On this day 60 years ago, Billboard magazine launched its Hot 100—the premier singles chart in America that ranks songs weekly based on popularity. The first No. 1 hit was Poor Little Fool, by 18-year-old crooner Ricky Nelson. The chart, which ranks tunes based on their sales (physical and digital), radio play, and online streaming in the US, is unique because it includes all genres – R&B, rap, country, or whatever.
It is flawed in measuring overall artist popularity, however: Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen only peaked at No. 2, and the Dave Matthews Band, which between 2000-2010 sold more tickets and earned more money than any other act in North America, only scored a #16 hit.
See if you can guess which nine artists tallied at least ten No.1 hits over Billboard’s 60-year history. Hint: Despite reaching the top ten 25 times, Elvis Presley had just 7; Elton John nearly made the list with nine. SEE the answer below and WATCH a Billboard video… (1958)
One more trivia bit: The song with the longest tail on the Hot 100 list, spending 30 weeks in the top 10, with ten weeks at #1, is the jazzy Latin hit, Smooth, by Santana, Featuring Rob Thomas.
Counting down the most #1 hits:
10 Number one hits: Stevie Wonder
10 Number one hits: Janet Jackson
11 Number one hits: Whitney Houston
12 Number one hits: The Supremes
12 Number one hits: Madonna (with 38 top 10s—the most of any act)
13 Number one hits: Michael Jackson
14 Number one hits: Rihanna
18 Number one hits: Mariah Carey (also tied for longest reign on chart at 16 weeks w/ Boyz to Men)
20 Number one hits: The Beatles are the reigning champions (including an incredible 71 songs in the top 100; and 34 in the Top 10)
MORE Good News on this Day:
- During the first stages of the French Revolution following the storming of the Bastille, the National Constituent Assembly, which had became the effective government of France, took an oath to end feudalism and abandon their aristocratic privileges (1789)
- Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, was born—the wife of King George VI, she provided moral support to the British public during World War II and to her husband, as in the portrayal of the Academy Award Winning film The King’s Speech (1900)
- The Supreme Court of Japan was established (1947)
- Prime Minister Paul Martin announced that Michaelle Jean would become Canada’s first Governor General of Caribbean origin (2005)
- A federal judge in San Francisco ended a 13-day trial by striking down as unconstitutional California’s Proposition 8, the voter approved ballot measure that banned same-sex unions, citing the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment (2010)
- Happy 56th birthday, to President Barack Obama (1961)
And, on this day in 1901, Louis Armstrong, the beloved American jazz trumpeter, composer, and singer, was born. Nicknamed Satchmo, or Pops, Armstrong was one of the most influential figures in jazz, trail-blazing in a career that spanned more than five decades. With his instantly recognizable gravelly voice, Armstrong was an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody to make a song more expressive. Armstrong kept up his busy tour schedule until a few years before his death in 1971. One of his most memorable songs, What a Wonderful World (buy it on Amazon), epitomizes the man, of whom Duke Ellington said, “He was born poor, died rich, and never hurt anyone along the way.” WATCH him sing When the Saints Go Marching In…
Also, on this day in 1984, the album Purple Rain by Prince went to #1 on the US album charts—where it stayed for 24 weeks. With hits like “When Doves Cry”, “Let’s Go Crazy” and the title track, it churned out sales of 20 million LPs worldwide, making it the seventh best-selling soundtrack of all time. WATCH a clip featuring his brilliant performance of “Purple Rain” during a raging downpour at the Super Bowl Halftime Show…