Chart Beat

15 Surprising Artists Without a No. 1 Album

Sting 2016
Rob Verhorst/Redferns

Sting performs on stage at Night of the Proms in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Nov. 30, 1993. 

What do Sting, Marvin Gaye & Kiss have in common? They've all missed the top spot on the Billboard 200.

Check out this list of the veteran artists who are still waiting to score their first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart: 

Sting: With The Police, Sting spent 17 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with the mega-selling Synchronicity in 1983. After that success, Sting went solo, and notched 10 top 10 albums, with three of them hitting No. 2 (The Dream of the Blue Turtles, The Soul Cages and Ten Summoner’s Tales). His debut solo effort, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, spent six straight weeks at No. 2, lodged behind Dire Straits' Brothers In Arms. The Turtles album launched four top 20 charting hit songs on the Billboard Hot 100: "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free" (peaking at No. 3), "Fortress Around Your Heart" (No. 8), "Love Is the Seventh Wave" (No. 17) and "Russians" (No. 16).

Marvin Gaye

Gaye’s most iconic albums include 1971’s What’s Going On and 1973’s Let’s Get It On, though neither topped the Billboard 200. They reached Nos. 6 and 2, respectively. He last visited the top 10 in 1982 with the No. 7-peaking Midnight Love, which boasted the smash hit single "Sexual Healing." The tune reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Bette Midler: The entertainer arrived on the Billboard 200 chart with The Divine Miss M in 1972, which peaked at No. 9 the following year. The diva has scored top 10 albums in every decade since, for a total of six top 10 efforts. She logged her first top 10 of the 2010s in 2014 with her girl group tribute album It's the Girls (peaking at No. 3). Midler came closest to No. 1 with the soundtrack to Beaches, which spent three weeks in the No. 2 slot -- stuck behind Fine Young Cannibals' The Raw & The Cooked.

The Who: The rock band has notched 10 top 10 albums, and even hit No. 2 -- twice. 1973’s Quadrophenia spent one week at No. 2, behind Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and 1978’s Who Are You logged two weeks in the runner-up slot, behind the Grease soundtrack.

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Cher: The singer/actress has four solo No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, yet a No. 1 album continues to be out of her reach. She’s getting "closer" though: In 2013, her Closer to the Truth album debuted and peaked at No. 3 -- her highest rank ever as a solo artist. (When she was one-half of Sonny & Cher, the duo hit No. 2 with 1965’s Look at Us.)

Rush: The prog rock band has clocked 12 top 10 albums on the Billboard 200, including a pair of No. 2-peaking sets: 1993's Counterparts and 2012's Clockwork Angels. Both albums debuted in the runner-up position. The former started behind Pearl Jam's Vs., while Clockwork Angels entered behind Usher's Looking 4 Myself.

Sheryl Crow

The singer/songwriter has a charting history that chart geeks dream about: four No. 2 albums (in a row!), among a total of nine top 10 sets, yet, she’s missing a No. 1 album. Crow strung together four straight No. 2 sets between 2002 and 2010 with C’mon, C’mon, The Very Best of Sheryl Crow, Wildflower and Detours. Her breakthrough debut album, Tuesday Night Music Club, peaked at No. 3. 

Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, is a titan on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart -- with 10 No. 1s (the most of any woman). However, over on the all-genre Billboard 200, the highest she has climbed is No. 2 (twice). She did it with 1967’s I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You and 1968’s Aretha: Lady Soul.

Willie Nelson: Country legend Willie Nelson got close to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with his No. 2-peaking effort Always On My Mind back in 1982. It spent four weeks at No. 2, lodged behind Asia’s self-titled album. Nelson has recently made waves on the Billboard 200, charting three top 10 albums between 2013 and 2015: the all-star collaborative album To All the Girls… hit No. 9 in 2013, Band of Brothers debuted and peaked at No. 5 in 2014 and his pairing with Merle Haggard on Django and Jimmie reached No. 7 in 2015.

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Tina Turner: The legendary diva made a spectacular comeback in 1984 with her Private Dancer album, which contained the No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 single “What’s Love Got To Do With It.” The album -- which spawned a total of five top 40 hits on the Hot 100 -- spent 11 weeks stuck at No. 3 (behind Prince and The Revolution’s Purple Rain at No. 1 and Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. at No. 2). Turner has since collected two more top 10 sets, with 1986’s Break Every Rule (No. 4) and 2005’s All the Best (No. 2).

Brad Paisley: Country king Brad Paisley has earned five No. 2 albums on the Billboard 200 -- without a No. 1. His collection of runner-ups comprise more than half of his nine top 10 entries. He has visited the No. 2 slot with Time Well Wasted, American Saturday Night, This Is Country Music, Wheelhouse and Moonshine in the Trunk.

Dr. Dre

Though Dr. Dre has a small catalog of solo material -- just three studio albums -- he’s made them count. His solo debut, The Chronic, spent six non-consecutive weeks at No. 3 in 1993, while its follow-up, 2001, lingered for four nonconsecutive weeks at No. 2 in 1999 and 2000. (The album was stuck behind Santana’s unstoppable Supernatural album, which reigned for 12 weeks at No. 1.) In 2015 he returned with Compton, which debuted and peaked at No. 2.

Kiss: Even though the famed rock act doesn’t have a No. 1, they can still lay claim to the feat of being the American band with the most top 40 albums on the Billboard 200, with 26. Of those whopping 26 top 40 efforts, nine of them reached the top 10. They got closest to No. 1 with 2009’s Sonic Boom, which debuted and peaked at No. 2.

Jewel: The singer/songwriter’s Pieces of You is one of the biggest-selling albums ever (11 million, according to the Recording Industry Association of America [RIAA]), but she’s missed the top slot with all of her releases. Pieces of You peaked at No. 4 for two non-consecutive weeks in 1997, while she visited the top 10 five more times. She topped out at No. 2 with 2003’s 0304.

Bob Marley: The reggae great hit the top 10 just once during his lifetime, with 1976’s Rastaman Vibration, which reached No. 8. Marley’s mega-selling greatest hits package, Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers (15 million and counting, according to the RIAA), reached No. 54 upon its initial release in 1984. The set later became his second top 10 effort in 2014, peaking at No. 5.