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Which songs have been at number 1 in the USA for the longest time in history?

Just 44 songs have topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks or longer. Debby Boone was the first to reach double digits with ‘You Light Up My Life’ from 15 October to 17 December 1977.

Just 44 songs have topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks or longer. Debby Boone was the first to reach double digits with ‘You Light Up My Life’ from 15  October to 17 December 1977.
Arturo Holmes/MG24Getty Images for The Met Museum/

Post Malone’s latest collaboration with Morgan Wallen I Had Some Help will spend its third week at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. It’s the second time that Malone has topped the US charts this year - the first time in his own right. He was a featured artist on Taylor Swift’s Fortnight which reached the summit in May. It’s been a similar story for country singer Wallen, whose sole Hot 100 No.1, Last Night, the third single from his 2023 album One Thing at a Time, peaked in May 2023, then dropped before returning to the No.1 spot where it remained for the next 10 weeks.

Wallen’s Last Night was the 44th single to spent 10 weeks or longer at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and the first since Mariah Carey’s holiday classic All I Want for Christmas Is You - her third long-running chart topper to become the first female artist to achieve the feat (One Sweet Day and We Belong Together were her other 10-week No.1s).

The Billboard Hot 100 was created in August 1958 with Ricky Nelson’s Poor Little Fool having the honor of being the first No.1 single in the new chart. The following year, Bobby Darin set a new record for the most weeks at No.1 with his take of the Threepenny Opera classic, Mack the Knife. Released on the Atco label in August 1959, it sold millions, earning Darin the Record of the Year Grammy and high praise from Frank Sinatra, who called it the “definitive” version”.

Bobby Darin’s nine weeks at No.1

Darin’s Mack the Knife topped the charts for nine weeks - a record that stood the test of time and was eventually toppled in 1977. Debby Boone hit top spot with You Light Up My Life on 15 October 1977 and it stayed top right up until 17 December to become the first No.1 hit to reach double digits.

The achievement was matched by another female artist - Olivia Newton-John. The Australian singer/actress became the face of the new aerobics craze with her upbeat, gym workout anthem Physical - which sat atop the Hot 100 from 21 November 1981 until it concluded its 10-week run in the New Year, spending a total of 26 weeks on the chart with the memorable, steamy video winning a Grammy.

Billboard Hot 100 hits: weeks at No.1

  • 19 'Old Town Road' - Lil Nas X (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus)
  • 16 'One Sweet Day' - Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men
  • 16 'Despacito' - Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber
  • 14 'I Will Always Love You' - Whitney Houston
  • 14 'Macarena' - Los Del Rio
  • 14 'Candle in the Wind 1997' - Elton John
  • 14 'We Belong Together' - Mariah Carey
  • 14 'I Gotta Feeling' - The Black Eyed Peas
  • 14 'Uptown Funk!' - Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
  • 13 'End of the Road' - Boyz II Men
  • 13 'The Boy Is Mine' - Brandy and Monica
  • 12 'Lose Yourself' - Eminem
  • 12 Boom Boom Pow' - The Black Eyed Peas
  • 12 'Shape of You' - Ed Sheeran
  • 11 'God's Plan' - Drake
  • 11 'Un-Break My Heart' - Toni Braxton
  • 10 'Last Night' - Morgan Wallen
  • 10 'In My Feelings' - Drake
  • 10 'Happy' - Pharrell Williams
  • 10 'Physical' - Olivia Newton-John
  • 10 'You Light Up My Life' - Debby Boone
  • 9 'Mack the Knife' - Bobby Darin

Three-time chart-toppers Boyz II Men

Boyz II Men’s R&B ballad End of the Road featured on the soundtrack for Reginald Hudlin’s 1992 film Boomerang starring Eddie Murphy. Issued on Motown, it climbed to the number one position in August 1992 and would go on to spend a total of 13 weeks there - setting a new ceiling.

However, Boyz II Men’s record was short-lived - it was broken just a couple of month later by another single lifted from a soundtrack. Whitney Houston’s cover version of Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You, recorded for the movie, The Bodyguard, hit top spot just two weeks after End of the Road had left it. Whitney’s heart-wrenching ballad spent 14 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. It sold has sold over 24 million copies worldwide, making not only Houston’s biggest hit but also the best selling single by a female artist of all time.

Lil Nas X goes country with Billy Ray Cyrus

There was some consolation for Boyz II Men, whose 1994 smash I’ll Make Love to You equaled the record. In fact, they went one better a year later, joining forces with Mariah Carey on her hit single One Sweet Day which spent 16 weeks at number one. Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey and Drake are the only artists to have three separate entries in this particular Hot 100 all time list.

Other artists who appear more than once include: Drake, Santana, The Black Eyed Peas and Adele.

So in 2024, who holds the record? Lil Nas X enlisted Billy Ray Cyrus to provide vocals on his country trap track Old Town Road which was issued in digital download-only format in December 2018. Columbia decided to give it a proper release in March 2019. Old Town Road started to get exposure on TikTok and entered the Hot 100, climbing to No.1 where it spent a total of 19 weeks, making it the the longest running No.1 in the US charts in history.