Landing a number-one hit on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100—the premiere pop singles chart in the United States—is by itself a remarkable achievement. A handful of recording artists, however, have managed the feat at least 10 times since the 1950s, when the chart originated. As you might expect, the initial members of that exclusive club include some of the biggest pop, rock, and rhythm-and-blues (R&B) stars of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. To find out who they are, as well as which of their hits gained them membership, read on.
Note: Only songs credited to the artist by name (whether alone or in collaboration) are included in each artist’s total. For example, “We Are the World,” officially credited to “USA for Africa,” does not count as a number-one hit for any individual musician who appears on it.
10. Elvis Presley
Tenth #1*: “It’s Now or Never” (1960)
Elvis helped usher in the rock-and-roll era with the single “Heartbreak Hotel,” which shot to number one in 1956. By the end of the decade, he had become a singular presence on the shifting American musical landscape. In 1960, shortly after returning from his stint in the U.S. Army, the King of Rock and Roll recorded “It’s Now or Never,” a ballad based on the popular Italian tune “O sole mio.” Wedding Elvis’s operatic-style vocals to a snappy backbeat, “It’s Now or Never” appealed to bobby-soxers and adult easy-listening fans alike, in the process becoming one of his most enduring number-one hits. He went on to score four more.
*Count includes Presley’s number ones from the Top 100, a short-lived precursor to the Hot 100.
9. The Beatles
Tenth #1: “Yesterday” (1965)
Much like Elvis had, the Beatles landed their 10th number one with a mature-sounding single that veered from the sound that had made them famous. While such early hits as “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Love Me Do” are upbeat rock ditties that channel the youthful energy of the Fab Four, “Yesterday” is a wistful ballad performed solely by Paul McCartney and an accompanying string quartet. Nonetheless, the song proved extremely popular with fans, inspiring countless cover versions, and the stripped-down arrangement hinted at the band’s future adventurousness. By the time the Beatles officially broke up, 20 of their songs had reached number one in the United States, a record that still stood decades later.