Alternative Songs  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Alternative Songs (formerly Modern Rock Tracks and Hot Modern Rock Tracks) is a music chart in the United States that has appeared in Billboard magazine since September 10, 1988. It lists the 40 most-played songs on modern rock radio stations, most of which are alternative rock songs. The chart was introduced as a companion to the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and its creation was prompted by the explosion of alternative music on American radio in the late 1980s.

The chart is based solely on radio airplay and is a component chart of the Hot 100. As of 2008, approximately 80 radio stations are electronically monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems. Songs are ranked by a calculation of the total number of spins per week with its "audience impression", which is based upon exact times of airplay and each station's Arbitron listener data.

Many rock artists do not release commercial singles in the U.S. Several popular songs which were not released as commercial singles did not qualify for the Hot 100 before December 1998, but performed very well on Modern Rock Tracks.

During the first several years of Modern Rock Tracks, the chart featured music that did not receive commercial radio airplay anywhere but on Modern Rock radio stations, of which there were few. This included many electronic and post-punk artists. Gradually, as alternative rock became more "mainstream" (particularly spearheaded by the grunge explosion in the early 1990s), the Modern Rock Tracks and Mainstream Rock Tracks charts began featuring more of the same songs. Today, the Alternative Songs chart (Modern Rock) favors more alternative rock, indie rock, and punk rock bands while the Mainstream Rock Songs favor more hard rock and heavy metal.

The chart was renamed Alternative Songs beginning with the June 20, 2009 issue after Billboard fully absorbed Radio & Records, whose similar chart was called "Alternative" instead of "Modern Rock".

The first number-one song on Modern Rock Tracks was "Peek-a-Boo" by Siouxsie and the Banshees. The most recent number-one song, for the issue dated January 15, 2011, is "Waiting for the End" by Linkin Park.


  • Artists with the most number-one songs:
Red Hot Chili Peppers (11)
Linkin Park (10)
Green Day (9)
U2 (8)
Foo Fighters (7)
  • Artists with the most cumulative weeks at number one:
Red Hot Chili Peppers (81)
Linkin Park (68)
Foo Fighters (53)
Green Day (50)
R.E.M. (31) (tie)
U2 (31) (tie)
  • Three songs have debuted at number one on this chart:
"What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" by R.E.M. (1994)
"Dani California" by Red Hot Chili Peppers (2006)
"What I've Done" by Linkin Park (2007)
18 weeks
"The Pretender" — Foo Fighters (2007)
17 weeks
"Uprising" — Muse (2009-10)
16 weeks
"Scar Tissue" — Red Hot Chili Peppers (1999)
"It's Been Awhile" — Staind (2001)
"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" — Green Day (2004-05)
15 weeks
"Sex and Candy" — Marcy Playground (1997-98)
"What I've Done" — Linkin Park (2007)
14 weeks
"By the Way" — Red Hot Chili Peppers (2002)
"Dani California" — Red Hot Chili Peppers (2006)
13 weeks
"Otherside" — Red Hot Chili Peppers (2000)
"How You Remind Me" — Nickelback (2001)
12 weeks
"Hemorrhage (In My Hands)" — Fuel (2000-01)
"Numb" — Linkin Park (2003-04)
"New Divide" — Linkin Park (2009)
11 weeks
"My Own Worst Enemy" — Lit (1999)
"Kryptonite" — 3 Doors Down (2000)
"Pork and Beans" — Weezer (2008)
"You're Gonna Go Far, Kid" — The Offspring (2008)
"Lay Me Down" — The Dirty Heads featuring Rome Ramirez (2010)
10 weeks
"Wonderwall" — Oasis (1995-96)
"All My Life" — Foo Fighters (2002-03)

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Alternative Songs" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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