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Aretha Franklin’s Record-Setting Achievements on Billboard’s R&B Charts

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, proved to be the queen of Billboard's R&B charts, too.

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, proved to be the queen of Billboard‘s R&B charts too. As previously reported, the icon died at her home in Detroit on Thursday, Aug. 16, at age 76.

Franklin first appeared on the Hot R&B Sides chart (now named Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs) on Oct. 24, 1960, when “Today I Sing the Blues” started at No. 22. Two months later, the song peaked at No. 10, marking her first of an astonishing 52 top 10s on the chart. The sum stands as the most among women and third overall, behind Drake‘s 68 and James Brown‘s 57.

Of Franklin’s 52 top 10s, 20 ascended all the way to No. 1, tying her with Stevie Wonder for the most chart-toppers of any act in the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs’ chart history (which dates to October 1958 as an all-encompassing survey for the genre). Collectively, her 20 leaders spent a combined 65 weeks in the top slot, yet another record among women.

The Queen also leads all women for most career weeks in the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs top 10 (333) and most appearances on the chart overall (96, with four credited as double-sided singles, making for an even 100 charted songs). Franklin earned her last top 10 in 1998, as “A Rose Is Still a Rose” reached No. 5, while her last entry in her lifetime is a 2014 cover of Adele‘s “Rolling in the Deep,” which reached No. 47.


On Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Franklin, too, was a force. She appeared on the very first ranking (then named Hot R&B LP’s and dated Jan. 30, 1965) with Runnin’ Out of Fools, at No. 9. Fools kick-started a run of 32 top 10 successes and 46 total charted albums on the list, both record tallies among female acts.

While Fools introduced her to the chart, her fourth charted album, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, made her a legend. The 1967 set, armed with the enduring classics and R&B chart-toppers “Respect” and the title track, became the first album by any solo female artist to top the list and reigned for 14 weeks.

She quickly followed Man with another No. 1 album in 1967, Aretha Arrives, and the following year became the first woman to replace herself at No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums: Her Lady Soul ruled for 16 nonconsecutive weeks before ceding the summit to Aretha Now, which dominated for 17 frames.

With Man, Lady and Now, Franklin is the only female artist with three albums that have reigned for at least 10 weeks each on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.

In total, Franklin landed 10 No. 1 albums on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, a sum equaled only by Mary J. Blige for the most among women in the chart’s history.

Thanks to her monumental success on the flagship R&B/hip-hop rankings, The Queen of Soul, unsurprisingly, was crowned Billboard‘s top female R&B/hip-hop act of all-time in February 2017 and second overall only to The Temptations.