For a third week, Rosa Linn’s “Snap,” which came in 20th for Armenia at Eurovision 2022, has managed to hang on at Number 97 on the United States’s Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart.
And as an indirect beneficiary of Netflix’s Stranger Things show, Rosa Linn is joined on the chart by a Hot 100 debutante in Swedish cult band Ghost, whose “Mary on a Cross” has two songwriters familiar to Melodifestivalen and Swedish pop fans in general.
Three weeks ago Armenian singer-songwriter Rosa Linn made history by being only the 12th artist to have landed a Eurovision entry on to the Billboard Hot 100, the main American music singles chart.
Landing at Number 97, then leaving the chart one week later, Rosa Linn’s “Snap” re-entered the chart at Number 93, and returned to Number 97 on this week’s Billboard Hot 100.
“Snap” is the first Eurovision single to hit the Billboard Hot 100 since Duncan Laurence’s Eurovision 2019 winner for the Netherlands, “Arcade,” reached Number 30 during the summer of 2021. The last Eurovision entry prior to “Arcade” to land on the chart was Gina G’s “Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit,” which reached Number 12 in 1997 after making 8th place for the United Kingdom at Eurovision 1996.
To read about the other eleven Eurovision entries who have made the Billboard Hot 100, check out our list here.
“Snap” is also the lowest ever placed Eurovision entry to get into the Billboard Hot 100. “Snap” came in 20th on the night of the Grand Final in Turin, Italy, after placing 5th in Semi-Final 1.
However “Snap” found life after Eurovision 2022 had ended, with the song gaining the attention of Americans on TikTok.
Also gaining attention on TikTok and entering the Billboard Hot 100 this week is Ghost’s 2019 single “Mary on a Cross” from the “Seven Inches of Satanic Panic” two track EP. The three year old track landed at Number 90 on this week’s chart.
Even though Ghost is now an established arena metal act with a Grammy win and several nominations under their belt, “Mary on a Cross” is their first track to enter the Billboard Hot 100. “Mary on a Cross” written by Ghost frontman Tobias Forge and the songwriting duo of Salem Al Fakir and Vincent Pontare.
Though the EP was released three years ago, “Mary on a Cross” appeared on a Stranger Things TikTok in July and caught on as a song to use. “Mary on a Cross” has been on Spotify’s Viral Top 50 chart before, like “Snap,” making enough plays to land on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Mary on a Cross” is the third Stranger Things beneficiary to land on the Billboard Hot 100, though the first that was not actually featured on the official soundtrack. Kate Bush’s “Running up that Hill” reached Number 3 this summer, almost 37 years after its release. Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” is the second Stranger Things track to have entered the Billboard Hot 100 decades after its initial release, and managed to peak at Number 35 this summer. “Master of Puppets” is the title track of what is considered one of the greatest metal albums of all time, and has an illustrious history pre-Stranger Things that warrants an article to itself.
Ghost, formed in 2006 in Linkoping, Sweden, is essentially vocalist and guitarist Tobias Forge in papal regalia and make-up taking on the persona of a satanic church pope with a different name and lore for each album (Papa Emeritus I for Ghost’s debut “Opus Eponymous”, Papa Emeritus II for “Infestissumam,” Papa Emeritus III for “Meliora,” Cardinal Copia for “Prequelle,” and Papa Emeritus IV for “Impera”).
The rest of the band over the years has been made up of a rotating cast of “nameless ghouls,” male and female instrumentalists who wear all black and masks.
Though Ghost initially puzzled the metal community with their retro sounds and themes at a time when metalcore and the Myspace scene bands were dominating, a Swedish group harkening back to the sounds of Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult took a while to take off. But take off they did, with their third album, “Meliora,” in particular launching Ghost from a niche group into a full blown arena act.
On the back of singles like “Cirice” and “Square Hammer,” Ghost found themselves opening for the likes of Metallica and then headlining arena tours on their own. “Cirice” also won Ghost the 2016 Grammy for Best Metal Performance.
However, with the band’s fourth album, “Prequelle,” Forge wanted to expand the musical horizons of Ghost and felt that his metal knowledge, while expansive, was limiting to Ghost’s sound and hired two pop songwriters to co-write songs for the new album.
The two songwriters he collaborated with: Salem Al Fakir and Vincent Pontare.
Salem Al Fakir came in second at Melodifestivalen 2010 with “Keep on Walking.” Al Fakir won the juries, but it was televote winner Anna Bergendahl who managed to pip him to victory with “This is my Life.”
“This is my Life” needs no introduction to Swedish and Melodifestivalen fans as this is the only Swedish entry to have not qualified for the Eurovision Grand Final, coming in 11th at Eurovision 2010’s second semi-final.
Prior to Melodifestivalen 2010, Al Fakir had a couple popular solo albums released in Sweden, winning four Swedish Grammy Awards in 2008.
After Melodifestivalen 2010, Al Fakir put himself out there more as a songwriter. However, this was to great success, as he had massive Billboard Hot 100 charting hits co-writing Avicii’s “Hey Brother” and Seinabo Sey’s “Younger” in 2013.
Al Fakir has credits with the likes of Madonna, Galantis, Axwell, Lady Gaga and Wyclef Jean. And a lot of those credits are with Vincent Pontare.
As a songwriting and production duo, Al Fakir and Pontare are known as Vargas & Lagola.
Vincent Pontare is the son of Swedish folk-schlager legend Roger Pontare.
Pontare came in 13th at Eurovision 1994 for Sweden in a duet with Marie Bergman (“Stjarnorna”), but achieved cult status in Eurovision circles for his 7th placed folk-pop entry at Eurovision 2000, “Where Spirits Call my Name.”
Al Fakir and Pontare wrote several songs on Ghost’s fourth album “Prequelle,” with the second single “Dance Macabre” landing a Grammy nomination and landing at Number 1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart.
Both songs on the “Seven Inches of Satanic Panic” EP were co-written with Al Fakir and Pontare, and for Ghost’s latest album “Impera,” Forge continued with pop collaborations to evolve their sound. Five songs on the album were co-written with Al Fakir and Pontare.
Does it matter to #YOU that Rosa Linn has cracked the Billboard Hot 100? Do #YOU follow the careers of Melodifestivalen artists and songwriters and note their achievements such as “Mary on a Cross”? Let us know in comments, on social media, or in our forum.