Special Report

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

Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

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.

40. Various Artists, “Miami Vice (Soundtrack)” (1985)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 11 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 38 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Oct. 12, 1985 (at No. 28)

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39. The Beatles, “Meet the Beatles!” (1964)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 11 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 74 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Feb. 1, 1964 (at No. 92)

38. Whitney Houston, “Whitney” (1987)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 11 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 88 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: June 27, 1987 (at No. 1)

37. Mariah Carey, “Mariah Carey” (1990)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 11 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 113 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: June 30, 1990 (at No. 80)

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36. Taylor Swift, “Fearless” (2008)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 11 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 261 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Nov. 29, 2008 (at No. 1)

35. The Beatles, “Abbey Road” (1969)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 11 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 489 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Oct. 18, 1969 (at No. 178)

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34. Taylor Swift, “1989” (2014)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 11 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 454 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Nov. 15, 2014 (at No. 1)

33. Various Artists, “Grease (Soundtrack)” (1978)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 12 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 80 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: May 20, 1978 (at No. 53)

32. Santana, “Supernatural” (1999)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 12 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 103 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: July 3, 1999 (at No. 19)

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31. George Michael, “Faith” (1987)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 12 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 96 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Nov. 21, 1987 (at No. 41)

30. Alanis Morissette, “Jagged Little Pill” (1995)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 12 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 127 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: July 1, 1995 (at No. 117)

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29. Bad Bunny, “Un Verano Sin Ti” (2022)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 13 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 69 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: May 21, 2022 (at No. 1)

28. The Monkees, “The Monkees” (1966)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 13 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 102 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Oct. 8, 1966 (at No. 121)

27. Various Artists, “Frozen (Soundtrack)” (2013)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 13 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 179 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Dec. 14, 2013 (at No. 18)

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26. Original Cast Recording, “Hair” (1968)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 13 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 151 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Aug. 3, 1968 (at No. 159)

25. Drake, “Views” (2016)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 13 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 380 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: May 21, 2016 (at No. 1)

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24. The Beatles, “A Hard Day’s Night (Soundtrack)” (1964)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 14 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 56 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: July 18, 1964 (at No. 12)

23. Stevie Wonder, “Songs in the Key Of Life” (1976)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 14 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 82 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Oct. 16, 1976 (at No. 1)

22. Various Artists, “Mary Poppins (Soundtrack)” (1964)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 14 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 122 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Oct. 3, 1964 (at No. 140)

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21. Whitney Houston, “Whitney Houston” (1985)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 14 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 176 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: March 30, 1985 (at No. 166)

20. Morgan Wallen, “One Thing at a Time” (2023)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 15 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 26 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: March 18, 2023 (at No. 1)

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19. Pink Floyd, “The Wall” (1979)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 15 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 158 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Dec. 15, 1979 (at No. 51)

18. REO Speedwagon, “Hi Infidelity” (1980)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 15 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 101 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Dec. 13, 1980 (at No. 62)

17. Men At Work, “Business As Usual” (1982)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 15 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 90 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: July 3, 1982 (at No. 179)

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16. The Beatles, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (1967)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 15 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 232 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: June 24, 1967 (at No. 8)

15. Carole King, “Tapestry” (1971)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 15 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 318 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: April 10, 1971 (at No. 79)

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14. Vanilla Ice, “To the Extreme” (1990)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 16 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 67 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Sept. 22, 1990 (at No. 151)

13. Various Artists, “Titanic (Soundtrack)” (1997)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 16 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 73 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Dec. 27, 1997 (at No. 154)

12. The Police, “Synchronicity” (1983)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 17 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 75 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: July 2, 1983 (at No. 17)

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11. Billy Ray Cyrus, “Some Gave All” (1992)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 17 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 97 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: June 6, 1992 (at No. 4)

10. The Monkees, “More of the Monkees” (1967)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 18 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 96 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Feb. 4, 1967 (at No. 122)

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9. Various Artists, “Dirty Dancing (Soundtrack)” (1987)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 18 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 97 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Sept. 19, 1987 (at No. 77)

8. Garth Brooks, “Ropin’ the Wind” (1991)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 18 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 132 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Sept. 28, 1991 (at No. 1)

7. Whitney Houston, “The Bodyguard (Soundtrack)” (1992)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 20 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 155 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Dec. 5, 1992 (at No. 2)

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6. M.C. Hammer, “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em” (1990)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 21 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 108 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: March 10, 1990 (at No. 69)

5. Prince And The Revolution, “Purple Rain (Soundtrack)” (1984)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 24 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 167 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: July 14, 1984 (at No. 11)

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4. Various Artists, “Saturday Night Fever (Soundtrack)” (1976)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 24 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 137 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Dec. 25, 1976 (at No. 124)

3. Adele, “21” (2011)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 24 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 578 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: March 12, 2011 (at No. 1)

2. Fleetwood Mac, “Rumours” (1977)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 31 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 543 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Feb. 26, 1977 (at No. 10)

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1. Michael Jackson, “Thriller” (1982)
> Time at No. 1 on Billboard 200: 37 weeks
> Total time on Billboard 200: 588 weeks
> Entered Billboard 200: Dec. 25, 1982 (at No. 11)

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