When it comes to anointing the top artists in any musical genre in the United States, all eyes look toward Billboard magazine. Based on their sales and airplay charts, they are able to determine what songs and artists have the biggest impact each year. When it came to Adult Top 40 and Adult Contemporary songs, there were more similarities than differences on the 2010 year-end charts.
It should surprise no one that the number one song at Adult Top 40 radio in 2010 was Train’s ubiquitous “Hey, Soul Sister.” In fact, Train grabbed two of the top five songs on the year-end chart, with “If It’s Love” holding down the number four spot. Based on these two entries, along with the quick rise of another single called “Marry Me,” Train earned the title of Top Adult Top 40 Artist of 2010.
Rounding out the top five Adult Top 40 singles in 2010 were “Breakeven” from the Script, Lady Antebellum’s genre-crossing “Need You Now,” and Daughtry's “Life After You.” In fact, if you look at the full top 10, American Idols held down three of those spots with Daughtry at #5, Kris Allen’s “Live Like We’re Dying” at #9, and “Whataya Want From Me” by Adam Lambert at #10. While many declared American Idol’s influence on the pop charts dead in 2010, Adult Top 40 stations kept their artists alive and well.
On the Adult Contemporary year-end chart, the top song of 2010 was the title track from Lady Antebellum’s second album Need You Now, which at the end of the year was still in the Top 10 after 48 weeks on the Adult Contemporary Chart. This is not an unusual feat, given the radio format’s preference for long-lasting hits. If you look a little further down the 2010 year-end Adult Contemporary chart, there are several songs that held over from the 2009 list, including “Come On Get Higher” by Matt Nathanson, Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb,” and Colbie Caillat’s “Fallin’ For You, “ which placed higher in 2010 at #6.
Not only did Lady Antebellum pick up the top Adult Contemporary song of the year, but they were also named Top Adult Contemporary Artist for 2010. The rest of the top five songs on the Adult Contemporary list are Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister,” “Haven’t Met You Yet” from Michael Buble, Uncle Kracker’s “Smile,” and “Already Gone” by Kelly Clarkson.