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What makes a song a smash? Talent? Luck? Timing? All that—and more. Chris Molanphy, pop-chart analyst and author of Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series, tells tales from a half-century of chart history. Through storytelling, trivia and song snippets, Chris dissects how that song you love—or hate—dominated the airwaves, made its way to the top of the charts and shaped your memories forever.
 
The best stories come out of our history! Historia Maxima is the place where You will find cool, intriguing facts and stories from history. We have started out as a small Youtube channel and want to expand in podcasting space to reach out to wider audience. Feel free to check us out at https://www.youtube.com/c/HistoriaMaxima. If you'd like to support us, please buy us a coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/historiamaxima
 
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“Punk happened, past tense.” That’s what Boomer-era critics and true-believer punks told the younger generations. Punk’s whole reason for being was rejecting the mainstream. But punk wasn’t just a movement—it was also a genre. And 20 years after it first emerged, punk went from underground to overground, dominating the radio for the first time. In …
 
In Part 2 of our 50th episode of Hit Parade, we go back 50 years, celebrating the semicentennial of the year when, critics claim, “music changed everything.” The Quiet Beatle became the Favorite Beatle, when Mick Jagger sang lyrics even he regrets, when Carole King graduated from songwriter to singer-songwriter, and commercial juggernaut, when blax…
 
At any given time, the music world is celebrating some anniversary, but 1971 has received more than its share of commemorations this year. And with good reason: Carole King. Marvin Gaye. Joni Mitchell. Sly Stone. Janis Joplin. The Who. All released their best work a half-century ago. For our 50th episode of Hit Parade, we go back 50 years, celebrat…
 
In part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy continues his deep dive on Yacht Rock, the retroactive genre label for the sleek, jazzy, R&B-flavored sound that cropped up in the late '70s and early '80s amongst polished, perfectionist West Coast studio musicians. Whatever you call it, this music really did command the charts at the turn of…
 
In the late ’70s and early ’80s, a scene and a sound cropped up on the West Coast: polished, perfectionist studio musicians who generated sleek, jazzy, R&B-flavored music. About a quarter-century later, this sound was given a name: Yacht Rock. The inventors of the genre name weren’t thinking about boats…well, unless the song was Christopher Cross’s…
 
In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy continues his analysis of the career and legacy of the legendary and sometimes-misunderstood Bruce Springsteen. In his second decade, Springsteen wasn’t just a hitmaker—he was the archetype: the symbol of flag-waving American rock, even when the song was less patriotism than protest. Advertise…
 
Bruce Springsteen has been a legend so long, it’s easy to forget that, for his first decade, he had trouble getting a hit. Yes, even the legendary “Born to Run”: It missed Billboard’s Top 20. And yet, several of Springsteen’s songs became big hits for others: the song with the misheard lyric about “a deuce” that went to No. 1 for a British band. Th…
 
In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy continues his analysis of when singing became central to rap music. Rap has always been musical. But back in the day, rappers generally, well, rapped: talked in cadence over a beat. Fans judged MCs primarily by their rhymes and rhythms, not their melodies. Now? Rappers are mostly singers: MCs …
 
Let’s be clear: Rap has always been musical. But back in the day, rappers generally, well, rapped: talked in cadence over a beat. Fans judged MCs primarily by their rhymes and rhythms, not their melodies. Now? Rappers are mostly singers: MCs from Drake to DaBaby slip seamlessly in and out of melody. Some hits that appear on Billboard’s Rap charts f…
 
In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy continues his analysis of Milli Vanilli, the musical act that many of us who were around in 1989 listened to more than they might admit. They also have quite a legacy: a blend of pop, dance and rap that now seems commonplace but was still relatively novel then. If you’ve danced to Europop that…
 
For a musical project that’s synonymous with deceit, Milli Vanilli sold an awful lot of records. They also have quite a legacy: a blend of pop, dance and rap that now seems commonplace but was still relatively novel in 1989. If you’ve danced to Europop that fronts like hip-hop, you’re living in a world Milli Vanilli helped create. In this episode o…
 
In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy continues his analysis of Taylor: the country years, dissecting how she gradually, step by step, became the new queen of pop one irresistible song at a time. She went from interviewing bigger stars on MTV’s red carpet one year, to being the talk of the Video Music Awards the next—even before K…
 
Taylor Swift’s new album is a reboot of an old album: Fearless, her 2008 chart-topping juggernaut that made her the biggest star on the Billboard charts. But Fearless (Taylor’s Version)—filled with banjos, steel guitars and fiddles—is also a reminder for those who forgot: Swift was once the top act in country music, too. From Dolly Parton to Shania…
 
In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy continues his analysis of the music of Sam Cooke. The Oscar-nominated film One Night in Miami… imagines the conversation between Cooke, Malcolm X, Cassius Clay and Jim Brown the night in 1964 they gathered to celebrate the soon-to-be Muhammad Ali’s heavyweight victory. Malcolm X challenges Sam…
 
The Oscar-nominated film One Night in Miami… imagines the conversation between Sam Cooke, Malcolm X, Cassius Clay and Jim Brown the night in 1964 they gathered to celebrate the soon-to-be Muhammad Ali’s heavyweight victory. Malcolm X challenges Sam Cooke to use his amazing voice to help “the struggle.” Little did he know Cooke had already recorded …
 
In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy continues to demonstrate a weird chart phenomenon he calls The AC/DC Rule. Hit Parade episodes are now split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more…
 
Quick, what was the only No. 1 album by Jimi Hendrix? How about the first No. 1 by Billy Joel? Jackson Browne? Pat Benatar? Pearl Jam? Lady Gaga? In all cases, the answer isn’t obvious—it’s not the album you know best, the one with the most hits on it. It’s the album after that classic that goes to No. 1. And there’s no better example than AC/DC, t…
 
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9zw8iTpGYE The actual history, the real story of the Rise & Fall of the Indus Valley Civilization (Harappa and Mohenjo Daro) is buried under the sands of time. Quite literally. While we have unearthed some fascinating artefacts and tried to piece together their lives and stories, a lot, of course, is still sp…
 
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz6uANtQt5Y The Pompeii volcano eruption in 79 AD is one of the most unusual events in history. It happened near the lost city of Pompeii on 24 August 79 AD was the fateful incident that the world will never forget. How exactly did things happen the day the volcano from Mount Vesuvius erupted unexpectedly on t…
 
Hit Parade is back for non-Slate Plus listeners! Upcoming episodes will be split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive into our subjects. slate.com/hitparadeplus. In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, we continue the sto…
 
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMMOkTOneis Weird historical practices by people across cultures is what is about. Crazy rituals, beliefs and practices that people in history thought were perfectly normal, but from our 21st-century eyes, they seem certifiably insane! Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/historiamaxima)…
 
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQytb7_tEhE&t=133s Many ancient animals are extinct from our planet, but some thankfully so. Pre-historic life was not easy. These pre-historic, ancient animals were very large and very dangerous. So let's be grateful our worst fear is a cockroach now. These are the top 5 largest extinct ancient animals that y…
 
Video referenced: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOFWu2EN5xo Is our civilization collapsing? Why do civilizations collapse at all? In this animated history documentary, let's take a look at why ancient civilizations collapsed and are there any parallels between them and us? In other words, is our civilisation collapsing? Support the show (https://…
 
The story of India Pakistan Partition and fall of the British Empire - the real reason, the real story behind these. In 1947, the British Empire in India gave India its independence from the British Raj but through the partition of India and Pakistan. So how and why did Partition of India and Pakistan even happen and how it affected the Indian subc…
 
Hit Parade is back for non-Slate Plus listeners! Upcoming episodes will be split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive into our subjects. slate.com/hitparadeplus. How can you tell disco didn’t really die at the start of the…
 
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHBDCwPoUBs Enjoy this biography of the life of Akbar, the 3rd Mughal emperor. Also known as Akbar the Great, coz he...kinda was! From his birth when his father Humayun was on the run to the magnificent empire that he ended up building, Akbar has been a legend then and now. FURTHER READING: Smith, Vincent. Akb…
 
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFaMCXeGfiI How did this chapter of Indian history, and British history, even start? Let's go back to that day in 1599 in England that started the whole story of how did the British conquer India. That's when this long story of British Raj / British Empire's colonisation of India started. And it's a fascinatin…
 
Video: Part 4: Life of Akbar - YouTube So yeah, this is the real history/biography of the 3rd Mughal emperor, Akbar. Part 1 and 2 are on this channel. If you haven't watched them yet, go explore. Akbar, the Great Mughal / Moghul, the third Mughal emperor. The Mughal empire was the biggest and the richest empire in the 16th and the 17th centuries in…
 
Video: The most chilling case of family murder in Indian history | Murder of Rana Kumbha of Mewar - YouTube People will do anything for power, right? Including killing their own father. That's how Rana Kumbha of Mewar was murdered in medieval India (in the 1460s to be precise)... Details in the video For any fact, you can't digest, direct abuses at…
 
Hit Parade is back for non-Slate Plus listeners! Upcoming episodes will be split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive into our subjects. slate.com/hitparadeplus. In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, we continue the sto…
 
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