Skip to main content

Record setting Records and Artists

Record-setting Records

Free download abstract music wallpapers wallpaper images 1920x1200  [1920x1200] for your Desktop, Mobile & Tablet | Explore 50+ Record  Wallpaper | Record Album Wallpaper, Reach Records Wallpaper, Vinyl Record  Wallpaper

There are so many different achievements that artists and their recorded music have attained and here I have highlighted some that I found interesting. I will stick to chart achievements today and perhaps I will do an awards post in the future. So you won’t find many big surprises and some references may be a bit obscure (but worth a mention). Many of these stats are current up to 2018/2019. Some may be a bit older as calculating them has become increasingly more difficult with streaming services challenging the traditional charts on many fronts. The lists also come from different organizations and most are skewed towards music from the US, adding in the UK and Western Europe to some degree. In large part it is because the major organizations like the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and Billboard are American, not to mention the largest consumer base resides in the US. As I was editing I found there was too much for one post so I will spin off my focus (for the most part) on R&B artists and charts as the history there is very interesting and enough for a stand alone. 


Artists and Albums

According to the RIAA the top ten selling albums as of April 2019 rounded to the nearest million in sales.


1. Eagles- Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975), 36 million

2. Michael Jackson- Thriller, 33 million

3. Eagles - Hotel California, 26 million

4. Billy Joel - Greatest Hits Volume 1 & Volume 2, 23 million

5. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV, 23 million

6. Pink Floyd - The Wall, 23 million

7. AC/DC - Back In Black, 22 million

8. Garth Brooks - Double Live, 21 million

9. Hootie & The Blowfish - Cracked Rear View, 21 million

10. Fleetwood Mac - Rumours, 20 million


Also at 20 million we have Shania Twain with Come on Over just ahead of The Beatles Album - The Beatles (The White Album) at 19 million.


There is much to be debated about these numbers; as I mentioned, they are American based, but they also include several Greatest Hits Albums which could be considered as an anomaly of sorts. The perspective of genre, buying habits and time in history must be considered as well. However, to the pocket books of those record companies and publishers who have benefited, this matters little I suppose...and we won't be passing the hat for these artists to be certain.


If you aren't a Beatles fan, and I know you’re out there, you might think that being number 12 confirms they aren’t as popular or talented as the other artists on the list. To allay any thoughts, you may have wandering in that direction, let me lay out a couple stats to the contrary.


Cumulative album sales, according to RIAA, still place The Beatles at number one, followed by Garth Brooks, Elvis Presley, the Eagles and Led Zeppelin. The Beatles are number one on the Top 10 Hot 100 artists of All Time (1958–2018). They hold the most number-one singles (20), the top one being “Hey Jude”. They hold the most consecutive weeks (12) simultaneously topping the Hot 100 for singles and Billboard 200 for albums, "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "She Loves You", "Can't Buy Me Love" and albums, The Beatles and Meet the Beatles!


In contrast, if we look at Billboard’s list of top albums for both sales and chart position combined, we have:

1.     Adele – 21

2.     The Sound of Music Soundtrack

3.     Michael Jackson - Thriller

4.     Taylor Swift - Fearless

5.     Bruce Springsteen - Born in the USA


The IFPI (The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) tracks global sales and this is a more realistic look at where things currently stand.


Top 10 global recording artists up to 2019:

1. Taylor Swift

2. Ed Sheeran

3. Post Malone

4. Billie Eilish (first EP was in 2017)

5. Queen (last album with Freddie Mercury was 1991, then one in 1995)

6. Ariana Grande

7. BTS (also known as the Bangtan Boys, yep had to look that one up!)

8. Drake

9. Lady Gaga

10. The Beatles (last album while active was 1970)


Lots of interesting things there: Billie Eilish already at #4 after just three years on the music scene, Queen (in part thanks to the song and the movie Bohemian Rhapsody) at #5 and the ubiquitous Beatles still hanging in there at #10!


Country Charts

Country Music is very much its own genre, though it’s already been represented above by Garth Brooks and in part by Taylor Swift's early career. The occasional crossover hit song will leak off the Country lists on to the Pop ones but if we look at the history of the charts themselves, like any of the major genres, there have been many changes.

Prior to the 1940s there were not any charts tracking Country and Western Music (C&W). In fact, not until 1944 did these songs end up on the Folk Music Charts. The first Billboard chart to target C&W music was Country & Western Records Most Played by Folk Disk Jockeys in 1949. Similarly, Cashbox Magazine had The Nation’s Big 5 Hillbilly, Folk & Western Juke Box Tunes in 1947 and by 1954 this had become Country Best Sellers in Retail Outlets. While there is still a Cashbox online presence, they don't really stand up against Billboard, especially after the demise of the printed magazine in 1996. And as Billboard continued to change its format, by 1958 Country songs evolved from Hot C&W Sides to Hot Country Singles from 1962 to 1990. A couple more changes took place and we now have the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts.

This convoluted chart history makes tracking Country music a bit difficult, but there are some highlights which name the past greats of genre.


The Most Top 40 Country hits:

1.     George Jones - 145

2.     Eddy Arnold - 128

3.     Johnny Cash -105

4.     Merle Haggard - 93

5.     Waylon Jennings - 92

The Most Top 10 Country singles:

1.     Eddy Arnold - 92

2.     George Strait - 80

3.     George Jones - 78

4.     Conway Twitty - 75

5.     Merle Haggard - 71

The Most #1 Country songs:

1.     George Strait - 44 (his last on April 18, 2009)

2.     Conway Twitty - 40 (his last on September 6, 1986)

3.     Merle Haggard - 38 (his last on February 20, 1988)

There is a three-way tie for the most consecutive weeks at #1 with “I'm Movin' On” by Hank Snow and His Rainbow Ranch Boys (1950), “I'll Hold You In My Heart (Till I Can Hold You In My Arms)” by Eddy Arnold (1947) and “In the Jailhouse Now” by Webb Pierce (1955). The record of 16 weeks at #1 belongs to Buck Owens song “Love's Gonna Live Here” from 1963.


Female Country Artists

Conspicuous by their absence in the above lists are female Country artists. Unfortunately, there are very few all-time achievements held by women in this genre. This is not surprising considering the amount of airplay given to female singers has been chronically very low. Studies by Canadian Musicologist Dr. Jada E. Watson show a decline from about 33% airplay in 2000 to 11% in 2018. In 2019, female Country artists were only given about 10% of the airplay! She also found a disproportionate amount of the airplay for female artists happened during non-primetime listening hours. While I have not seen studies on other years, one need only look at the past charts to see this problem appears to have a long history.  I would speculate that the 33% in 2000 was likely a peak for female artists. However, there is one outlier in the Country record books. Billboard’s #1 ranked Country album of all time is Come On Over released in 1997 by Shania Twain. This album also produced a record-breaking eleven songs in the top 30 and three of them hit #1.

Notable women in Country Music chart history includes names we all recognize; Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire are tied at 25 #1 songs, putting them into the top 10 overall. Dolly has charted 44 top 10 albums, more than any other artist, male or female. Taylor Swift with all her stunning success is one of the world's all-time best-selling artists but is barely a blip on the Country Charts radar as her music very quickly switched to the Pop music genre. However, she set a record for female artists with 9 weeks at #1 on the Top Country songs chart with “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”. Connie Smith held the record of 8 weeks before that with her song “Once a Day” from 1964.



For singles, there are many interesting milestones such as the 19-week tenure at #1 of “Old Town Road” by Rapper Lil Nas X, released in December 2018. It was re-released by Columbia Records in March 2019 and Lil Nas X also released a remix with Billy Ray Cyrus on April 5, 2019.

As of today, Madonna has been joined by Drake at the number one spot with the most top 10 hits at 38. Drake also has the most top 40 hits. For their first charted songs Madonna started in 1983 with “Holiday” and her most recent is "I Don't Search I Find" which entered the Dance Charts earlier this year. Madonna is the most successful solo artist on the combined Billboard charts holding records for the most #1's, the most #2's (12) and the only artist to hit a Billboard chart for five consecutive decades. Drake first entered the top 10 with “Pain 1993” and most recently with songs from Dark Lane Demo Tapes. Drake has been making history with the most Billboard Hot 100 appearances of all time and the first male artist to debut three songs at #1 behind Mariah Carey who did it in the 1990s.

How do the singles from Madonna and Drake compare to the singles from The Beatles? The Beatles, despite being the most successful recording artists overall, are at #3 with 34 top 10s achieved in only six years. Madonna passed them in 1994 taking just eleven years. Drake, who tops the Rap, R&B and overall Billboard charts with the most #1's, surpassed The Beatles after a 13-year span with his 2016 hit “Money in the Grave”.


Despite the culturally insensitive name, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs had two big hit songs, “Li'l Red Riding Hood” (#2 in 1966) preceded by "Wooly Bully" which stayed on the Hot 100 for 18 weeks, 14 of those in the Top 40. While “Wooly Bully” peaked at #2 in June of 1965, its record-breaking performance was twofold. Firstly, it was the Billboard Number One Record of the Year of 1965. This had never been achieved by a song that did not reach #1, and it held that distinction for 35 years until Faith Hill's "Breathe" did so in 2000. Secondly, the song was the first American single to sell over one million copies since the arrival of The British Invasion, sparked of course by The Beatles in February of 1964.

More recently, Post Malone's “Circles” (2019/20) holds the record at 34 weeks in the top ten and Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” (2012-2014) has the most weeks in the Hot 100 at 87.


Second Time’s the Charm?

Several songs reached #1 a second time when covered by a different artist:

·       “Go Away Little Girl” -  Steve Lawrence (1963) and Donny Osmond (1971)

·       “The Loco-Motion” - Little Eva (1962) and Grand Funk (1974)

·       “Please Mr. Postman” - The Marvelettes (1961) and The Carpenters (1975)

·       “Venus” - Shocking Blue (1970) and Bananarama (1986)

·       “Lean on Me” - Bill Withers (1972) and Club Nouveau (1987)

·       “You Keep Me Hangin' On” - The Supremes (1966) and Kim Wilde (1987)

·       “When a Man Loves a Woman” - Percy Sledge (1966) and Michael Bolton (1991)

·       “I'll Be There” - The Jackson 5 (1970) and Mariah Carey (1992)

·       “Lady Marmalade” - Labelle (1975) and Christina Aguilera / Lil' Kim / Mýa / Pink (2001)

“I Will Always Love You” written and recorded by Dolly Parton in 1974 was only the second song (after Chubby Checker’s “The Twist") recorded by the same artist to reach #1 on the charts twice, first in 1974 and again in 1982 when re-recorded for the movie The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Then there is the very exceptional version by Whitney Houston from The Bodyguard soundtrack in 1992. Her version became a record-smashing hit which returned the song to #1 once again. To my knowledge this is the only song in history to reach #1 three times.


More Notable Chart Toppers

Most #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100:

1.     The Beatles- 20

2.     Mariah Carey – 19

3.     Elvis Presley – 18

4.     Rihanna -14

5.     Michael Jackson "Say Say Say" 13

6.     The Supremes -12

7.     Madonna -11

8.     Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder and Janet Jackson - 10

For the most consecutive #1 singles, the record goes to Whitney Houston at 7, starting with "Saving All My Love for You" (1985) and ending with "Love Will Save the Day" (1988). Next, The Beatles and the Bee Gees with 6.


Mariah Carey holds the record for the most consecutive years charting a #1 single at 11 starting with “Vision of Love” in 1990 through to “Loverboy” in 2001. The runners-up are not even close with Elvis and The Beatles at 7 each. Carey also holds the singles record for the most cumulative weeks at #1 at 82, followed by Elvis at 79, Rihanna with 60 and The Beatles at 59.


The shortest #1 hit on the Hot 100 at 1 minute and 38 seconds is “Stay” from 1960, written and performed by Maurice Williams (and The Zodiacs).



Trivia: Who was the only artist other than The Beatles to have albums at both #1 and #2 simultaneously?

Answer: Comedian Bob Newhart, who did it in 1961 with The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart and The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back!





Edited by Richelle Dafoe

If you like my blog, please consider filling in the follow by email link at the top right hand of the page. Remember to confirm the subscription when you get the first email. Confidentiality is assured unless you are a close friend or family member then all bets are off. While I can compile data from my blog it's not tracking in terms of anyone's identity. For past blog posts click on the menu at the top right corner. Pass it along to a friend who might enjoy it as well or post it to your timeline on FB. And many thanks as always for reading my blog!


  1. Hi there, I read your blogs on a regular basis. Your humoristic style is witty, keep it up! Thank You for Providing Such a Unique and valuable information, If you are looking for the best South African Free Music Download,then visit Fakaza. I enjoyed this blog post.

  2. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment, glad you are enjoying it!

  3. I agree with a lot of the points you made in this article. If you are looking for the Entertainment News Nigeria, then visit 36NG. I love your content, they are very nice and very useful to us and this text is worth everyone’s attention.


Post a Comment

Thanks for any feedback!

Popular posts from this blog

One Hit Wonders (not!)

One Hit Wonders (not!) Yesterday (Sept. 26) was the 50th Anniversary of Abbey Road, the Beatles last recording session together and the second last album before Let it Be was issued May 8, 1970. And also Happy belated One Hit Wonder Day! (Sept. 25th) so I thought it would make a good blog topic. The simplest definition I found is from music journalist Wayne Jancik "an act that has won a position on a national, pop, Top 40 record chart just once." This from the 'The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders' (1998). So we aren't talking one #1 hit. It's not a term I like as it implies (and some truth to that) these artists have had just a brief moment in the spotlight, perhaps undeservedly so and then fallen off the music map. I know other and deeper definitions are a bit more broad and go beyond the absolute single hit idea. They also consider many artists that have still maintained a quality career and just not reproduced another 'top 40 hit' song an

The Most Covered Pop Artists and Songs of All Time

The Most Covered Pop Artists and Songs of All Time There are three categories in today’s blog: 1. The most covered songs written by a single artist, 2. The most cover versions combined and 3. The most covered Pop songs.  These numbers are for artists that write and record their own songs. For more on songwriters, read my series I Write the Songs . The statistics come courtesy of and are verified via strict protocols. This website posts 'covers' submitted from around the globe and in many different languages, edited by very knowledgeable experts in music recording. There are other resources as cited but other than the odd personal anecdote or opinion, I'm using information and knowledge, not to mention YouTube posts that already exist. In addition, the numbers change daily, and I had originally written this blog in December 2019 so it’s been interesting to see the changes in less than a year. On the whole, the artists in each list stayed the same but

Old Country New Country

Old Country/New Country What exactly I am about to attempt to demonstrate I confess I'm not 100% certain, but what I do know is that there has been a bit of a downward sliding scale regarding the enduring quality of mainstream Country Music songs. Apologies in advance for rambling and ranting at various points. This is not a history of Country Music but my opinion on the current state of things in general with the genre. It's murky waters that I'm swimming in here as there is an evolution involved in any music genre so direct comparisons are perhaps inappropriate. I am somewhat aware of the influence the so called Country Music "establishment" has had on this evolution. One need only look at examples like Taylor Swift, Shania Twain and Garth Brooks and others who were criticized and in some cases "shunned" for their unconventional approaches who are now celebrated as part of that same 'establishment'. So there is some hypocrisy at play

Sweet Soul Music

Sweet Soul Music Sam Cooke Arthur Conley co-wrote this song with Otis Redding and it's a tribute to some of the early greats of Soul Music . The song's melody (and words for that matter) borrowed heavily from the Sam Cooke song " Yeah Man " and a subsequent lawsuit brought by A.W. Alexander who managed Cooke's songs after his untimely death added his name to the song credits. The resulting song however was a huge hit for Conley and it reached #2 on Billboard's Hot 100 and R&B Chart in 1967 and #7 in the UK where Soul Music was gaining popularity particularly amongst a subset of British youth. The lyrics reference the co-writer Otis Redding, James Brown and songs by The Miracles, Lou Rawls, Sam & Dave and Wilson Pickett, some of the key figures in early Soul Music. "Sweet Soul Music" covered 30 times, The Jam (1977). Soul music is a fusion of R&B, Gospel and Jazz. Known generally for it's more upbeat tempo it's fun to lis

Rock artists sing the Blues

Rock artists sing the Blues I have talked about this frequently throughout my posts but more particularly in the series on the Delta Blues and the History of R&R parts 1- 4 . Truth be told, most of the greatests 'Rock' artists owe much of their inspiration to the Blues. Rock bands and solo artists have cut many sides early and throughout their careers of blues songs. Thanks to artists like Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley who were obviously very well known and successful, their covers of some of the great blues songs served as a conduit and exposed them to artists and listeners alike. Here are some 'Blues' that inspired Rock artists, a few of these songs are more well known than others. Confessin' the Blues by The Rolling Stones was recorded  June 11, 1964 and released on a 7" record of five songs on August 14. Written by Walter Brown (vocals) and Jay McShann (piano and bandleader) originally released in June of 1941. Covered about 35 times includin

25 of the Greatest Cover Songs #76-100

25 of the Greatest Cover Songs #76-100 Ok here is the last of my list, I could go on and as a matter of fact I will, just not with another set of 25 plus "to infinity and beyond!" I have to say it was easy to come up with more songs to complete the total of 100 as this final list started at 43. But it was very difficult to decide which ones would make the final cut, so these last 25 songs became a list with a number of great ones left for another day. Downchild Blues Band 76. "Flip Flop and Fly" is a song by the same collection that brought us the classic " Shake Rattle and Roll " written by Jesse Stone (credited to his pseudonym Charles E. Calhoun) and Lou Willie Turner, sung by  Big Joe Turner  (1955). The first time I heard this was at a club in my hometown I'll say around 1979 or so, performed by the talented Canadian Blues band  Downchild Blues Band , later known as just 'Downchild'. Still the best cover for me although I'

25 of the Greatest Cover Songs #51-75

25 of the Greatest Cover Songs #51-75 There has been a very positive response to the first two 'Greatest' posts. So the list continues and the songs become no less in their timeless quality compared to numbers one through fifty. I will post a #76-100 edition in the near future and that will be out of my system. But what if I do more lists by genre? Just thinking out loud, sorry but I will keep blogging on various topics as long as people continue to click. 51. " I Put a Spell on You " written and originally recorded by Screamin' Jay Hawkins in 1956. There have been many really good covers of this song but Nina Simone (1965) was just the second person to cover this song. I just can't get over how overlooked this artist was in her time, a high class version that turns the song on it's ear to give it an entirely different sound. Billie Holiday 52. " Strange Fruit " was a courageous recording by the legendary Billie Holiday from 1939. A

Music Myths and other Silly Things

Music Myths and other Silly Things Who doesn't like a good story? There are many great ones and some not so much about music. I try and put a little story into my blogs and during the course of my research I have run across some that are quite curious. Some of these myths about songs and artists have innocent enough beginnings and have been perpetuated or at least not denied by the artists themselves, others come from malcontents and the misinformed. Stealers Wheel Here is one that falls in the category of a silly thing; Bob Dylan and the 'Stealers Wheel' song " Stuck in the Middle with You ", released in April, 1973. 1. Bob Dylan did not write this nor did he sing this song, nor is this song about Bob Dylan. 2. If you do a search for 'Dylan and Stuck in the Middle" you will get results like the following: Home » Artists » Bob Dylan » Stuck In The Middle With You Bob Dylan - "Stuck In The Middle With You" lyrics Bob Dylan: C

25 of the Greatest Cover Songs #1-25

25 of the Greatest Cover Songs Nothing quite grabs the attention more than a list of the greatest this or that, so at 85 posts about cover songs I thought it about time to get to it. As I advised with my other 'Greatest' posts we all have our favorites so anytime there is a list, something or someone 'great' gets left off. And the debate ensues, why is this and that at #11 not #4 and vise versa. My list therefore, shall be no different for it is not scientific but subjective and it is biased by my own tastes and exposure to music. Having said that it's hard for me to have missed many of the truly great cover songs of all time, indeed I think I've talked about quite a few: "Respect" from the writer and original recording  Otis Redding  and a cover she made her own, the Queen of Soul  Aretha Franklin . More about the song and  Aretha  in these posts. Before I get to some cover's I've not mentioned, here are more songs from my previous is

Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt Just recently I watched " Linda Ronstadt, The Sound of My Voice " on CNN and I don't mind saying I was moved to tears more than once. Narrated by Linda herself and including rare footage and photo's in addition to some great interviews, it paints a wonderful picture of a remarkable career. If you get the chance you really should watch it, but for now a mini bio and then to some of her music from that amazing voice. Linda was born on July 15, 1946 and grew up on a ranch in Tucson Arizona in a prosperous family. Music was a very important part of daily life so her exposure and interest came very naturally. She began her career in the mid sixties joining the growing country/folk rock scene. Ronstadt met Bobby Kimmel at the University of Arizona and later met Kenny Edwards and they formed the band the ' Stone Poneys '. She would release some solo material starting in 1969 and then tour with Jackson Brown, Neil Young and the Doors. She bega