AT40 Book Of Records

One aspect that almost all fans of American Top 40 loved was when Casey or Shadoe would come out with some sort of chart fact or chart record. Of course records are being broken all the time so Casey or Shadoe would take great pleasure in telling about some current song in the countdown breaking a chart record, especially if that record was an old one.

This page is simply a depository of such chart superlatives. The period covered here is only to November 1991 when AT40 ceased using the Billboard Hot 100 for its countdown. Since that date many chart records have been broken so the information here is for historical and nostalgic purposes only and is not intended to be taken as current! There are many fine chart books out there that can fill you in on what the current chart records are.

Which chart?

 The Billboard Hot 100, from which "American Top 40" derived its countdown came into being August 4, 1958. Since that time it has been considered the "definitive" chart and any records set after that chart began are pretty much accepted. However before that date we run into problems, which has resulted in many arguments over record holders.

 The Hot 100's direct predecessor was called the "Top 100" which ran from Nov. 11 1955 to July 28 1958. Although their names were similar the Top 100 and the Hot 100 were different charts, both in appearance and the method of its compilation. The Hot 100 was a sales and airplay chart while the Top 100 was almost exclusively a sales only chart. Also being published at the same time as the "Top 100" were a "Jockey" chart (most played songs) a "Juke Box" chart, and to add more confusion a "Best-Seller" chart. Which unlike the Top 100 ranked "records" rather than "songs". AT40 in this period tended to refer to the Top 100 when mentioning chart facts from this era.

 Before November 12, 1955 there existed three charts - "Best-Sellers In Stores", "Most Played By Jockeys" and "Most Played In Juke Boxes". In this period (back to July 27 1940) AT40 tended to refer to the "Best-Sellers" chart as it was the oldest of the three, and the one most people would accept as the most definitive.

Here is a short summary of the charts then

Chart Start End
Best Sellers In Stores 27 July 1940 13 Oct 1958
Most Played In Juke Boxes 8 Jan 1944 17 June 1957
Most Played By Jockeys 27 Jan 1945 28 July 1958
Top 100 12 Nov 1955 28 July 1958
Hot 100 4 Aug 1958 23 Nov 1991*

*For the purposes of this page only.

After November 1991

Some mention needs to be made of the Top 40 charts after this date until the show's end in January 1995. With this date AT40 stop using the Billboard Hot 100 and began using the "Hot 100 Airplay" chart (the airplay only portion of the Hot 100 chart), and later still abandoned that in place of the "Top 40/Mainstream Airplay" chart (a chart that simply registers number of spins a song receives) as a result of the switch, many chart records were soon broken - which sounds good until you realize the methodology used in these later charts was drastically different than the pre-Dec 1991 charts. In effect you are comparing apples with oranges. As a result, I've decided to ignore any records claimed to have been made or broken by AT40 after November 1991.


Most weeks at #1 (Here are some superlatives on that from before AT40 began)

All time and all pop charts

Near You by Francis Craig and His Orchestra (Bob Lamm) (17 weeks on the "Jockeys" chart Aug - Dec 1947)

All time and Best Sellers chart only

Frenesi by Artie Shaw and His Orchestra (13 weeks Dec 1940 - March 1941)

I've Heard That Song Before by Harry James and His Orchestra (Helen Forrest) (13 weeks March - May 1943)

Goodnight Irene by Gordon Jenkins and His Orchestra and the Weavers (13 weeks Aug - Nov 1950)

Rock era (1955 to 1969) (before AT40)

Sincerely by the McGuire Sisters (10 weeks Feb - April 1955 on the Jockeys chart)

Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White by Prez Prado and His Orchestra (10 weeks April - July 1955 on Best Sellers chart)

Don't Be Cruel/Hound Dog by Elvis Presley (11 weeks Aug - Nov 1956 on Best Sellers chart)

Singing the Blues by Guy Mitchell (10 weeks Dec 1956 - Feb 1957 on the Jukebox chart)

Here is a listing of the Most weeks at #1 for the AT40 era of Jan 1970 to November 1991

You Light Up My Life Deby Boone 10 weeks 1977
Physical Olivia Newton-John 10 weeks 1981
Bette Davis Eyes Kim Carnes 9 weeks 1981
Endless Love Diana Ross and Lionel Richie 9 weeks 1981
Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright) Rod Stewart 8 weeks 1976
Night Fever The Bee Gees 8 weeks 1978
Every Breath You Take The Police 8 weeks 1983
Shadow Dancing Andy Gibb 7 weeks 1978
I Love Rock 'N Roll Joan Jett and the Blackhearts 7 weeks 1982
Ebony and Ivory Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder 7 weeks 1982
Billie Jean Michael Jackson 7 weeks 1983
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You Bryan Adams 7 weeks 1991
Bridge Over Troubled Water Simon and Garfunkel 6 weeks 1970
Joy To the World Three Dog Night 6 weeks 1971
First Time Ever I Saw Your Face Roberta Flack 6 weeks 1972
Alone Again (Naturally) Gilbert O'Sullivan 6 weeks 1972
Le Freak Chic 6 weeks 1978
My Sharona The Knack 6 weeks 1979
Call Me Blondie 6 weeks 1980
Lady Kenny Rogers 6 weeks 1980
Centerfold The J. Geils Band 6 weeks 1982
Eyes Of the Tiger Survivor 6 weeks 1982
Flashdance...What a Feeling Irene Cara 6 weeks 1983
Say Say Say Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson 6 weeks 1983
Like a Virgin Madonna 6 weeks 1984
I'll Be There Jackson 5 5 weeks 1970
One Bad Apple The Osmonds 5 weeks 1971
It's Too Late/I Feel the Earth Move Carole King 5 weeks 1971
Killing Me Softly With His Song Roberta Flack 5 weeks 1973
Silly Love Songs Wings 5 weeks 1976
Best Of My Love The Emotions 5 weeks 1977
Bad Girls Donna Summer 5 weeks 1979
(Just Like) Starting Over John Lennon 5 weeks 1980
Jump Van Halen 5 weeks 1984
When Doves Cry Prince 5 weeks 1984
Rush, Rush Paula Abdul 5 weeks 1991

Most weeks on the Top 40

The 20 week barrier - Until the chart switchover in 1991, a ideal barrier for long lived records to try and beat was the "20 week" barrier. It was rare for a record to spend over 20 weeks on the chart, and in fact there were long stretches in the 60s and 70s in which no record could manage to spend 20 weeks or more on the chart. Here are the songs during AT40s run (1970-1991) than managed it.

How Deep Is Your Love The Bee Gees 26 1
Stayin' Alive The Bee Gees 22 1
You Light Up My Life Deby Boone 21 1
Gloria Laura Branigan 22 2
Do That To Me One More Time The Captain and Tennile 22 1
Flashdance...What a Feeling Irene Cara 20 1
Emotions Mariah Carey 20 1
Bette Davis Eyes Kim Carnes 20 1
I Go Crazy Paul Davis 25 7
Centerfold The J.Geils Band 20 1
I Just Want To Be Your Everything Andy Gibb 23 1
(Love Is) Thicker Than Water Andy Gibb 22 1
Don't You Want Me The Human League 21 1
Celebration Kool and the Gang 21 1
Pop Muzik M 20 1
Hurts So Good John Cougar 22 2
A Fifth Of Beethoven Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band 22 1
Physical Olivia Newton-John 21 1
I Like Dreamin' Kenny Nolan 20 3
Another One Bites the Dust Queen 21 1
You and I Eddie Rabbitt/Crystal Gayle 21 7
Keep On Loving You REO Speedwagon 20 1
Jessie's Girl Rick Springfield 22 1
Y.M.C.A. The Village People 20 2
Bust a Move Young MC 20 7

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