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Bruce Springsteen debuts at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 chart this week with Only the Strong Survive, scoring his 22nd top 10 album. He has notched top 10s in each of the last six decades, from the 1970s to the 2020s. How rare is that feat, and are there any other notable chart achievements of his that we can celebrate this week?
Springsteen is one of only three artists with newly charting top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 in each of the last six decades, having joined James Taylor when the former’s Letter to You launched at its No. 2 best in 2020. Paul McCartney made the elite club a trio (including his work with Wings) in 2021.
The three Rock and Roll Hall of Famers’ Billboard 200 top 10 totals by decade:
Paul McCartney: ’70s: 10 / ’80s: two / ’90s: one / ’00s: four / ’10s: three / ’20s: one (21 total)
Bruce Springsteen: ’70s: two / ’80s: five / ’90s: three / ’00s: six / ’10s: four / ’20s: two (22 total)
James Taylor: ’70s: six / ’80s: one / ’90s: one / ’00s: two / ’10s: two / ’20s: one (13 total)
Per the breakouts above, Springsteen, with the debut of the aptly titled Only the Strong Survive, becomes the only act to have earned multiple top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, ’10s and ’20s.
Notably, Barbra Streisand, if she can notch a pair of top 10s in the ’20s, would surpass Springsteen’s streak (and potentially McCartney and Taylor’s, if they can each add a top 10 this decade) of multiple Billboard 200 top 10s in each of six decades, as she tallied more than one in each decade from the ’60s through the ’10s, having most recently reached the region in 2016. Here are Streisand’s decade-by-decade totals – with the fellow superstar, who boasts the most top 10s among soloists (34, second overall only to the Rolling Stones’ 37) having notched at least four top 10s in each of those decades: ’60s: nine / ’70s: seven / ’80s: six / ’90s: four / ’00s: four / ’10s: four.
Meanwhile, Springsteen’s latest chart feat – with Only the Strong Survive also new at No. 1 on Top Rock & Alternative Albums – accompanies that of another legend: Elton John, who crowns Adult Pop Airplay with “Hold Me Closer,” alongside Britney Spears. Similar to Springsteen’s new Billboard 200 accolade, the song itself traverses decades, as it reimagines the hook of John’s 1972 classic “Tiny Dancer” and the verses of his 1992 Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hit “The One.” John also upped his career Billboard Boxscore touring total to a near-record level, thanks to his three shows Nov. 17, 19 and 20 at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium.
Springsteen and John have long been linked on Billboard‘s surveys, even if they haven’t combined for any hits, dating to Springsteen’s first charted song. On the Hot 100 dated Sept. 20, 1975, Springsteen made his first appearance at No. 68 with “Born to Run.” One notch lower, John charted with an enduring single of his own: “Someone Saved My Life Tonight.”
Springsteen scored his first Hot 100 top 10, “Hungry Heart,” in December 1980, after John reached the tier that June with “Little Jeannie.” They also each earned top 10s in the same year in 1984-86, 1988 and 1994.
(As for their most-streamed songs in the U.S. to-date, according to Luminate, John’s “Rocket Man,” from 1972, has drawn 738 million official on-demand streams and Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” from 1984, 318.6 million.)
“He’s probably one of the nicest people in rock and roll I’ve ever met in my life,” John said of Springsteen in 1980 on the Australian TV show Countdown, helping introduce a performance of the latter’s “The River.” “One of the sweetest and sincerest people. At the moment in America, he’s the biggest cheese going and good luck to him, because someone that nice deserves it.”