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Record Breakers and Trivia : Singles : Artists : Number 1s
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Most Number 1s
This, possibly the most important record, is held by Elvis Presley. He has had 21 chart-toppers, 18 of them different songs (three titles have topped the chart on two distinctly separate chart runs as part of the series of re-issues to commemorate what would have been Elvis' 70th birthday in 2005). You can see how this record has 'changed hands' over the years here.

The Beatles are the top group with 17 number 1s. Madonna is the top woman with 13 (as of April 2008). Top female group is The Spice Girls with 9.

Only seven acts in chart history have got into double figures with their tally of chart-toppers. They are: Elvis Presley (21, 18 different songs), The Beatles (17), Cliff Richard (14 : six of them with The Shadows, one with The Drifters, one with The Young Ones), Westlife (14 : one of them with Mariah Carey), Madonna (13), The Shadows (11 : six of them with Cliff Richard, two of these also with The Norrie Paramor Strings) and Take That (11: one featuring Lulu).
Westlife hold the record for getting into double-figures in the shortest time (2 years and 10 months [ie. 149 weeks] - more than 3 months quicker than The Beatles (who took 165 weeks). Unlike Westlife, however, The Beatles tended to spend several weeks at the summit, slowing down their release rate.)

It is worth pointing out that Paul McCartney has appeared on more Number 1s than any other artist under a diverse range of credits. He has, in fact, appeared on 24 Number 1s; solo (1), with Wings (1), Stevie Wonder, The Christians et al (1), Ferry Aid (1), Band Aid (1), Band Aid 20 (1) and The Beatles (17).

In total, twenty-one artists have appeared on ten or more number one singles. They are:
Paul McCartney (24), Elvis Presley (21), John Lennon (20), George Harrison (18), Ringo Starr (16), Cliff Richard (15), Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan, Mark Feehily, Shane Filan (14), Robbie Williams, Madonna (13), Gary Barlow, Brian McFadden (12), Mel C , Geri Halliwell (11), Mel B, Emma Bunton, Howard Donald, Jason Orange, Mark Owen (10).


Artist with Most Weeks at Number 1
It's Elvis Presley. He has topped the chart for a total of 80 weeks (as of w/e 5th Feb 2005).
Top group is The Beatles (69 weeks). Top female performer is Madonna (29 weeks - as of w/e 17th May 2008).
In his many different manifestations, however, Paul McCartney has spent 93 weeks at the top.


Most Consecutive Number 1s
7 - by The Beatles and Westlife.
The Beatles' stretch began with "A Hard Day's Night" in 1964 and lasted to "Yellow Submarine"/"Eleanor Rigby" in 1966. The run was broken when "Penny Lane"/"Strawberry Fields Forever" merely made the number 2 position the following year!
Westlife's stint began with their debut, "Swear it Again" in 1999 and ran through to "My Love" in November 2000 (though one hit was a 'duet' with Mariah Carey). It was broken by "What Makes A Man" which peaked at number 2 the following month.

Beatles fans are, however, quick to point out that "Ain't She Sweet" (which made number 29 in 1964) was recorded in 1961, well before their EMI contract. It was issued by Polydor to 'cash in' on the success of the fab four. Fans argue that this was not an "official" Beatles release. If this logic is accepted (though the track did make the charts), The Beatles run of successive number ones begins with "From Me To You" in April 1963 - making a total of 11.

Top female group is The Spice Girls (6 in a row from "Wannabe" through to "Too Much").


Longest Span of Number 1 Singles
47 years, 6 months and 23 days. Held by Elvis Presley. His first number 1 was "All Shook Up" in 1957 (w/e 13th June). His most recent chart-topper was the re-issue of "It's Now Or Never" in 2005 (w/e 5th Feb).
Runner up is Cliff Richard. His first chart-topper was "Living Doll" in 1959. His latest was "The Millennium Prayer" in 1999, a span of 40, 4 months and 15 days. (+ 21 days for total span).

Longest span for a female artist with solo credit is Madonna on 20 Years, 7 Months, 1 Day (from "Into The Groove", 3rd Aug 1985 to "Sorry", 4th March 2006 - ie. a total span of 1074 weeks). [NB: if we include "4 Minutes" - which also credited Justin Timberlake, the span runs through to 10th May 2008 (22 years, 9 Months, 13 Days) but then this record is broken by Cher - see below.]
Kyie Minogue is still both popular and productive and, on 15 Years, 9 Months, and 23 Days (ie. 825 weeks from "I Should Be So Lucky", 23rd Jan 1988 to "Slow"; 15th Nov 2003), regularly poses a threat to Madonna in this regard.

If we allow 'credits' on singles rather than solo performances,