Special Report

The Albums That Stayed at No. 1 For the Longest Time

It’s quite an accomplishment to have a No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, and just as impressive to summit the Billboard 200 album chart for a week. But when a music star’s album stays atop the Billboard LP listings for weeks on end, that is another level of greatness. Their records were not only long-playing, they were long-staying.

To determine the albums with the longest stays at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on album performance from Billboard. Albums were ranked based on the number of weeks spent at the No. 1 position on the Billboard 200 slot. Chart data is current through Sept. 9, 2023.

Billboard sources its data from Luminate, a company collecting data on music and other entertainment forms. The Billboard 200 reflects multi-metric consumption, meaning album sales, album track equivalent sales (where 10 sold track equal one album unit), and streaming equivalents.

Thirty-three of the spots on this list are occupied by albums released in the 20th century, when disc jockeys spun LPs on FM radio. This includes nine of the 10 motion-picture soundtracks listed here (the exception is the “Frozen” soundtrack from 2013). (These are the most popular movie soundtracks of all time, according to Billboard.)

As for individual artists, The Beatles, with four albums, have had more longer-lasting No. 1 LPs than anyone else. (Here’s a list of the biggest pop hits by The Beatles.)

Click here to see the albums with the longest stays on the Billboard charts

The most prolific female performer on the list is Whitney Houston, with three albums. She might soon be overtaken by the prodigious Taylor Swift, who already has two very long-staying apex albums, both of which entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1. Seven other artists entered the Billboard 200 on top, a feat most recently accomplished by country singer Morgan Wallen this year.

The top three on our list all had No. 1 albums summit the Billboard 200 for at least 24 weeks, and their staying power on the chart extended beyond 500 weeks.

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