Each And Every One

Every once in a while [1], I like to write about statistics that I find to be at least of moderate interest, especially as they relate to my blog as a whole. In light of that fact, I would like to comment a little bit about some of the more notable statistics relating to the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, which is the best-known and highest regarded comprehensive music chart in the United States (I am aware that other nations have their own charts, some of which I find highly interesting, but as I am an American, I tend to be most aware of and most concerned with the music of my own country, and that music which is accessible and available here from foreign musicians).

It would appear, if one wants to make a case for who are the most significant musical artists of the Rock & Roll era, that cumulative statistics would be the most obvious way to make that case plain. By looking at the most notable achievements for career hits on the level of Hot 100, Top 40, Top 10, and Number 1, we can gather a list of those artists who have stood head and shoulder above their peers, and which artists should be expected to be rewarded for that sustained excellence that is more than simply one big hit or a smash album with a few big singles, but rather excellence that left an impressive cumulative record on the charts.

Since the Billboard Hot 100 is a very familiar and well-known chart, it is not hard to find a list of those artists that have the most hits on different levels [2], and let us talk about each of these levels individually:

Most Hot 100 Hits:

Glee Cast (207)
Elvis Presley (149; 41 of which were before 1958, when the Hot 100 started)
Lil Wayne (122, 71 of which he was a featured artist)
James Brown (91)
Jay-Z (82)
Ray Charles (74)
Aretha Franklin (73)
The Beatles (71)
Drake (70)
Elton John (68)

Let us stop for a moment and look at this particular list. Every single eligible musician on this particular list has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, without exception [3]. The following artists on this list are not yet eligible for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame because 25 years has not yet passed since their first album release: Glee Cast, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, and Drake. Jay-Z has long been thought of as one of the most important rap artists of his generation, and he remains extremely popular and relevant, so in about 2020 or so, when 25 years have passed since his debut album, “Reasonable Doubt,” he can expect a quick induction. The Glee Cast presents an interesting case about the influence that the show has had culturally and in helping to lead to a revival (however long it lasts) of musicals within American society, and for that reason alone the cast deserves induction, even if it will be complicated to figure out which people on the cast to induct. Lil Wayne and Drake are both pretty recent artists, but already they have such an impressive total of popular songs that there is no doubt that both artists will be considered immensely influential, and since both have plenty of years to gain even more hit singles before becoming eligible, neither of these artists should be in any doubt of their induction either, given the elite company that they have reached.

Most Top 40 Singles:

Elvis Presley (114, 14 of which were before 1958)
Lil Wayne (64)
Elton John (58)
Glee Cast (51)
The Beatles (50)

Here again we see that Lil Wayne and the Glee Cast are in extremely elite company with their chart success, giving them an even stronger case for induction, since they have more Top 40 hits than the Beatles.

Most Top 10 Singles:

Madonna (38)
Elvis Presley (36)
The Beatles (34)
Michael Jackson (29)
Stevie Wonder (28)
Elton John, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey (27)
Rihanna (25)
Whitney Houston, The Rolling Stones (23)

Here we see that among eligible musicians, only Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston have yet to be inducted. Given the company that they are with, they should both be inducted soon (Janet Jackson first, given her prominence as a songwriter as well [4]). Among other artists, Mariah Carey will soon be eligible and she will have an excellent case for being a major influence in the last 25 years as well, with a hopefully smooth and rapid road to induction. This particular list also adds one more younger artist to the list of very likely inductees for career influence and excellence, and that is Rihanna, whose popularity is not too surprising.

Most Number-One Singles:

The Beatles (20)
Elvis Presley, Mariah Carey (18)
Michael Jackson, Rihanna (13)
The Supremes, Madonna (12)
Whitney Houston (11)
Stevie Wonder, Janet Jackson (10)

Here again we see a familiar list of artists. All of the eligible names on this list apart from Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson have been inducted, and Mariah Carey will be eligible soon. All three of those ladies deserve to be inducted as soon as possible (given the high level of their achievement over the course of their careers). Again, we see that Rihanna is in very elite company and already has enough of a body of work to give her a rock-solid case for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame when she becomes eligible.

What does this mean for those who are fans of music? While there are definitely artists who may have had few or even no hits whose influence on music is undeniable, those artists who have managed to achieve a rank of being among the top 5 or 10 artists of all time on the most notable music chart in the United States have reached such a level of success that they deserve recognition. Even given the immense popularity of collaborative accounts in the contemporary music scene, these particular achievements are still remarkable and deserve credit. Let us hope the artists who have reached these achievements receive the credit they are due.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/safety-in-numbers/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/whatever-i-fear/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/a-salute-to-freedom-loving-british-settler-colonists/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/making-the-law-of-large-numbers-work-for-you/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/benjamin-disraelis-revenge/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/09/04/new-country-watch-list/

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Billboard_Hot_100_chart_achievements_and_milestones

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Rock_and_Roll_Hall_of_Fame_inductees

[4] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-janet-jackson/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, Music History, Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Each And Every One

  1. Pingback: Numbers | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Cui Bono? | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Book Review: The Beatles: Day By Day | Edge Induced Cohesion

  4. Pingback: The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: A Case Study In The Difficulty Of Signaling | Edge Induced Cohesion

  5. Pingback: Human Beings | Edge Induced Cohesion

  6. Pingback: Misunderstanding The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame | Edge Induced Cohesion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s