Skip to main content

Aretha Franklin’s Top 20 Biggest Billboard Hot 100 Hits

Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin leaves behind an unparalleled legacy on Billboard's charts. The iconic diva died at her home in Detroit on Thursday (Aug. 16), at age 76.

Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin leaves behind an unparalleled legacy on Billboard‘s charts. The iconic diva died at her home in Detroit on Thursday (Aug. 16), at age 76.

In a chart career dating to 1960, Franklin scored 73 entries on the Billboard Hot 100, the most among women for nearly 40 years until Nicki Minaj passed her in 2017. 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), still a record among women. She earned 20 No. 1s on the list, tying Stevie Wonder for the most in the chart’s history.


Franklin first appeared on Billboard‘s charts, at just 18 years old, with “Today I Sing the Blues,” which debuted on the Hot R&B Sides (now Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs) chart dated Oct. 24, 1960. The song paved the way for her Hot 100 debut four months later, with “Won’t Be Long,” with The Ray Bryant Combo, on Feb. 27, 1961.

See Franklin’s first appearance on the Hot 100, “Won’t Be Long,” on Feb. 27, 1961, at No. 95, below:

Aretha Franklin's Top 20 Biggest Billboard

Franklin last sent a new song onto the Hot 100 with “Here We Go Again,” which reached No. 76 in 1998. The track was released from her 37th studio album, A Rose Is Still a Rose.

During her lifetime, Franklin charted 46 albums on the Billboard 200, with six reaching the top 10: I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You (No. 2, 1967), Aretha Arrives (No. 5, 1967), Aretha: Lady Soul (No. 2, 1968), Aretha Now (No. 3 ,1968), Aretha Live at Fillmore West (No. 7, 1971) and Amazing Grace, with James Cleveland (No. 7, 1972).

Franklin debuted her last Billboard 200 entry in November 2014 with Sings the Great Diva Classics, which hit No. 13, her highest rank in 29 years. More recently, A Brand New Me, with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, hit No. 5 on Classical Albums in December 2017, marking Franklin’s first visit to the survey, as she continued to break new ground 57 years after her first Billboard chart appearance.


Here are Aretha Franklin’s top 20 biggest Billboard Hot 100 hits:

Rank, Title, Hot 100 Peak Position, Peak Date

1. “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (with George Michael), No. 1 (two weeks), April 18, 1987

2. “Respect,” No. 1 (two weeks), June 3, 1967

3. “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do),” No. 3, Feb. 23, 1974

4. “Freeway of Love,” No. 3, Aug. 31, 1985

5. “Chain of Fools,” No. 2, Jan. 20, 1968

6. “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone,” No. 5, March 30, 1968

7. “Spanish Harlem,” No. 2, Sept. 11, 1971

8. “Bridge Over Troubled Water”/”Brand New Me,” No. 6, June 5, 1971

9. “Baby I Love You,” No. 4, Sept. 9, 1967

10. “Who’s Zoomin’ Who,” No. 7, Nov. 30, 1985

11. “Day Dreaming,” No. 5, May 6, 1972

12. “Think,” No. 7, June 15, 1968

13. “The House That Jack Built,” No. 6, Sept. 7, 1968

14. “A Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel Like),” No. 8, Nov. 4, 1967

15. “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” No. 9, April 15, 1967

16. “I Say a Little Prayer,” No. 10, Oct. 5, 1968

17. “Rock Steady,” No. 9, Nov. 27, 1971

18. “Angel,” No. 20, Sep. 1, 1973

19. “Don’t Play That Song” (with The Dixie Flyers), No. 11, Nov. 19, 1970

20. “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” (with Eurythmics), No. 18, Dec. 7, 1985

Aretha Franklin’s Top 20 Biggest Billboard Hot 100 hits chart is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100, through the Aug. 18, 2018, ranking. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, eras are weighted to account for different chart turnover rates over various periods.