Fifty-four years ago today, the U.S. songs chart of record premiered.
Today (Aug. 4) marks the 54th anniversary of the Billboard Hot 100's 1958 launch. (Please feel free to join us for a festive, if off-key, rendition of "Happy birthday.")
Rick Nelson's "Poor Little Fool" ranked atop the inaugural list. The current leader, Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe," is the Hot 100's 1,016th No. 1. Just as music has evolved, so has the Hot 100's formula. Today, the chart is a blend of weekly sales, radio airplay and streaming data from Nielsen Music.
"It's still the most important chart to be in," Elton John told Billboard upon the Hot 100's 50th anniversary in 2008 (when Chubby Checker's "The Twist" was crowned the No. 1 song of the chart's first 50 years). "It always has been."
The Beatles boast the most No. 1s in the Hot 100's history (20), followed by Mariah Carey (18), Michael Jackson (13), Madonna and the Supremes (12 each), Whitney Houston and Rihanna (11 each) and Janet Jackson and Stevie Wonder (10 each).
(Coincidentally, Madonna and Michael Jackson arrived the same month as the Hot 100: the Material Girl was born on Aug. 16, 1958, and the late King of Pop was born on Aug. 29 that year.)
Madonna, meanwhile, holds the mark for the most Hot 100 top 10s (38). She scored her latest, "Give Me All Your Luvin'," featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., in February. The Beatles rank second with 34 top 10s, followed by Michael Jackson and Wonder (28 each) and Carey, Janet Jackson and John (27 each).
"I had not heard of the Hot 100 when I first started out," Madonna told Billboard in 2008. "Just getting my song played at the Roxy and other clubs in New York was a huge deal for me." However, she recalled, "I did know what having the biggest song in the country was, and that's where I wanted to be."
The cast of Fox's "Glee" holds the mark for the most Hot 100 hits (203), having dethroned prior record-holder Elvis Presley (108) last year. (Presley's pop culture breakthrough predated the Hot 100's inception by two years.)
Even the latest No. 1 has claimed Hot 100 history."Call Me Maybe" is the longest-leading No. 1 by an "American Idol" or "Canadian Idol" contestant (Jepsen placed third on the latter series in 2007); it's the longest-reigning No. 1 by a Canadian woman; and, it's the longest-commanding No. 1 by a woman signed to Interscope Records.
The Billboard Hot 100: 54 years old, new every week.