To celebrate Elvis’ 13th Number 1 album this week – the most chart-toppers for a solo artist ever in the UK – we looked back through the archives to celebrate the most prolific albums’ acts – both who’s had the most Number 1s and, as an added bonus, who’s notched up the most weeks at the top too…
Most Number 1s on the Official Albums Chart
If we’re talking about albums credited to one artist it was always going to be the Fab Four who finished top of the heap. Over the course of their career, and even beyond their split, John, Paul, George and Ringo have together amassed 15 chart-toppers. Kicking off with their debut Please Please Me in 1963, and hitting the top spot 37 year later with hits collection 1 in 2000, the Beatles have spent an incredible 174 weeks at Number 1. Please Please Me was their longest run at the summit, racking up an incredible 30 consecutive weeks at Number 1,
But before we move away from the Beatles entirely, let’s take a moment to recognise the artist who’s had the most Number 1 albums of all, when other work is included: Sir Paul McCartney. Macca’s not only hit Number 1 15 times with his Beatles bandmates, he’s also reached the top seven further times, six as a solo artist and again with wings & Linda McCartney. If we were crowning anyone ruler of the Official Albums Chart, Sir Paul’s record of 22 chart-toppers would be pretty much incontestable. And that’s why we made him our latest Official Chart Record Breaker!
In second place, a ’50s and ’60s superstar, the King of Rock n’ Roll himself – Elvis Presley. His first Number 1 album was his UK debut, fittingly titled Elvis Presley Rock n’ Roll, which spent just one week at the top in November 1956.
60 years later, Elvis swiveled his hips into the chart record books when The Wonder Of You hit the top spot. The album, which featured orchestral reworkings of some of his biggest hits, gave Elvis a 13th chart-topper, which made him the male solo artist with the most Number 1 albums. He’s spent 67 weeks at the top, second behind the Beatles on that tally too.
The solo acts with the most Number 1s on the Official UK Chart are…
|ARTIST||WEEKS AT NO.1|
©2016 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.
The charismatic breakout star has 12 chart-topping albums all of his own, an impressive enough record, but if you want to play devil’s advocate and include his Number 1s while part of Take That, he’d have another four to add to his tally. That would put him as third most successful UK albums act after Paul McCartney (22) and John Lennon (18).
As a solo artist, Robbie has spent 35 weeks at the top – yep, more than Madonna (more on her later!) – and his very first Number 1 was his debut Life Thru A Lens, which took 19 weeks to climb to the summit. He most recently made Number 1 at the very end of 2016 with The Heavy Entertainment Show.
With his second swing collection Swings Both Ways released in 2013, he notably also attained the 1,000th Number 1 album of the Official Albums Chart since 1956 – impressive work Rob!
The female solo star with the most albums to hit the top, and in third place overall, is Madonna, of course. She first hit the top in 1985, when her sophomore album Like A Virgin finally reached Number 1 in its 44th week on the Official Albums Chart, and most recently found herself top of the pile in 2012, with MDNA, her 12th chart-topper (if you include the Evita soundtrack, which we do).
When it comes to weeks at Number 1, Madonna’s scored 30, and was recently overtaken by Adele as female artist with most weeks at the top. Her longest run was 1990’s hits retrospective Immaculate Collection, one of the biggest selling albums of all time, which notched up nine straight weeks.
The Thin White Duke makes an appearance in the Top 5, also with 11 Number 1s to his name. It was until his fifth release Aladdin Sane that Bowie finally got to enjoy the spoils of a Number 1 record, with five straight weeks at the top, but once he started there was no stopping him.
Bowie was at the top quite recently – his final studio album Blackstar, released just before his death in January, was Number 1 for three weeks at the very start of the year. He’s managed 27 weeks atop the Official Albums Chart altogether.
Check out the full rundown of artists who’ve had five or more Number 1 albums, plus how many weeks they spent there:*
|ARTIST||NUMBER OF ALBUMS||TOTAL WEEKS NUMBER 1|
*Includes only albums credited to that artist, not appearances on others as part of bands etc.
©2016 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.
Most weeks at Number 1
As mentioned above, the Beatles and Elvis take the top two spots, but up in third, with more than a year spent ruling the Official Albums Chart are Abba, with 57 weeks over their nine chart-topping albums. Their 1976 Greatest Hits was their first chart-topper, while their most recent was another hits collection – Gold, which was last Number 1 in 1999.
Next up are veteran rockers Rolling Stones. Mick and the boys have spent 45 weeks hogging the top spot since they first took up residency in 1964 with their eponymous debut, right up until their latest Number 1 Exile On Main St, 46 years later.
Rounding off the top 5 of most weeks spent are Simon & Garfunkel, who’ve celebrated 40 weeks at Number 1. well, they’ve been around a long time, so it’s to be expected… except that this tally takes in just TWO albums. Bookends was their first in 1968, with a seven-week reign, while 1970’s Bridge Over Troubled Water notched up 33 weeks at Number 1!
Take a look at the list of Number 1 artists with the most weeks at the top, who’ve scored 20 weeks or more:
|ARTIST||NUMBER OF WEEKS||ACROSS HOW MANY ALBUMS|
|5||SIMON & GARFUNKEL||40||2|
©2016 Official Charts Company. Original story by Justin Myers