What is the Most Popular Song Ever? (According to the Billboard Hot 100)

What do you think is the most popular song EVER in the 50 year history of the Billboard Hot 100 Chart?

Would it be Whatever You Like by T. I.? (nope, but it is #1 today – September 16, 2008).

How about Poor Little Fool by Ricky Nelson? (no, but it was the first #1 – on the inaugural list on August 4, 1958).

Then it must be a Beatles song, right?  No.  Stones? Nope.  U2? Naw.  Bobby Darin? Nyet.  Dean Martin? Nee.

The top song… The Twist by Chubby Checker.

Billboard utilized a complex formula (you can read about it at their site) to weigh songs from different eras to ensure all would get a fair shake.  Although The Twist only spent three weeks at the top of the charts, it did so twice “in two separate runs more than a year apart” – the only song to be number one on two different chart runs.

Although the historic Billboard Hot 100 has (obviously) 100 songs listed, I’ll only list the top ten (click on top ten to see videos of the songs):

  1. The Twist by Chubby Checker
  2. Smooth by Santana, featuring Rob Thomas
  3. Mack The Knife by Bobby Darin
  4. How Do I Live? by LeAnn Rimes
  5. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix) by Los Del Rio (They’ve got to be kidding…)
  6. Physical by Olivia Newton-John (um… it was the early 80’s)
  7. You Light Up My Life by Debby Boone (…ok, now it’s getting ridiculous)
  8. Hey Jude by The Beatles (…much better)
  9. We Belong Together by Mariah Carey (the only song from this millenia on the top ten)
  10. Un-Break My Heart by Toni Braxton



24 responses to “What is the Most Popular Song Ever? (According to the Billboard Hot 100)

  1. I’m sad. I hate most of those songs. (Don’t worry…not Hey Jude).

    Does this mean I’m not like the rest of the lemmings? The mindless masses that devour whatever the machine puts out?

    Kidding. Sorta. That’s how I make myself feel special. I tell myself there is something wrong with THEM, not me.

    Seriously though, LeAnn Rimes? Olivia Newton John? Seriously??

    It does seem that a slow year (of good songs) could increase a song’s “legs” on the chart.

  2. Wow, about 1/2 of those truly surprise me. Like, LeAnn Rimes and Olivia Newton-John. I do like both of those songs, but the Top 10? My musical tastes run the gamut, but these really surprise me. I can understand Hey Jude, but all the way down at 8? Very interesting!

    You should look at all 100.

  3. Actually, “slow years”, those with few songs that hit #1, tended to lose out on this chart. What gets you big props is being the only song in an era to hit a long #1 or top ten streak. E.g: Hey Jude. By comparison, Irreplaceable by Beyonce, which actually spent more weeks at #1 didn’t even make the top 100. (And, yeah, I’m the same RockGolf as in the comments on the Billboard page. Happened across this page due to the Moossassination story.

    Hey, thanks for this explanation. I know several of us were wondering how some of these songs were rated so high. That’s interesting about Beyonce, I had overlooked that.
    Thanks for dropping a dollar in the jukebox for us (or… thanks for the comment).

  4. The song that was longest on the billboard charts at #1 was One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey. SO I wonder why it wouldn’t be on the top tenlist?????

    It’s an interesting list. I’ve scratched my head over a number of the songs listed and a number omitted.

  5. Actually it was Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, sorry. But still should have made the top ten list.

    Maybe Boyz II Men jinxed it – just kidding.


    He’s still the King! Even my 12 year-old son loves Elvis.
    Thanks for the visit and comment.

  7. I have to admit the bizarre at this list. I can almost rationalize The Twist, but the Macarena? Is it even fair to consider it an actual song? Some may feel similarly abut the twist though. I don’t know. All but Toni Braxton and The Beatles is a bit strange to me too be honest.

    My thoughts as well. It’s an interesting list.

  8. i think the most popular song ever is : don’t stop ’til you get enough by michael jackson, or even thriller or billie jean

  9. Heh; I’ve never heard 2-10 in my life, but I’m just a 19-year-old kid, anyway. ^^

    All good. Thanks for the visit.

  10. There’s no way that Macarena was more popular than Thriller. I was there for both of them!

    I’m with you on that.

  11. im surprised stairway to heaven isnt here! better than the macarena ;p

    No kidding.

  12. Definitely listen to those song really having sweet melody and Macarena definitely more popular and great tone.

  13. where the hell is lady Gaga ? She is so popular?!?!?!?!?

    • Yeah… No. Lady gaga is only popular in our era. There have been many musicians throughout history that were much more popular than lady gaga. You just probably were not around for them.

  14. soulja-boyfan88

    yeah, Just Dance through ALejandro have all been like… CHART TOPPING HITS! go GaGA but i like Soulja boy the besst! 🙂

  15. Leon- Rey de la Selva

    I may not be a musical expert, but I am what you might call a connoisseur in musical genre. I listen to everything musical save for the intense screamo songs that I can’t understand (I’m only 21, not really old… I enjoy moderate hardcore music but some are just incoherent screaming) and ‘popular’ country. I will admit, I don’t fall into a category of die-hard fan for anything, but I don’t go a day without music. All this to say… Billboard top 100: WTF?!?

    I’m at the other end of the age scale and I have (basically) the same question. Thanks for the visit and comment.

  16. Were the hell is yesterday on the list?

  17. Pingback: Fried Miracle

  18. gangnam style

  19. what about imagine by john lennon?? that is the most amazing song ever!

  20. some be my boyfreind

  21. I really am taken back by the lst of songs. i tend to gravitate towards older songs and I am surprised by the lack of very old songs. lets face it, musiv has been around for ages and with Bilboards limited exsistence I would think that some songs over 50 years old would give newage songs (like the Macarana) a run for its money. just my opinion though! keep up the good work…


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