The Most Popular Song Every Year Since 1966

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

Songs serve as the soundtrack to our lives. You hear a melody and you’re instantly transported back to a time and a place in your past. Each year, one song rises to the top of the charts – and in your mind – and becomes instantly associated with a particular era, film, or artist. That’s true of the ones listed here. (These are the most popular hit singles of the 21st century.)

To identify the most popular song the year you were born, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the Billboard Hot 100 going back to January 1966. We looked at the song that peaked at #1 and spent the most amount of weeks on the chart. (Copies of each single sold come from the Recording Industry Association of America.)

Looking over the songs, many are from well-known artists still performing today. Frankie Valli hit the charts with “My Eyes Adored You” in 1975, and still plays concert halls. Others could be classified as one-hit wonders, typified by Nick Gilder’s 1979 catchy ditty “Hot Child in the City.” And has anyone heard from the Archies since 1969’s “Sugar, Sugar”?

One artist scored hits in consecutive years. The Weeknd dominated the charts for 74 weeks in 2021 with “Blinding Lights.” This year, his collaboration with Ariana Grande, “Save Your Tears,” has sold 3 million copies. Although not quite in consecutive years, Boyz II Men had chart-topping tunes in 1993 (“End Of The Road”) and 1995 (“I’ll Make Love to You”).

Click here to see the most popular song the year you were born.

It doesn’t hurt a song’s chances for hit status if it accompanied a popular movie. “Beaches,” the 1989 tearjerker, propelled Bette Midler’s “The Wind Beneath My Wings” to the top of the charts. Same goes for Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were” from the 1974 movie of the same name, and B.J. Thomas’s rendition of “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” from the 1970 classic “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” (These are the greatest songs from American movies.)

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