For a band or solo artist, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart can be a dream come true. It means you’ve really been successful, and it’s an accomplishment that deserves to be celebrated. But for some artists, a successful single is just a drop in the bucket. We’ve rounded up the 40 artists who have had the most successful singles. (Here are the most popular hit singles of the 21st century.)
Surprisingly, some of the most legendary musical groups in history have never reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Believe it or not, Bruce Springsteen, James Brown, The Backstreet Boys, Don Henley, Sheryl Crow and Bob Dylan are some of those who never had this honor. (These are however the artists with the most popular albums.)
On the other side of the coin, some truly obscure acts were honored with the coveted top spot. These include successful marvels such 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 # 1 hits, 24/7 Tempo looked at the data on the Billboard Hot 100 dating back to August 1958, when the chart debuted. In cases where artists had the same number of # 1 hits, the one who spent the most weeks in the # 1 position received the highest ranking. (Note that part of Elvis Presley’s career predates the first Hot 100 chart, which means hits such as “Hound Dog”, “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Jailhouse Rock” are not included. in Presley’s tally.)
Click here to view # 1 Most Successful Artists
The number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 is more than just a list of those who sell the most records at any given time. It’s a reflection of the times, a glimpse into the state of popular culture, and a sort of time capsule in the history of popular music. Having five or more songs rated No. 1 means that an artist has truly claimed their rights in music and pop culture history, as a scroll through this countdown will clearly show.