Special Report

Famous Musicians Who Never Topped the Billboard Hot 100

Jamie Squire / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Music fans often assume that musicians they like or have heard of have many No. 1 songs, but the reality is that many world-renowned artists — from both past and present — go their whole careers without landing the top spot on charts a single time.

It’s hard to believe that Bruce Springsteen, one of the most popular musicians in the world who has sold more than 65 million albums in the U.S. alone, never actually had a No. 1 Same is true for Bob Dylan, the Backstreet Boys, and One Direction. 

To compile a list of surprising artists who have never had a No. 1 hit on The Billboard Hot 100, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on dozens of famous artists and bands’ peak position on the chart. The Hot 100, which measures the top 100 pop songs in the U.S. based on sales, radio play, and online streaming, is the music industry standard record chart in the country for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine.

Considering the name of the list, it seems that reaching the top spot on a Billboard chart is harder than it seems. Who would believe that James Brown, for example, had more than 90 songs chart on The Hot 100, but neither climbed to the coveted spot atop the chart. 

The list of legendary musicians who never had a No. 1 single is all the more surprising compared to the success they had by other measures, including selling millions of albums, selling out stadiums around the world touring, and winning Grammys. 

Of the 36 musical acts on the list, about a third are still active in the industry. These are the biggest one-hit wonders who are still making music.

Click here to see famous musicians who never topped the Billboard Hot 100

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

AC/DC
> Top 10 Hits: 0
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 7
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Moneytalks — #23
> Released in: 1991

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Source: Ethan Miller / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Babyface
> Top 10 Hits: 5
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 13
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: When Can I See You — #4
> Released in: 1994

Source: Tim Roney / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Backstreet Boys
> Top 10 Hits: 6
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 18
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Quit Playing Games (With My Heart) — #2
> Released in: 1997

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

Bob Dylan
> Top 10 Hits: 4
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 23
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Like A Rolling Stone and Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 — #2
> Released in: 1965 and 1966

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Source: Fin Costello / Redferns via Getty Images

Bruce Springsteen
> Top 10 Hits: 12
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 26
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Dancing In The Dark — #2
> Released in: 1984

Source: Don Arnold / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Chaka Khan
> Top 10 Hits: 4
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 25
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: I Feel For You and Tell Me Something Good — #3
> Released in: 1984 and 1974

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Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Creedence Clearwater Revival
> Top 10 Hits: 9
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 16
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Proud Mary, Bad Moon Rising, Lookin’ Out My Back Door/Long As I Can, Green River, and Travelin’ Band/Who’ll Stop The Rain — #2
> Released in: 1969 and 1970

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

David Guetta
> Top 10 Hits: 6
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 21
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Without You and Turn Me On — #4
> Released in: 2011

Source: Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

Demi Lovato
> Top 10 Hits: 4
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 35
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Sorry Not Sorry — #6
> Released in: 2017

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Don Henley
> Top 10 Hits: 5
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 14
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Dirty Laundry — #3
> Released in: 1983

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

En Vogue
> Top 10 Hits: 6
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 14
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Don’t Let Go (Love), My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It), and Hold On — #2
> Released in: 1997, 1992, and 1990

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Source: Martyn Goodacre / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Garth Brooks
> Top 10 Hits: 1
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 9
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Lost In You — #5
> Released in: 1999

Source: Michael Caulfield Archive / WireImage via Getty Images

George Strait
> Top 10 Hits: 0
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 37
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: She’ll Leave You With A Smile — #23
> Released in: 2002

Source: Rich Fury / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Green Day
> Top 10 Hits: 2
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 9
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Boulevard Of Broken Dreams — #2
> Released in: 2004

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Source: Theo Wargo / Getty Images

Imagine Dragons
> Top 10 Hits: 4
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 18
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Radioactive — #3
> Released in: 2012

Source: Al Bello / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

James Brown
> Top 10 Hits: N/A
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 90+
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: I Got You — #3
> Released in: 1986

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Source: Evening Standard / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Jimi Hendrix
> Top 10 Hits: 0
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 7
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: All Along The Watchtower — #20
> Released in: 1968

Source: Jason Kempin / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Jody Watley
> Top 10 Hits: 7
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 14
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Looking For A New Love and Real Love — #2
> Released in: 1987 and 1989

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Johnny Cash
> Top 10 Hits: 1
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 42
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: A Boy Named Sue — #2
> Released in: 1969

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Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

Journey
> Top 10 Hits: 6
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 25
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Open Arms — #2
> Released in: 1982

Source: Paul Archuleta / Stringer / Getty Images North America

Kenny G
> Top 10 Hits: 2
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 12
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Songbird — #4
> Released in: 1987

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Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

Led Zeppelin
> Top 10 Hits: 1
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 10
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Whole Lotta Love — #4
> Released in: 1969

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Linkin Park
> Top 10 Hits: 3
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 23
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: In The End — #2
> Released in: 2002

Source: Echoes / Redferns via Getty Images

Martha & The Vandellas
> Top 10 Hits: 6
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 24
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Dancing In The Street — #2
> Released in: 1964

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Source: Rich Polk / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

MC Hammer
> Top 10 Hits: 5
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 10
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Pray — #2
> Released in: 1990

Source: Fin Costello / Redferns via Getty Images

Metallica
> Top 10 Hits: 1
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 16
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Until It Sleeps — #10
> Released in: 1996

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Source: Bennett Raglin / Getty Images

Missy Elliott
> Top 10 Hits: 9
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 33
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: 1, 2 Step and Work It — #2
> Released in: 2004 and 2002

Source: Frederick M. Brown / Stringer / Getty Images Entertainment

New Edition
> Top 10 Hits: 4
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 16
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Hit Me Off — #3
> Released in: 1996

Source: Photo by Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic / Getty Images

Nirvana
> Top 10 Hits: 1
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 4
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Smells Like Teen Spirit — #6
> Released in: 1992

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Source: Kevin Kane / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

One Direction
> Top 10 Hits: 6
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 29
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Best Song Ever — #2
> Released in: 2013

Source: Rick Diamond / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Pat Benatar
> Top 10 Hits: 4
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 17
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Love Is A Battlefield and We Belong — #5
> Released in: 1983 and 1984

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Source: Paul Kane / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

R.E.M.
> Top 10 Hits: 4
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 22
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Losing My Religion — #4
> Released in: 1991

Source: Dave Hogan / Getty Images

Shania Twain
> Top 10 Hits: 3
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 18
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: You’re Still The One — #2
> Released in:

Source: Mike Coppola / Getty Images

Sheryl Crow
> Top 10 Hits: 4
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 19
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: All I Wanna Do — #2
> Released in: 1994

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Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

The Pointer Sisters
> Top 10 Hits: 7
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 26
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: Slow Hand and Fire — #2
> Released in: 1981 and 1979

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

The Who
> Top 10 Hits: 1
> Total songs on The Hot 100: 26
> Highest rated song on The Hot 100: I Can See For Miles — #9
> Released in: 1967

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