Though plenty of musicians have had albums top the Billboard 200 chart, only eight artists have managed to do so at least eight times. Here’s a look at the select group of singers with the most No. 1 albums in history:
1. The Beatles (19)
In February 1964, two weeks after the Beatles made their debut on the Hot 100 with the single “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” the band entered the Billboard 200 with its first U.S. album for Capitol Records, Meet the Beatles. That record not only spent 11 weeks at the top, it also became the first of three No. 1 albums released by The Beatles (also including The Beatles’ Second Album and A Hard Day’s Night) that same year. To date, the group holds the record for the most No. 1 records in the history of the tally.
2. Jay Z (13)
The rapper landed his thirteenth No. 1 album in 2013, with Magna Carta…Holy Grail. The album generated mixed critical reviews and some fans were left disgruntled by attempts to download the album early with Samsung smartphones (downloads that Billboard then refused to count). In the end though, it didn’t matter. The album sold 527,000 copies through conventional means in its opening weeks, earning the artist yet another chart-topping LP. With that, Jay Z also became the record holder for most No. 1 records for a solo act.
3. Bruce Springsteen (11)
Springsteen earned his 11th No. 1 album with the arrival of his 18th studio album, High Hopes, in January 2014. The set sold 99,000 copies in its opening week, putting him ahead of Elvis Presley to become the musical act with the third-most No. 1 records in history. Springsteen is one of two musicians (besides Barbra Streisand) to achieve chart-topping albums in each of the last four decades, starting with 1980s The River and continuing with big releases in the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s.
4. Elvis Presley (10)
Presley earned his first No. 1 with his self-titled debut studio album in 1956, marking the first of two of his records to top the charts that year. That’s not the only year that the legendary artist bagged multiple No. 1 LPs – he pulled off the same feat in 1957 and 1961. His most recent No. 1 came over 46 years after his first, with the 2002 compilation ELVIS: 30 #1 Hits. That gives him the record for the longest span of No. 1s on the Billboard 200.
5. Barbra Streisand (10)
Last September, almost exactly 50 years after her first No. 1 People, Streisand dropped her duet album, Partners. With that release, the legendary singer made history as the first act to achieve No. 1 albums in each of the last six decades. The record sold 196,000 copies in its first week, marking her 10th album to land in the top spot. The chart-topping release tied Streisand with Presley as the artist with the fourth-most No. 1 albums. She continues to hold the most top-charting records among female artists.
6. Garth Brooks (9)
The country singer earned his ninth No. 1 album with 2013’s boxed set, Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences. The record jumped to the top of the chart after moving 146,000 copies in its debut week. It marked the artist’s second boxed set to reach No. 1, following the six-CD collection The Limited Series in 1998 and the first No. 1 album to contain more than two discs since 2003. Not that Brooks is keeping count – ahead of the release of his 2014 album, Man Against the Machine, the singer told CMT he no longer plans on following the charts, saying, “If the music’s good, over time it will do what it’s supposed to do.”
7. The Rolling Stones (9)
The band earned their last No. 1 record in 1981 with the release of its eighteenth studio LP, Tattoo You. The album was a critical and commercial success upon its release, quickly becoming one of two of the group’s bestselling records worldwide (along with 1978’s Some Girls). It also marked the last of eight consecutive chart-topping records from The Rolling Stones, dating back to 1971’s Sticky Fingers. The group’s first ever No. 1 in the U.S. came in 1965, with the album Out of Our Heads.
8. Madonna (8)
Madonna holds the second-most top-charting albums among female artists, only behind Barbra Streisand. The singer has released eight chart-topping albums, extending back to 1984’s Like a Virgin. Her most recent No. 1 came in 2012, with her 12th studio album MDNA. That record debuted in the top spot with 359,000 copies sold in the United States, making it her biggest opening week sales since 2000’s Music.
More from Entertainment Cheat Sheet:
- 10 Artists Who’ve Been Making Music Longer Than You Think
- Bruce Springsteen’s 10 Greatest Songs of All Time
- 9 Singers Who Came to Fame Online
- 10 of the Greatest Soul Music Albums of All Time
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