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The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs (10-01)

The definitive list of the Hot 100's top 100 songs from the chart's first 50 years, August 1958 through July 2008.

How were Billboard's 50th Anniversary Hot 100 song and artist charts determined? Read the FAQ.

Toni Braxton

Three years after winning the 1993 best new artist Grammy Award, Toni Braxton released her second consecutive multiplatinum album, "Secrets." The follow-up to her self-titled LaFace Records debut spun off the preacher's daughter's first Hot 100 No. 1 ("You're Makin' Me High") and this, the biggest hit of her career. The song - written by Diane Warren, produced by David Foster and rendered in Braxton's distinctive, husky alto - spent 11 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100. A "Diva Mix" of the track, inspired by her show-opening performance at the 1996 Billboard Music Awards, spread "Heart" to overseas success as well.
Mariah Carey

After 15 No. 1 songs, Mariah Carey signed an $80 million contract with Virgin and then proceeded to infamously lose her cool during a bizarre 2001 taping of MTV's "TRL" and star in flop film "Glitter." But Carey managed to regroup after her early-'00s rough patch. In 2005, the songstress released comeback album "The Emancipation of Mimi" via her new label, Island Records. The Jermaine Dupri-produced "We Belong Together" was a monster single that sat at No. 1 on the Hot 100 for 14 weeks and helped "Mimi" go on to sell 5.9 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Since "Together," Carey has returned to No. 1 two additional times for a total of 18 No. 1 Hot 100 singles. Her sum is second only to the Beatles' 20 No. 1 hits.
The Beatles

The first single released by the Beatles on their own Apple Records label, "Hey Jude" was written in 1968 by Paul McCartney to comfort John Lennon's son Julian on the divorce of his parents, John and Cynthia Lennon. "I started with the idea, 'Hey Jules,' which was Julian, don't make it bad, take a sad song and make it better," McCartney told biographer Barry Miles. "Hey Jude" entered the Hot 100 Sept. 14, 1968, at No. 10 and rose to No. 1 two weeks later. It held the top spot for nine weeks, making it the longest-reigning hit in the band's career.
Debby Boone

Pat Boone's four daughters tried for years to forge a music career as the Boone Sisters with no luck. Label honcho Mike Curb was determined to launch lead Debby as a solo artist and found the ideal song at a screening of the movie "You Light Up My Life." Curb borrowed the instrumental track and had Boone's vocal recorded over it. His instincts were right on: "Light" remained at No. 1 on the Hot 100 for 10 weeks beginning in October 1977, a record at the time for a female artist, and won an Academy Award for best original song and a Grammy Award for Boone as best new artist.
Olivia Newton-John

Life imitates art. After Olivia Newton-John took the character Sandy from virginal to vamp in the 1978 film "Grease," the longtime girl-next-door singer rattled pop culture with her 1982 single "Physical"-which was loaded with sexual innuendo (sample lyric: "There's nothing left to talk about unless it's horizontally." Oh, my!) On a more innocent front, the song also became a staple of the ubiquitous aerobics movement of the day. In all, the song spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100, following previous chart-toppers "I Honestly Love You," "Have You Never Been Mellow," "You're the One That I Want" and "Magic," amid a top 40 run that garnered 27 hits from 1971 to 1985. Grammy voters awarded "Physical" video of the year.
Los Del Rio

The bilingual Bayside Boys Mix of Los del Rio's "Macarena" spent 14 weeks at No. 1 in 1996, gaining the top position several weeks before it was used to introduce-and provide a punch line for-Al Gore's speech at that year's Democratic National Convention. The song spent 23 weeks in the top 10. The flamenco-flavored party track and accompanying dance by two middle-aged men named Antonio Romero and Rafael Ruiz was already a hit in Spain in 1993, and "Macarena" was a favorite on cruise ships before docking in Miami's South Beach clubs by mid-decade. It first appeared on the Hot 100 in 1995. After the success of the Bayside Boys Mix in 1996, an early version by Los del Rio spent 21 weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at No. 23.
LeAnn Rimes

LeAnn Rimes' second Hot 100 entry, after the 1996 No. 26-peaking "Blue," stands as the longest-running Hot 100 title of all-time, charting for 69 weeks total between June 1997 and October 1998. The song, recorded when Rimes was only 14, even outlasted two of her follow-up releases on the chart. It also led Adult Contemporary for 11 weeks and has gone on to sell 3.5 million physical singles. On the digital front, it routinely shifts more than 1,000 units per week, for a to-date total in excess of 203,000. "It's just one of those songs that lives on in everyone's life," Rimes says today.
For the full story behind "How Do I Live" straight from LeAnn Rimes, Mike Curb and Diane Warren, click here.
Bobby Darin

In 1958, "Splish Splash" put then-22-year-old Bobby Darin on the map, and three more hits in quick succession cemented his teen appeal. But the furiously ambitious Darin wanted the longevity promised by singing in supper clubs, appealing to Frank Sinatra's audience. "In night clubs I lean to other things. I even do 'Mack the Knife' from 'The Threepenny Opera,' " Darin told Billboard at the time. He recorded "Mack" for his standards album "That's All," produced by Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun and Jerry Wexler for Atlantic's Atco imprint. After reaching No. 1 in late 1959, it went on to win the Grammy Award for record of the year as well as a slightly belated nod for Darin as best new artist.
Santana Featuring Rob Thomas

Exactly 30 years before Santana reached No. 1 in October 1999 with "Smooth," his eponymous band made its first appearance on the Hot 100 with a single titled "Jingo." It wasn't an auspicious debut, as it only peaked at No. 56. But if you had told Carlos Santana back then that he would have the biggest hit of his career 30 years later to the week, do you think he would have believed you? Probably not. Co-written by Itaal Shur and matchbox twenty's Rob Thomas, "Smooth" introduced Santana's smash album "Supernatural" and became one the biggest radio monsters of the decade, spending 12 weeks at No. 1.
For the full story behind "Smooth" straight from Carlos Santana, Rob Thomas and Clive Davis, click here.
Chubby Checker

"I resurrected a corpse" is how Chubby Checker feels about recording "The Twist" in the early summer of 1960. And Frankenstein's monster had nothing on his achievement.
"The Twist" is the only song in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 to enjoy two separate chart runs to No. 1: Sept. 19, 1960 (one week), and, following an October 1961 appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show," Jan. 13, 1962 (two weeks). It also set a record for the most weeks (39) on the Hot 100 by a No. 1 song that held until UB40's "Red Red Wine" lasted 40 weeks in 1988. Others have since surpassed the mark.
"'The Twist' brought the world dancing apart to the beat," says Checker, now 66, who was born Ernest Evans in South Carolina before moving to Philadelphia. "Then came all our dances-the Pony, the Mashed Potato, the Fly, the Hucklebuck-all dancing apart to the beat. Chubby gave us that. How did he do it? With 'The Twist.'"
The song was the gift that kept on giving for Checker, as five more of his 32 Hot 100 entries mined the dance. He even joined the Fat Boys for "The Twist (Yo, Twist)," which hit No. 16 in 1988.
Checker's recent single, "Knock Down the Walls," reached No. 1 on the Hot Dance Singles Sales chart. Click here to listen to the song.

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