Special Report

Artists With the Most No. 1 Hits

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For a band or solo artist, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts can be a dream come true. It means that you’ve truly made it, and it’s an accomplishment that’s rightfully worth celebrating. But for some artists, one hit single is just a drop in the bucket. We’ve rounded up the 40 artists who have had the most No. 1 hit singles. (Here are the most popular hit singles of the 21st century.)

Surprisingly, some of the most legendary musical acts in history have never made No. 1 on the Billboard chart at all. Believe it or not, Bruce Springsteen, James Brown, The Backstreet Boys, Don Henley, Sheryl Crow, and Bob Dylan are among those who have never had the honor. (These, though, are the artists with the most hit albums.) 

On the other side of the coin, some truly obscure acts have been graced with the coveted top spot. These include such one-hit wonders as Mark Dinning (“Teen Angel,” 1960), The Stories (“Brother Louie,” 1973), and Right Said Fred (the timeless classic “I’m Too Sexy,” 1992).   

To determine the artists with the most No. 1 hits, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on the Billboard Hot 100 going back to August 1958, when the chart debuted. In cases where artists had the same number of No. 1 hits, the one who spent more overall weeks in the No. 1 position was given the higher rank. (Note that some of Elvis Presley’s career predates the first Hot 100 chart, meaning that such hits as “Hound Dog”, “Don’t Be Cruel,” and “Jailhouse Rock” are not included in Presley’s tally.)

Click here to see the artists with the most No. 1 hits

The top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 is more than just a listing of who’s selling the most records at any given time. It’s a reflection of the era, a glimpse into where popular culture stands, and a time capsule of sorts into the history of popular music. To have five or more songs hit No. 1 means that an artist has truly staked his or her claim in music and pop culture history, as a scroll through this countdown will definitely make clear. 

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40. Eagles
> No. 1 hits: 5
> Total weeks at No. 1: 5
> First chart topper: Best Of My Love (Mar. 1, 1975)
> Last chart topper: Heartache Tonight (Nov. 10, 1979)

There’s no denying that Eagles’ combination of smooth Southern California harmonies and guitar-driven power rock was a winning formula for some absolutely massive hits. Anchored by Glenn Frey and Don Henley (with an assist from the towering Joe Walsh on guitar), the Eagles had a string of five chart-toppers, starting with the soulful “Best of My Love” in 1975 and ending with country rock anthem “Heartache Tonight” in 1979.


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39. KC & The Sunshine Band
> No. 1 hits: 5
> Total weeks at No. 1: 6
> First chart topper: Get Down Tonight (Aug. 30, 1975)
> Last chart topper: Please Don’t Go (Jan. 5, 1980)

Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight! Helmed by lead vocalist Harry Wayne Casey, KC and the Sunshine Band (which derived its name from a combination of Casey’s last name and the fact that they hailed from Florida) ruled the charts during the disco era, with five No. 1 hits, including party staples “That’s The Way (I Like It),” “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty,” and, of course, “Get Down Tonight.”

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38. Britney Spears
> No. 1 hits: 5
> Total weeks at No. 1: 6
> First chart topper: …Baby One More Time (Jan. 30, 1999)
> Last chart topper: Hold It Against Me (Jan. 29, 2011)

Newly #freed Princess of Pop Britney Spears exploded onto the scene with the massive hit “…Baby One More Time,” which rocketed to the top of the charts in early 1999 and ushered in a teen pop revival that lasted well into the ’00s. Her most recent chart topper came in 2011 with “Hold It Against Me,” but we have a feeling there are lots more to come.

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37. Cher
> No. 1 hits: 5
> Total weeks at No. 1: 12
> First chart topper: Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves (Nov. 6, 1971)
> Last chart topper: Believe (Apr. 3, 1999)

Born Cherilyn Sarkisian in 1946, Cher has had a career for the ages. As one-half of the musical duo Sonny & Cher (with then-husband Sonny Bono), “I Got You Babe” hit No. 1 on the charts back in 1965. It wasn’t until 1971, however, that she achieved a solo No. 1 hit with “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves.” Three additional No. 1 hits soon followed, including “Dark Lady,” making her the female artist with the most number-one singles in United States history at the time. Her final No. 1 hit, “Believe,” came in 1999.


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36. Prince
> No. 1 hits: 5
> Total weeks at No. 1: 12
> First chart topper: When Doves Cry (July 7, 1984)
> Last chart topper: Cream (Nov. 16, 1991)

Prince was extraordinarily prolific, with 39 albums released during his lifetime and countless unreleased songs still in his vault at the time of his untimely death at age 57 in 2016. The virtuoso musician known for his eclectic array of musical styles and flamboyant persona only had five No. 1 hits, however, starting with “When Doves Cry” in 1984 and ending with “Cream” in 1991.

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35. Lady Gaga
> No. 1 hits: 5
> Total weeks at No. 1: 12
> First chart topper: Just Dance (Jan. 17, 2009)
> Last chart topper: Rain On Me (June 6, 2020)

Stephanie Germanotta began her career as a struggling singer-songwriter in NYC, but it wasn’t until she changed her stage name to Lady Gaga and released the monster album “The Fame” in 2008 that she exploded onto the scene, courtesy of chart-toppers “Just Dance” and “Poker Face.” “Born This Way” and “Shallow” also reached No. 1, and her most recent chart topper, “Rain On Me,” was released in 2020.


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34. Justin Timberlake
> No. 1 hits: 5
> Total weeks at No. 1: 14
> First chart topper: SexyBack (Sep. 9, 2006)
> Last chart topper: Can’t Stop The Feeling! (May 28, 2016)

After starting out on “The All New Mickey Mouse Club” and as a standout member of boy band NSYNC, Justin Timberlake was a huge celebrity even before launching his solo career. “Cry Me a River” and “Rock Your Body” were huge hits when released in 2002, but it wasn’t until 2006 when he charted his first No. 1, “SexyBack.” Four more No. 1s followed, most recently 2016’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling!”

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33. The Four Seasons
> No. 1 hits: 5
> Total weeks at No. 1: 18
> First chart topper: Sherry (Sep. 15, 1962)
> Last chart topper: December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) (Mar. 27, 1976)

Led by the soaring falsetto of lead singer Frankie Valli and a stream of catchy tunes, The Four Seasons were one of the biggest acts of the 1960s. They first rose to stardom with 1962’s “Sherry,” quickly followed by “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” and “Rag Doll.” Their final No. 1 hit came in 1975, with “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night),” which features then-drummer Gerry Polci on lead vocals.

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32. Olivia Newton-John
> No. 1 hits: 5
> Total weeks at No. 1: 18
> First chart topper: I Honestly Love You (Oct. 5, 1974)
> Last chart topper: Physical (Jan. 23, 1982)

Nowadays, Olivia Newton-John may be best remembered for starring as Sandy in “Grease,” but the Australian songstress was a certified pop star in the ’70s and early ’80s, with a string of No. 1 hits starting with 1974’s “I Honestly Love You.” Her best-known hit, 1982’s “Physical,” was also her last to scale the top of the charts.


31. Ludacris
> No. 1 hits: 5
> Total weeks at No. 1: 18
> First chart topper: Stand Up (Dec. 6, 2003)
> Last chart topper: Money Maker (Nov. 4, 2006)

Illinois-born rapper and “Fast & Furious” actor Chris “Ludacris” Bridges started rapping at age nine, and his major label debut, 2000’s Back For the First Time, put him on the map with hits including “Southern Hospitality.” His first chart-topper, “Stand Up,” came three years later; his final, “Money Maker,” came three years after that.

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30. Lionel Richie
> No. 1 hits: 5
> Total weeks at No. 1: 21
> First chart topper: Truly (Nov. 27, 1982)
> Last chart topper: Say You, Say Me (Jan. 11, 1986)

A legend of funk, soul, pop, and R&B, Lionel Richie began his career as co-lead singer of funk icons The Commodores; it was with them that he recorded two of his most venerable ballads, “Easy” and “Three Times a Lady.” The hits continued once he struck out on his own: in 1982 he had his first solo No. 1 hit, “Truly.” The No. 1s kept on rolling with 1983’s Caribbean-flavored “All Night Long,” and his final No. 1 came with 1986’s “Say You, Say Me” from the film “White Nights.”


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29. Paul McCartney
> No. 1 hits: 5
> Total weeks at No. 1: 21
> First chart topper: Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (Aug. 2, 1971)
> Last chart topper: Say Say Say (Jan. 14, 1984)

By the time Paul McCartney was 28 years old, he’d already had one of the most successful songwriting careers in history with The Beatles. But after the group’s 1970 breakup he wasn’t ready to hang up his Hofner bass just yet, not by a long shot. He formed Wings the following year, and had a slew of hits with them as well (more on that later), including “Band on the Run,” which was credited to Paul McCartney and Wings, and is included in his count here as well as for Wings below. Strictly solo or duet, McCartney had four No. 1s: “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” “Say Say Say” (with Michael Jackson), Ebony and Ivory (with Stevie Wonder), and FourFiveSeconds (with Rihanna and Kanye West).

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28. Beyoncé
> No. 1 hits: 5
> Total weeks at No. 1: 36
> First chart topper: Crazy In Love (July 12, 2003)
> Last chart topper: Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) (Jan. 10, 2009)

Let’s face it: it’s hard not to be crazy in love with Queen Bey. After a successful run with R&B girl group Destiny’s Child that gave us hits including “Say My Name,” Houston-born Beyoncé Knowles struck out on her own and became an international icon with five No. 1 hits to her name, beginning with 2003’s “Crazy in Love” and ending, at least for now, with 2009’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).”

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27. Boyz II Men
> No. 1 hits: 5
> Total weeks at No. 1: 50
> First chart topper: End Of The Road (From “Boomerang”) (Aug. 15, 1992)
> Last chart topper: 4 Seasons Of Loneliness (Oct. 4, 1997)

Boyz II Men’s smooth R&B harmonies propelled them to the top of the charts five times in the 1990s, beginning with 1992’s tear-jerking “End Of The Road,” which stayed at No. 1 for a then-record 13 weeks. Believe it or not, they went on to break that record two additional times, with “I’ll Make Love to You” and “One Sweet Day” with Mariah Carey (at 14 and 16 weeks, respectively). Even though the group is still going strong, their most recent No. 1 hit came in 1997, with “4 Seasons Of Loneliness.”


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26. Daryl Hall & John Oates
> No. 1 hits: 6
> Total weeks at No. 1: 14
> First chart topper: Rich Girl (Mar. 26, 1977)
> Last chart topper: Out Of Touch (Dec. 15, 1984)

The duo of Daryl Hall & John Oates were an absolute powerhouse in the ’70s and ’80s, cranking out hit after hit, with 29 of their 33 singles released between 1974 and 1991 hitting Billboard’s Hot 100. Six of those songs went on to reach No. 1, demonstrating their seamless progression from blue-eyed soul to full-on ’80s pop: “Rich Girl” (1977), “Kiss on My List” (1980), “Private Eyes” and “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” (both 1981), “Maneater” (1982), and “Out of Touch” (1984).

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25. Paula Abdul
> No. 1 hits: 6
> Total weeks at No. 1: 15
> First chart topper: Straight Up (Feb. 11, 1989)
> Last chart topper: The Promise Of A New Day (Sep. 14, 1991)

When star choreographer Paula Abdul released her debut album, “Forever Your Girl,” in 1988, it was a ridiculously massive hit, selling seven million U.S. copies and breaking the record for most No. 1 singles from a debut (four); “Straight Up” was the first to top the charts, and remains her signature hit. 1991’s “Spellbound” added two more chart-toppers to the collection (“Rush Rush” and “The Promise of a New Day”), for a grand total of six.


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24. Wings
> No. 1 hits: 6
> Total weeks at No. 1: 16
> First chart topper: Listen To What The Man Said (July 19, 1975)
> Last chart topper: With A Little Luck (May 27, 1978)

With Paul McCartney at the helm, Wings had a slew of hits in the 1970s, including the classic “Band on the Run.” Even though McCartney’s second band never achieved the renown of The Fab Four, Wings gave us plenty of upbeat ditties that went on to become hits, including the No. 1 “Listen To What The Man Said,” “Silly Love Songs,” and “With A Little Luck.”

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23. The Weeknd
> No. 1 hits: 6
> Total weeks at No. 1: 17
> First chart topper: Can’t Feel My Face (Aug. 22, 2015)
> Last chart topper: Save Your Tears (May 15, 2021)

Canadian singer Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye has sold over 75 million records in his career and shows no sign of slowing down soon. His second studio album, “Beauty Behind the Madness,” spawned his first two massive hits, “Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills,” and introduced millions to his soaring falsetto. His most recent hit, “Save Your Tears,” topped the charts in May 2021, bringing his grand total (for now) to six.

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22. Ariana Grande
> No. 1 hits: 6
> Total weeks at No. 1: 20
> First chart topper: Thank U, Next (Nov. 17, 2018)
> Last chart topper: Positions (Nov. 7, 2020)

You can be forgiven for forgetting that Ariana Grande began her career a decade ago as a Nickelodeon star with red-dyed hair, now that she’s officially a pop queen with six No. 1 hits to her name. While “The Way” from her 2013 debut album, “Yours Truly,” reached the top 10, it wasn’t until 2018 that “Thank U, Next” became her first No. 1 hit. An astonishing five more chart-toppers followed in the next two years, with “Positions” being her most recent.


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21. Justin Bieber
> No. 1 hits: 6
> Total weeks at No. 1: 24
> First chart topper: What Do You Mean? (Sep. 19, 2015)
> Last chart topper: Peaches (Apr. 3, 2021)

Like Grande, The Biebs also has six No. 1 hits in the books, and his 2010 debut studio album, “My World 2.0”, made him the youngest solo male act to top the chart in 47 years, at age 16. With such a long career and so many chart-topping singles (starting with “What Do You Mean?” in 2015 and most recently “Peaches” in 2021), it’s hard to believe that he’s not even 30.

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20. Elton John
> No. 1 hits: 6
> Total weeks at No. 1: 27
> First chart topper: Crocodile Rock (Feb. 3, 1973)
> Last chart topper: Candle In The Wind 1997/Something About The Way You Look Tonight (Jan. 10, 1998)

One of the most legendary singers and composers of his generation, Sir Elton has sold more than 300 million records and has had more than 50 songs hit the Billboard Hot 100 — and his tribute to Princess Diana, “Candle in the Wind 1997,” remains the best-selling chart single of all time. He’s had surprisingly few No. 1 hits, however, and most of his chart toppers (which include “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” and “Island Girl”) haven’t exactly gone down as timeless classics.


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19. Phil Collins
> No. 1 hits: 7
> Total weeks at No. 1: 15
> First chart topper: Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) (Apr. 21, 1984)
> Last chart topper: Another Day In Paradise (Jan. 13, 1990)

It’s easy to forget just how massive a star Phil Collins was in the ’80s, and how many ride-or-die superfans he had, and still has. If you include his releases with Genesis, he had more U.S. top 40 singles than any other artist during the decade. His slew of No. 1 hits, including “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now),” “Sussudio,” and “Another Day In Paradise” demonstrate his substantial range, from deeply personal ballads to super-peppy pop.

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18. George Michael
> No. 1 hits: 7
> Total weeks at No. 1: 17
> First chart topper: Faith (Dec. 12, 1987)
> Last chart topper: Praying For Time (Oct. 13, 1990)

Born Georgios Panayiotou, ’80s powerhouse George Michael first burst onto the scene as part of the pop duo Wham!, but he really came into his own after beginning his solo career with the smash single “Careless Whisper.” His final solo chart topper came in 1990 with “Praying For Time,” and his 1991 duet with Eltion John — “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” — also reached No. 1 and is an absolute tour de force.

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17. Taylor Swift
> No. 1 hits: 7
> Total weeks at No. 1: 20
> First chart topper: We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Sep. 1, 2012)
> Last chart topper: Willow (Dec. 26, 2020)

One of the most successful singer-songwriters of the past 20 years, Taylor Swift started out as a country singer and has since evolved into a pop superstar with record sales of more than 200 million to her name. If you need further proof of her evolution, look no further than her first chart-topper, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and compare it to her most recent No. 1, 2020’s “Willow.”


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16. Elvis Presley
> No. 1 hits: 7
> Total weeks at No. 1: 22
> First chart topper: A Big Hunk O’ Love (Aug. 10, 1959)
> Last chart topper: Suspicious Minds (Nov. 1, 1969)

As mentioned earlier, many of Elvis Presley’s earliest hits, including “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock,” were released before Billboard started up the Hot 100 in 1958. His career was actually on the decline when he charted his first official No. 1 hit, “A Big Hunk O’ Love,” in 1959, which makes it even more impressive that he managed to chart six more within the next 10 years, finishing strong with 1969’s “Suspicious Minds.”

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15. The Rolling Stones
> No. 1 hits: 8
> Total weeks at No. 1: 17
> First chart topper: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (July 10, 1965)
> Last chart topper: Miss You (Aug. 5, 1978)

Ladies and gentlemen… The Rolling Stones! From their origins as a blues-influenced garage band to their current status as the Elder Statesmen of Rock, The Stones have had a career unlike any other. They’ve had eight No. 1 hits over their nearly 60-year reign, starting with what’s still their most enduring smash, 1965’s “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” A ride through their catalog of chart-toppers, which includes “Brown Sugar,” “Paint It, Black,” and the disco-infused “Miss You,” reveals true musical chameleons who’ve changed with the times but have never left their rockin’ roots far behind.


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14. Bruno Mars
> No. 1 hits: 8
> Total weeks at No. 1: 34
> First chart topper: Just The Way You Are (Oct. 2, 2010)
> Last chart topper: That’s What I Like (May 13, 2017)

Bruno Mars ( Peter Hernandez) is one of this era’s finest showmen, an insanely good singer and dancer, and a master of musical styles from rock to R&B to disco. He’s been rewarded with eight No. 1 hits for his efforts, starting with “Just the Way You Are” and “Grenade” off his 2010 debut album, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans.” Other chart-toppers include “Locked Out Of Heaven” and one of the aughts’ biggest boppers, “Uptown Funk,” which spent a whopping 14 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100.

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13. Drake
> No. 1 hits: 8
> Total weeks at No. 1: 51
> First chart topper: One Dance (May 21, 2016)
> Last chart topper: What’s Next (Mar. 20, 2021)

Toronto-born rapper Aubrey Drake Graham first gained some recognition acting on the TV show “Degrassi,” but today he’s one of the world’s most successful artists, with 170 million records sold and counting. Believe it or not, in 2018 he was reportedly responsible for a full 5% of all of Toronto’s tourism income. Even though he burst onto the scene with his debut studio album “Thank Me Later” in 2010, he didn’t have a No. 1 single until 2016’s “One Dance.” He’s had seven more chart-toppers since then, most recently 2021’s “What’s Next.”

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12. Bee Gees
> No. 1 hits: 9
> Total weeks at No. 1: 27
> First chart topper: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart (Aug. 7, 1971)
> Last chart topper: Love You Inside Out (June 9, 1979)

Even though most people only know Bee Gees as the white-suit-sporting disco gods who made the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack one of the best-selling albums in history, brothers Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb actually began making music together back in the late ’50s, and they had their first minor hit, “Wine and Women,” in 1965. It wasn’t until releasing their ninth album, in 1971, however, that they got their first chart-topper, the lovely “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart.” They moved to Miami in 1975, started experimenting with dance music with “Jive Talkin'” (which also reached No. 1), and the rest is gold lamé-jacketed history.


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11. Katy Perry
> No. 1 hits: 9
> Total weeks at No. 1: 33
> First chart topper: I Kissed A Girl (July 5, 2008)
> Last chart topper: Dark Horse (Mar. 1, 2014)

One of the biggest influences on the 2010’s power-pop revival, Katy Perry exploded onto the scene in 2008 with her controversial hit “I Kissed a Girl.” Her third album, 2010’s “Teenage Dream,” spawned an astonishing five U.S. number one hits — “California Gurls”, “Teenage Dream”, “Firework”, “E.T.”, and “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” — the first solo female album to ever do so. Her most recent No. 1, “Dark Horse,” topped the charts in 2014, bring her grand total of No. 1s to nine.

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10. Usher
> No. 1 hits: 9
> Total weeks at No. 1: 47
> First chart topper: Nice & Slow (Feb. 14, 1998)
> Last chart topper: OMG (June 12, 2010)

Usher Raymond IV joined his first singing competition at age 12, and released his first album four years later, in 1994. His second album, “My Way,” earned him his first No. 1 single, “Nice & Slow,” and the hits just kept on rollin’ from there, with a grand total of nine chart-toppers to his name, including four consecutive No. 1s on his 2004 smash hit, “Confessions,” including “Yeah!” and “Burn”.


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9. Stevie Wonder
> No. 1 hits: 10
> Total weeks at No. 1: 25
> First chart topper: Fingertips – Pt 2 (Aug. 10, 1963)
> Last chart topper: That’s What Friends Are For (Jan. 18, 1986)

Born Stevland Hardaway Morris in 1950, Stevie Wonder was a child prodigy who signed with his first record label in 1961 and got his first No. 1 hit, “Fingertips – Pt 2,” two years later at age 13. He didn’t top the charts again until 9 years later, with the supremely funky “Superstition,” kicking off his “classic period” that saw the release of huge hits including the chart-topping “You Are the Sunshine of My Life.” Wonder has won 25 Grammy Awards, the most by any solo artist.

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8. Janet Jackson
> No. 1 hits: 10
> Total weeks at No. 1: 33
> First chart topper: When I Think Of You (Oct. 11, 1986)
> Last chart topper: All for You (May 26, 2001)

From the mid-’80s straight through to the early 2000s, the youngest child of the Jackson family had a string of massive hits, starting with her first No. 1, 1986’s “When I Think of You.” Additional No. 1s included “That’s the Way Love Goes” and “Again,” and she was named the second most successful recording artist of the ’90s by Billboard, after Mariah Carey. Her final chart-topper, “All For You,” was released in 2001.

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7. Whitney Houston
> No. 1 hits: 11
> Total weeks at No. 1: 31
> First chart topper: Saving All My Love For You (Oct. 26, 1985)
> Last chart topper: Exhale (Shoop Shoop) (From “Waiting To Exhale”) (Nov. 25, 1995)

The legend, the icon, the one, the only, Whitney Houston remains the only artist to have seven consecutive No. 1 hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100, beginning with 1985’s “Saving All My Love for You” and concluding with “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” in 1988. In-between? Classics including “How Will I Know,” “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” and “Greatest Love of All.” Her reign continued well into the ’90s, as she racked up additional No. 1s with towering hits like “I Will Always Love You.” All told? Eleven No. 1s, the seventh-most on record.


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6. The Supremes
> No. 1 hits: 12
> Total weeks at No. 1: 22
> First chart topper: Where Did Our Love Go (Aug. 22, 1964)
> Last chart topper: The Happening (May 13, 1967)

The most successful American vocal group of all time, The Supremes were rivaled only by The Beatles in worldwide popularity during their reign as Motown Records’ top act during the 1960s. Comprised of Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, and lead singer Diana Ross during their peak years, the trio released classic after classic, including the No. 1 hit singles “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby Love,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” and “Stop! In The Name of Love.” Their final No. 1, “The Happening,” topped the charts in 1967.

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5. Madonna
> No. 1 hits: 12
> Total weeks at No. 1: 32
> First chart topper: Like A Virgin (Dec. 22, 1984)
> Last chart topper: Music (Oct. 7, 2000)

The undisputed Queen of Pop, the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time, and the most successful female recording artist of all time, with more than 300 million records sold, Madonna first rose to fame in the early ’80s and hasn’t shied away from the spotlight since. Even though her first, self-titled, album gave us dance-pop classics like “Borderline” and “Holiday,” it wasn’t until her second album, “Like a Virgin,” that her star really exploded, and its title track became her first No. 1 hit. Her career only grew from there, with 11 additional chart-toppers including “Vogue,” “Like a Prayer,” and her most recent No. 1, 2000’s “Music,” demonstrating her ability to reinvent herself and push boundaries.


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4. Michael Jackson
> No. 1 hits: 13
> Total weeks at No. 1: 37
> First chart topper: Ben (Oct. 14, 1972)
> Last chart topper: You Are Not Alone (Sep. 2, 1995)

Following up the Queen of Pop… the King of Pop, who had 13 No. 1 hits, the most of any male solo artist. One of the most towering pop culture figures of all time and the most-awarded music artist in history, Michael Jackson began his career as the lead singer of the Jackson 5, which had three chart-toppers of their own (“I Want You Back” made him the youngest artist to record a No. 1 single, at age 12). As a solo artist, his first No. 1 was 1972’s “Ben” from the movie of the same name. His 1979 album “Off the Wall” made him a solo star in his own right. His “Bad” was the first album to produce five No. 1 singles, and his astonishing string of hits culminated with his final No. 1 in 1995, “You Are Not Alone.”

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3. Rihanna
> No. 1 hits: 14
> Total weeks at No. 1: 60
> First chart topper: SOS (May 13, 2006)
> Last chart topper: Work (Apr. 30, 2016)

Barbados-born Robyn Rihanna Fenty: singer, fashion designer, entrepreneur, the wealthiest female musician on earth, and singer of an incredible 14 chart-topping singles. Her first single to hit No. 1 was “SOS,” off of her second album, “A Girl Like Me,” but it was her third album, “Good Girl Gone Bad,” and its hit single, “Umbrella,” that catapulted her to stardom. Her star hasn’t dimmed in the slightest since then, and her most recent No. 1, “Work,” topped the charts in 2016.

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2. Mariah Carey
> No. 1 hits: 19
> Total weeks at No. 1: 84
> First chart topper: Vision Of Love (Aug. 4, 1990)
> Last chart topper: All I Want For Christmas Is You (Jan. 2, 2021)

Mariah Carey came out of the gate strong: Every single one of her first five singles reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100! From the release of her eponymous first album in 1990 until 2001, she had a No. 1 hit every single year (the only artist to do so), and she had the most hits out of anyone during the 90s, spending a grand total of 60 weeks at the top of the charts. Her 1995 collaboration with Boyz II Men, “One Sweet Day,” spent 16 weeks at No. 1, the longest of any song released during the decade. From “Hero” to “Fantasy” to “Always Be My Baby” to “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” we simply can’t imagine the ’90s (or a Holiday season) without Mariah.


Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

1. The Beatles
> No. 1 hits: 20
> Total weeks at No. 1: 59
> First chart topper: I Want To Hold Your Hand (Feb. 1, 1964)
> Last chart topper: The Long And Winding Road/For You Blue (June 20, 1970)

Here we are, folks, the top of the top of the pops. And did you expect anyone else? The four lads from Liverpool known as The Beatles had an astonishing 20 No. 1 hit singles during their six-year tenure, and it’s fair to say that they flat-out changed the world during that time. Tracking their chart-toppers reveals an almost supernatural transformation from bubble gum pop (“I Want to Hold Your Hand”) to flower-power psychedelia (“All You Need is Love”) to world-weary maturity (“Let It Be”). Along the way, they did more than anyone else to shape the pop culture of the ’60s with timeless classics like “Help!”, “Yesterday,” and “Hey Jude.” John, Paul, George, and Ringo all went on to have successful solo careers after their tumultuous 1970 breakup, but for those six magical years there was nothing else quite like The Beatles, and there most likely never will be again.

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