50 Years of AC: Vanilla Is Licking the Competition
50 Years of AC: Vanilla Is Licking the Competition

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, we're counting down the top 100 songs in the entire history of one of Billboard's signature (and smoothest) surveys.

Some of the genre's earliest giants infuse the list, including Elton John, Barbra Streisand and Stevie Wonder, while relatively newer artists that continue to keep AC a top-rated radio format likewise appear, including Natasha Bedingfield, Enrique Iglesias and matchbox twenty.

The 50th anniversary Adult Contemporary songs chart is based on actual performance on the weekly Adult Contemporary chart since its inception in the July 17, 1961, issue of Billboard. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at lower rankings on the chart earning less. Due to various changes in chart rules, chart length and in methodology throughout the years - including the implementation in 1993 of monitored airplay data from Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems - songs had varying reigns at No. 1 and on the chart. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from all 50 years, earlier time frames were each weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years.

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