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The Twist Biggest US Chart Hit

September 12, 2008 | Other
Chubby Checker's song "The Twist" has been named the biggest US chart hit of the last 50 years, surpassing songs by The Beatles and Elvis Presley. "Hey Jude" was the only Beatles single to make the top 10, compiled by Billboard to mark the Hot 100's half-century.

But the quartet were named the number one all-time chart act, and still hold the record for the most chart-toppers in the US with 20 singles. The Beatles are followed by Mariah Carey, with 18 US number ones to date.

Songs by Elvis Presley on the list are "Are You Lonesome Tonight?," at # 81 and "It’s Now Or Never," at #92. Charts prior to August 1958 featured fewer than 100 singles, so the Hot 100’s debut came after such earlier Elvis hits as "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Don’t Be Cruel."

Celebratory charts

In the most successful songs rundown, Chubby Checker's 1960s hit is followed by Santana's Smooth from 1999 and Bobby Darin's Mack the Knife, which spent nine weeks at number one in 1959.
Checker's famous danced-themed tune spent only three weeks at the top of the chart, but enjoyed two separate runs to the top in 1960 and 1962. Other songs making the top 10 include Olivia Newton-John's Physical and Un-Break My Heart by Toni Braxton. Checker's ranking may come as a surprise to some, but not to the man himself. He said "I'm glad they've finally recognised it."

He compared The Twist -- named by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum as one of the 500 songs that shaped rock 'n' roll -- to the creation of the telephone as a groundbreaking moment because he said it was the first time people were dancing "apart to the beat".

US Hot 100 ALL-Time Chart Hits according to Billboard

1 The Twist - Chubby Checker
2 Smooth - Santana
3 Mack The Knife - Bobby Darin
4 How Do I Live? - LeAnn Rimes
5 Macarena - Los Del Rio
6 Physical - Olivia Newton-John
7 You Light Up My Life - Debby Boone
8 Hey Jude - The Beatles
9 We Belong Together - Mariah Carey
10 Un-Break My Heart - Toni Braxton

Billboard's chart director Geoff Mayfield said the songs were ranked simply on the basis of how they performed in their era, and weighted depending on when they were successful. US chart successes until 1991 had a shorter run in the hit parade, until the introduction of improved radio airplay and sales information, which made the life of hits much more sustained. "We're not saying that these are the most memorable songs of your life," added Mr Mayfield.

The top 10 artists of the past 50 years following on from The Beatles are Madonna, Sir Elton John, Elvis Presley and Stevie Wonder. US singers Mariah Carey, siblings Michael and Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston and The Rolling Stones complete the all-time rundown.

A number of other charts to mark the 50 years have been issued by Billboard, including one-hit wonders, rock tracks, country tunes and Latin hits.

An anniversary issue of the Billboard Hot 100 magazine is due to be published on 20 September.

Steve V wrote on September 12, 2008
Strange, very strange. I have no problem with The Twist being in the top 10, after all it hit #1 twice, the only record to do so. But its still just a dance song (and Hank Ballard's version was better!). But other than Hey Jude & Mack The Knife, the list is a joke. Hound Dog/Dont Be Cruel should be in there as a double sided entry since it held the #1 position longer than any record until the 90's! Madonna as the number 2 artist having more entries than Elvis sickens me.
Clambake67 wrote on September 12, 2008
Elvis never gets any respect at all. How in the hell could he be behind all those acts. Beatles were an extremely overrated group , Madonna sold slut that sold, Elton John isnt a pimple on Elvis' butt and then Elvis is in at 4th. Unreal.
roytcbintheuk wrote on September 12, 2008
This is a load of b*****ks billboard only recognise hits from the last 50 years so anything pre 1958 is not included which omits such hits like steve v mentioned,I dont think we should get hung up on such statistics as our man as received so many awards, number ones and many other accolades that people mentioned in this list will pale into insignificance, unfortunetly I do not have the time to list them all, let's just say Elvis as sold over a billion records worldwide and inspired most of the people in this list to give it a go.Elvis will always be remembered for many things and will be up there a hundred years from now along with the greats.Long live the king!(P.S where is all the grammy's elvis should have got in his lifetime,another injustice)
Ruthie wrote on September 13, 2008
Here we go again. You have to be kidding! Just because someone at Billboard has nothing better to do, this news shouldn't be taken seriously. It's just one person's opionion & Billboard has been known to contradict itself over & over. You can still hear Elvis on the radio just about everyday today but you never hear Chubby unless it's requested - almost never is! As for Beatles, sold some good records, yes; overrated, also yes.
Greg Nolan wrote on September 14, 2008
Really well said, Jack. I saw two articles that interviewed Chubby Checker in the last two days, one in the NY Daily News and the other in the new "GOLDMINE" magazine and I had noticed he was crowing more than usual about being as big as Elvis or the Beatles. I wish him luck (he apparently has something of a new hit out) but this sort of revisionism is ludicrous. His hit came out a second time apparently in '62, due to something Zsa Zsa Gabor did with it and spurred an unusual second run to the top. But outside of that, he truly was (in most people's mind anyway) a "one hit wonder" - no matter the handful of other (similar) hits he had. Again, I agree with Jack about Billboard. Liberal self-hatred of musical history is painful for us to sit through.
Greg Nolan wrote on September 14, 2008
Regarding: "...Songs by Elvis Presley on the list are "Are You Lonesome Tonight?," at # 81 and "It’s Now Or Never," at #92. Charts prior to August 1958 featured fewer than 100 singles, so the Hot 100’s debut came after such earlier Elvis hits as "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Don’t Be Cruel..." Besides being hard to fathom such low rankings, how arbitrary can you get to conveniently cut out the pre-'58 era because it didn't fit Billboard's "Hot 100" concept? Hit that don't make the Top 20 have rarely mattered anyway, so who cares that in '56, and '57 they cut the list off well before 100? It's obviously an anti-Elvis agenda. I wouldn't mind if someone administered a beating to these clowns Bronson and Mayfield, who obviously have no respect for the history as it happened. It's a good thing most of the public could care less who Billboard is today and wouldn't accept such a down-grade of Elvis (if they cared)--- because Billboard can't re-program their memories - as much as they'd like to.
theoldscudder wrote on September 15, 2008
Lighten up people. These polls constantly change & after all they mean absolutely nothing. If you enjoy listening to the King that's all that should matter.
JerryNodak wrote on September 16, 2008
Billboard's got its own agenda. You can be sure that seeing to it that Elvis gets proper credit for his achievements isn't part of it.
Jesse Garon Presley wrote on September 17, 2008
Those people at BILLBOARD think they can change history or deny history.. are those people stupid? what Elvis achieved in his lifetime and still does they cannot change that in any way. Elvis today is even bigger than Wack Jacko and others, Elvis is still one of the biggest selling performer off all time THEY CANNOT deny that. what if Elvis scores another hit they going to ignore and deny that to? those people at billboard should know they cannot touch Elvis. so i agree also with OldScudder,those people at BILLBOARD mean nothing and those polls neither Elvis Still is KING
burton wrote on September 24, 2008
Who Gives A Rat's About Billboard?