Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Top 100 Adult Contemporary Hits of All Time

Originally posted 7/22/2011; updated 7/14/2019.

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

This post 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. Adele “Hello” (2015)

Elton John

11. Gotye with Kimbra “Somebody That I Used to Know” (2011)
12. U.S.A. for Africa “We Are the World” (1985)
13. Lionel Richie & Diana Ross “Endless Love” (1981)
14. Pharrell Williams “Happy” (2013)
15. Ray CharlesI Can’t Stop Loving You” (1962)
16. Taylor Swift…Shake It Off (2014)
17. Debby Boone “You Light Up My Life” (1977)
18. Coldplay “Viva La Vida” (2008)
19. Barbra Streisand “The Way We Were” (1973)
20. Bruno Mars…Just the Way You Are (Amazing) (2010)

Neil Diamond

21. Mariah Carey with Boyz II Men “One Sweet Day” (1995)
22. Kenny Rogers “Lady” (1980)
23. Adele “Someone Like You (2011)
24. Ed Sheeran “Thinking Out Loud” (2014)
25. Boyz II Men “I’ll Make Love to You” (1994)
26. Katy Perry “Roar” (2013)
27. George Michael “Careless Whisper” (1984)
28. John Legend “All of Me” (2013)
29. Roberta Flack “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (1972)
30. Leona Lewis “Bleeding Love” (2007)

Barbra Streisand

31. The Fifth Dimension “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” (1969)
32. Tony Orlando & Dawn “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” (1973)
33. Justin Bieber “Love Yourself” (2015)
34. Justin Timberlake “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” (2016)
35. Jason Mraz “I’m Yours” (2008)
36. Ed Sheeran with Beyoncé “Perfect” (2017)
37. Katy Perry “Firework” (2010)
38. Taylor Swift “Blank Space” (2014)
39. Sam Smith “Stay with Me” (2014)
40. Bee Gees “How Deep Is Your Love” (1977)

Barry Manilow

41. One Republic “Counting Stars” (2013)
42. Whitney Houston “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” (1987)
43. Toni Braxton “Un-Break My Heart” (1996)
44. Stevie Wonder “I Just Called to Say I Love You” (1984)
45. James Blunt “You’re Beautiful” (2005)
46. Harry Nilsson “Without You” (1971)
47. Henry Mancini with Audrey Hepburn “Moon River” (1961)
48. Lady Antebellum “Need You Now” (2009)
49. Daniel Powter “Bad Day” (2005)
50. Seal “Kiss from a Rose” (1994)

Kenny Rogers

51. Dionne Warwick & Friends “That’s What Friends Are For” (1985)
52. Passenger “Let Her Go” (2012)
53. Celine Dion “Because You Loved Me” (1996)
54. Eric Clapton “Tears in Heaven” (1992)
55. Lionel Richie “All Night Long (All Night)” (1983)
56. Magic! “Rude” (2013)
57. Fergie “Big Girls Don’t Cry (Personal)
58. Elvis Presley “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (1961)
59. Frank Sinatra “Strangers in the Night” (1966)
60. Shania Twain “You’re Still the One” 1998)


61. Carly Simon “You’re So Vain” (1972)
62. Phil Collins “Another Day in Paradise” (1989)
63. Commodores “Three Times a Lady” (1978)
64. Gilbert O’Sullivan “Alone Again (Naturally)” (1972)
65. Billy Joel “Just the Way You Are” (1977)
66. Taylor Swift “You Belong with Me” (2008)
67. Terry Jacks “Seasons in the Sun” (1974)
68. Carole King “It’s Too Late” (1971)
69. B.J. Thomas “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” (1969)
70. Captain & Tennille “Love Will Keep Us Together” (1975)

Billy Joel

71. Stevie Wonder “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” (1973)
72. Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder “Ebony and Ivory” (1982)
73. Dolly Parton “9 to 5” (1980)
74. Carpenters “They Long to Be Close to You” (1970)
75. Maroon 5 with Cardi B “Girls Like You” (2017)
76. Olivia Newton-John “I Honestly Love You” (1974)
77. Snow Patrol “Chasing Cars” (2006)
78. Cyndi Lauper “Time after Time” (1983)
79. Rick Astley “Never Gonna Give You Up” (1987)
80. Elton John & Kiki Dee “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (1976)


81. Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” (1987)
82. Mariah Carey “Vision of Love” (1990)
83. Roger Miller “King of the Road” (1965)
84. Madonna “Take a Bow” (1994)
85. Taylor Swift “Love Story” (2008)
86. Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton “Islands in the Stream” (1983)
87. Sheryl Crow “All I Wanna Do” (1994)
88. Lionel Richie “Hello” (1984)
89. Jimmy Dean “Big Bad John” (1961)
90. The Chainsmokers with Coldplay “Something Just Like This” (2017)

Lionel Richie

91. Lionel Richie “Say You, Say Me” (1985)
92. Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle “A Whole New World” (1992)
93. Train “Hey, Soul Sister” (2009)
94. Glen Campbell “Rhinestone Cowboy” (1975)
95. Lee Ann Womack “I Hope You Dance” (2000)
96. Enrique Iglesias “Hero” (2001)
97. Louis Armstrong “Hello, Dolly!” (1964)
98. Chicago “If You Leae Me Now” (1976)
99. Vanessa Williams “Save the Best for Last” (1992)
100. James Taylor “You’ve Got a Friend” (1971)

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!

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

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