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Saturday, April 18, 2015

U.S. Biggest #1 Pop Songs in Chart History

Originally posted May 3, 2011 on the DMDB website. Updated 4/18/2015 on the blog.

This is a list of the #1 songs of all time according to U.S. pop charts. For 1955 to present, figures are taken from Billboard magazine, which is viewed as the industry’s leading chart authority. While Billboard also published charts in the rock-era prior to 1955 (their first chart being for sheet music in 1913), these were less consistent. As such, the authority behind pre-rock era hits is Pop Memories 1890-1954. The book is published by Record Research, who provide the go-to reference books for numerous Billboard charts. The Pop Memories book is the closest thing possible to the companion for Record Research’s Top Pop Singles book, which in its latest edition (its 12th) covered the Billboard pop singles charts from 1955 to 2008. See more detailed descriptions of these books and other chart references (here).

Songs are listed in order of most weeks at #1 on down the line. In the event of ties (of which there are many), the song ranking highest in Dave’s Music Database is listed first and so on. Also, the year listed is when the song first charted on the U.S. pop chart or otherwise. Consequently, it may not indicate the actual year in which the song peaked at #1.

    18 weeks:

  1. Goo Goo Dolls…Iris (1998) *

    17 weeks:

  2. Francis Craig with Bob Lamm…Near You (1947)

    16 weeks:

  3. Mariah Carey with Boyz II Men…One Sweet Day (1995)
  4. No Doubt…Don’t Speak (1996) *

    14 weeks:

  5. Bing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers…White Christmas (1942)
  6. Whitney Houston…I Will Always Love You (1992)
  7. Elton John…Candle in the Wind 1997 (Goodbye England’s Rose) (1997)
  8. Boyz II Men…I’ll Make Love to You (1994)
  9. Mariah Carey…We Belong Together (2005)
  10. Black Eyed Peas…I Gotta Feeling (2009)
  11. Los Del Rio…Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix) (1995)
  12. Celine Dion…Because You Loved Me (1996) **
  13. Mark Ronson with Bruno Mars…Uptown Funk! (2014)

    13 weeks:

  14. Glenn Miller…In the Mood (1939)
  15. Gene Austin…My Blue Heaven (1927)
  16. Patti Page…Tennessee Waltz (1950)
  17. Ben Selvin…Dardanella (1920)
  18. The Weavers with Gordon Jenkins’ Orchestra…Goodnight Irene (1950)
  19. Artie Shaw…Frenesi (1940)
  20. Harry James with Helen Forrest…I’ve Heard That Song Before (1943)
  21. The Ink Spots…The Gypsy (1946)
  22. Boyz II Men…End of the Road (1992)
  23. Ted Weems with Elmo Tanner…Heartaches (1947)
  24. Brandy with Monica…The Boys Is Mine (1998)
  25. TLC…No Scrubs (1999) **
  26. Ace of Base…The Sign (1994) **
  27. Donna Lewis…I Love You Always Forever (1996) **

    12 weeks:

  28. Vernon Dalhart…The Prisoner’s Song (1925)
  29. Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra with Frank Sinatra & the Pied Pipers…I’ll Never Smile Again (1940)
  30. Mills Brothers…Paper Doll (1943)
  31. Eminem….Lose Yourself (2002)
  32. Jo Stafford…You Belong to Me (1952)
  33. Vaughn Monroe…Riders in the Sky (A Cowboy Legend) (1949)
  34. Al Jolson…Sonny Boy (1928)
  35. Usher with Lil’ Jon & Ludacris…Yeah! (2004)
  36. Santana with Rob Thomas…Smooth (1999)
  37. Robin Thicke with T.I. & Pharrell Williams…Blurred Lines (2013)
  38. Black Eyed Peas…Boom Boom Pow (2009)

    11 weeks:

  39. Elvis Presley…Don’t Be Cruel/Hound Dog (1956)
  40. Leo Reisman & His Orchestra with Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers…Cheek to Cheek (1935)
  41. Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra…Whispering (1920)
  42. Al Jolson…April Showers (1922)
  43. Byron Harlan…School Days (When We Were a Couple of Kids) (1907)
  44. American Quartet with Billy Murray…Casey Jones (1910)
  45. Johnnie Ray & the Four Lads…Cry (1951)
  46. Les Paul with Mary Ford…Vaya Con Dios (May God Be with You) (1953)
  47. Puff Daddy with Faith Evans & 112…I’ll Be Missing You (1997)
  48. Haydn Quartet…Put on Your Old Gray Bonnet (1909)
  49. Anton Karas…The Third Man Theme (1950)
  50. Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra with Franklyn Baur…Valencia (A Song of Spain) (1926)
  51. Toni Braxton…Un-Break My Heart (1996)
  52. All-4-One…I Swear (1994)
  53. Frankie Carle with Marjorie Hughes…Oh! What It Seemed to Be (1946)
  54. Arthur Collins…The Preacher and the Bear (1905)
  55. Henry Burr…Just a Baby’s Prayer at Twilight (For Her Daddy Over There) (1918)
  56. Len Spencer…Arkansaw Traveler (1902)
  57. Natalie Imbruglia…Torn (1997) **
  58. Mariah Carey…Dreamlover (1993) **
  59. Boyz II Men…On Bended Knee (1994) **
  60. Destiny’s Child…Independent Women (2000)
  61. Guy Lombardo…The Third Man Theme (1950)

    10 weeks:

  62. Arthur Collins with Byron Harlan…Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1911)
  63. Leo Reisman’s Orchestra with Fred Astaire…Night and Day (1932)
  64. Celine Dion…My Heart Will Go On (1997) **
  65. Billy Murray…You’re a Grand Old Flag (aka “The Grand Old Rag”) (1906)
  66. Haydn Quartet…Sweet Adeline (You’re the Flower of My Heart) (1904)
  67. Bing Crosby with George Stoll’s Orchestra…Pennies from Heaven (1936)
  68. Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb & His Orchestra…A-Tisket, A-Tasket (1938)
  69. Debby Boone…You Light Up My Life (1977)
  70. Dinah Shore & Her Harper Valley Boys…Buttons and Bows (1948)
  71. Perry Como…Till the End of Time (1945)
  72. Byron Harlan…My Gal Sal (1907)
  73. George J. Gaskin…After the Ball (1893)
  74. Vaughn Monroe’s Orchestra…Ballerina (1947)
  75. Nick Lucas…Tip-Toe Thru the Tulips with Me (1929)
  76. Bing Crosby with Lani McIntire & His Hawaiians…Sweet Leilani (1937)
  77. Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra with Bob Eberly & Helen O’Connell…Amapola (Pretty Little Poppy) (1941)
  78. Olivia Newton-John…Physical (1981)
  79. Rudy Vallee & His Connecticut Yankees…Stein Song (University of Maine) (1930)
  80. Flo Rida with T-Pain…Low (2007)
  81. Ted Lewis & His Band…In a Shanty in Old Shanty Town (1932)
  82. Percy Faith with Felicia Sanders…Where Is Your Heart (Song from “Moulin Rouge”) (1953)
  83. Guy Mitchell…Singing the Blues (1956)
  84. Kanye West with Jamie Foxx…Gold Digger (2005)
  85. The Andrews Sisters…Rum and Coca-Cola (1945)
  86. Kay Starr…Wheel of Fortune (1952)
  87. Beyonce…Irreplaceable (2006)
  88. Pharrell Williams…Happy (2013)
  89. Tony Bennett…Because of You (1951)
  90. The McGuire Sisters…Sincerely (1955)
  91. Glenn Miller Orchestra with Ray Eberle & The Modernaires…Moonlight Cocktail (1942)
  92. Rihanna with Calvin Harris…We Found Love (2011)
  93. Janet Jackson…That’s the Way Love Goes (1993) **
  94. Dan Quinn…The Band Played On (1895)
  95. Nelly…Dilemma (2002)
  96. Perez “Prez” Prado…Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White (1955)
  97. Ashanti with Ja Rule…Foolish (2002)
  98. Mariah Carey…Hero (1993) **
  99. George J. Gaskin…On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away (1897)
  100. Patti Page…I Went to Your Wedding (1952)
  101. George W. Johnson…The Laughing Song (1891)
  102. Santana with the Product G&B…Maria Maria (2000)
  103. George J. Gaskin…My Old New Hampshire Home (1898)
  104. Eileen Barton…If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake (1950)

Notes about This List:

* In the 1990s, many songs were never officially released as record companies would release them to radio stations to garner significant airplay, but would use those songs to promote album sales instead of single sales. Billboard reported songs’ airplay only stats in a separate chart, but they are included here as if they were official Hot 100 singles entries.

** These are songs which were officially released, but their airplay figures are more significant than their official chart numbers so the airplay figures are used.

Another note about this list: discriminating viewers will notice certain decades dominating the list. Here’s how many songs each decade places on the list:

  • 1890-1899: 5
  • 1900-1909: 8
  • 1910-1919: 3
  • 1920-1929: 8
  • 1930-1939: 8
  • 1940-1949: 16
  • 1950-1959: 17
  • 1960-1969: 0
  • 1970-1979: 1
  • 1980-1989: 1
  • 1990-1999: 21
  • 2000-2009: 12
  • 2010-2015: 4
This obvious dominance of some decades over others has more to do with changing chart methodologies over the years than whether or not certain decades produced humongous hits. In a nutshell, when the rock era and the Billboard Hot 100 chart both kicked in during the mid to late ‘50s, songs spent far less time on the charts making extended stays on top much rarer. By the 1990s, the charts were changed to more accurately reflect what radio stations were truly playing (as opposed to the old methodology of relying on what stations reported they were playing). This resulted in a major upswing in how long songs stayed on top.

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