England’s Nothing But Thieves grabs No. 1 on the airplay charts with his first single in the US, as “Trip Switch” goes up 3-1 on Billboard‘s Alternative Songs chart (dated March 26).
The quintet’s song is the third consecutive number 1 on a UK band’s tally as it dethrones the Foals’ ‘Mountain at My Gates’, down 1-2 after a week at the top. Coldplay’s two-week topper “Adventure of a Lifetime” preceded Foals #1. before the crowning of the foals.)
When was the last time three consecutive new No. 1 alternative songs were performed by non-US artists? This race began exactly 20 years ago today, on the March 16, 1996 chart, when Canadians Alanis Morissette reigned for three weeks with “Ironic” and was followed by a five-week run at No. 1 for UK Oasis, with “Champagne Supernova”, and a four-week run for Irish band The Cranberries’ “Salvation”.
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Lately, US artists taking over foreign talent on Alternative Songs mirrors the dominance of global hits on the Billboard Hot 100, where a record nine consecutive No. 1s by non-US artists held the top spot for a record as well. 36 consecutive weeks.
On Alternative Songs, however, three straight leaders by non-Americans isn’t even close to the record. The brand? A whopping 14 in a row from November 11, 1989 to July 7, 1990 (for a grand total of 35 consecutive weeks):
Artist, Title, Weeks at #1, Country
Ian McCulloch, “Proud to Fall” (four weeks) (England)
Kate Bush, “Love and Anger” (three) (England)
The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Blues from a Gun” (three) (Scotland)
The Psychedelic Furs, “House” (three) (England)
Peter Murphy, “Cuts You Up” (seven) (England)
Sinead O’Connor, “Nothing Compares 2 U” (one) (Ireland)
Midnight Oil, “Blue Sky Mine” (one) (Australia)
The Church, “Metropolis” (a) (Australia)
Depeche Mode, “Enjoy the Silence (three) (England)
Sinead O’Connor, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” (one) (Ireland)
Midnight Oil, “Forgotten Years” (one) (Australia)
Sundays, “Here is where the story ends” (un) (England)
Depeche Mode, “Policy of Truth” (one) (England)
World Party, “Way Down Now” (five) (England)
The United States reclaimed the top spot on the charts when Los Angeles-based Concrete Blonde led with “Joey” for four weeks beginning July 14, 1990.
In 2016, “Switch” simultaneously reached new highs of No. 6 on Rock Airplay (7.5 million weekly viewership, up 14%, according to Nielsen Music) and No. 22 on Hot Rock Songs. It also re-enters Mainstream Rock Songs at its peak at No. 37.
Signed to RCA Records, Nothing But Thieves released their self-titled debut album on February 5 in the United States. The ensemble reached No. 11 on Alternative Albums and No. 15 on Top Rock Albums.