"Heat Waves" has been simmering on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 59 long weeks, but the mercury finally bubbled over for Glass Animals, who hit No. 1 this week and set a record for the longest climb to the top of the rankings, Billboard reports. The song about "late nights in the middle of June" by the indie group from Oxford, England, first debuted in 2020 and showed up on the Hot 100 chart during the week of Jan. 16, 2021. It soon started making inroads both on the radio and via streaming services, as well as on TikTok.
Billboard puts it in further context: "Heat Waves" is only the 23rd song ever, out of 30,000 or so archived, to spend 59 weeks on the chart at all. Before Glass Animals took the title for longest ascent, Mariah Carey held that record, with her "All I Want for Christmas Is You" taking 35 weeks to scratch its way to the top. "Heat Waves" did fall off the charts at one point for two weeks, but Billboard notes that, of the eight songs in its record books that have taken the longest to reach No. 1, all but two have seen a temporary hiatus.
The BBC notes that what may have initially stymied the group is that, while they're much respected within the music industry at large, they weren't so big that radio stations and streaming services automatically worked the song into their playlist rotations. A transition from alternative to pop stations, as well as progress via streaming, helped push the song higher. Lead vocalist Dave Bayley, who formed the group in 2010 with childhood friends Joe Seaward, Ed Irwin-Singer, and Drew MacFarlane, seems pleased with their new honor. "I absolutely can't believe it," he says. "For it to do this means the absolute world." Watch the music video in full here. (Read more Billboard charts stories.)