Home Music Music Lists

20 Biggest Songs of the Summer: The 2010s (So Far)

European imports and Katy Perry dominate five years of summer

"Fancy" star Iggy Azalea: Is She the Biggest Summer Hitmaker of the Decade?

Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET

The fifth summer of this decade isn’t over yet. But in the past few years, we’ve seen summer jams that will surely define the era for future generations, from indelible one hit wonders such as Gotye to the ongoing hit parade of super producers Dr. Luke and Pharrell Williams. We’ve even declared some early victors from the summer of 2014, including Magic! and Iggy Azalea. This list was assembled using Billboard data from Hot 100 charts between June 20th and this week, dictated by peak chart positions and total length of run on the Hot 100. To boil the list down to the most seasonally appropriate summer anthems, we omitted melancholy rap power ballads (Eminem, B.o.B., Lil Wayne) and bummery pop songs (Maroon 5, Adele, Sam Smith, John Legend).

Play video

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper Iggy Azalea performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Taio Cruz, “Dynamite”

Brit singer Taio Cruz's first U.S. hit, "Break Your Heart," topped the Hot 100 in the spring of 2010, while the follow-up, "Dynamite," settled for Number Two. But it was "Dynamite" that ran the summer, lasted longer in the Top 10, and ultimately proved to be the more indelible hit.

Play video

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper Iggy Azalea performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Katy Perry, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”

With "Last Friday Night," Katy Perry's Teenage Dream became only the second album in pop history to yield five Number One singles, after Michael Jackson's Bad. Perry loaded up the video with kitsch both old and new school, with cameos including Michael Bolton and YouTube star Rebecca Black.

Play video

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper Iggy Azalea performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Nico & Vinz, “Am I Wrong”

Nico Sereba and Vincent Dery, two Norway-based singers born in Africa, originally released "Am I Wrong" under the name Envy. But as the song spread around the world, the duo changed their name to Nico & Vinz to distinguish themselves from any other bands named Envy that haven't scored an international summer jam.

Play video

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper Iggy Azalea performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Usher feat. Will.i.am, “OMG”

In the fracturing marketplace of 2010s radio, R&B crossover stars like Usher have found themselves with a dilemma: Where songs like "Yeah!" could once unite urban radio and pop radio, the two formats can now only be catered to with dramatically different songs. So Usher launched his 2010 album Raymond v. Raymond by topping the R&B charts with the ballad "Papers," and conquered the pop charts with "OMG," a Will.i.am collaboration following the EDM template of Black Eyed Peas hits.

Play video

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper Iggy Azalea performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Miley Cyrus, “We Can’t Stop”

On urban radio, summer 2013 belonged to Mike WiLL Made It, with the Atlanta beatmaker producing hits including Ace Hood's "Bugatti" and Ciara's "Body Party." But it took the career reboot of the former Hannah Montana to bring his beats to the Top Five of the Hot 100 in July.

Play video

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper Iggy Azalea performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Nicki Minaj, “Super Bass”

When Nicki Minaj released Pink Friday in late 2010, "Super Bass" was buried in the bonus tracks only available on certain editions of the album. But videos of Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez rapping along to the song went viral, paving the way for Nicki's first big crossover pop moment.

Play video

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper Iggy Azalea performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams, “Get Lucky”

Daft Punk first crossed paths with Pharrell Williams in 2001, when the Neptunes produced an official remix of the French duo's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger." But that was nothing compared to the success they'd enjoy together with the lead single to Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, which won two Grammys and sold 9 million copies.

Play video

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper Iggy Azalea performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Gotye feat. Kimbra, “Somebody That I Used to Know”

"Somebody That I Used to Know" topped the charts in Gotye's home country, Australia, in August 2011, although of course it was winter at the time in the southern hemisphere. The antipodean smash took nearly a year to make its way around the world, become the Number One song in America in the summer of 2012.

Play video

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper Iggy Azalea performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Magic!, “Rude”

As a songwriter and producer, Nasri Atweh enjoyed success with minor summer jams including New Kids on the Block's 2007 comeback single "Summertime" and the 2011 Chris Brown/Justin Bieber duet "Next to You." But it wasn't until the Canadian singer formed the reggae band Magic! that he scored an international chart-topper with the current biggest song in America, "Rude."

Play video

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper Iggy Azalea performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea, “Problem”

Ariana Grande was a relatively obscure Nickelodeon sitcom star when her single "The Way" became a surprise Top 10 hit in 2013 and went multiplatinum that summer. But by the summer of 2014, she was a known quantity, fully prepared to capitalize on that momentum with "Problem," featuring the also rapidly rising Iggy Azalea, a saxophone and a whispering, uncredited Big Sean. 

Play video

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper Iggy Azalea performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer, “Give Me Everything”

Everybody seemed to love Pitbull's first Number One hit in the summer of 2011, except for the subject of his lyric "locked up like Lindsay Lohan." Lohan attempted to sue over the line, but a judge ruled in favor of Pitbull's First Amendment rights.

Play video

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper Iggy Azalea performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg, “California Gurls”

Big Star frontman and cult hero Alex Chilton's death in the spring of 2010 prompted an outpouring of tributes from countless bands. But one of the biggest and subtlest came from an unlikely source: Katy Perry spelled the title of her blockbuster single "California Gurls" in homage to Big Star's "September Gurls."

Play video

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper Iggy Azalea performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett and GoonRock, “Party Rock Anthem”

As founder of Motown Records, Berry Gordy Jr. worked behind the scenes on countless hit records without ever becoming a star in his own right. Some of his offspring became stars, however — his son Kennedy "Rockwell" Gordy released the smash "Somebody's Watching Me" in 1984, and his son Stefan "Redfoo" Gordy and grandson Skylar "SkyBlu" Gordy scored a couple of chart-toppers as LMFAO.

Play video

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper Iggy Azalea performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy”

With "Fancy" and her guest spot on Ariana Grande's "Problem," Iggy Azalea became the sixth artist ever to occupy the top two positions in the Hot 100. The song also became the longest running Number One by a female rapper. And, for that matter, the first by a rapper from Australia.

Play video

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper Iggy Azalea performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Carly Rae Jepsen, “Call Me Maybe”

Carly Rae Jepsen was a Canadian Idol finalist, and her breakout hit may have never been heard outside of her homeland had another famous Canadian not given her a shoutout. Justin Bieber heard the song on the radio in Canada and tweeted about it. Soon his manager Scooter Braun signed Jepsen, and within weeks "Call Me Maybe" was an international sensation.

Play video

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Rapper Iggy Azalea performs onstage during the BET AWARDS '14 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Robin Thicke feat. T.I. and Pharrell Williams, “Blurred Lines”

When "Blurred Lines" and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" ascended into the Top 10 in June 2013, it was the first time Pharrell Williams had had two Top 10 hits in almost exactly a decade. The last time was in May 2003, when the Neptunes produced "Rock Your Body" for Justin Timberlake and "Beautiful" for Snoop Dogg.

Show Comments