Friday, July 22, 2011

The Top 100 Adult Contemporary Hits of All Time

Check out these books by Dave Whitaker available through or Amazon.

Also check the Dave’s Music Database Facebook page for daily music-related posts.

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

This week, Billboard magazine celebrated the 50th anniversary of their adult contemporary charts. In doing so, they posted 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.

Note: List was revised on 12/27/2011.

1. Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You” (1992)
2. Simon & Garfunkel “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (1970)
3. Don McLean “American Pie” (1971)
4. The Beatles “Let It Be” (1970)
5. Celine Dion “My Heart Will Go On” (1997)
6. Bryan Adams “Everything I Do (I Do It for You)” (1991)
7. The Righteous Brothers “Unchained Melody” (1965)
8. U.S.A. for Africa “We Are the World” (1985)
9. Lionel Richie & Diana Ross “Endless Love” (1981)
10. Ray CharlesI Can’t Stop Loving You” (1962)

Elton John

11. Boyz II Men “I’ll Make Love to You” (1994)
12. Debby Boone “You Light Up My Life” (1977)
13. The Fifth Dimension “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” (1969)
14. Barbra Streisand “The Way We Were” (1973)
15. Roberta Flack “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (1972)
16. Mariah Carey with Boyz II Men “One Sweet Day” (1995)
17. George Michael “Careless Whisper” (1984)
18. Roger Miller “King of the Road” (1965)
19. Frank Sinatra “Strangers in the Night” (1966)
20. Toni Braxton “Un-Break My Heart” (1996)

Neil Diamond

21. Bee Gees “How Deep Is Your Love” (1977)
22. Stevie Wonder “I Just Called to Say I Love You” (1984)
23. Billy Joel “Just the Way You Are” (1977)
24. Shania Twain “You’re Still the One” 1998)
25. Dionne Warwick & Friends “That’s What Friends Are For” (1985)
26. Tony Orlando & Dawn “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” (1973)
27. Kenny Rogers “Lady” (1980)
28. Carpenters “They Long to Be Close to You” (1970)
29. Lee Ann Womack “I Hope You Dance” (2000)
30. Louis Armstrong “Hello, Dolly!” (1964)

Barbra Streisand

31. Eric Clapton “Tears in Heaven” (1992)
32. Lady Antebellum “Need You Now” (2009)
33. Stevie Wonder “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” (1973)
34. Olivia Newton-John “I Honestly Love You” (1974)
35. Harry Nilsson “Without You” (1971)
36. Dolly Parton “9 to 5” (1980)
37. Bette Midler “The Rose” (1980)
38. Carole King “It’s Too Late” (1971)
39. B.J. Thomas “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” (1969)
40. Celine Dion “Because You Loved Me” (1996)

Barry Manilow

41. Mariah Carey “Vision of Love” (1990)
42. Coldplay “Viva la Vida” (2008)
43. Carly Simon “You’re So Vain” (1972)
44. Jimmy Dean “Big Bad John” (1961)
45. Captain & Tennille “Love Will Keep Us Together” (1975)
46. Terry Jacks “Seasons in the Sun” (1974)
47. Phil Collins “Another Day in Paradise” (1989)
48. Glen Campbell “Rhinestone Cowboy” (1975)
49. Gilbert O’Sullivan “Alone Again (Naturally)” (1972)
50. Lionel Richie “Say You, Say Me” (1985)

Kenny Rogers

51. Jason Mraz “I’m Yours” (2008)
52. Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder “Ebony and Ivory” (1982)
53. Whitney Houston “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” (1987)
54. Barbra Streisand “Evergreen (Love theme from ‘A Star Is Born’)” (1976)
55. Commodores “Three Times a Lady” (1978)
56. Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto “The Girl from Ipanema” (1964)
57. Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton “Islands in the Stream” (1983)
58. Leona Lewis “Bleeding Love” (2007)
59. Faith Hill “Breathe” (1999)
60. Adele “Rolling in the Deep” (2010)


61. Lionel Richie “All Night Long (All Night)” (1983)
62. James Blunt “You’re Beautiful” (2005)
63. James Taylor “You’ve Got a Friend” (1971)
64. Carpenters “We’ve Only Just Begun” (1970)
65. Lionel Richie “Hello” (1984)
66. Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” (1987)
67. LeAnne Rimes “How Do I Live” (1997)
68. Elvis Presley “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (1961)
69. Seal “Kiss from a Rose” (1994)
70. Kyu Sakamoto “Sukiyaki” (1963)

Billy Joel

71. Barry Manilow “I Write the Songs” (1975)
72. Sheryl Crow “All I Wanna Do” (1994)
73. Madonna “Take a Bow” (1994)
74. Daniel Powter “Bad Day” (2005)
75. Elton John “Daniel” (1973)
76. Glen Campbell “Wichita Lineman” (1968)
77. Taylor Swift “Love Story” (2008)
78. Rick Astley “Never Gonna Give You Up” (1987)
79. Enrique Iglesias “Hero” (2001)
80. Train “Hey, Soul Sister” (2009)


81. Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle “A Whole New World” (1992)
82. Cyndi Lauper “Time after Time” (1983)
83. Barbra Streisand “Woman in Love” (1980)
84. Barry Manilow “Mandy” (1974)
85. Charlie Rich “The Most Beautiful Girl” (1973)
86. Mary Hopkin “Those Were the Days” (1968)
87. Chicago “If You Leave Me Now” (1976)
88. Paul Mauriat “Love Is Blue” (1967)
89. Taylor Swift “You Belong with Me” (2008)
90. Mr. Acker Bilk “Stranger on the Shore” (1961)

Lionel Richie

91. Christopher Cross “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” (1981)
92. Vanessa Williams “Save the Best for Last” (1992)
93. Eric Clapton “Change the World” 1996)
94. Johnny Cash “A Boy Named Sue (live)” (1969)
95. Bette Midler “From a Distance” (1990)
96. Backstreet Boys “I Want It That Way” (1999)
97. Natasha Bedingfield “Unwritten” (2004)
98. Bobby Goldsboro “Honey” (1968)
99. Michael Bolton “When a Man Loves a Woman” (1991)
100. Steve Winwood “Roll with It” (1988)

Anne Murray

Resources and Related Links:


  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 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. 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 or tune in live.

  5. 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 .

  6. 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