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Record-breaking musicians from the last decade (and the records they broke)

  • Record-breaking musicians from the last decade (and the records they broke)

    The music world is full of numbers and metrics—top-selling albums, most-played singles, and biggest chart-topping hits. Musicians and industry folks are constantly tallying the figures up, eager to determine who’s the hottest icon of the moment.

    According to Billboard’s Top 10 Hot 100 artists of All Time (1958–2018), The Beatles rank as the top artist of all time, followed by Madonna at #2 and Elton John at #3. Beyond the artists, songs have their own records, often unique ones. The song “Stay,” for example, by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs—which topped the Hot 100 list for a week in 1960—is the shortest #1 hit of all time, running at just 1 minute, 38 seconds.

    As far as albums are concerned, Michael Jackson holds the best-selling studio album of all time with 1982’s “Thriller,” which has sold an impressive 47.3 million certifiable copies (claiming actual sales at over 66 million). This number is significantly higher than the next best-selling studio album, Shania Twain’s 1997 country-pop album “Come On Over.”

    But it hasn’t only been classic icons like Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson who’ve made musical waves. The last decade has seen tons of new stars rising and breaking records, too, such as Katy Perry, Drake, Ed Sheeran, Cardi B, Taylor Swift, and others. The two youngest chart-toppers of all time are from the past decade—Rihanna was the youngest female solo artist at 23 to have a song in the Top 10 for at least 200 weeks while Justin Bieber was the youngest male at 25.

    To honor the stars of the past 10 years, Stacker has put together a gallery of the most record-breaking musicians of the past decade and the impressive records they set. Take a look to see your favorites.

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  • Rihanna: Female artist with the most #1 singles in a calendar year

    In 2010, after the release of her fourth studio album, "Rated R," Rihanna broke a music industry record by becoming the first woman solo artist in history to produce four #1 hits in a single calendar year. The songs included “Rude Boy,” “Only Girl (In The World),” “What’s My Name?” and “Love the Way You Lie.”

  • Ed Sheeran: First artist to debut two Top 10 songs the same week

    In January 2017, English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran became the first artist to ever debut two Top 10 hits within the same week. This impressive record occurred with “Shape of You" and "Castle on the Hill” when the former soared to #1 while the latter hit #6 on the Billboard list. A few months later, Drake became the second person to do this—a feat he later matched and then eventually surpassed.

  • Ariana Grande: First time since 1964 one artist occupied top three slots

    In February 2019, pop diva Ariana Grande achieved a feat that no one had accomplished since The Beatles in 1964: she had a song occupying the top three slots of Billboard’s Top 100. As “Thank U, Next” hit #3, it joined "Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored" at #2 and "7 Rings" at #1, the latter of which was in its fourth week occupying the space.

  • Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee: Song with most weeks at #1

    Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee made history in 2017 when their mega-hit single “Despacito”—which also featured Justin Bieber—tied Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men for the longest run in the #1 slot. The catchy reggaeton-influenced pop song held the top spot on the coveted Billboard list for 16 weeks in a row, a feat that only two other artists had ever achieved. In 2019, Lil Nas X beat the record with 19 weeks for "Old Town Road."

  • Katy Perry: Tied for the most #1 singles from one album

    Katy Perry’s 2010 party album “Teenage Dream” made history that year when it became the second time that any record produced five #1 hits. The only other time came in 1987 when Michael Jackson had five top hits on “Bad.” The songs that made the list included the title track, “Teenage Dream,” as well as "California Gurls," "Firework," "E.T.", and "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)."

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  • XXXTentacion: Posthumous song becomes #1 Billboard hit

    In 2018, XXXTentacion joined the short list of only eight artists in history who’ve had a single become a #1 hit posthumously with his emo-rap hit “Sad!”. Prior to the Florida rapper, the most recent example had been in 2008 when Louisville record producer Static Major made the list for his appearance on Lil Wayne’s auto-tune heavy hit "Lollipop." Others have included Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, Jim Croce, John Lennon, Soulja Slim, and the Notorious B.I.G.

  • Beyonce: Most Grammys won in one night by a female artist

    When “I Am… Sasha Fierce” swept the awards show in 2010, Beyonce’s third solo studio album garnered her the most Grammy awards won, six in total, in one night by a female artist (though Adele later tied her). In 2014, Beyonce passed Dolly Parton as the most Grammy-nominated woman of all time—a title she still holds.

  • Drake: Most simultaneous Hot 100 hits

    In July 2018, Drake set the record for the most songs in the Billboard Top 10 at once with seven tracks. The Beatles had previously held the record since 1964 with five entries. The previous year, the Canadian rapper tied then beat Ed Sheeran for the most debut Top 10 hits the same week with four songs. He is also tied with Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, and Janet Jackson for having the most Top 10 singles from one album with “Scorpion,” which had seven.

  • Taylor Swift: Female artist with the most Hot 100 hits at the same time

    Country-pop star Taylor Swift broke the record Sept. 7, 2019 when she dominated the charts with an impressive 18 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 list. The double-digit number remains the record among female artists for the most simultaneous entries on the coveted list. She beat singer-songwriter Billie Eilish who’d boasted 14. Swift is also the female musician with the most Top 10 debuts with 15 (just behind Drake who holds the overall record of 20).

  • Kelly Clarkson: Biggest jump to #1

    In 2009, pop singer Kelly Clarkson leapt from 97th place to the top slot on the Billboard Top 100 list, marking the biggest jump in history with the song, "My Life Would Suck Without You.”

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