Sometimes songs just don't do as well as our hit equation would expect. We've looked through the data and found the following songs which we predicted would do really well (Top 5) but in fact failed to make an impact on the chart (35-40).
These songs could be considered flops, but we like to think of them as 'Hidden Gems' which could be potentially be re-released or covered by another artist, since they clearly have potential! Interestingly, many of the songs featured here are already covers or have been covered by other artists since the original release.
Hot Chip - Boy From School (#40 in 2006)
This track was originally titled 'And I Was A Boy From School' and keeps this title on Hot Chip's 2006 album 'The Warning'. When released as a single, EMI requested that the single be shortened as above. Perhaps this was an attempt to boost familiarity, airplay and sales, although it doesn't seem that this was successful, since the single peaked at number 40.
The features which our equation feels should have put this near the top of the charts are the danceability, variation in beat, and loudness, all of which were suitable for hits of this time. Given these features and significant airplay, it's difficult to understand why the peak position was just number 40. One thing's for certain, it's definitely a Hidden Gem!
Sheryl Crow - The First Cut is the Deepest (#16 in 2003)
Here's an example of a cover appearing as a Hidden Gem, proving that these songs have timeless features and the potential to chart highly throughout the ages. 'First Cut...' was originally written by Cat Stevens in 1967, and along with Crow's version, P. P. Arnold (1967), Keith Hampshire (1973), Rod Stewart (1977) also scored hits with it.
The features which we predicted would make this song a success are the low energy, its high loudness value, and clean harmonic sound.
Stephen Stills - Love the One You're With (#37 in 1971)
Steven Stills found fame as a guitarist when he worked with Buffalo Springfield and the 'supergroup' David Crosby, Graham Nash and later Neil Young. The single 'Love The One You're With' was his first release as a solo artist. Although the song charted well in the US, in the UK it failed to make such an impact.
The reason that our algorithm thought it would actually do well was because of the harmonic simplicity, loudness, and energy levels which were popular during the early 1970's. The song was clearly quite 'hot' as it was covered many times the following year, notably by The Isley Brothers and motown interpretations by Aretha Franklin and The Supremes.
Stevie Wonder - Blowin' in the Wind (#36 in 1966)
Stevie Wonder's version of Dylan's classic never made it high in the charts. The reason our system predicted it to do well was because of the harmonic simplicity, and the tempo being somewhere between 70-89bpm.
Perhaps one explanation why this song didn't do so well was that it was released just 3 years after the original, and the record-buying public weren't ready for a new version yet. Perhaps if he had waited until the song became less familiar in people's minds it might have charted better!