List of Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number ones of the 1980s
Alternative Songs is a record chart that ranks the most-played songs on American modern rock radio stations. Published by the music industry magazine Billboard, it was created in the midst of the growing popularity of alternative music on rock radio in the late 1980s. As less-established alternative acts were receiving minimal exposure on album-oriented rock (AOR) radio stations, their labels turned to modern rock stations for airplay. Billboard introduced the chart in response to demand within the music industry for consistent information on the commercial performance of alternative music. During the decade, it was known as the Modern Rock Tracks chart and tabulated based on weighted reports from twenty-nine radio stations: eighteen established standard-bearer commercial stations and eleven non-commercial college stations.
The Modern Rock Tracks chart debuted in the September 10, 1988 issue of Billboard, with the inaugural number-one single being "Peek-a-Boo" by English alternative rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees. Upon its debut, several publications noted the presence of more independent artists on Modern Rock Tracks compared to its companion chart, Album Rock Tracks. By the end of the decade, twenty-two singles had topped the chart. Alternative rock band R.E.M. and new wave group The B-52's each scored two number-one singles on the Modern Rock Tracks chart during the 1980s, the most for any artist within the decade. The R.E.M. single "Orange Crush" spent the longest period atop the chart during the decade, staying at number one for eight consecutive weeks from November 1988 to January 1989. The final number one of the 1980s was "Blues from a Gun" by Scottish alternative rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain.
- Billboard year-end number-one single –
- – Return of a single to number one
- Whitburn 1996, p. 8.
- Milward, John (November 24, 1988). "Billboard Has A New Top 10 List: 'Modern Rock' Is Meant To Chart Up-and-coming Acts". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Knight Ridder. Archived from the original on June 13, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- "'Billboard' Answers Call For Alternative Music Data". Los Angeles Daily News. MediaNews Group. September 19, 1988. Archived from the original on June 13, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- Cateforis 2011, p. 65.
- Shipley, Al (September 10, 2008). "Celebrating 20 Years Of Modern-Rock Countdowns, From Siouxsie To Staind". Idolator. Buzz Media. Archived from the original on June 13, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- Whitburn 1996, p. 248.
- "The B-52s – Awards". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on August 17, 2013. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
- "R.E.M. – Awards". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on August 17, 2013. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
- "1988: The Year In Music & Video (Year-End Charts)". Billboard. BPI Communications. 100 (52). December 24, 1988.
- "1989: The Year In Music (Year-End Charts)". Billboard. BPI Communications. 101 (51). December 23, 1989.