Fred discusses Madonna and top 40 radio with readers.


Dear Fred,

Madonna just scored her 34th No. 1 on the Hot Dance/Club Play chart. Is this a record for being a solo artist with the most No. 1s on any Billboard chart? Who has the record for the most No. 1s on any Billboard chart?


Raditya Gunardisurya
Jakarta, Indonesia

Dear Raditya,

Your count is correct. "Hung Up" is the 34th No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Dance/Club Play for Madonna. You sent your e-mail before this week's "Chart Beat" was posted, but check the column and you'll see that Janet Jackson is in second place with 17 No. 1s.

Madonna's 34 chart-toppers aren't enough to make her the artist with the most No. 1s on one chart. That record is held by Conway Twitty, with 40 No. 1s on the Hot Country Songs tally.


Hello Fred,

My name is Juan Antonio Alcalá. I'm 35 and live in Madrid, Spain. I'm a big fan of yours. I used to read your weekly printed column in Billboard magazine, and now I read you on the Internet. I have bought the two latest editions of "The Billboard Book of Number One Hits," which I think are great.

I work for Spain's most important radio network, Cadena Ser ( It's a news/talk/sports channel, but our FM channels air music. Our top 40 station aired "American Top 40" back in the 1980s.

I write to you because I miss countdown shows like "AT40," and because I really don't understand what happened to American stations since 1991 when Billboard methodology changed.

Here in Spain, there are stations that can play an AC song by Whitney Houston, along with a top 40 song by Mariah Carey or Nelly and there is no problem. I mean, formats aren't as narrow here as they are in the U.S.

I'm happy to read you on the Internet. I have a subscription to Billboard, and I'd love to have your column in the print edition as well.

Congratulations for your great work!

Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars...

Juan Antonio Alcalá

Dear Juan,

I'm sure Casey Kasem would appreciate your e-mail, but not as much as I do. Thanks for enjoying my columns and my book, and for letting me know.

While the current incarnation of "American Top 40" does not use any Billboard charts, there is still a countdown of our Hot 100. If you haven't listened to "The Billboard Radio Countdown," you can go to and hear our current show. I write the scripts and choose the music, and Billboard's own Chuck Taylor is the host. Since we're not a terrestrial radio station competing for ratings, we are not restricted by format and we play all genres of music, from pop to R&B and hip-hop to country -- just like top 40 stations of old.

By the way, American radio stations didn't suddenly change their formats when we started using modern technology to compile the Billboard charts in 1991. Radio has evolved over the years, and formats have become more narrow, but this is not an effect of the change in methodology.