Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Top 100 Adult Contemporary Hits of All Time

Originally posted 7/22/2011; updated 4/9/2019.

No, this isn’t what “soft rock” means.

This poste originated in 2011 when Billboard magazine celebrated the 50th anniversary of their adult contemporary charts with a list of “The Top 100 Adult Contemporary Songs Ever”. They weighted the list so that the last decade’s trend toward longer stays at #1 (and longer stays on the chart) didn’t completely dominate the list. I posted a new ranking on my Facebook page that showed the biggest AC hits based solely on weeks at #1.

Still not satisfied, I went to my music database and sorted all songs to hit #1 on the adult contemporary charts. Then I sorted those songs based on total points in Dave’s Music Database. The results made for what I consider the most balanced of the three lists and acknowledging some bonafide classics which may not have had longevity at #1 or on the charts, but have had long-lasting impact. One last thing – the pics are for the top-ten ranked AC acts according to Billboard. Click on the photos for the acts DMDB music makers encyclopedia entries.

1. Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You” (1992)
2. Simon & Garfunkel “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (1970)
3. Bryan Adams “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” (1991)
4. The Beatles “Let It Be” (1970)
5. Don McLean “American Pie” (1971)
6. Celine Dion “My Heart Will Go On” (1997)
7. Adele “Rolling in the Deep” (2010)
8. Ed Sheeran “Shape of You” (2017)
9. The Righteous Brothers “Unchained Melody” (1965)
10. Gotye with Kimbra “Somebody That I Used to Know” (2011)

Elton John

11. Lionel Richie & Diana Ross “Endless Love” (1981)
12. Adele “Hello” (2015)
13. U.S.A. for Africa “We Are the World” (1985)
14. Pharrell Williams “Happy” (2013)
15. Ray CharlesI Can’t Stop Loving You” (1962)
16. Mariah Carey with Boyz II Men “One Sweet Day” (1995)
17. Debby Boone “You Light Up My Life” (1977)
18. Boyz II Men “I’ll Make Love to You” (1994)
19. Kenny Rogers “Lady” (1980)
20. Coldplay “Viva La Vida” (2008)

Neil Diamond

21. Barbra Streisand “The Way We Were” (1973)
22. Billy Joel “Just the Way You Are” (1977)
23. Taylor Swift…Shake It Off (2014)
24. George Michael “Careless Whisper” (1984)
25. Roberta Flack “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (1972)
26. Bee Gees “How Deep Is Your Love” (1977)
27. John Legend “All of Me” (2013)
28. Adele “Someone Like You (2011)
29. Tony Orlando & Dawn “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” (1973)
30. Leona Lewis “Bleeding Love” (2007)

Barbra Streisand

31. Whitney Houston “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” (1987)
32. The Fifth Dimension “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” (1969)
33. Katy Perry “Roar” (2013)
34. Justin Bieber “Love Yourself” (2015)
35. Ed Sheeran with Beyoncé “Perfect” (2017)
36. Toni Braxton “Un-Break My Heart” (1996)
37. Justin Timberlake “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” (2016)
38. Ed Sheeran “Thinking Out Loud” (2014)
39. Sam Smith “Stay with Me” (2014)
40. Stevie Wonder “I Just Called to Say I Love You” (1984)

Barry Manilow

41. Celine Dion “Because You Loved Me” (1996)
42. Jason Mraz “I’m Yours” (2008)
43. Katy Perry “Firework” (2010)
44. Taylor Swift “Blank Space” (2014)
45. Frank Sinatra “Strangers in the Night” (1966)
46. Harry Nilsson “Without You” (1971)
47. James Blunt “You’re Beautiful” (2005)
48. Seal “Kiss from a Rose” (1994)
49. Henry Mancini with Audrey Hepburn “Moon River” (1961)
50. Shania Twain “You’re Still the One” 1998)

Kenny Rogers

51. Lady Antebellum “Need You Now” (2009)
52. Dionne Warwick & Friends “That’s What Friends Are For” (1985)
53. Commodores “Three Times a Lady” (1978)
54. Fergie “Big Girls Don’t Cry (Personal)
55. One Republic “Counting Stars” (2013)
56. Phil Collins “Another Day in Paradise” (1989)
57. Lionel Richie “All Night Long (All Night)” (1983)
58. Daniel Powter “Bad Day” (2005)
59. Terry Jacks “Seasons in the Sun” (1974)
60. Eric Clapton “Tears in Heaven” (1992)


61. Captain & Tennille “Love Will Keep Us Together” (1975)
62. Gilbert O’Sullivan “Alone Again (Naturally)” (1972)
63. Olivia Newton-John “I Honestly Love You” (1974)
64. Billy Joel “Just the Way You Are” (1977)
65. Carly Simon “You’re So Vain” (1972)
66. Elvis Presley “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (1961)
67. B.J. Thomas “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” (1969)
68. Madonna “Take a Bow” (1994)
69. Roger Miller “King of the Road” (1965)
70. Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder “Ebony and Ivory” (1982)

Billy Joel

71. Dolly Parton “9 to 5” (1980)
72. Taylor Swift “You Belong with Me” (2008)
73. Carole King “It’s Too Late” (1971)
74. Jimmy Dean “Big Bad John” (1961)
75. Rick Astley “Never Gonna Give You Up” (1987)
76. Magic! “Rude” (2013)
77. Bette Midler “The Rose” (1980)
78. Mariah Carey “Vision of Love” (1990)
79. Carpenters “They Long to Be Close to You” (1970)
80. Lionel Richie “Say You, Say Me” (1985)


81. Stevie Wonder “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” (1973)
82. Elton John & Kiki Dee “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (1976)
83. Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” (1987)
84. Elton John “Daniel” (1973)
85. Cyndi Lauper “Time after Time” (1983)
86. Passenger “Let Her Go” (2012)
87. Lionel Richie “Hello” (1984)
88. Barbra Streisand “Woman in Love” (1980)
89. Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton “Islands in the Stream” (1983)
90. Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle “A Whole New World” (1992)

Lionel Richie

91. Snow Patrol “Chasing Cars” (2006) 92. Sheryl Crow “All I Wanna Do” (1994)
93. Taylor Swift “Love Story” (2008)
94. Phil Collins “A Groovy Kind of Love” (1988)
95. Bobby Goldsboro “Honey” (1968)
96. Vanessa Williams “Save the Best for Last” (1992)
97. Train “Hey, Soul Sister” (2009)
98. Enrique Iglesias “Hero” (2001)
99. Louis Armstrong “Hello, Dolly!” (1964)
100. Lee Ann Womack “I Hope You Dance” (2000)

Anne Murray

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  1. This is a long list of contemporary music. I am a music lover and I have over 500 songs saved in my phone. I am not that choosy when it comes to music genres. Without music, I would not be living here!

  2. Being an ardent fan of Pop and Adult Contemporary music, Sunny 107.9 is always my first choice for non-stop entertainment. Whether in my car or at home I’m always tuned in and kept entertained by the stations great music. Stream online at www.sunny1079.com or tune in live.

  3. Your site is what I want to do if I grow up; looking at your pics though, it appears I am the older one. Saved your music books to my Amazon Wish List as soon as I am back among the employed.

    Featured this list in a filtered version on my site. Have bookmarked several other lists and columns to feature.

  4. I am a big fan of Adult Contemporary music and the only radio station that plays a wide range of this music is 97.9 WRMF. I am also kept updated on the station’s latest promotions and community events. Visit their website for live streaming at www.wrmf.com .

  5. I definitely enjoying every little bit of it. It is a great website and nice share. I want to thank you. Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work. top 100 songs