Adele, Rihanna, Ed Sheeran, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Elton John, Chubby Checker, Mariah Carey, Shania Twain & Whitney Houston
Adele, Rihanna, Ed Sheeran, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Elton John, Chubby Checker, Mariah Carey, Shania Twain & Whitney Houston
Getty Images; Photo Illustration by Quinton McMillan

The Biggest Hits of All: The Hot 100's All-Time Top 100 Songs

As part of Billboard's celebration of the 60th anniversary of our Hot 100 chart this week, we're taking a deeper look at some of the biggest artists and singles in the chart's history. Here, we revisit the ranking's 100 biggest hits of all-time.

On Aug. 4 1958, Billboard launched the Hot 100, forever changing pop music -- or at least how it's measured. Sixty years later, the chart remains the gold-standard ranking of America's top songs each week. And while what goes into a hit has changed (bye, bye jukebox play; hello, streaming!), attaining a spot on the list -- or better yet, a coveted No. 1 -- i s still the benchmark to which artists explore, from Ricky Nelson on the first to Drake on the latest. Which brings us to the hottest-of-the-hot list the 100 most massive smashes over the charts six decades.     

Meet Our Pop Experts!
Annotations to the list from...

Diane Warren: Songwriter of  “How Do I Live,” No. 5, and “Un-Break My Heart,” No. 15
Mark Ronson: Artist-songwriter-producer of "Uptown Funk!," No. 4
Billboard: Charts team members Gary Trust, Xander Zellner and Trevor Anderson     

1. The Twist - 1960
Chubby Checker
The only song to rule the Billboard Hot 100 in separate release cycles (one week in 1960, two in 1962), thanks to adults catching on to the song and its namesake dance after younger audiences popularized them.

2. Smooth - 1999
Santana Feat. Rob Thomas

3. Mack the Knife - 1959
Bobby Darin
“I love that eternally cool feel,” says Warren. “It’s a nostalgic thing: It brings me back to the songs my older sisters and my parents would play. I was writing something recently and thinking, ‘What would “Mack the Knife” be in 2018?’ ”

4. Uptown Funk! - 2015
Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars

5. How Do I Live - 1997
Leann Rimes

6. Party Rock Anthem - 2011
LMFAO Feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock

7. I Gotta Feeling - 2009
The Black Eyed Peas

8. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix) - 1996
Los Del Rio

9. Shape of You - 2017
Ed Sheeran
Sheeran’s first Hot 100 No. 1 ruled for 12 weeks in 2017, but even after its reign ended, it broke records, staying in the top 10 for 33 weeks — one more than The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” (featuring Halsey) and LeAnn Rimes’ “How Do I Live.”

10. Physical - 1981
Olivia Newton-John

11. You Light Up My Life - 1977
Debby Boone

12. Hey Jude - 1968
The Beatles

13. Closer - 2016
The Chainsmokers Feat. Halsey

14. We Belong Together - 2005
Mariah Carey

15. Un-Break My Heart - 1996
Toni Braxton

16. Yeah! - 2004
Usher Feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris
In 2004, R&B and hip-hop’s dominance was undeniable, and “Yeah!” perfectly captured the day’s hottest sounds: Usher’s smooth vocals, Ludacris’ light-hearted rhymes and Lil Jon’s crunk-R&B production. The Atlanta trio was rewarded with 12 weeks atop the Hot 100, but R&B and hip-hop were 2004’s real MVPs: A person of color performed every Hot 100 No. 1 that year.

17. Bette Davis Eyes - 1981
Kim Carnes

18. Endless Love - 1981
Diana Ross & Lionel Richie

19. Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright) - 1976
Rod Stewart

20. You Were Meant for Me/Foolish Games - 1997
Jewel

21. (Everything I Do) I Do It for You - 1991

Bryan Adams

22. I’ll Make Love to You - 1994
Boyz II Men

23. The Theme From “A Summer Place” - 1960
Percy Faith & His Orchestra

24. Le Freak - 1978
Chic

25. How Deep Is Your Love - 1977
Bee Gees
“The Bee Gees are some of the best songwriters ever in pop music, and this is one of their better songs,” says Warren of the first single from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, which became the Gibbs’ top-charting hit.

26. Eye of the Tiger - 1982
Survivor

27. We Found Love - 2011
Rihanna Feat. Calvin Harris

28. Low - 2008
Flo Rida Feat. T-Pain

29. Just Want to Be Your Everything - 1977
Andy Gibb

30. Too Close - 1998
Next

31. Every Breath You Take - 1983
The Police
“It became this wedding song, but it’s about a stalker!” says Warren with a laugh. “You think it’s romantic, but it could be someone looking through your window! I like the subversiveness of that. And it had quite a life too, with Puffy’s version [“I’ll Be Missing You”]. If you put those two together, it’d be No. 1 on this list.” (This is true.)

32. Somebody That I Used to Know - 2012
Gotye Feat. Kimbra

33. ​Despacito - 2017
Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Feat. Justin Bieber

34. FlashdanceWhat a Feeling - 1983
Irene Cara

35. Rolling in the Deep - 2011
Adele

36. Tossin’ and Turnin’ - 1961
Bobby Lewis

37. The Battle of New Orleans - 1959
Johnny Horton

38. One Sweet Day - 1995
Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men

39. Truly Madly Deeply - 1998
Savage Garden

40. Silly Love Songs - 1976
Wings

41. Let’s Get It On - 1973
Marvin Gaye

42. Night Fever - 1978
Bee Gees

43. Another One Bites the Dust - 1980
Queen

44. Say Say Say - 1983
Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson

45. How You Remind Me - 2001
Nickelback

46. Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree - 1973
Dawn Feat. Tony Orlando

47. It's All in the Game - 1958 
Tommy Edwards

48. I Want to Hold Your Hand - 1964
The Beatles
The all-time top act in Hot 100 history broke through in America with this single, the first of its record 20 No. 1s. The song reigned for seven weeks, setting the record for the longest-leading debut hit on the chart for a Capitol Records act. (Forty-four years later, Katy Perry tied the mark with “I Kissed a Girl.”)

49. Shadow Dancing - 1978
Andy Gibb

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50. Call Me Maybe - 2012
Carly Rae Jepsen

*See story here

51. Blurred Lines - 2013
Robin Thicke Feat. T.I. + Pharrell

52. Candle in the Wind - 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight - 1997
Elton John

53. No One - 2007
Alicia Keys

54. I Will Always Love You - 1992
Whitney Houston

55. End of the Road - 1992
Boyz II Men

56. Boom Boom Pow - 2009
The Black Eyed Peas
Some years, the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 belongs to one act for weeks on end (The Beatles in 1964, Drake in 2018). But no artist has achieved a streak like The Black Eyed Peas did in 2009, when the group ruled for a record 26 weeks in a row, thanks to the smashes “Boom Boom Bow” (12 weeks) and “I Gotta Feeling” (14).

57. Call Me - 1980
Blondie

58. Let Me Love You - 2005
Mario

59. Stayin’ Alive - 1978
Bee Gees

[readmore:]

60. Lady - 1980
Kenny Rogers

61. TiK ToK - 2010
KeSha

62. I’m a Believer -1966
The Monkees
TV and Hot 100 success have long been intertwined. By 1966, The Monkees had an eponymous NBC comedy, and over the next three years would land three No. 1s, leading longest (seven weeks) with “I’m a Believer,” written by Neil Diamond.

63. Gold Digger - 2005
Kanye West Feat. Jamie Foxx

64. Apologize - 2007
Timbaland Feat. OneRepublic

65. The Sign - 1994
Ace Of Base

*See story here

66. Centerfold - 1982
The J. Geils Band

67. All About That Bass  - 2014
Meghan Trainor

​68. (Just Like) Starting Over - 1980
John Lennon

69. Royals - 2013
Lorde
“It’s a little scary when you first hear it -- a little ominous and brooding,” says Ronson. “It sounds so big yet so cool and dark -- and it sounds like a fucking hit. As someone who makes music, that’s always the time I feel the most jealous.”

70. The Boy Is Mine - 1998
Brandy & Monica

[readmore:]

71. Because I Love You (The Postman Song) - 1990
Stevie B

72. I Love Rock ’N Rolln - 1982
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

73. Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In - 1969
The 5th Dimension

74. Whoomp! (There It Is) - 1993
Tag Team
“Whoomp!” never hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 -- it was blocked by UB40’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover.” But the dancefloor classic’s seven weeks at No. 2 secured its place on this list. It even spawned two more versions that subsequently hit the chart: “Addams Family (Whoomp!)” and “Whoomp (There It Went)” from Disney’s Mickey Unrapped.

75. Moves Like Jagger - 2011
Maroon 5 Feat. Christina Aguilera

76. Ebony and Ivory - 1982
Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder

77. Rush Rush - 1991
Paula Abdul

78. That’s What Friends Are For - 1986
Dionne & Friends

79. Happy - 2014
Pharrell Williams

80. Upside Down - 1980
Diana Ross
“It’s such a tough-sounding record, with that Nile Rodgers/Bernard [Edwards] production,” says Ronson. “But it’s like club crack. As a DJ, I’ve probably played that record 23 million times. People still just go crazy for it -- even more so than ‘I’m Coming Out.’ ”

81. Sugar, Sugar - 1969
The Archies

82. Just the Way You Are - 2010
Bruno Mars

83. Dilemma - 2002
Nelly Feat. Kelly Rowland

84. I Heard It Through the Grapevine - 1968
Marvin Gaye

85. You’re Still the One - 1998
Shania Twain

86. Billie Jean - 1983
Michael Jackson

87. Hot Stuff - 1979
Donna Summer

88. Rockstar - 2017
Post Malone Feat. 21 Savage

89. Gangsta’s Paradise - 1995
Coolio Feat. L.V.

90. Abracadabra - 1982
The Steve Miller Band

91. Perfect - 2017
Ed Sheeran

92. You’re So Vain -1973
Carly Simon

93. Play That Funky Music - 1976
Wild Cherry

94. Say You, Say Me - 1985
Lionel Richie

95. My Sharona - 1979
The Knack
“Everything goes together to make this iconic riff: these crazy guitar tones, the drums are super boxy, and having come out of the warm ’70s sound, it stood out so much,” says Ronson. “It’s one of the greatest one-hit wonders ever.”

96. All Night Long (All Night) - 1983
Lionel Richie

97. Nothing Compares 2 U - 1990
SinÉad O’Connor
“Everything about it is pop perfection,” says Warren. “I usually like the version by the artist who wrote it, but you know what? She outdid [Prince]. It’s all in the performance, in those words and that melody and what it makes you feel. You don’t need all the bells and whistles.”

98. I Swear - 1994
All-4-One

99, Family Affair - 2001
Mary J. Blige

100. Waiting for a Girl Like You - 1981
Foreigner
Foreigner’s lush ballad (co-written by Ronson’s stepdad, guitarist Mick Jones) zoomed to No. 2, then stayed there for 10 weeks. “He tries to say he wrote it for my mom, and she’s like, ‘Dude, it came out three years before we met,’ ” says Ronson with a laugh. To date, only one other song has peaked at No. 2 for that long: Missy Elliott’s “Work It,” in 2002 and 2003.

Methodology: The Greatest of All-Time 60th Anniversary Billboard Hot 100 Songs and Artists rankings are based on weekly performance on the Hot 100 (from its inception on Aug. 4, 1958, through July 21, 2018). Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at lower spots earning the least. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, eras are weighted differently to account for chart turnover rates during various periods. Artists are ranked based on a formula blending performance, as outlined above, of all of their Hot 100 chart entries.

This article originally appeared in the Aug. 4 issue of Billboard. 

Hot 100 60th Anniversary