Second Chance Songs

A few weeks ago, Sia finally put out another video to follow up last year’s Chandelier, which subsequently indicated the second single from 1000 Forms Of Fear, for her song Elastic Heart. The video, once again starring Maddie Ziegler along with Shia LaBeouf in interpretative dance, was considered controversial due to apparent suggested pedophilia.

A less discussed aspect of the song was that it was already released as a single nearly a year and a half ago.

Sia - Elastic HeartElastic Heart was originally recorded by Sia with Canadian R&B artist The Weeknd for the soundtrack of the movie Catching Fire. It was released as a promo single prior to the soundtrack’s release and performed well in New Zealand and Belgium, but failed to gain significant success most everywhere else.

After the video was released last month for Sia’s solo version, the song shot up to #17 on the Hot 100 mostly due to online streaming and has been sent to radio formats.

While it’s not common for singles to be re-released and do better the second time around, it’s not rare either.

There are some well-known cases of songs that have been popular in two separate time periods over the years. The Twist, by Chubby Checker, from the dawn of rock ‘n roll, is known for being the only hit in history to hit #1 on two separate occasions. It originally spent a week at #1 in 1960 and less than a year and a half later in January 1962, returned for two more weeks.

Ben E. King hit #4 in 1961 with Stand By Me, which returned to popularity in 1986 after its inclusion on the soundtrack of the movie by the same name. That time, it hit #9.

Queen - Bohemian RhapsodyQueen‘s Bohemian Rhapsody experienced a resurgence after Wayne’s World in 1992 when it hit #2, besting its previous peak of #9 in 1976. In 1977, Aerosmith hit #10 with Walk This Way, which would be improved upon with the Run DMC version nine years later, reaching #4. And The Four Seasons‘ 1975 #1 hit December 1963 (Oh What A Night) returned in 1994 to hit #14 thanks to a new remix.

Those are all pretty extreme examples of singles that had a successful second chance. Unlike the situation with Elastic Heart, these cases are also pretty rare, and seemingly even more so nowadays. Imagine a considerably well-known song from 2006, 1999 or 1990 being re-released today by the original artist and doing as well as or even better than it did the first time. The only recent example of that was when I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston hit #3 in the weeks following her death back in 2012, 19 years after it spent a then-record 14 weeks at #1.

But like Elastic Heart, there are other recent singles that have gotten a second chance after flubbing the first time.

Pink - Who KnewIn 2006, Pink released Who Knew as the second single from her struggling album I’m Not Dead. After flopping with her previous record Try This, things weren’t looking great for this era either. Stupid Girls, this album’s first single, under-performed and Who Knew did even worse – although it did considerably well in Canada. When U + Ur Hand finally took off after it looked to be the album’s third failing single, Pink re-released Who Knew again a year later and in 2007, it reached #9. Since then, she has had hit after hit, became a global superstar, and is one of the most respected pop stars.

It’s hard to imagine a time when Cee Lo Green‘s Fuck You (Forget You or Eff You) didn’t exist. Rightfully placed in the books as a song everyone is sick of hearing, it initially struggled when it was first released. In August 2010, the video dropped and it quickly made it to #9 before dropping into obscurity. Several months after that, Fuck/Forget/Eff You returned and eventually hit #2 on the Hot 100, becoming one of the biggest hits of 2011.

Before Macklemore & Ryan Lewis became overnight hitmakers with Thrift Shop in early 2013, their album The Heist had already sourced several singles that received little traction initially. Can’t Hold Us was originally released in August of 2011, two years before it became their second #1, and Same Love was out prior to Thrift Shop in August 2012. While it made the rounds on social media before their success, it wasn’t until a year later that it was re-released and reached #11, becoming their third major hit.

And Lights by Ellie Goulding first hit the Hot 100 in August 2011. It briefly charted before disappearing only to be pushed again, eventually making it to #2 in August 2012.

Sometimes, the timing just isn’t right or something else happens that gives a particular single that extra nudge into popularity. There are many other examples of songs over the years that did better the second time around for whatever reason. Are there any missing from this list?

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