The Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (previously known as Bubbling Under the Hot 100) is a chart published weekly by Billboard magazine in the United States. The chart lists the top singles that have yet to chart on the main Billboard Hot 100. Chart rankings are based on radio airplay and sales. In its initial years, the chart listed 15 positions, but expanded to as many as 36 during the 1960s, particularly during years when over 1,000 singles made the Billboard Hot 100 chart. From 1974 to 1985, the chart consisted of 10 positions; since 1992, the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart has listed 25 positions.
The Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart was first introduced in the June 1, 1959 issue of Billboard, under the name "Bubbling Under the Hot 100". Containing a listing of 15 singles, the chart was described as "the new listing that predicts which new records will become chart climbers." Its first number-one single was "A Prayer and a Juke Box" by Little Anthony and the Imperials. It would continue to be published in issues of Billboard until August 24, 1985, after which it was discontinued. Prior to its discontinuation, the chart had not been issued in four issues; three from 1974 and one in 1978. However, it returned as a feature in the December 5, 1992 issue of Billboard and continues to the present day.
From June 1959 through August 1985, Billboard compiled the chart based on playlists reported by radio station and retail sales outlets surveys. In 1992, Billboard employed updated data capture technology in compiling the chart, using point-of-sale retail information provided by Nielsen SoundScan, input from radio station airplay monitoring provided by Broadcast Data Systems and playlists from small-market systems.
The chart's first issue mentions that a rank position indicates "relative potential to earn an early listing on the Hot 100" and records were ranked starting with #1. From August 28, 1961 to August 24, 1985, the chart positions were numbered starting with number 101. Songs that have already appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 are generally not included on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.
Over the years, the chart would undergo several changes and alterations. In the 1960s, the chart included as many as 35 slots; on two rare occasions in 1963 and 1968, the chart contained 36 slots. By the 1980s, the chart contained only 10 slots.
On the first issue of its 1992 revival, the chart was renamed to "Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles" from its previous name, "Bubbling Under the Hot 100". The same issue increased the total number of slots on the chart to 25 and the chart numbering began with #1.
Several reference books on the history of the Billboard "Bubbling Under" charts have been published by chart statistician Joel Whitburn's company Record Research. The latest book to be published by the company was 2005's Bubbling Under the Billboard Hot 100: 1959-2004 (ISBN 978-0-89820-162-8). Whitburn's book Top Pop Singles, 12th Edition (ISBN 978-0-89820-180-2), covers all Billboard Hot 100 and Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart entries from 1955 to 2008.
Released in 1982, "Nasty Girl" by Vanity 6 spent a record seven weeks at number 101, but never cracked the Billboard Hot 100.
American soul singer Ray Charles holds the record for having the most "bubblers" ever under a consistent artist credit, charting 14 of them from 1963 to 1993.Don Everly also appears as an artist on 14 bubblers, 13 as one-half of The Everly Brothers, and one as a solo artist. Similarly, Joel Whitburn also gives credit for 14 bubblers to George Clinton's Parliament/Funkadelic aggregation, which issued records under a variety of band names or solo identities. On the bubbling under charts, the loose-knit group appeared three times as Parliament, once as The Parliaments, three times as Funkadelic, once as The Brides of Funkenstein, twice as Bootsy's Rubber Band, once under the name of William "Bootsy" Collins, and three times under George Clinton's name. It could be argued that at least some of these groups are actually separate (though related) artists, however Whitburn lists them as one act under multiple aliases.
The Robbs hold the record for the act with the most appearances on the Bubbling Under chart without having any of their records cross over into the Hot 100. Between 1966 and 1971, six of the group's singles appeared on the bubbling under charts. Their best showing was 1966's "Race with the Wind", which peaked at #103.
During the 1960s, there were as many as thirty-five slots in the Bubbling Under chart (with two exceptions; see below). Forty-three different songs grabbed the very bottom rung by peaking at #135, including tunes from Donovan ("Summer Day Reflection Song"), Doris Day ("Send Me No Flowers"), The Applejacks ("Tell Me When", a Top 10 UK hit) and two from Sammy Davis, Jr. ("Bee-Bom" and "If I Ruled The World"). Shirley Ellis also hit #135 with "Ever See A Diver Kiss His Wife While The Bubbles Bounce About Above The Water?", the longest-titled song ever to "bubble under". ("Coal Man", by Sir Mack Rice, is the only song to spend two weeks at #135, and peak there, in 1969.)
The chart contained 36 positions on two occasions. The two records that appeared at #136 were "The Bounce" by the Olympics (April 6, 1963; the song eventually hit #40) and "Turn Around, Look at Me" by the Vogues (May 25, 1968; a huge hit that peaked at #7).
One of the most mysterious records ever to appear in any Billboard chart was "Ready 'n' Steady", listed as recorded by an artist named "D.A.", which spent three weeks on the Bubbling Under chart in June 1979. In a 1995 interview, chart statistician Joel Whitburn stated that "Ready 'n' Steady" was "the only record we've never been able to find in the history of the pop charts." It was released on the Rascal label, which Whitburn postulated was run "out of a guy's home in Detroit". In the 4th edition of Whitburn's book Bubbling Under the Hot 100, published in 2005, the entry for "D.A." was amended with a note stating "the existence of this record and artist is in question." The most recent edition of Whitburn's book Billboard's Top Pop Singles 1955-2010, published in 2011, includes both Top 100 and Bubbling Under singles—but D.A. is not listed.