The Beatles, with 20 No. 1 singles and 19 No. 1 albums, leads the pack
Greatest artists of all time
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - November 18, 2019 - 12:00am

Billboard Magazine, which is also known as the bible of the music industry, is now 125 years old. It was founded by William Donaldson and Jame Hennegan in 1894. Billboard started out as a trade publication for bill posters. You know stuff like handouts and fliers announcing events but later on became an entertainment magazine covering all types like concerts and circuses.

As popular music grew in popularity during the 1900s, Billboard turned more and more into a trade magazine covering music events, hit songs and industry news. Back then, these were mostly found in musical shows, concerts, sales of music sheets and eventually phonograph records.

I do not know who came up with the idea for hit charts. I guess it all started with the rock era, a time during the late ‘50s when record sales increased prodigiously. This was thanks to the arrival of music idols like Elvis Presley, whose fans sent his record sales zooming up to an all-time high. So, to get a better look at the market, Billboard started getting the weekly sales figures from outlets and then coming out with the bestsellers’ list based on the reports. 

Officially, the Hot 100, the hit list of top-selling singles of the week was inaugurated on Aug. 4, 1958. The first No. 1 song was Poor Little Fool by a 17-year-old Ricky Nelson. The first Top 200 Albums chart, the one which lists down the biggest-selling albums of the week, came along on Aug. 17, 1963. The No. 1 selling album of the year was the soundtrack of the motion picture adaptation of the musical Bye Bye Birdie, starring Dick Van Dyke, Janet Leigh and Ann Margret.

With technological advances in the ensuing years, the Billboard charts grew in accuracy and popularity all over the world.  An artist’s success soon came to be measured by the presence of his record releases in the hit lists. This remains so until today when the weekly lists are much awaited arrivals among music industry people worldwide.

This year to celebrate its 125th anniversary, Billboard came up with its list of the 125 greatest artists of all time, based, of course, on the way their recordings charted in the Hot 100 and the Top 200 Albums lists. Reading through it is like getting a crash course in the history of popular music. 

No one would be likely to contest the results. Not when Billboard has The Beatles, with 20 No. 1 singles and 19 No. 1 albums leading the pack. Following are The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Mariah Carey and Madonna completing the Top 5. I must say that Taylor Swift and Drake must be tickled pink that although of fairly recent times, they made the Top 10 of the list.

Here they are. The 125 greatest artists of all time.

The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, Stevie Wonder, Chicago, Whitney Houston, Paul McCartney, Elvis Presley, Janet Jackson, Rod Stewart, Drake, Prince, Rihanna, Billy Joel, Garth Brooks.

Herb Alpert, Eminem, Usher, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Diamond, The Supremes, Eagles, Bee Gees, The Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac, Santana, The Temptations, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Adele, Beyoncé, Eric Clapton, Lionel Richie, Led Zeppelin.

Bruno Mars, John Denver, Maroon 5, Olivia Newton-John, Bon Jovi, Phil Collins, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp, JAY-Z, Donna Summer, Nickelback, BoyZ II Men, Carpenters, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Foreigner, Britney Spears, Pink, Alicia Keys.

Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, The Jacksons, Earth, Wind & Fire, Marvin Gaye, U2, Linda Ronstadt, Van Halen, Bob Seger, Aerosmith, The Black Eyed Peas, Nelly, Carole King, Justin Timberlake, The Monkees, Kenny Rogers, Heart, Tim McGraw, Barry Manilow, R. Kelly.

Journey, Simon & Garfunkel, Michael Bolton, Ed Sheeran, Kelly Clarkson, Pink Floyd, Queen, Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Three Dog Night, Commodores, Paula Abdul, Bryan Adams, Chris Brown, Guns N’ Roses, Dep Leppard, Huey Lewis & The News, Linkin Park, James Taylor, Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, Paul Simon, Backstreet Boys, Lil Wayne, Carrie Underwood, Andy Williams, Styx, George Michael, Cher, TLC, Shania Twain, The Doobie Brothers, The 4 Seasons, Peter, Paul & Mary, Kenny Chesney, Destiny’s Child, 50 Cent, Ray Charles, Genesis, The Police.

Rascal Flatts, Ludacris, Gloria Estefan, George Harrison and Alan Jackson.

JAME HENNEGAN WILLIAM DONALDSON
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