WELLESLEY – Every year, pop chart toppers aim to become known as the "song of the summer" will be becomes a dominant narrative in the music industry. From Donna Summer's "Bad Girls" in 1979, to Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca" in 1999, to Pharrell's "Happy" in 2014: the song of the summer is an earworm that makes for a great jam on the longest days of the year. It is a song you will end up hearing more than any other and, in the best of cases, it is one you look forward to when it comes on the radio.
In 2019, there were many contenders for the "song of the summer." The Jonas Brothers' "Sucker" comeback song seemed like a strong contender, but it instead transcended into the zeitgeist. On the other hand, "Old Town Road," a song released in December of 2018 by independent artist Lil Nas X, utilized social media and a plethora of remixes to wrestle its way into the cultural consciousness by the time summer 2019 rolled around. Along the way, it made music history.
For 19 consecutive weeks, "Old Town Road" and its primary Billy Ray Cyrus remix was number one on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, which broke the record previously shared by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men for "One Sweet Day" in 1995 and 2017's "Despacito" from Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, and Justin Bieber.
So, yes, "Old Town Road" is a phenomenon. It is such a phenomenon, in fact, that a real Old Town Road in Wellesley, Massachusetts has had its street sign stolen by local music-loving thieves three times since the Lil Nas X country-rap hybrid song exploded. The Wellesley town officials are taking it in stride, but they also report that it is inconvenient to continue replacing that street sign. And yes, this is probably the worst crime Wellesley has seen all summer.
For now, Wellesley town officials have decided to leave the sign name empty until the song's popularity begins to wane. Of course, it is a record-breaking tune so, you know, that could be a while.
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