Special Report

Artists With the Most No. 1 Hits

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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.”

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

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).

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

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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