24 Classic Pop Songs That Peaked At Number Two

Madonna, Springsteen, Prince, Lady Gaga, Dr. Dre and more were robbed. Seriously, some of this is just galling.

1. Foreigner, “Waiting For A Girl Like You” [1981]

This song was parked at Number Two for 10 weeks in 1981. It was the longest-running Number Two that never hit Number One in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 until…

2. Missy Elliott, “Work It” [2002]

…Missy Elliott came along and matched Foreigner’s record in 2002.

3. Madonna, “Material Girl” [1985]

Madonna has a few great singles that peaked at Number Two - “Express Yourself,” “Frozen,” “Cherish” - but this one missing the top spot is sort of galling, especially when you consider that it was blocked by REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”

4. Bob Dylan, “Like A Rolling Stone” [1965]

This is arguably Bob Dylan’s most famous song, and one of the most influential pieces of music of the 20th Century. It could have been Dylan’s only Number One single were it not for the Beatles, who zipped ahead with “Help!”

5. Gnarls Barkley, “Crazy” [2006]

This sat at Number Two for seven weeks in a row in 2006, just behind Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous.”

6. Elvis Presley, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” [1962]

This is one of Elvis’ most famous and commercially successful songs, but it never actually hit the top of the charts.

7. Prince, “Purple Rain” [1984]

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Prince’s signature ballad peaked in second place in 1984. Don’t feel too bad for him, though - “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy,” from the same album, both hit Number One that year.

8. Bruce Springsteen, “Dancing In The Dark” [1984]

Springsteen’s highest charting U.S. hit was stuck at Number Two for four weeks in 1984 and was eclipsed on the chart by Duran Duran’s “The Reflex” and Prince’s “When Doves Cry.”

9. Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg, “Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang” [1993]

One of the most influential rap hits of all time peaked at Number Two on the Hot 100 in 1993. Infuriatingly, it was kept from the top spot by Snow’s cheesy faux-dancehall smash “Informer.”

10. Shania Twain, “You’re Still The One” [1998]

This was Twain’s first huge crossover pop hit, but songs by K-Ci & JoJo and Next kept it stuck in second place.

11. Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance” [2009]

This may go down as Gaga’s most iconic hit, but Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind” kept it from landing at Number One.

12. The Ronettes, “Be My Baby” [1963]

The intro beat to this song is one of the most recognizable and widely imitated sounds in all of pop music, and yet…it never got above Number Two in 1963.

13. 10cc, “I’m Not In Love” [1975]

This song, hailed by critics and musicians as a masterpiece of pop production, was a U.K. Number One and was expected to equal that success in the U.S., but ended up sticking at Number Two for three weeks in 1975. In that time, Van McCoy, The Eagles and Bee Gees all hit Number One for one week each.

14. Janet Jackson, “Rhythm Nation” [1989]

The album Rhythm Nation 1814 yielded four Number Ones, but the title track topped out in second place. It did hit Number One on the dance and R&B charts, though.

15. Frankie Valli, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” [1967]

Valli’s biggest solo hit never budged above Number Two in 1967, but it has become a pop standard and has appeared on roughly nine million soundtracks.

16. Carly Simon, “Nobody Does It Better” [1977]

Simon’s James Bond theme was hugely popular, but fell just shy of hitting the top spot like her most famous hit, “You’re So Vain.”

17. Gerry Rafferty, “Baker Street” [1978]

Andy Gibb’s “Shadow Dancing” kept this at Number Two in 1978, but if there was a chart for Songs With Smooth Sax Hooks That Get Stuck In Your Head, it’d be Number One forever and ever.

18. En Vogue “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” [1992]

Kriss Kross’ bubblegum rap hit “Jump,” which was Number One for eight weeks in a row, stopped this from topping the Hot 100 in 1992.

19. Everything But The Girl, “Missing” [1995]

This single had a long life on the charts but could never get all the way to the top, peaking at Number Two in 1995.

20. Nena, “99 Luftballons” [1984]

Van Halen’s “Jump” kept it from reaching Number One, but it’s still the biggest German language hit in U.S. history by a vast margin.

21. Elton John, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” [1973]

One of Elton’s best and most iconic songs lingered at Number Two for three weeks in 1973, just behind The Carpenters’ “Top of the World” and Charlie Rich’s “The Most Beautiful Girl.”

22. The Beatles, “Twist And Shout” [1964]

This song peaked at Number Two in 1964 only because The Beatles – always overachievers – had another song, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” at Number One.

23. Jerry Lee Lewis, “Great Balls Of Fire” [1957]

Lewis’ signature song peaked in second place in 1957. It did go Number One in the United Kingdom, though, so that’s some consolation.

24. Ellie Goulding, “Lights” [2012]

Goulding’s sleeper hit was stalled out behind Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” and just when it looked like it was going to displace it, Flo Rida’s “Whistle” got the top spot instead.

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