Rewinding The Charts: In 1960, Connie Francis Became the First Woman to Top the Billboard Hot 100
On July 2, 1960, the then-21-year-old Jersey girl scored the first-ever Hot 100 No. 1 by a female artist, just one of her 53 career hits.
Nearly two years into the Billboard Hot 100‘s existence, the top of the chart was essentially a boys’ club.
Starting with Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool,” which led the inaugural list on Aug. 4, 1958, only one of the first 29 No. 1s featured prominent female vocals: “To Know Him, Is to Love Him” by The Teddy Bears, a vocal trio featuring one female member (as well as a young Phil Spector).
But on July 2, 1960, Connie Francis, then 21, made history when “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool,” recorded with the Joe Sherman Orchestra, rose 2-1. By year’s end, three more No. 1s by solo women would rule: Francis’ follow-up “My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own” and Brenda Lee‘s “I’m Sorry” and “I Want to Be Wanted.”
During her career, Francis notched 53 Hot 100 hits. In recent years, she’s focused on fighting for mental healthcare reform for veterans, having co-founded the Haven From the Storm charity.
But, back in 1960, she was hungering for another goal, at least according to a Billboard cover story in the May 16 issue, where “Fool” rose 52-39 in its second chart week, on its way to No. 1. Its title? “Connie Dreams of a Wiener Schnitzel.”
On a promotional tour in Vienna, Francis told Billboard, “I should stay in this wonderful city to see all these fine buildings, to visit these magnificent churches … and to order one Wiener Schnitzel a day!”