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Rebecca Black's Viral Hit 'Friday' Breaks Into iTunes Top 100

Much-mocked teen singer's self-released single is Number 69 on iTunes chart on first day of release

March 16, 2011 4:20 PM ET
Rebecca Black's Viral Hit 'Friday' Breaks Into iTunes Top 100

Rebecca Black's widely mocked viral hit "Friday" was released on iTunes only yesterday, but has already cracked the digital retail giant's Top 100 tracks. The song is currently at Number 69, and has been steadily rising up the chart all day, putting the self-released single in the company of recent major label smashes by Rihanna, the Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and My Chemical Romance.

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The iTunes store does not release its sales data, so it's hard to tell exactly how many copies of "Friday" Black has sold on the site in the past 24 hours. As of now, the music video for the song has been viewed nearly 10 million times since the weekend on YouTube. If only a tiny fraction of that enormous audience likes the track – earnestly or ironically – enough to buy it, that is more than enough to make it a genuine hit in digital sales terms. (For a sense of scale, the top-selling digital track of 2010 was Katy Perry's "California Gurls," which moved 4.4 million copies.)

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It's unclear whether or not "Friday" will maintain its momentum as an internet meme, much less prove itself to have legs at digital retail. Either way, with these sales it doesn't seem far-fetched to imagine that an established label may soon take a chance on signing Black. The bigger question is -- do you market her as an absurd novelty or as a legit teen pop singer?

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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