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Billboard Chart Record-Breakers: The Longest Music Moments Ever

The days are getting longer, summer is almost here, and stars like Hunter Hayes and Jack White trying their hands at music record-breaking, we're celebrating the best way we know how: with a long…

The days are getting longer, summer is almost here, and stars like Hunter Hayes and Jack White are trying their hands at music record-breaking. We’re celebrating the best way we know how: with a long, long look at the record-breaking “longest” moments on the Billboard charts.

The Beatles: 12 Record-Breaking Chart Feats

Longest Reign at No. 1 on the Hot 100
Released in 1995, the enduring Mariah Carey collaboration with Boyz II Men, “One Sweet Day,” spent 16 sweet weeks (four months!) at the pinnacle of the Hot 100 chart.


WEST SIDE STORYLongest Reign at No. 1 on the Billboard 200
The 1961 soundtrack for the feature film version of the immortal Broadway musical “West Side Story” holds the record for staying atop Billboard’s main album chart. It ruled for more than a year: 54 weeks!


Longest Run on the Hot 100
With a whopping 87 weeks on the chart, Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” holds the record for most weeks spent on the Hot 100.


DARK SIDE OF THE MOONLongest Run on the Billboard 200
Pink Floyd’s acclaimed 1973 classic “Dark Side of the Moon” has spent an amazing 861 weeks riding the Billboard 200 album chart. That’s over 16 (non-consecutive) years!

‘Dark Side’ At 40: Classic Track-By-Track Review

Longest Climb to No. 1 on the Hot 100
It took Los Del Rio’s inescapable 1996 dance-craze ditty “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix),” an exhausting 33 weeks (over two chart runs) from the moment it entered the Hot 100 to finally reaching the top.


PAULA ABDULLongest Climb to No. 1 on the Billboard 200
She probably had no idea how appropriate her 1988 album title would be when she came up with it, but it took Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl” a total of 64 weeks – a year and three months – to go from entering the Billboard 200 to reaching No. 1.


STARS ON 45Longest Title (Most Words) to Hit No. 1 on the Hot 100
Who’d have thunk it, but Stars On 45’s 1981 single had a title so long – 41 words – you have to take several breaths in order to say it all: “Medley: Intro Venus / Sugar Sugar / No Reply / I’ll Be Back / Drive My Car / Do YouWant to Know a Secret / We Can Work It Out / I Should Have Known Better / Nowhere Man / You’re Going to Lose That Girl / Stars on 45.” Gasp.

FIONA APPLELongest Title (Most Words) for a Billboard 200 Album
Fiona Apple’s 1999 No. 13-peaking set is famous for its ultra-ultra long title, which takes up 90 words and, including spaces, 446 characters. Count ’em: “When the pawn hits the conflicts he thinks like a king What he knows throws the blows when he goes to the fight And he’ll win the whole thing ‘fore he enters the ring There’s no body to batter when your mind is your might So when you go solo, you hold your own hand And remember that depth is the greatest of heights And if you know where you stand, then you know where to land And if you fall it won’t matter, cause you’ll know that you’re right”

Longest Gap Between No. 1s on the Hot 100

It was 24 years, 11 months and three weeks between the single week Cher’s “Dark Lady” tallied at No. 1 (March 23, 1974) and the first week (of four) that her “Believe” spent at No. 1 (March 13, 1999).


Longest Reign On The Billboard 200 By A Woman
Just last year, Adele’s “21” tallied its 24th and last week at No. 1, marking the most time atop the chart for an album by a woman. The set passed the 20-week command of Whitney Houston’s soundtrack to “The Bodyguard” in 1992-93.

Longest Reign On The Billboard 200 By A Man
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” holds the mark among men with 37 weeks on top in 1983-84: the iconic set, which produced seven top 10 hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100, is also the best-selling studio album ever, certified 29-times Platinum by the RIAA.

Longest Span of No. 1s on the Hot 100
Cher holds the record of notching No. 1s on the Hot 100 over the longest period of time: 33 years, seven months and three weeks. The first of three weeks at No. 1 for “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher was Aug. 14, 1965. The last week at No. 1 for Cher’s “Believe” was Apr. 3, 1999.

ELVIS PRESLEYLongest Span of No. 1s on the Billboard 200
Elvis Presley scored his first Billboard 200 No. 1 46 years, five months and three weeks before his last one. The King’s first No. 1 album was “Elvis Presley” (first week at No. 1: May 5, 1956) and his most recent was “ELVIS: 30 #1 Hits” (last week at No. 1: Oct. 26, 2002).


SANTANALongest Wait from an Artist’s Debut Hot 100 Entry to its First No. 1
Santana had to wait 30 long years between the time it first cracked the Hot 100 with “Jingo” (Oct. 25, 1969) and the first of 12 weeks at No. 1 for “Smooth,” featuring Rob Thomas (Oct. 23, 1999).


TONY BENNETTLongest Wait from an Artist’s Debut Billboard 200 Entry to its First No. 1
Tony Bennett waited 54 years for his first No. 1: 2011’s “Duets II.” The pop singer’s first charted album was 1957’s “Tony,” which debuted on the chart dated Feb. 23, 1957.


The “Longest” Hot 100 Hit
Only one song with the word “longest” in its title has ever hit the Hot 100. Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time” peaked at No. 14 in 1984.

Longest Reign on the Billboard 200 for an Animated Soundtrack
History has just been made, as Disney’s “Frozen” has become the longest-leading soundtrack to an animated film 13 weeks so far. It passed fellow Disney blockbuster “The Lion King,” which roared at No. 1 for 10 weeks in 1994-95.

Written by Alex Chapman and Sarah Maloy.