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Aretha Franklin Continues Streak of No. 1s in Every Decade Since the ’60s With ‘Never Gonna Break My Faith’

Aretha Franklin's "Never Gonna Break My Faith," featuring The Boys Choir of Harlem, arrives at No. 1 on Billboard's Gospel Digital Song Sales chart dated July 4.

Aretha Franklin‘s “Never Gonna Break My Faith,” featuring The Boys Choir of Harlem, arrives at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Gospel Digital Song Sales chart dated July 4.

With the launch, the late Queen of Soul extends her streak of scoring a newly-charting No. 1 on a Billboard survey in a seventh straight decade, dating to her first in the 1960s.

Franklin, who passed away in August 2018 at age 76, wrote the song with Bryan Adams. She first recorded it with Mary J. Blige for the 2006 film Bobby, about U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 assassination. The version that makes its chart debut was released June 19, also known as Juneteenth, in celebration of the day in 1865 that all enslaved black people learned they had been freed.

“Faith” bows atop Gospel Digital Song Sales with 1,000 downloads sold in the week ending June 25, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. It’s Franklin’s second leader on the list, following “Precious Lord, Take My Hand/You’ve Got a Friend” in August 2018.

Also with 456,000 U.S. streams in the tracking week, “Faith” debuts at No. 3 on the multi-metric Hot Gospel Songs chart, where it’s Franklin’s first top 10 amid six appearances.

The Boys Choir of Harlem earns its first Gospel Digital Song Sales No. 1 and first Hot Gospel Songs top 10.


Franklin has now achieved newly-charting No. 1s on Billboard charts in seven straight decades, starting with “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Loved You),” which topped Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles (now named Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs) for seven weeks beginning on the chart dated March 25, 1967. This week, her span of topping Billboard charts, thus, extends to 53 years, three months and one week.

Franklin boasts 20 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs No. 1s, tied for the most with Drake and Stevie Wonder. She has logged two No. 1s on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100: iconic anthem “Respect,” which led for two weeks in June 1967, and her duet with George Michael, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” which reigned for two weeks in April 1987.

Franklin’s No. 1 résumé also includes 10 chart-topping titles on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (logged in 1967-82), six on Dance Club Songs (1985-2015) and three on Top Gospel Albums (1988-2018), among other leaders.