts for 14 weeks and ushered in the new millennium. The other one? "Maria Maria", which isn't nearly as memorable (it arguably even got Sampled Up by "Wild Thoughts"), and lesser known than their early '70s hits like "Black Magic Woman", "Evil Ways", and "Oye Como Va".
    • Yet another example involving "The Game of Love" (see Michelle Branch and Gregg Alexander above): It was one of two top 10 hits from their 2002 album Shaman, hitting #5, alongside the #8 "Why Don't You and I", featuring Chad Kroeger or Alex Band. Despite the chart peaks, "Love" isn't nearly as remembered as "Why", and doesn't get nearly the same amount of recurrent airplay.
  • Saving Abel had only one #1 on the Mainstream Rock songs chart. Surprisingly enough, it wasn't "Addicted", which got stuck at #2 behind Disturbed's "Inside the Fire". Rather, it was "The Sex Is Good" off of their follow-up album Miss America, which, like every other song in their discography aside from their debut, is almost completely forgotten today. However "Addicted" was their one and only visit to the Hot 100.
  • Simple Minds avert this in the US, as "Don't You (Forget About Me)", which is by far their best known song in that country, was their only #1 there. But in their native UK, neither that song, nor "Alive and Kicking", arguably their signature back home, was their biggest hit. Both those songs peaked at #7; their sole #1 was "Belfast Child".
  • Squeeze became a Two-Hit Wonder with the wrong songs. They weren't "Tempted" or "Pulling Mussels", but rather "Hourglass" and "853-5937". Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, the main singers and songwriters for the band, prefer that the latter song stays forgotten, and have made sure it never turns up on any of their Greatest Hits Albums.
  • When people think of Styx, they're going to think of songs like "Come Sail Away", "Renegade", or "Mr. Roboto" before their sole #1, "Babe."
  • British band Sweet's biggest hit in the United States wasn't "The Ballroom Blitz" or "Fox on the Run", both of which only hit #5, but the completely forgotten "Little Willy", a #3 hit.
  • Theory of a Deadman's biggest hit on the Hot 100 wasn't "Bad Girlfriend", but rather "Not Meant to Be", which was their only pop crossover hit and is still easily their second best-known song. "Girlfriend" was their first of four #1 hits on rock radio, however.
  • 3 Doors Down:
    • They easily avert this, as their signature "Kryptonite" was their highest-charting hit, reaching #3 on the Hot 100 and topped both rock charts. However, their other two top 10 hits, both from sophomore album Away From the Sun, qualifies as an example. The group hit #4 with "When I'm Gone" and later #5 with "Here Without You". While the former is still well-known, it's not quite as remembered as the latter.
    • They hold the all time record for the longest-reigning #1 in the history of Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart, which spent 21 weeks on top. The song that holds the record? Their second single "Loser", which isn't nearly as iconic as the likes of "Kryptonite", "Gone", and "Here" because it never crossed over to pop radio. In fact, "Here Without You" never made it past #14 on mainstream rock.
  • Third Eye Blind:
    • The group only charted four times on active rock, with their signature "Semi-Charmed Life" hitting #26. Their three other entries were "How's It Going to Be", "Jumper", and "Never Let You Go", right? Nope, they were "Graduate", "Losing a Whole Year", and "Anything", all of which were quickly forgotten.
    • They had four top 10 hits on alternative, with "Life" being their only #1 in that chart. People will be surprised to find out that "Jumper", their second-best known song, only hit #9 there and that "Be" and "Never", neither of which are quite as iconic as "Jumper" is, outpeaked them. On the mainstream charts, this is subverted, as "Life" and "Jumper" were their biggest and second-biggest hits there, respectively.
  • Ritchie Valens' biggest hit, the #2 "Donna", is not nearly as known as its B-side "La Bamba", which peaked in the 20s. After all, his biopic wasn't called "Donna", was it?
  • The Undertones only had one Top 10 hit in the UK, but it wasn't their iconic debut single "Teenage Kicks". Instead, it was "My Perfect Cousin", which made it to #9 in 1980. "Teenage Kicks" only made it to #31, but it became a legendary song in the world of British indie rock because it was the favorite song of influential BBC DJ John Peel, who even had the song's opening lines inscribed on his tombstone.
  • The Vapors' only entry on the mainstream rock charts hit #39. It must have been "Turning Japanese", right? Nope; it was released a year before the chart was even launched. That one "hit" was "Jimmie Jones", which, like every other song in their discography not named "Turning Japanese", is completely forgotten today. "Japanese" was, however, the band's sole chart entry on the Hot 100.
  • Van Morrison just barely qualifies, as his signature song, "Brown-Eyed Girl", was edged out by "Domino" on the charts by one spot.
    • His previous band Them had two top 40 hits, but neither of them were "Gloria", the song for which they are most recognized today. This was mostly due to concerns over a suggestive lyric, "she comes to my room", in the song. As a result, many stations refused to play it, and a cleaner version by long-forgotten garage rock group The Shadows of Knight was played in its place, moving it to a higher spot of #10.
  • War, one of the biggest rock bands of the '70s, made it up to #2 with their highest charting song, but that song wasn't "Low Rider" or "Why Can't We Be Friends?", but the less iconic "The Cisco Kid".
  • Warrant's biggest hit, "Heaven", while still a classic, is not nearly as well-remembered as "Cherry Pie."
  • The Who only hit the top 10 once in their career. That song? "I Can See For Miles", which is not nearly as recognized as the likes of "My Generation," "Baba O'Riley," "Won't Get Fooled Again," and "Who Are You."
  • Yes only ever scored one UK top 10 hit, but it wasn't "Roundabout" or "Owner of a Lonely Heart" - it was the far less well-remembered "Wonderous Stories".
  • ZZ Top had two #8 hits. One was their iconic '1984 hit "Legs", but the other was the less well known "Sleeping Bag" from the following year. Two of their best known hits, "Sharp Dressed Man" and "La Grange", both missed the Top 40 entirely. Many people will be surprised that "La Grange" bowed out at #41.

    Other 
  • Louis Armstrong's only #1 on the Hot 100 wasn't "What a Wonderful World", but rather "Hello, Dolly!", which while still remembered as the title song to the popular musical, isn't particularly associated with Armstrong. On "What a Wonderful World"'s original release in 1967, it was a top 10 hit all around the world (including #1 in the UK and Austria)...but didn't even make the Hot 100 in America. It would take a Revival by Commercialization from being featured in Good Morning, Vietnam for the song to make it to #22 in the US in 1988, 17 years after Armstrong's death.
  • Bob Marley's highest-charting song was "Roots Rock Reggae", which peaked at #51. To say the least, it isn't as memorable as, say, "No Woman No Cry", "Jammin'", "I Shot the Sheriff", or "Three Little Birds".
  • Nina Simone's only Top 40 hit wasn't "Feeling Good", but rather "I Loves You, Porgy". This is because "Feeling Good" wasn't released as a single until 1994, almost 30 years after it first appeared on her album I Put a Spell on You.
  • Funk group The Time are today best remembered for the #20 hit "Jungle Love." Many forget they actually had a Top 10 hit a while afterwards with "Jerk-Out."
  • Tony Bennett has had many bigger hits on the charts than "I Left My Heart In San Francisco."
  • The Vince Guaraldi Trio had one Top 40 hit on the Hot 100. "Linus and Lucy?" Nope; it was actually the completely Peanuts-unrelated "Cast Your Fate Into The Wind".
  • The Isley Brothers had twelve Top 40 hits, but their signature "Shout" topped out at #47. The only other song that comes close is the #17 "Twist and Shout", which was Covered Up by The Beatles.
    • The Isley Brothers are the only act in pop music history to have a Top 40 single in every decade from the 1950s to the 2000s, so this happened a couple other times to them in their long and storied career. The 1983 ballad "Between the Sheets" has been sampled so often by so many different artists (most notably by The Notorious B.I.G. in "Big Poppa"), that one would think it was one of their biggest hits of that era. But it fell just short of the Hot 100, topping the Bubbling Under chart. Their highest charting tune from the 1980s was "Don't Say Goodnight (It's Time for Love)", a now completely forgotten #39 hit from 1980.
  • Dick Dale had two Hot 100 hits, neither of which was "Misirlou". Its only visit to the charts came in the form of a sample from the Black Eyed Peas' "Pump It", which made it to #18. While people who haven't seen Pulp Fiction will almost certainly recognize "Pump It" much better, the original is still held in the greatest esteem.


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