Almost every year, it seems, a musical artist is born who goes on to achieve at least one No. 1 song and alter the music industry in a significant way.
Every generation has its musical icons. These artists have huge fan followings, sell millions of records, and create the soundtrack of each era. And their popularity might sometimes wax and wane, those who reach the top often achieve an enduring status. (Here are 35 musicians with legendarily long careers.)
To determine the most famous musician born every year between 1930 and 2004, 24/7 Tempo compiled an index based on daily average Wikipedia pageviews from July 25, 2019 to July 24, 2022; Spotify follower count and monthly listener count; certified U.S. album sales as determined by the Recording Industry Association of America; and a custom score based on Billboard Hot 100 performance as of July 15, 2022, wherein a week at No. 1 is worth 100 points, a week at No. 2 worth 99 points, and so on up to a week at No. 100 worth one point. All index components were weighted equally.
Data on birth year and birthplace came from Famous Birthdays. No musicians born later than 2004 have been included – but it’s a sure thing that they’re developing out there and will one day make their mark.
Tastes have changed, careers have been reappraised, and the fame of many of the most popular artists of the mid-20th century has not endured. Some artists who had chart-topping hits 50 or more years ago have relatively few Spotify listeners today.
At the same time, other, much younger, musicians are probably at the peak of their careers now but have already logged achievements that will be talked about for decades to come. For example, Taylor Swift holds the honor of spending the most weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 – 36 weeks, putting her at the top of the most dominant reigns in Billboard history.
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