Taylor Swift breaks Elvis Presley’s record for time at Billboard’s No. 1 spot

Taylor Swift performs on the Eras Tour in Buenos Aries
AP Photo

Another day, another piece of history-making news for Taylor Swift.

The globe-trotting superstar’s most recent album, “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” just earned her a fifth week in the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart.

When you consider all 13 of her releases — and tally up the total number of weeks they’ve collectively landed at Billboard’s No. 1 spot — she’s reached a grand total of 68 weeks on top.

That’s more weeks at No. 1 by a solo artist than even Elvis Presley. His releases spent 67 weeks at the top spot, with 10 albums between 1956 and 2002.

This is no surprise, as Swift also topped Spotify’s global streaming list in 2023, but ardent Swifties might note the caveat here: The Billboard ranking is a measure of No. 1 albums by a solo artist. If she wants to break the record for the most No. 1 releases to top the charts (solo or group), she’ll have to beat out the Beatles, whose 19 albums spent 132 weeks on top between 1964 and 2001.

That’s nearly twice Swift’s number. Of course, Swift is only 34, so give her time.

Elvis Presley
AP Photo/Walter Lindlar

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There’s some question about the accuracy and usefulness of Billboard’s charts, which started ranking albums in 1958, more than 30 years before Swift had even arrived in the world (in 1989). The methodology has changed over the years, too, making side-by-side comparisons difficult. In the Beatles’ day, Billboard employees might simply have been calling up record store employees to find out how many shipments they’d received, and some artists and music executives have always found ways of “gaming the system,” The Washington Post notes.

But the process has gotten more metrics-based over the years, and there’s no denying the popularity of Swift. Swift first appeared on the Billboard chart chart in 2006 with her self-titled debut and has been topping the Billboard charts since 2008 and 2009, when her “Fearless” album spent 11 weeks there. Her albums “Speak Now,” “Red,” “1989,” “Reputation,” “Lover,” “Folklore,” “Evermore” and “Midnights” all added to the impressive count, which includes 232 songs in the Hot 100, 49 Top 10 hits, and 11 No. 1 songs.

Her decision to re-record and release her previous albums (after her former talent manager, Scooter Braun, acquired the rights to all the master recordings) has also added to the count. Her four re-recorded albums piled on another 10 weeks at No. 1.

Taylor Swift arrives at world premiere of concert film 'Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,' Oct. 11, 2023
AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File

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Swift has also won the most Billboard Music Awards of all time (well, she tied with Drake) after being awarded 10 BBMAs in November. Sadly, Presley never even had a chance to win one of those.

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About the Author
Jennifer Graham Kizer
Jennifer Graham Kizer has written features and essays for over a dozen magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Health, Parents, Parenting, Redbook and TV Guide.

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