Top Pop Singles 1955-2015

Top Pop Singles 1955-2015

By: Joel Whitburn

ISBN: 9780898202205

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Our 14 previous editions were all preparation for this fact and feature filled 15th edition! Updates galore. 1000s of new entries. All UK #1 hits. So much in nearly 1,200 pages!

In the 47 years since publishing our flagship book, the 15th edition of Top Pop Singles is the best one yet! All of the inexhaustible data our readers expect -- presented with painstaking accuracy in a concise format debuting a host of new features! Thousands of recent entries … Updated, expanded information on previous songs and artists … clean and refreshed format … a ton of data added with our new features! It's the 60-year history of everyone and everything that ever appeared on Billboard magazine's "Hot 100" and early pop singles charts from the dawn of the rock era.

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Title information

In 1965, Joel Whitburn thought of a new hobby and ended up creating an entirely new trade. He turned to his collection of Billboard magazines and began documenting the journey of each song, from its entrance on the “Hot 100” chart to its exit. Joel carefully checked the title, artist and label of every entry against the actual records of his vast music collection, making corrections to the chart’s listings where needed. Week by week, position by position, he noted each song’s debut date, peak position and weeks on the chart, and much more. He was creating a whole new entity: music chart data.

Five years later, after repeated requests from collector colleagues for his personal record-keeping, Joel typed out the research that he had painstakingly written on 3” x 5” index cards. He arranged it into an artist-by-artist listing in a slim, gold paperback, simply titled Record Research.

That book spawned a business of the same name and provided the first look at music history through the lens of chart performance. Joel invented the concepts of “debut dates” and “peak positions” and so much more that is now essential in music lexicon.

Now in its 15th edition, Top Pop Singles 1955-2015 is the best one yet!


- UK #1 Hits – Each US chart hit that hit #1 on the United Kingdom (British) charts is now indicated with an easy-to-find symbol, also showing total weeks at #1. This is the first Record Research publication to show this non-US chart information.

- CB/MV/RW #1 Hits – For every #1 hit from the other major music trade magazines (Cash Box, Music Vendor & Record World) that DID NOT hit #1 in Billboard, we’ve added an easy-to-find symbol, with the total weeks at #1 shown. At a glance, see newly-researched #1 hits for such artists as The Beatles (4 additional #1s), Creedence Clearwater Revival (3 #1s), The Everly Brothers (“Bye Bye Love”), The Kingsmen (“Louie, Louie”), Elvis (“Return To Sender”), The Ronettes (“Be My Baby”), and many, many more.

- Expanded HRH Listings – Our unique Honor Roll Of Hits list has now been expanded from 200 to 300 titles. These are the songs that are the most-honored hits by critics and music industry professionals such as the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and other significant rankings. This is the ONLY place you’ll find such a definitive list of the true classics that have stood the test of time, trends and changing musical tastes.

- Updated Bios – Every new artist has vital information listed in our popular thumbnail bios. Group members, birthdates/places, rapper’s real names, and more are now available at a glance. Updated bios for older artists include death dates for the many who have recently died.

- List of approx. 200 ultra-rare EP’s - never charted, early rock 'n' roll - among them The Harp Tones, The Mello-Kings, Eddie Cochran, LaVern Baker, Chuck Berry, The Crests, Danny & The Juniors, and more!

- Updated Fonts – make our invaluable research even easier-to-read, with symbols like “UK” and “HRH” that pop right off the page.

- Nearly 30 artists with at least 10 new entries since previous edition! Check out Drake, Taylor Swift, 5 Seconds of Summer and more!




ALL SONGS that appeared on these Billboard charts:

- Hot 100
- Bubbling Under the Hot 100
- Hot 100 Airplay
- Top 100
- Best Sellers
- Disc Jockey
- Juke Box
- Territorial Hits
- Breakout Hits
- Pop EP’s

For each of the 40,000+ songs:

- # of WEEKS charted

If applicable:

- Total WEEKS AT PEAK for all #1s, #2s & #3s
- RIAA certification of Gold or Platinum for record sales
- RIAA certification of Gold or Platinum for digital sales
- CONFIGURATION if other than vinyl
C – Comedy
F – Foreign language
I – Instrumental
L – Live
N – Novelty
R – Re-entry
S – Spoken
X – Christmas
- NOTABLE AWARDS (Billboard, Grammy, Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, Rolling Stone)
- FIND-IT-FAST features for all #1s, biggest hits, Top 10s, etc.
- ALL #1s from main genre charts with total weeks at top:
- AC
- A40
- C&W
- R&B

For each of the 9,000+ ARTISTS

One line or more descriptive BIOGRAPHY featuring:

- DATES of birth and death
- NOTABLE AWARDS (Billboard, Grammy, Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, Rolling Stone)
- CLOVER symbol indicates artist had minimum of 24 hits. The “24 Hit Club” – now includes 266 members with photos!
Also Featuring:
- 4,400+ CLASSIC Non-Hot 100 Songs
- Pre-1955 Roots of Rock Hits

SONG TITLE SECTION Lists alphabetically every song in book with artist name, peak position and year charted.

#1 HITS A chronological listing, by peak date, of every title to top Billboard’s pop singles charts.



- Chart Kings & Queens
- Top 500 in rank and alphabetical orders
- Top 50 by Decade
- Top Artists by Year & Category
- Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Nominees & Inductees
Artists With Most:
-- Hits on Chart, Top 40, Top 10, at #1, #2, #3
-- Weeks at #1
-- Platinum/Gold Hits
-- “Classics”


- #1 Sales-Only By Artist
- Top 200 Hits
- Top 25 Of Each Decade
- Territorial & Breakouts by City
- Longest Charting
- Singles by Decade
- 300 on Honor Roll Of Hits


Pages: 1,176
Publisher: Record Research Inc.
Edition: 15
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Joel Whitburn


From pastime to passion to profitable enterprise, the growth of Record Research has been the outgrowth of Joel Whitburn’s hobby. Joel began collecting records as a teenager in the 1950s. As his collection grew, he began to sort, categorize and file each record according to the highest position it reached on Billboard magazine's charts. He went on to publish this information — first on individual artists’ cards, then in book form in 1970 — and a business was born.

Today, Joel leads a team of researchers who delve into all of Billboard’s music charts to an unmatched degree of depth and detail. Widely recognized as the most authoritative historian on charted music, Joel has also collaborated with Warner/Rhino Records in creating a series of 150 CD albums, plus five CD albums with Curb Records. Joel’s own record collection remains unrivaled the world over and includes every charted Hot 100 and pop single (back to 1936), every charted pop album (back to 1945), collections of nearly every charted Country, R&B, Bubbling Under The Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary records. Ever the consummate collector, Joel also owns one of the world’s largest picture sleeve collections, many of which he displays in the series of books (Top 40 Hits, Top 40 Albums, Top 40 Country Hits, Top 40 R&B Hits) he writes for Billboard’s book division. To date, Record Research has published nearly 200 books, over 50 of which are currently in the catalog.

Joel's site,, brought his enormous database online in 2009. The MusicVault, complete with chart data and record photos, has proved to be an immediate, reliable wellspring of data.

Ever the hobbyist, Joel participates in a wide variety of water, winter and motor sports, but the active, six-and-a-half footer ranks basketball and baseball as his top sports. The Wisconsinite and his wife, Fran, a native of Honduras, enjoy spending time in central Wisconsin, and especially love being with their grandchildren Samantha and Nathaniel. Their daughter, Kim Bloxdorf, is vice president of Record Research, and other key employees are Brent Olynick, Paul Haney and Jeanne Olynick. Joel's lifelong passion for music, old and new, and his penchant for accurate detail is ever constant.