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Morgan Wallen’s ‘Dangerous’ Is Close to Breaking Longest Top 10 Record on Billboard 200

After 83 nonconsecutive weeks, the album is only two weeks away from tying the record set by a singular artist in the chart's top 10.

Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album is closing in on a 58-year-old record on Billboard’s signature albums chart – the Billboard 200.

The set has spent 83 nonconsecutive weeks in the top 10 of the chart (through the list dated Aug. 27), since its debut at No. 1 on the Jan. 23, 2021, tally. That is only two weeks away from tying the record set by a singular artist. The album spent its first 10 weeks at No. 1 and has fallen out of the top 10 for only one week since its arrival on the list.

Since the Billboard 200 began publishing on a regular weekly basis, with the March 24, 1956-dated chart, the album with the most weeks in the top 10 is the original cast recording of My Fair Lady, with 173 weeks in the top 10 between 1956-60. The seven albums with the most weeks in the top 10 are all cast recordings or film soundtracks. (See list, below.)

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However, for albums by a singular artist (not a multi-artist soundtrack or cast recording), Peter, Paul and Mary’s self-titled set has the most weeks in the top 10, with 85 nonconsecutive weeks in 1962-64. The album spent seven nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 in 1962-63.

Adele’s 21 and Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. have the second-most weeks in the top 10, among albums by artists, with 84 each.

For 21, its 84 weeks in the top 10 were nonconsecutive in 2011-16. Born in the U.S.A.’s 84 weeks were consecutive, from its debut at No. 9 on the June 23, 1984-dated chart through its last week in the top 10 on Jan. 25, 1986.

21 spent 24 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 in 2011-12, and Born in the U.S.A. ruled the list for seven nonconsecutive weeks in 1984-85.

It’s likely that Dangerous will match the top 10 runs of 21 and Born in the U.S.A. on the Sept. 3-dated chart (whose top 10 is scheduled to be announced on Sunday, Aug. 28). Dangerous is on track to tie Peter, Paul and Mary’s 85-week-run on the Sept. 10-dated list, and surpass it a week later on the Sept. 17 chart.

Albums With Most Weeks in Top 10 on Billboard 200 Chart (March 24, 1956-onwards)
Weeks in Top 10, Artist, Title, Year First Reached Top 10
173, Original Cast, My Fair Lady, 1956
109, Soundtrack, The Sound of Music, 1965
106, Soundtrack, West Side Story, 1962
105, Original Cast, The Sound of Music, 1960
90, Soundtrack, South Pacific, 1958
87, Original Cast, Camelot, 1961
87, Soundtrack, Oklahoma!, 1956
85, Peter, Paul and Mary, Peter Paul and Mary, 1962
84, Adele, 21, 2011
84, Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A., 1984
83, Morgan Wallen, Dangerous: The Double Album, 2021
(through the Aug. 27, 2022-dated chart.)

Dangerous has been a monster-sized hit on the Billboard 200, becoming one of only four country albums with at least 10 weeks at No. 1 on the chart. It also finished 2021 as the year-end No. 1 album on the Billboard 200.

Dangerous debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 dated Jan. 23, 2021, and has left the weekly top 10 only once, on the Jan. 1, 2022-dated list, when it was squeezed out by a number of older holiday albums (typical for the season on the chart).

On Feb. 2, 2021, in the middle of the album’s fourth week of release, a video emerged showing Wallen using the N-word. He subsequently issued an apology. Reaction from the industry was swift, and his music was removed from dozens of high-profile playlists on streamers, and multiple radio groups dropped his music. However, on the Billboard 200, the album posted a gain in units earned during its fourth week and held at No. 1. Wallen spent 2021 out of the spotlight, but has been re-embraced by streamers and country radio (as he adds his seventh top 10 on the latest Country Airplay chart, dated Aug. 27). He’s also donated at least $500,000 to charitable causes, including the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville and Rock Against Racism. Earlier in 2022, Wallen performed at the Billboard Music Awards (May 15), marking his first performance at major awards ceremony since being caught on video using the slur. At the awards, he took home the trophy for top country male artist. (In 2021, he won three Billboard Music Awards, but was not invited to accept them during the broadcast.)

Some history on the Billboard 200 chart: The list began publishing as a regular, weekly fixture with the March 24, 1956-dated chart, where Harry Belafonte’s Belafonte was the No. 1 album in the U.S. At the time, the chart was only 10-positions and was named Best Selling Pop Albums. (Its name would change only a week later, to Best Selling Popular Albums.)

Prior to March 24, 1956, Billboard had tracked album popularity, but not consistently. The first overall album chart appeared 11 years earlier, on March 24, 1945. That chart was published on an irregular basis until it became a weekly fixture starting with the March 24, 1956 issue of Billboard magazine.

Notably, for a little over four years (between May 25, 1959-Aug. 10, 1963), the album chart was split into two separate lists, each tracking the sales of mono or stereo-recorded albums. These two charts were named Best Selling Monophonic LPs and Best Selling Stereophonic LPs. The names of the charts would change slightly over time, but Billboard would publish two charts for mono and stereo albums until Aug. 10, 1963. The following week, Aug. 17, 1963, the mono and stereo charts folded back into one overall chart.

The chart would grow to 200 positions in 1967. In 1992, and after a number of name changes, the chart would settle on its current name, Billboard 200.

For the above list of the albums with the most weeks in the top 10, if an album charted on both the mono and stereo chart, its total weeks in the top 10 is its combined total across both charts (without duplicating weeks). So, if an album was in the top 10 on both the mono and stereo chart in the same week, that counts as one week in the top 10.

As for how the Billboard 200 chart is compiled… through the May 18, 1991-dated chart, the chart ranked the week’s top-selling albums in the U.S., based on reports obtained from record stores. On the May 25, 1991-dated chart, the list began using electronically monitored point-of-sale purchase information courtesy of SoundScan, Inc. (now known as Luminate).

The chart would continue to rank the week’s top-selling albums, by traditional album sales, through the Dec. 6, 2014-dated chart. The following week (Dec. 13, 2014), the list transformed again, becoming a multi-metric popularity chart, ranking overall consumption, as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album.

Because of how the Billboard 200 is now compiled – where a lengthy track list can help accrue large streaming totals – an album like Dangerous (which debuted with 30 songs and was later reissued with three bonus tracks) profits greatly from the continued weekly streams of its hefty track list. Many high-charting albums on the Billboard 200 now have long track lists. In 2022, across the 17 albums that have been No. 1, the average album length is 19 tracks.

Further, older albums (known as catalog albums; generally defined today as titles 18 months old or older), were mostly restricted from charting on the Billboard 200 from May 25, 1991-Nov. 28, 2009. From Dec. 5, 2009-onwards, catalog and current (new/recently released) albums chart together on the Billboard 200. Today, older albums regularly spend hundreds of weeks on the chart – such as Journey’s Greatest Hits (more than 700 weeks) and Eminem’s Curtain Call: The Hits (nearly 600). Based on its track record thus far, one can imagine Dangerous could be on the Billboard 200 for hundreds of weeks to come.

Research assistance by Paul Haney from Record Research.