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Paul McCartney, Santana & More: Artists With Longest Gaps Between Top 10 Hits

After a 29-year gap, Paul McCartney returned to the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 thanks to his Rihanna/Kanye West collaboration "FourFiveSeconds."

After a 29-year, two-week gap, Paul McCartney has returned to the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 thanks to his Rihanna/Kanye West collaboration “FourFiveSeconds,” which leaps 15-6. As previously reported by Gary Trust, this feat gives the former Beatle a new feather in his cap: He now has the longest gap between top 10 Hot 100 hits of any artist (credited as a lead).

Kanye, Rihanna & McCartney Hit Top 10 With ‘FourFiveSeconds’

The last time Macca had a top 10 on the chart was Feb. 8, 1986, when he notched a hit with the No. 7-peaking title song to the Chevy Chase/Dan Aykroyd comedy Spies Like Us. In case you can’t wrap your head around the massive gap between then and now, look at it this way — when McCartney was last in the Billboard Hot 100’s top 10 …


– The Berlin Wall was still standing.

– Just two weeks earlier, the space shuttle Challenger disintegrated before leaving earth’s orbit.

– Oprah Winfrey’s talk show show hadn’t gone national yet — she was still hosting local Chicago TV.

– Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera was months away from premiering.

The Simpsons, the longest-running scripted primetime series, didn’t exist. The Simpson family was more than a year away from debuting on The Tracey Ullman Show.

Lady Gaga was in the womb.

– Rihanna was two years away from being born.

– Kanye West was 8.

Another way of looking at it: the length of time between McCartney’s top 10s is greater than Kurt Cobain’s lifespan.

For the more visually inclined, check out the top five artists, billed as leads, with the longest gaps between their top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the graphic above.

Grammy Album of the Year Winners By Age

Below are the specific dates each song was on the Hot 100. Research by Gary Trust.

Paul McCartney, 29 years, 2 weeks
Feb. 8, 1986, “Spies Like Us”
Feb. 21, 2015, “FourFiveSeconds” (with Rihanna and Kanye West)

Santana, 28 years, 7 months, 2 weeks
Jan. 23, 1971, “Black Magic Woman”
Sept. 4, 1999, “Smooth” (feat. Rob Thomas)

Roy Orbison, 24 years, 5 months, 2 weeks
Oct. 31, 1964, “Oh, Pretty Woman”
April 15, 1989, “You Got It”

Aaron Neville, 22 years, 9 months, 1 week
Feb. 18, 1967, “Tell It Like It Is”
Nov. 25, 1989, “Don’t Know Much” (with Linda Ronstadt)

The Beatles, 19 years, 4 months, 3 weeks
Aug. 7, 1976, “Got to Get You Into My Life”
Dec. 30, 1995, “Free as a Bird”