Releasing a No. 1 hit song is a dream for all musicians working in popular music. And while tens of thousands of songs have charted on the Billboard Hot 100 — the music industry’s standard chart for popular singles — since its inception in 1958, fewer than 700 unique artists have managed to reach the coveted No. 1 position.
To send multiple singles to the top of the charts is even more rare. In fact, only 28 artists have managed to have more than four singles reach the No. 1 spot in the history of the Hot 100. These performers generally have careers that span decades — producing high quality music that appeals to music fans again and again throughout the years — making them the opposite of a one-hit wonder.
24/7 Tempo has identified the artists with the most No. 1 hits based on Billboard Hot 100 chart rankings going back to 1958. All of the artists who appear on the list are recognizable, as are their extensive catalogs of chart-topping music. They also span the entirety of popular music genres since the late 1950s — from the culture-shaking rock and roll of Elvis Presley to the modern pop music of Rihanna.
To identify the artists with the most No. 1 hits, 24/7 Tempo reviewed Billboard Hot 100 rankings going back to August 1958. In cases where artists had the same number of No. 1 hits, the artist who spent more overall weeks in the No. 1 position was given the higher rank. In some cases, ties still remained. We attributed collaborative tracks to the primary artist or the artist that released the album on which the track appears. Certain songs were attributed to artists because the songs appeared on their Spotify pages. For instance, songs released under Prince and the Revolution and Prince and the N.P.G. were credited under Prince. The date accompanying each artist’s “first chart topper” is the date that song reached the top of the chart.