The links above will allow you to discover which songs were number one on any date from 1940-2011. Select the year you want, followed by the month within that year (on the next page) then you will be able to see which songs were number one for each day of that month in the various countries covered.
The data shown represents all the information we currently have available, if you want number ones from before 1940, or for different countries we recommend that you follow the source data links yourself. The issues with defining which charts to use, which entries fall into each chart and how to treat double-A side records made us feel that listing number ones was not a worthwhile effort, however the number of users who request such data has convinced us to offer this set of pages. We quite often get requests to find out which song was number one on a particular day. There are a number of obvious comments:
Given the range of countries that we have gathered information for we can answer some questions about number ones. If we restrict ourselves to the English speaking world that we have good charts for (that is the USA, UK, Australia, Canada and Ireland) then only two artists had number ones simultaneously across all those charts before 1990: The Beatles with "I Feel Fine" from Dec 1964 to Jan 1965 and John Lennon in Jan 1981. Three artists managed this feat in the 1990s: Bryan Adams in Aug 1991 - Sep 1991; Whitney Houston in Dec 1992 - Jan 1993; and Celine Dion in Mar 1998.
Looking at the proportion of time that each artist was number one in at least one of our target countries gives yet another measure of the relative success that various acts enjoyed. If we work out what proportion of each decade they spent in the number one song slot we get this listing:
The 1940s and 1950s are biased in two different ways, firstly there are fewer charts (so acts are liable to spend less time at number one) and secondly the charts that existed were less dynamic (so acts spent longer in the top slot). We have assumed these factors just about cancel each other out. Only Cliff Richard and The Rolling Stones have managed to extend beyond 3 decades.
Another interesting metric is to look at how long a particular artist managed to remain at number one in at least one of these countries. This shows artists that were globally popular with multiple songs released in quick succession. Here are all the artists that managed at least 75 days of being number one somewhere: