What do Bruce Springsteen, Faith Hill, Andy Williams, James Brown, and Busta Rhymes have in common? These luminaries in the genres of rock, country, easy listening, soul, and rap, respectively, have never reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. (You might be equally surprised at the best-selling musicians who have never won a Grammy.)
To determine the most popular artists who’ve had a No. 1 hit, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on chart performance from the Billboard Hot 100. Artists were ranked based on an inverse score wherein a week at No. 2 (the highest position any of these artists have attained) is worth 99 points, and so on, up to a week at No. 100 worth one point.
Only artists who’ve never had a song reach No. 1, either as solo performer or featured artist, were considered. Highest-charting entries include only songs on which the performer in question is listed as the primary artist (not a featured act). Chart data is current through Aug. 5, 2023.
Country stars are the performers most represented here. Faith Hill is just one of the 16 who has failed to summit the Hot 100. Others include Tim McGraw (Hill’s husband), Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, and Luke Bryan. It’s worth noting that the country acts named here have staying power, however, even if they never reached the top spot: Eleven of them were on the Hot 100 charts for more that 500 weeks each – and two were on for more than 900. (These are the most dominant reigns in Billboard history.)
After country, which is the genre most often represented here, come rap and rock acts (seven each), soul singers (five – including late ‘50s and early ‘60s luminaries Jackie Wilson, Brook Benton, and Sam Cooke), pop musicians (four), and one boy band – Backstreet Boys. Of all the artists listed here, rapper Lil Baby had by far the most songs on the Hot 100, at 136.
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