Featured artists weren’t always a staple of the pop charts.

How Featured Artists Became a Staple of the Pop Charts

How Featured Artists Became a Staple of the Pop Charts

Half a century of pop-chart history.
July 27 2018 12:56 PM

Hit Parade: The Feat. Don’t Fail Me Now Edition

How did guest rappers change the way supporting performers are credited across popular music?

Cardi B and Bruno Mars perform onstage during the 60th Annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 28 in New York City.

Theo Wargo/WireImage

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Guest performers have existed since, literally, the beginning of the pop charts—the first Billboard No. 1 hit had a featured vocal by Frank Sinatra. Throughout the rock era, some very starry guests have helped out with hits by everyone from the Beatles to Carly Simon to Chaka Khan. But for a long time, those guests received no credit at all. Today, their names are all over the pop charts. On this episode, we trace the evolution of the guest performer, from Mick Jagger to Bobby Brown to Cardi B.