Coronavirus

From The Beatles to Kanye West & Beyond: Artists With the Most No. 1 Albums on the Billboard 200 Chart

Madonna, The Beatles, Kanye West & Jay-Z
Getty Images

Madonna, The Beatles, Kanye West & Jay-Z

There are The Beatles… and then there’s everybody else. The Fab Four has racked up a record 19 No. 1 albums on the 62-year-old Billboard 200 chart. The group dominates as the act with the most chart-toppers in the history of the tally -- ahead of JAY-Z (with 14), Bruce Springsteen and Barbra Streisand (who both have 11).

Here’s a look at the acts with the most No. 1s on the Billboard 200 chart:

The Beatles – 19
The Beatles earned their first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 when Meet the Beatles! hit the top of the list dated Feb. 15, 1964. The set would rule the tally for 11 weeks and kick off a historic chart run for the group. The Fab Four collected their first 14 No. 1 albums in just a little more than six years (six years, three months and 29 days, to be exact), between Feb. 15, 1964, and June 13, 1970, when Let It Be reached the top. After that, the quartet returned to No. 1 with five more compilation efforts: the hits set The Beatles 1967-1970 (often referred to as The Blue Album because of the color of its album cover) in 1973; the archival albums Anthology 1Anthology 2 and Anthology 3 between 1995 and 1996; and the greatest-hits package 1 in 2000.

JAY-Z — 14
JAY-Z racked up his 14th No. 1 in 2017 with 4:44, extending his record as the solo artist with the most No. 1s. His first leader came with Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life, which topped the chart dated Oct. 17, 1998. Impressively, every one of his 11 solo studio albums released from 1998 through 2014 -- from Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life through 4:44 -- reached No. 1. He additionally hit No. 1 with three collaborative efforts: Unfinished Business (with R. Kelly, in 2004); MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups Presents: Collision Course (with Linkin Park, 2004); and Watch the Throne (with Kanye West, 2011).

Bruce Springsteen — 11
Bruce Springsteen first led the Billboard 200 in 1980 with The River, which earned five weeks atop the list. He then returned to the top with Born in the U.S.A. in 1984, spending seven weeks at No. 1. For his next No. 1, he managed a then-rare feat: a debut up top. In 1986, his live set Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band 1975-1985 bowed at the top, marking just the fourth album to debut at No. 1. The Boss would later tally eight more leaders, through 2014's High Hopes.

Barbra Streisand — 11
Barbra Streisand is the female soloist with the most No. 1s and is the only artist to have achieved No. 1 albums in the 1960s, '70s, '80s,'90s, ‘00s and '10s. She charted one No. 1 in the '60s (People, in 1964); two in the '70s (The Way We Were in 1974 and the soundtrack to A Star Is Born in 1977); two in the '80s (Guilty in 1980 and The Broadway Album in 1986); two in the '90s (Back to Broadway in 1993 and Higher Ground in 1997); one in the '00s (Love Is the Answer in 2009); and two in the '10s (Partners in 2014 and Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway in 2016).

Elvis Presley — 10
Elvis Presley earned his first No. 1 in 1956 (the year the Billboard 200 began) with his self-titled debut album, which ruled the tally for 10 weeks. He then quickly followed with Elvis (No. 1 for five weeks, 1956), the soundtrack to Loving You (No. 1 for 10 weeks in 1957) and Elvis' Christmas Album (No. 1 for four weeks in 1957 and 1958). Four of his No. 1s were soundtracks to his films (Loving YouG.I. BluesBlue Hawaii and Roustabout). The late King of Rock & Roll most recently showed up at No. 1 in 2002 with the greatest-hits album ELV1S: 30 #1 Hits.

Garth Brooks — 9
Garth Brooks shines as the country artist with the most No. 1s on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart, having topped the tally nine times. The country superstar first hit No. 1 with Ropin' the Wind in 1991; the set spent 18 weeks at No. 1, the most weeks on top for any country album. He earned his latest No. 1 in 2013 with Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences.

The Rolling Stones — 9 
The Rolling Stones notched all nine of their No. 1s between 1965 and 1981, starting with Out of Our Heads in 1965, which spent three weeks at No. 1. The band's longest-running leader is its (so far) last No. 1, Tattoo You, in 1981. It earned nine weeks in the penthouse, fueled by its hit singles "Start Me Up" (a No. 2-peaking hit on the Billboard Hot 100) and "Waiting on a Friend" (No. 13 on the Hot 100).

Kenny Chesney — 8
Country superstar Kenny Chesney made his Billboard 200 chart debut in 1996 with Me and You, which peaked at … No. 78. His next charted album, 1997's I Will Stand, actually charted even lower: No. 95. As he then became a staple of country radio, his chart trajectory headed north for his next two releases (1999's Everywhere We Go, peaking at No. 51, and 2000's Greatest Hits, reaching No. 13). But it was his next album, 2002's No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems, that finally pushed him to No. 1. He's been a frequent visitor to the top slot ever since.

Eminem — 8
Eminem debuted on the Billboard 200 in 1999 with The Slim Shady LP, which peaked at No. 2 (behind TLC's FanMail). Following that, every one of his eight albums has opened at No. 1: The Marshall Mathers LP (2000); The Eminem Show (2002); Encore (2004); Curtain Call: The Hits (2005); Relapse (2009); Recovery (2010); The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013) and Revival (2018).

Madonna — 8 
Madonna scored her first No. 1 in 1985 with Like a Virgin, which spent three weeks atop the tally. The diva then followed with two more No. 1s in the '80s: True Blue (No. 1 for five weeks in 1986) and Like a Prayer (No. 1 for six weeks in 1989). Madonna then waited until 2000 for her next No. 1, Music, which spent one week at the summit. She's since led the list with further No. 1s: American Life (2003), Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005), Hard Candy (2008) and MDNA (2012).

U2 — 8
U2 linked its first five No. 1s consecutively between 1987 and 1997: The Joshua Tree (1987); the soundtrack to Rattle and Hum (1988); Achtung Baby (1991); Zooropa (1993); and Pop (1997). The band has since claimed three more No. 1s, with How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb in 2004, No Line on the Horizon in 2009 and Songs of Experience in 2017.

Kanye West — 8
Like Eminem, Kanye West has seen nearly all of his chart entries hit No. 1. His debut album, The College Dropout, peaked at No. 2 in 2004 for three weeks (behind Norah Jones' Feels Like Home). After that, all eight of his albums debuted at No. 1, from 2005's Late Registration through 2018's Ye.

Drake — 7
Drake's chart history on the Billboard 200 is mightily impressive, as all seven of his full-length albums have debuted at No. 1, from Thank Me Later in 2010 through More Life in 2017. His only chart entry to miss the top was his debut EP, So Far Gone, which peaked at No. 6 in 2009.

Janet Jackson — 7
After a pair of low-charting albums kicked off Janet Jackson's career (a self-titled effort hit No. 63 in 1983 and Dream Street peaked at No. 147 in 1984), the diva went straight to the top in 1986 with Control. She notched another No. 1 in the '80s (Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814, in 1989); two in the '90s (janet. in 1993 and The Velvet Rope in 1997); two in the 2000s (All for You in 2001 and Discipline in 2008); and one in the '10s (Unbreakable in 2015).

Elton John — 7
All seven of Elton John's No. 1 albums reigned in the 1970s -- making him the artist with the most No. 1s that decade. John also can claim another amazing statistic: He earned the first two albums to debut at No. 1: Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy and Rock of the Westies (both in 1975, and both long before the practice became common after the Billboard 200 adopted Nielsen Music data in 1991).

Led Zeppelin — 7
Led Zeppelin hit No. 1 for the first time in December 1969 with Led Zeppelin II. The album spent seven weeks at No. 1 and was followed by five more No. 1s in the 1970s. After the band broke up in 1980 (following the death of drummer John Bonham that year), the iconic rock act visited the top once more, with 2003's archival live album How the West Was Won.

Paul McCartney/Wings — 7
Paul McCartney first visited the No. 1 slot (outside of his record 19 trips to the top as part of The Beatles) in 1970 when his debut solo album, McCartney, led the list for three weeks. He then notched five chart-toppers with his band Wings, plus another solo No. 1 with Tug of War in 1982.

 

 


THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.