50 Top Radio Songs of All Time

March 9, 2018 by Evan Comen

Source: ktsimage / Getty Images
Billboard began publishing its Radio Songs chart in 1984, measuring the most popular songs in the United States based solely on radio airplay. The chart is a departure from the more comprehensive Billboard Hot 100, which ranks songs based on sales, streaming activity, and radio airplay.

A song typically hits the airwaves before it is made available for sale or online streaming. Listeners often hear new songs on the radio for the first time, and a song’s popularity in that initial radio push can affect how successful the song is in the long run. Many of the top radio songs of all time have gone on to sell millions of records and be certified multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

To determine the top radio songs of all time, 24/7 Wall St. ranked songs using data from Billboard’s Radio Songs chart. Songs were ranked based on a song’s peak position, weeks spent at peak position, and total weeks spent on the chart from November 1990 to March 2018.

Click here to see the full list of the top radio songs.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Source: David Becker / Getty Images

50. “End Of The Road” by Boyz II Men
> Entered charts: July 11, 1992
> Weeks on charts: 30
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Boomerang” (soundtrack)

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Source: Paul Kane / Getty Images

49. “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran
> Entered charts: December 27, 2014
> Weeks on charts: 48
> Peak position: 2
> Album: “x”

Source: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

48. “I’ll Make Love To You” by Boyz II Men
> Entered charts: August 13, 1994
> Weeks on charts: 33
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “II”

Source: Roger Kisby / Getty Images

47. “Let Me Love You” by Mario
> Entered charts: November 6, 2004
> Weeks on charts: 34
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Turning Point”

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Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

46. “Stressed Out” by twenty one pilots
> Entered charts: December 19, 2015
> Weeks on charts: 42
> Peak position: 2
> Album: “Blurryface”

Source: Richard Haughton / ebtg.com

45. “Missing” by Everything But The Girl
> Entered charts: November 4, 1995
> Weeks on charts: 43
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Amplified Heart”

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Source: Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

44. “Cheap Thrills” by Sia feat. Sean Paul
> Entered charts: June 11, 2016
> Weeks on charts: 38
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “This Is Acting”

Source: Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

43. “Lovefool” by The Cardigans
> Entered charts: December 14, 1996
> Weeks on charts: 48
> Peak position: 2
> Album: “First Band On The Moon”

Source: Ben Gabbe / Getty Images

42. “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down
> Entered charts: May 13, 2000
> Weeks on charts: 48
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “The Better Life”

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Source: Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

41. “Apologize” by Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
> Entered charts: October 6, 2007
> Weeks on charts: 40
> Peak position: 3
> Album: “Dreaming Out Loud”

Source: Tommaso Boddi / Getty Images

40. “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey
> Entered charts: February 24, 1996
> Weeks on charts: 38
> Peak position: 2
> Album: “Daydream”

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Source: Christopher Polk / Getty Images

39. “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
> Entered charts: August 13, 2011
> Weeks on charts: 44
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Hands All Over”

Source: Eugene Gologursky / Getty Images

38. “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men
> Entered charts: October 21, 1995
> Weeks on charts: 33
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Daydream”

Source: Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

37. “All Of Me” by John Legend
> Entered charts: February 8, 2014
> Weeks on charts: 44
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Love In The Future”

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Source: Jeff Schear / Getty Images

36. “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum
> Entered charts: October 17, 2009
> Weeks on charts: 53
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Need You Now”

Source: Michael Buckner / Getty Images

35. “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye feat. Kimbra
> Entered charts: March 17, 2012
> Weeks on charts: 49
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Making Mirrors”

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Source: Jason Kempin / Getty Images

34. “I Don’t Want To Wait” by Paula Cole
> Entered charts: August 16, 1997
> Weeks on charts: 60
> Peak position: 5
> Album: “This Fire”

Source: Stefan Zaklin / Getty Images

33. “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo
> Entered charts: December 27, 1997
> Weeks on charts: 47
> Peak position: 3
> Album: “Love Always”

Source: Mark Davis / Getty Images

32. “I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas
> Entered charts: June 27, 2009
> Weeks on charts: 55
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “The E.N.D.”

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Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

31. “Walkin’ On The Sun” by Smash Mouth
> Entered charts: August 9, 1997
> Weeks on charts: 58
> Peak position: 2
> Album: “Fush Yu Mang”

Source: Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

30. “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith
> Entered charts: June 7, 2014
> Weeks on charts: 48
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “In The Lonely Hour”

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Source: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

29. “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion
> Entered charts: March 16, 1996
> Weeks on charts: 32
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Falling Into You”

Source: Theo Wargo / Getty Images for iHeart

28. “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber
> Entered charts: January 2, 2016
> Weeks on charts: 37
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Purpose”

Source: Christopher Polk / Getty Images for Clear Channel

27. “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic
> Entered charts: October 26, 2013
> Weeks on charts: 52
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Native”

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Source: Jason Merritt / Getty Images

26. “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock
> Entered charts: May 28, 2011
> Weeks on charts: 61
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Sorry For Party Rocking”

Source: Mark Davis / Getty Images for BET

25. “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke feat. T.I. + Pharrell
> Entered charts: June 8, 2013
> Weeks on charts: 42
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Blurred Lines”

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Source: Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images

24. “We Found Love” by Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris
> Entered charts: October 15, 2011
> Weeks on charts: 40
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Talk That Talk”

Source: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

23. “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback
> Entered charts: October 6, 2001
> Weeks on charts: 45
> Peak position: 2
> Album: “Silver Side Up”

Source: Theo Wargo / Getty Images for Firefly Music Festival

22. “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind
> Entered charts: April 19, 1997
> Weeks on charts: 54
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Third Eye Blind”

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Source: Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

21. “Just The Way You Are” by Bruno Mars
> Entered charts: August 21, 2010
> Weeks on charts: 46
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Doo-Wops & Hooligans”

Source: Courtesy of Arista Records

20. “Another Night” by Real McCoy
> Entered charts: September 3, 1994
> Weeks on charts: 44
> Peak position: 2
> Album: “Another Night”

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Source: Christopher Polk / Getty Images

19. “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake
> Entered charts: May 21, 2016
> Weeks on charts: 53
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Trolls: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

18. “Fly” by Sugar Ray
> Entered charts: July 19, 1997
> Weeks on charts: 56
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Floored”

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

17. “Yeah!” by Usher feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris
> Entered charts: January 10, 2004
> Weeks on charts: 45
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Confessions”

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Source: Codorado / Wikimedia Commons

16. “The Sign” by Ace Of Base
> Entered charts: January 1, 1994
> Weeks on charts: 41
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “The Sign”

Source: slgckgc / Wikimedia Commons

15. “I Love You Always Forever” by Donna Lewis
> Entered charts: July 6, 1996
> Weeks on charts: 39
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Now In A Minute”

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Source: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

14. “Smooth” by Santana feat. Rob Thomas
> Entered charts: August 28, 1999
> Weeks on charts: 54
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Supernatural”

Source: Manny Carabel / Getty Images

13. “No One” by Alicia Keys
> Entered charts: September 22, 2007
> Weeks on charts: 39
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “As I Am”

Source: Patrick Riviere / Getty Images

12. “Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden
> Entered charts: November 29, 1997
> Weeks on charts: 53
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Savage Garden”

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Source: Tim P. Whitby / Getty Images

11. “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia
> Entered charts: February 21, 1998
> Weeks on charts: 43
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Left Of The Middle”

Source: Bryan Bedder / Getty Images for CBGB

10. “One Headlight” by The Wallflowers
> Entered charts: February 1, 1997
> Weeks on charts: 66
> Peak position: 2
> Album: “Bringing Down The House”

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Source: Janette Pellegrini / Getty Images

9. “3AM” by Matchbox 20
> Entered charts: November 15, 1997
> Weeks on charts: 55
> Peak position: 3
> Album: “Yourself Or Someone Like You”

Source: Tommaso Boddi / Getty Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation

8. “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey
> Entered charts: April 23, 2005
> Weeks on charts: 42
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “The Emancipation Of Mimi”

Source: Joe Scarnici / Getty Images for Fortune

7. “You Were Meant For Me” by Jewel
> Entered charts: December 14, 1996
> Weeks on charts: 60
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Pieces Of You”

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Source: Christopher Polk / Getty Images for NARAS

6. “That’s What I Like” by Bruno Mars
> Entered charts: February 18, 2017
> Weeks on charts: 50
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “24K Magic”

Source: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

5. “Closer” by The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey
> Entered charts: August 27, 2016
> Weeks on charts: 51
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Collage”

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Source: Larry Busacca / Getty Images

4. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
> Entered charts: December 13, 2014
> Weeks on charts: 54
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Uptown Special”

Source: Timothy Hiatt / Getty Images for SiriusXM

3. “Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls
> Entered charts: April 25, 1998
> Weeks on charts: 46
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “City of Angels: Music From The Motion Picture”

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images for Rebel Waltz

2. “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt
> Entered charts: October 26, 1996
> Weeks on charts: 62
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “Tragic Kingdom”

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Source: Paul Kane / Getty Images

1. “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran
> Entered charts: January 21, 2017
> Weeks on charts: 60
> Peak position: 1
> Album: “÷”

Detailed Findings & Methodology

A number of songs have had more success on the radio than in other listening formats, such as physical and digital sales and streaming. Despite ranking 10th and 11th on this list, “One Headlight” by The Wallflowers and “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia each sold fewer than 500,000 copies as singles in the United States and were not certified gold. The albums containing the songs, however, each went multi-platinum. Other examples of highly ranked radio songs that did not sell 500,000 copies as singles — the minimum threshold of RIAA sales measurement — include “I Don’t Want to Wait” by Paula Cole.

In some cases, songs that were extremely successful on the radio were never released as commercial singles and were therefore ineligible for the Billboard Hot 100 at the time. Songs like “Lovefool” by The Cardigans, “3AM” by Matchbox 20, and “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt, for example, rank as the 43th, ninth, and second most successful radio songs of all time, respectively, yet were never made available for sale as singles. Had they been commercially available, those songs likely would have had similar success on the Hot 100.

Similarly, the best-selling singles don’t necessarily do well on the radio. “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem featuring Rihanna, which is tied with “Baby” by Justin Bieber featuring Ludacris as the best-selling U.S. single of all time with 12 million units sold in the United States, ranks as the 233rd biggest radio hit of all time. “Baby” ranks outside of the top 2,500, spending just 10 weeks on the radio charts and peaking at 24th.

While some songs found success on radio that was unparalleled in streaming and downloads, the artists with the most success on the radio are largely those who dominate the current Hot 100 charts. Ranking by song score — which rewards the most points for a week at No. 1, and the fewest points for a week spent at No. 50 — the most successful radio artists are Rihanna, Drake, Mariah Carey, Usher, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Bruno Mars, Ludacris, Maroon 5, and Taylor Swift.

While Rihanna also holds the record for most weeks spent on the Radio Songs chart with 901 weeks, she is tied with Kenny Chesney as the artist with the fourth most songs to make the radio charts with 46. Rihanna and Chesney are surpassed by Chris Brown, Drake, and Lil Wayne, who each have between 50 and 60 songs that made the radio charts.

To determine the top radio songs of all time, 24/7 Wall St. ranked songs using data from Billboard’s Radio Songs chart. We constructed an index consisting of a song’s peak position, weeks spent at peak position, total weeks spent on the chart, and an aggregate song score that rewards the most points for a week spent at No. 1 and the least points for a week spent at No. 50 with data from November 1990 to March 2018. Weeks spent at peak position and total weeks spent on the chart were each given a half-weighting in the index. Data on sales came from the Recording Industry Association of America.