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Rewinding the Charts: In 1984, Madonna First Crossed The Top 10 ‘Borderline’

On June 16, 1984, Madonna's "Borderline," rose 11-10 and ignited one of the most impressive streaks in Hot 100 history: a run of 17 straight top 10s.

“I signed [Madonna] because I believed in Mark Kamins, who I thought was the greatest DJ, and he wanted to be a producer,” Seymour Stein — the man who signed the pop icon to the label he co-founded, Sire Records, in 1982 — recalled to Billboard in 2012. “So I gave him some money to bring me an artist, and the third or fourth thing he brought me was Madonna. I was very involved in the beginning. Then I realized, ‘This woman is smarter than all of us. Just get out of her way.'”

Madonna’s 40 Biggest Billboard Hits

Stein (whose first job was as an assistant at Billboard, aiding in the creation of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958) foretold Madonna’s historic chart run. On June 16, 1984, “Borderline,” the poppy, synth-laced second single from Madonna’s self-titled debut album, rose 11-10 to become her first top 10 on the chart. Although it stopped at No. 10, spending a lone week in the top tier, it ignited one of the most impressive streaks in Hot 100 history: a run of 17 straight top 10s for the Material Girl. (“Borderline” is also tied, with 1994-95’s “Take a Bow,” for her longest-charting Hot 100 hit: 30 weeks on the chart.)

After she reached No. 16 with her debut Hot 100 entry, “Holiday,” in January 1984, Madonna wouldn’t miss the top 10 for the remainder of the decade. That five-and-a-half-year stream of smashes resulted in some of her most iconic tracks, including “Like a Prayer,” “Papa Don’t Preach” and “Like a Virgin.” The pop queen’s stranglehold on the top 10 lasted until “Oh Father” ended the trend in early 1990, halting at No. 20. The drought didn’t last long, however: After the “Father” blip, Madonna recovered with another run of eight straight top 10s through 1993.

Madonna’s 17 Consecutive Top 10 Hits on the Hot 100
Title, Peak Date, Peak Position
1, “Borderline,” June 16, 1984, No. 10
2, “Lucky Star,” Oct. 10, 1984, No. 4
3, “Like a Virgin,” Dec. 22, 1984, No. 1 (six weeks)
4, “Material Girl,” March 23, 1985, No. 2
5, “Crazy for You,” May 11, 1985, No. 1 (one week)
6, “Angel,” June 29, 1985, No. 5
7, “Dress You Up,” Oct. 5, 1985, No. 5
8, “Live to Tell,” June 7, 1986, No. 1 (one week)
9, “Papa Don’t Preach,” Aug. 16, 1986, No. 1 (two weeks)
10, “True Blue,” Nov. 15, 1986, No. 3
11, “Open Your Heart,” Feb. 7, 1987, No. 1 (one week)
12, “La Isla Bonita,” May 2, 1987, No. 4
13, “Who’s That Girl,” Aug. 22, 1987, No. 1 (one week)
14, “Causing a Commotion,” Oct. 24, 1987, No. 2
15, “Like a Prayer,” April 22, 1989, No. 1 (three weeks)
16, “Express Yourself,” July 15, 1989, No. 2
17, “Cherish,” Oct. 7, 1989, No. 2

At the time, Madonna’s streak set a new Hot 100 record for the most consecutive top 10 hits among any artist. It has since been beaten only once, by Janet Jackson, who linked 18 in a row from 1989-1998.

Still, Madonna wasn’t even halfway finished with her top 10 collection. Since “Cherish,” she’s added 21 more top 10s to her resume, for a career total of 38 visits to the tier, the most among all artists. The Beatles follow with 34 Hot 100 top 10s, while Rihanna ranks third with 31.

The pop icon most recently featured in the upper bracket with “Give Me All Your Lovin'” (featuring Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.), which climbed to No. 10 in 2012, nearly three decades after her “Borderline” breakthrough.