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MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, PART 47: WORKING FOR THE WEEKND

What were you doing 47 weeks ago? It’s hard to remember. I barely recall what I did this morning.

But let’s try. Cast your mind back to December 2019. Thanksgiving leftovers had just recently been polished off. Christmas was coming. Plans were in the works for holiday vacations or time off with family. You went to the movies, to the grocery store, to a ballgame or just about your day. Maybe you parked in a parking lot or took a subway on the way to the office. You saw scores of people—officemates, close friends, acquaintances, familiar waitstaff and wave upon wave of strangers.

From my office above Hollywood Boulevard in the winter of ’19, I saw countless visitors snapping photos of the stars on the Walk of Fame, posing with wannabe actors dressed up as Spiderman, Marilyn Monroe or Darth Vader or grabbing a pic in front of Grauman’s Chinese. Tour groups from China and Sweden marched by the tchotchke stores in lockstep. All of this was the normal background music of my day.

This was the time, those 47 (mostly) strange weeks ago, that “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd debuted on the Mediabase Top 40 chart. It’s a great song, a one-listen hit. Max Martin’s production is stellar; The Weeknd performs his ass off. Gary Spangler and his Republic promo team did a typically excellent job of launching it.

We all assumed it would be a big record, but nobody predicted that it would dominate 2020 the way it has.

It soared to #1. It slipped back. It returned to #1. In its 47th week on the chart, it remains comfortably ensconced in the Top 10. It won’t go away; it has absolutely no burn factor and is still getting bigger.

It seems the song has been on every bumper of every sporting event this year. The instrumental lilt just fits in with everything in life. Good days—and so many bad ones—have been punctuated by “Blinding Lights.” The Weeknd performed it to open the VMAs in a sensational, inspired set piece from The Edge at Hudson Yards. He will sing it at the Super Bowl halftime show. We should be hearing it on a loop during the Grammy telecast. It will be in elevators. Its melody will chime when you open a greeting card. It will be sung in Vegas lounges and karaoke bars and cantinas in space long after we’re all gone from this business we love.

47 weeks on the chart. Whoa.

I hope to hear it while standing in a big, healthy crowd someday.

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