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25 of the most iconic record-breaking songs in music history

taylor swift
Taylor Swift performing.
  • These songs couldn't be more different, but they have one thing in common: They're record breakers.
  • Mariah Carey is the first person to have No. 1s in four different decades.
  • Taylor Swift's latest No. 1 "All Too Well" is the longest chart-topper ever at 10 minutes, 13 seconds.
The very first song to ever take the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 was Ricky Nelson's "Poor Little Fool" in August 1958.
ricky nelson
Ricky Nelson in September 1958.

The Billboard Hot 100 didn't exist until 1958, though it has since become a part of any music fan's life. The very first song to earn the distinction of Hot 100 chart-topper was "Poor Little Fool" by teen idol and star of "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," Ricky Nelson.

Listen to "Poor Little Fool" here.

Michael Jackson made history when his single "You Are Not Alone" debuted at the top of the Hot 100.
michael jackson
Michael Jackson in 1984.

In 1995, the Hot 100 was just 37 years old, and a song had never debuted on the chart at No. 1. The King of Pop set that record when "You Are Not Alone," the second single from his ninth album, made its Hot 100 debut at the top spot. As of July 2021, only 55 songs since have repeated the feat.

Listen to "You Are Not Alone" here.

The song with the longest journey to No. 1 is none other than "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey, which took 35 (non-consecutive) weeks and 25 years to reach the top of the charts.
mariah carey all i want for christmas is you
Carey in festive attire.

"All I Want for Christmas Is You" is easily the most popular modern Christmas song. It was released in 1994 from Carey's album "Merry Christmas."

However, it wasn't until 2019 that it became a full-blown Hot 100 No. 1, after entering the top 10 in 2017 and reaching No. 3 in 2018.

Listen to "All I Want for Christmas Is You" here.

The song also helped Mariah Carey become the first person to have No. 1 songs in four different decades.
mariah carey
Mariah Carey.

The Elusive Chanteuse herself has had No. 1 songs in the '90s, 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s. Her hit Christmas song, "All I Want for Christmas Is You," topped the charts in the first week of 2020, as well as 2019.

Over her career, she's had 19 songs top the charts.

Listen to "All I Want for Christmas Is You (Make My Wish Come True Edition) here.

With "Popstar" and "Greece," Drake broke the record for most top 10 hits in July 2020. Those were his 39th and 40th top 10 hits, respectively. He now has 54.
Drake
Drake.

In July 2020, two DJ Khaled tracks featuring Drake led to his record-breaking 40 top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. "Popstar" reached No. 3, while "Greece" reached No. 8.

Now, over a year later, he's had 14 more, pushing him way past Madonna's previous record of 38.

Listen to "Popstar" here and "Greece" here.

"Old Town Road" became the longest-running No. 1 song of all time when it topped the charts for 19 consecutive weeks in 2019.
old town road billy ray cyrus lil nas x
Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nas X.

The song had a slow burn — it was originally released in December 2018. But once the remix was released with Billy Ray Cyrus in April 2019, and once it became a meme on TikTok, there was no stopping Lil Nas X and the power of "Old Town Road."

It first reached the top of the Hot 100 in April 2019 and remained there for a record-shattering 19 weeks until August, making it the longest-running No. 1 song of all time.

Listen to "Old Town Road" here.

Before "Old Town Road," the longest-running No. 1 song was "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men. It topped the charts for 16 weeks.
mariah carey boyz ii men
Mariah Carey with Wanya Morris of Boyz II Men.

"One Sweet Day" was released in 1995 as the second single from Carey's album "Daydream." Both Carey and Boyz II Men were at the peak of their power in the mid-'90s, and each holds records of their own so, of course, their collaboration was a sure success.

The song reached the top spot on December 2, 1995 and remained there for 16 weeks until March 16, 1996. It held the record for longest-running No. 1 for 23 years until it was surpassed by "Old Town Road" — though "Despacito" came close by tying the record in 2017.

Listen to "One Sweet Day" here.

"Blinding Lights" by The Weeknd holds the record for the longest time on the Hot 100, remaining on the chart for 90 weeks, or almost two years.
the weeknd
The Weeknd.

"Blinding Lights" remained on the Hot 100 from December 2019 to September 2021, roughly a year and nine months. It reached the No. 1 spot in April 2020 and stayed there for four weeks, and it has since broken records for "most time spent in the Hot 100's top five (43 weeks), top 10 (57 weeks), top 20 (79 weeks) and top 40 (84 weeks)."

It was also Billboard's biggest song of 2020.

Listen to "Blinding Lights" here.

Olivia Rodrigo's 2021 smash hit "Drivers License" made her the youngest person to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100.
olivia rodrigo
Olivia Rodrigo.

Rodrigo's debut single "Drivers License" captivated the world in the beginning of 2021 and broke multiple records. Most notably, it made Rodrigo the youngest person to debut at No. 1 at 17 years, 338 days old, and the first artist born in the 21st century to debut atop the Billboard Hot 100.

As Spotify told Billboard, "We've never seen anything like this."

Listen to "Drivers License" here.

Adele's comeback single "Easy on Me" broke Spotify's record for most single-day streams for a non-holiday song.
adele
Adele.

"Easy on Me" earned a staggering 24 million streams in 24 hours on Spotify, dethroning BTS' infectious bop "Butter" when it debuted on October 15, 2021.

Her album, "30," dropped a month later on November 19, and we're sure it's well on its way to breaking more records.

Listen to "Easy on Me" here.

The shortest song to ever hit No. 1 is Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs' "Stay," which is just a minute and 38 seconds long.
MAURICE WILLIAMS & THE ZODIACS
Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs.

No, "Old Town Road" isn't the shortest song to top the US charts — though it was the shortest song in 54 years. But "Stay" earned the title of shortest song to ever hit No. 1, with a length of just 98 seconds.

Listen to "Stay" here.

On the flip side, the longest No. 1 song ever is "All Too Well (Taylor's Version)," which clocks in at 10 minutes, 13 seconds.
Taylor Swift attends the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards
Taylor Swift.

Swift's eighth No. 1 song is not only her longest hit, but the longest chart-topping single of all time, dethroning "American Pie (Parts I & II)" by Don McLean, which runs 8 minutes, 37 seconds. It held the top spot for 49 years.

After it was announced, Swift's frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff tweeted "the takeaway of a 10 minute song hitting number 1 is to not accept the narrative that people have no attention spans. ... long live the audience who wants it ALL i love you."

Listen "All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)" here.

 

"Jingle Bell Rock" helped Bobby Helms set the record for a musician with the longest gap between their first Hot 100 song and a place within the top 10.
bobby helms
Country singer Bobby Helms poses for a portrait holding an acoustic guitar circa 1957.

Helms first had a song on the Hot 100 in 1958 when "Borrowed Dreams" peaked at 60. The next year, "The Fool and the Angel" hit No. 75.

Over the next six decades, Helms failed to chart another song, until January 2019 when his iconic Christmas jam "Jingle Bell Rock" made it to No. 8 — 62 years after it was written. In 2020, it rose to a new peak, reaching No. 3.

It means Helms holds the record for the longest gap between a musician's first appearance on the Hot 100 and their first top 10 hit.

Listen to "Jingle Bell Rock" here.

When "Believe" hit No. 1 in 1999, it was Cher's first chart-topper since her 1974 hit, "Dark Lady." That 25-year gap is still the biggest between two No. 1s.
cher 1971
Cher in 1971.

It had also been 34 years since her first No.1 hit "I Got You Babe," also a record. "Believe" proved that even three decades in, Cher remained the Goddess of Pop.

Listen to "Believe" here.

The Nicki Minaj remix of "Say So" gave the rapper her first No. 1 hit, earning her the record for the longest wait for a first Hot 100 No. 1, by amount of songs. It was her 109th song to chart on the Hot 100.
nicki minaj
Nicki Minaj.

It's been over 10 years since the rapper notched her first entry on the Billboard Hot 100. Over the last decade, she's become one of the most prolific rappers of our time, but it took a full decade and 109 total entries for Minaj to top the the charts.

She finally earned the top spot due to her appearance on a remixed version of Doja Cat's "Say So," giving her the longest wait from first Hot 100 entry to No. 1 song. Just a month later, she scored her second No. 1 with the song "Trollz" with controversial rapper 6ix9ine.

Listen to "Say So" here.

"My Life Would Suck Without You" holds the record for largest jump to No. 1. It rocketed to the top from No. 97.
kelly clarkson
Kelly Clarkson.

This Kelly Clarkson power-pop song made it to No. 1 in its second week. It debuted at 97, before jumping a record 96 spots in a single week.

Listen to "My Life Would Suck Without You" here.

Both "Work It" by Missy Elliott and "Waiting for a Girl Like You" by Foreigner are the longest-running No. 2s that never hit No. 1. They each sat at the second spot for 10 weeks.
missy elliott foreigner
Missy Elliott and Foreigner.

At first, Foreigner's 1981 hit held the record solo when "Waiting for a Girl Like You" sat at the almost-top spot for 10 weeks. But in 2002, "Work It" came along and matched their record.

Listen to "Waiting for a Girl Like You" here and listen to "Work It" here.

"WAP," the collaboration between Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, broke many records. For one, it became the first female rap collaboration to debut at No. 1.
wap
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion in "WAP."

With "WAP," Cardi B became the first female rapper to have No. 1 songs in two different decades ("Bodak Yellow," "I Like It," and "Girls Like You" all topped the charts in the 2010s).

She also extended her record as the female rapper with the most No. 1 hits (four), and, as stated, the song became the first female rap collab to debut atop the charts, as both the Nicki Minaj remix of "Say So" and the Beyoncé remix of "Savage" also hit the top of the charts this year.

Also, according to Billboard, with 93 million streams, "WAP" has the "greatest ever [numbers] for a song in its first week of release" at the time.

Listen to "WAP" here.

"Can't Buy Me Love" made The Beatles the only act in history to replace themselves twice for three consecutive No. 1s.
The Beatles
The Beatles perform in November 1963.

A fair few artists have replaced themselves at No. 1, including Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, and Outkast. But The Beatles remain the only musicians to replace themselves at the top spot not once, but twice. First up, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" hit No. 1 in February 1964, where it remained for seven weeks. It was then replaced by "She Loves You," which stayed at No. 1 for two weeks.

But they set the record with "Can't Buy Me Love," which marked their third consecutive No. 1, and it made them the only act before or since to replace themselves twice.

Listen to "Can't Buy Me Love" here.

When "Hello, Dolly!" reached No. 1, it did two things: It made Louis Armstrong the oldest person to have a No. 1 song, and it ended The Beatles' three-song reign.
louis armstrong
Louis Armstrong in 1971.

Armstrong was 62 years old when "Hello, Dolly!" peaked at the top of the charts in 1964 for a week, making him the oldest musician to achieve this feat. The song later went on to win the Grammy for Best Vocal Performance Male, and it was Armstrong's biggest hit.

Listen to "Hello, Dolly!" here.

"Dur dur d'être bébé! (It's Tough to Be a Baby)" made 4-year-old Jordy Lemoine, known as Jordy, the youngest musician to top the charts.
Jordy
French singer Jordy and his parents Claude Lemoine and Patricia Clerget in 1993.

Jordy is the youngest person to ever have a No. 1 song when his song "Dur dur d'être bébé! (It's Tough to Be a Baby)," topped the charts in 1992. However, his music was banned in his home country of France due to concerns that his parents were exploiting him.

Listen to "Dur dur d'être bébé! (It's Tough to Be a Baby)" here.

Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" holds the Guinness World Record for the best-selling single of all time.
bing crosby
Bing Crosby in 1944.

According to Guinness, this iconic Christmas tune is the best-selling single of all time, with an estimated 50 million copies sold around the world. "White Christmas" earned this honor in 2012, 70 years after its release.

Listen to "White Christmas" here.

The music video for "Butter" by K-pop icons BTS broke the record — their own record — for most YouTube views in 24 hours.
BTS
BTS.

On May 21, 2021, BTS — K-pop superstars and "the world's biggest boy band," according to Forbes — released the video for "Butter" on YouTube, and it amassed 108,200,000 views within the first 24 hours, Guinness World Records reported, setting a new record.

The video also broke the record for the most viewers of a premiere of a video on YouTube, with 3.9 million concurrent viewers, according to Guinness.

With the release, they broke their own records. In August 2020, BTS released their first English-only song, "Dynamite." The music video amassed a staggering 101.1 million views in just 24 hours of its release, breaking their own record over a year after they set it with their song, "Boy With Luv," featuring Halsey.

In November 2020, the band received a Grammy nod for "Dynamite" for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.

Listen to "Butter" here.

"Shape of You" by Ed Sheeran is the most streamed song ever on Spotify.
ed sheeran
Ed Sheeran.

Spotify announced in December 2017 that the most streamed song of all time was "Shape of You," the most popular single from Sheeran's mega-hit album "Divide." At the time, it had been streamed over 1.6 billion times. Now, it holds that title with 2.9 billion streams total.

Listen to "Shape of You" here.

Read the original article on Insider


25 of the most iconic record-breaking songs in music history
Source: Rappler Buzz

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