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Plain White T's Revive the Name Game

There was a time when girls’ names ruled the Hot 100. In 1962, Tommy Roe’s “Sheila” was succeeded by the Four Seasons’ “Sherry.” But it’s become much rarer to see a girl’s name in the No. 1 spot.

Until this past week, the only chart-topper with a girl’s name this millennium was “Maria Maria” by Santana featuring the Product G&B, and that was back in 2000.

A move from No. 2 to No. 1 finds “Hey There Delilah” (Hollywood Records) by the Plain White T’s on top of the chart.

It’s the first time the name “Delilah” has been featured in a No. 1 song, it’s the first No. 1 for the Plain White T’s, and it’s the first No. 1 for the Hollywood label.

The most famous “Delilah” song until now was Tom Jones’ “Delilah,” a No. 15 hit in 1968. More recently, as Larry Cohen of Trumbull, Conn. notes, Van Stephenson took “Modern Day Delilah” to No. 22 in 1984. And while she wasn’t name-checked in the title, Delilah received plenty of attention in Neil Sedaka’s No. 28 hit from 1960, “Run Samson Run.”

“Hey There Delilah” debuted on the Hot 100 the week of April 14. The song vaulted into the top 10 the week of June 23, when it advanced from No. 16 to No. 6. Since then, it has moved up one slot each week. The 6-5-4-3-2-1 pattern cannot be found with any other No. 1 song of the last 21 years.

This is the second charted title for the Plain White T’s on the Hot 100. The group made its first appearance with “Hate (I Really Don’t Like You).” That song debuted the week of November 18, 2006, and peaked at No. 68 the following week.


How fitting that the same week “Hey There Delilah” takes over the Hot 100, the soundtrack to the movie “Hairspray” (New Line) debuts on the Billboard 200. After all, what is Delilah without some hair to cut? Or spray?

The album’s debut preceded the opening of the film, but even so the CD entered the chart at No. 20. That makes this soundtrack the highest-charting “Hairspray” of them all. The soundtrack to the original non-musical movie peaked at No. 114 the week of April 23, 1988. The cast album for the Broadway musical peaked at No. 131 the week of August 31, 2002.

If “Hairspray” follows the recent trend of Broadway musicals adapted to musical movies, the soundtrack should find itself in the top two. “Chicago” spent a week in the runner-up spot in February 2003, and “Dreamgirls” had a two-week reign this January.

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