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Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia

Slate Podcasts

What makes a song a smash? Talent? Luck? Timing? All that—and more. Chris Molanphy, pop-chart analyst and author of Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series, tells tales from a half-century of chart history. Through storytelling, trivia and song snippets, Chris dissects how that song you love—or hate—dominated the airwaves, made its way to the top of the charts and shaped your memories forever. Want more Hit Parade? Join Slate Plus to unlock monthly early-access episodes. Plus, you’ll get ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit to get access wherever you listen. read less

Our Editor's Take

Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia tackles a broad variety of musical questions. It's also good at finding unique answers. Music is a polarizing art form; some love certain songs while others hate them. With so much difference in opinion, what leads to one song controlling the airwaves and another fading into obscurity? This podcast takes care to answer interesting musical questions—and more.

Host Chris Molanphy brings his pop-chart analyst skills to the podcast medium in this show. He thoughtfully captures and examines key moments of musical history. And with an entertaining approach, he unwinds and demystifies the secrets of chart-topping songs. He takes listeners on an informational and fun journey through various eras of musical expression.

Molanphy masterfully tells stories. But more than that, he takes the role of musical navigator, guiding listeners through a half-century of popular music charts. Why? To uncover the secrets behind the songs that get stuck in our heads and on the charts. Along the way, listeners will get a peek at the theories behind what makes a song a hit or a flop. They'll also learn some of the secrets behind the success of the world's most popular songs.

Episodes of Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia range from 30 minutes to over an hour. Most episodes are two parts, but aren't in a specific order otherwise. New episodes drop every two weeks. Listeners can start with the episodes that they're interested in. Full of fun, compelling musical trivia, stories, and entertainment, this podcast is a must-follow for any music-obsessed podcast listener. It is an engaging listen for music lovers, history buffs, and those fascinated by what makes the music industry tick.

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