Billboard Top 50 AC Artists: WHITNEY # 15

Aside from being one of the most successful formats in the histories of recorded music and commercial radio, the AC chart is home to hall of famers, big-betters and hard rockers. Home to soulful sweethearts and songwriting superstars. AC isn't a place songs go to die. As radio folks, songwriters and fans well know - AC is the place where stars go to live forever.

The 50th anniversary Adult Contemporary top artists and songs charts are based on actual performance on the weekly Adult Contemporary chart since its inception in the July 17, 1961, issue of Billboard. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at lower rankings on the chart earning less. Due to various changes in chart rules, chart length and in methodology throughout the years - including the implementation in 1993 of monitored airplay data from Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems - songs had varying reigns at No. 1 and on the chart. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from all 50 years, earlier time frames were each weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years.

50. Perry Como
49. Fleetwood Mac
48. Amy Grant
A handful of Christian music stars have crossed to repeated AC radio success, including Grant's good friend Michael W. Smith, but none like Grant herself, who's made 22 AC visits. She arrived with the No. 7-peaking "Find a Way" (written with Smith) in 1985.

47. Johnny Matthis
46. B. J. Thomas
45. The Lettermen
44. Jack Jones
43. The 5th Dimension
42. Cher
Perhaps surprisingly, her 1965 Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 "I Got You Babe" with then-husband Sonny Bono never reached the AC chart; the duo totaled three chart hits in 1971-72. As a soloist, Cher blossomed with 26 AC titles between 1971 and 2004, including 15 top 10s and two No. 1s, 1989's "After All" with Peter Cetera and "If I Could Turn Back Time."

41. Diana Ross
As with Fleetwood Mac and Sonny & Cher, the Supremes were more of a top 40 than AC staple at the peak of their hit-making days, not charting until their last hit with Ross, "Someday We'll Be Together" (No. 12) in 1969. Ross' solo AC count? 30 hits, four of which reigned at No. 1.

40. Air Supply
The Australian duo defines the softest side of AC, blasting into the top 10 with its first seven chart hits between 1980 and 1982. The pair returned last year after a 17-year chart hiatus with "Dance With Me" (No. 28) and "Faith in Love" (No. 30) from the album "Mumbo Jumbo."

39. Tom Jones
38. Dan Fogelberg
37. Linda Ronstadt
36. Dean Martin
35. Englebert Humperdinck
34. Richard Marx
Marx is one of two artists on this list currently charting on the AC survey. (The other is ahead at No. 18). The new "When You Loved Me," at No. 16 this week, marks Marx's 18th AC visit. Thirteen of his melodic pop/rock hits have reached the top 10, with four ruling at No. 1.

33. Daryl Hall & John Oates
32. Stevie Wonder
Fun fact: Wonder's classic "Isn't She Lovely" never reached the Billboard Hot 100, since it was never released as a commercial single. AC radio played it, however, and it reached No. 23 at the format in 1977. Wonder has racked 36 AC appearances, reaching No. 1 eight times.

31. Carly Simon
The 1971 best new artist Grammy Award winner charged onto the AC chart with the No. 6-peaking "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be," the first of her 28 entries. Although she divorced husband James Taylor in 1983, her most recent chart visit was "Best of Friends" (No. 39, 2006) ... with James' brother and her ex-brother-in-law Livingston Taylor.

30. Madonna
Surprisingly, even "Like a Virgin" wasn't too controversial for AC radio, peaking at No. 29 in 1985. The dancing queen (she has a record 40 No. 1s on Billboard's Dance/Club Play Songs chart) has long been an AC stalwart, having placed 35 songs on the chart, including five No. 1s.

29. Helen Reddy
28. Mariah Carey
Just 20 years old when she arrived in 1990, Carey scored three AC No. 1s from her self-titled debut album: "Vision of Love," "Love Takes Time" and "I Don't Wanna Cry." Now mother of twins, she collected her seventh and most recent leader with "Oh Santa!" last winter.

27. James Taylor
26. Al Martino
25. Glen Campbell
24. Rod Stewart
A pop/rock chart force since he stormed the Hot 100 in 1971 with the five-week No. 1 "Maggie May," Stewart's rasp didn't grasp the AC chart until 1976. He logged his first AC top 10 with 1986's "Love Touch" (No. 5), the first of his 21 top 10s, three of which reached No. 1: "Downtown Train" and "This Old Heart of Mine" in 1990 and "Have I Told You Lately" in 1993.

23. Bobby Vinton
22. John Denver
The late country/folk singer (and occasional Muppet collaborator) logged 34 AC chart entries, including 18 top 10s, nine of which reached No. 1. His chart-topping sum ties him for eighth-most leaders in the chart's archives.

21. Frank Sinatra
The late legend was, unsurprisingly, a format giant in the AC chart's early years. With 48 charted titles, Sinatra has the sixth-most AC chart hits. Before it became the postgame stadium anthem following each Yankee victory, his "Theme From New York, New York" reached No. 10 on AC in 1980.

20. Andy Williams
19. Celine Dion
Dion is the artist on this list that made the most recent first appearance on the AC chart, having arrived with the No. 2-peaking "Where Does My Heart Beat Now" in October 1990. Her 87 weeks combined spent at No. 1 mark the highest total among all artists and her 11 No. 1s are tied for fourth-most in the chart's archives.

18. Michael Bolton
With his famed coif now curtailed, Bolton this week notches his first AC chart entry since 2005, as "I'm Not Ready," with Delta Goodrem, bows at No. 29. Upon his return, Bolton becomes the fourth solo male with AC entries in the '80s, '90s, '00s and '10s, joining Phil Collins, Neil Diamond and Richard Marx.

17. Herb Alpert
16. Olivia Newton-John
John Travolta wasn't the only one who fell for Newton-John. The beloved entertainer has sent 37 songs onto the AC chart, including "I Honestly Love You," which first appeared in 1974 (No. 1) and returned in 1998 (No. 18) as a Babyface-assisted remake.

15. Whitney Houston
One of AC's most celebrated powerhouse vocalists arrived as a guest on Teddy Pendergrass' No. 6-peaking "Hold Me" in 1984. In all, Houston has totaled 31 AC hits, including 10 No. 1s.

14. Gloria Estefan
Estefan's ability, with and without the Miami Sound Machine, to switch between dance club thumpers and intimate ballads has made her an AC cornerstone. With 30 AC hits since 1986, including 21 top 10s and seven No. 1s, Estefan is Billboard's top AC Latin crossover artist.

13. Elvis Presley
The King of Rock & Roll was an AC chart king, too, having notched 53 AC hits and 31 top 10s, the chart's fourth-highest totals in each category. His most recent appearance? Via Martina McBride's No. 22-peaking 2008 virtual duet, "Blue Christmas."

12. Phil Collins
Not even counting his 12 AC hits, including three No. 1s, with Genesis between 1978 and 1992, Collins as a soloist has added 33 AC entries, including 23 top 10s and eight No. 1s. "You'll Be in My Heart," his 1999 ballad from Disney's "Tarzan," reigned at No. 1 for 19 weeks.

11. Dionne Warwick
Warwick brought 19 of legendary songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David's compositions to radio, and the AC chart, beginning in 1964. Her 29 AC top 10s are fifth-best in the survey's history.

10. Anne Murray
9. Lionel Richie
The R&B crooner extraordinaire has notched 27 solo AC hits after leaving the Commodores, including 11 No. 1s. He's spent 47 weeks at No. 1 as a soloist, second only to Elton John for most frames in charge for a male artist.

8. The Carpenters
The highest ranking of two duos on this countdown (see No. 33) racked 15 No. 1s, the second-best AC total, between 1969 and 1981. The New Haven, Conn., brother/sister team of Richard and Karen encapsulated the format at its gentlest, one of AC's defining traits. Sadly, Karen passed away at 32, from heart failure due to anorexia nervosa, in 1983.

7. Billy Joel
The Bronx, N.Y.-born Piano Man (known to be taken by a certain Uptown Girl), tallied 37 AC hits between 1974 and 1997. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer wrote his first 31 chart entries, a string broken when he covered Presley's "All Shook Up" (No. 15) in 1992. Joel has banked 22 AC top 10s, including eight No. 1s.

6. Chicago
While the Carpenters are Billboard's top all-time AC duo, Chicago takes the title among groups with more than two members. The band, with songs sung by the likes of Peter Cetera, Jason Scheff and Bill Champlin, has totaled 40 AC hits, including 23 top 10s and eight No. 1s, between 1970 and 2006.

5. Kenny Rogers
No one has enjoyed more country-to-AC chart success than Rogers (who's also notably tasted victory in the restaurant business, thanks to his Kenny Rogers Roasters chain). His 47 AC hits are tied for seventh-best; his 28 top 10s are sixth-best; and, his eight No. 1s are tied for 10th-best in the chart's history.

4. Barry Manilow
Since arriving with the No. 1 "Mandy" in 1974, Manilow's AC totals stand at 47 chart entries, 27 top 10s and a third-best 13 No. 1s. The evergreen singer, who just scored his 13th Billboard 200 top 10 album ("15 Minutes: Fame... Can You Take It?"), and sixth since 2002, never saw one of his most famous compositions take a bite out of the AC chart: the jingle he wrote for McDonalds, "You Deserve a Break Today."

3. Barbra Streisand
Men take the top two spots on this list, so that makes Babs Billboard's all-time AC queen. She holds the records among women for most AC chart entries (64) and top 10s (35) in a chart history that dates to the No. 1 "People" in 1964.

2. Neil Diamond
Did you watch the 2011 Billboard Music Awards? If so, you know that the festivities ended with Diamond leading a sing-along of "Sweet Caroline" after an evening of performances by artists born long after his career had begun. Our inaugural "Billboard Icon" award winner has tallied 37 AC top 10s dating to his chart debut in 1969. Diamond is the only artist to grace the survey in each decade of its half-century existence.

1. Elton John
Sir Reginald Dwight is Billboard's all-time AC chart king. John holds the records for most AC No. 1s (16), top 10s (38) and chart entries (68), dating to his grand entrance with "Your Song" in 1970. Having recently hosted "Saturday Night Live" and scored his highest-charting Billboard 200 album (the No. 3 "The Union," with Leon Russell) since 1976, clearly the musical and cultural icon is still standing strong.


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