A Fantastic 40 EXTRA: The Top 100 Billboard Artists Of The 1980s

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Welcome to a reply to a Fantastic 40 special request from JJ Live At Leeds:

A look at the Top 100 artists whose work dominated Billboard’s Top 40 between 1980 and 1989.

This special list was compiled by calculating one point for every week a single by this artist appeared in the Top 40 between 1980 and 1989.

Unlike the original calculations I had written in the ’80s, artists in this list did receive full points for collaborations on which they received label credit.

(Artists did not receive points for participation in multi-act collaboratives like Band Aid, USA for Africa, and Artists United Against Apartheid.)

Ties were broken this way:

  • First, an act with more singles to earn the total received higher billing than one with fewer singles.
  • If there was still a tie, an act that received the points solely through their own songs received higher billing than one who earned some of the points through collaborations.
  • Finally, acts who had at least one No. 1 song in the ’80s were placed above acts with the same point total and total number of hits but no No. 1 songs.

Without further ado, here are the Top 100!

With total number of hits…and total weeks in the Top 40.

(* Indicates a collaboration for which they earned points)


100-91:

100:
Queen*
      

  • 5 hits       
  • 62 weeks in the Top 40

99:
Belinda Carlisle
      

  • 5 hits       
  • 62 weeks in the Top 40

98:
Pet Shop Boys*

  • 6 hits       
  • 62 weeks in the Top 40

97:
Sting

  • 6 hits       
  • 62 weeks in the Top 40

96:
Poison        

  • 6 hits       
  • 62 weeks in the Top 40

95:
Eddie Money

  • 7 hits       
  • 62 weeks in the Top 40

94:
Electric Light Orchestra*

  • 8 hits       
  • 62 weeks in the Top 40

93:
Night Ranger

  • 6 hits       
  • 63 weeks in the Top 40

92:
Jackson Browne*

  • 7 hits       
  • 63 weeks in the Top 40

91:
Thompson Twins

  • 7 hits       
  • 63 weeks in the Top 40

90-81:

90:
Barry Manilow

  • 10 hits       
  • 63 weeks in the Top 40

89:
Little River Band

  • 7 hits       
  • 64 weeks in the Top 40

88:
Smokey Robinson

  • 6 hits       
  • 65 weeks in the Top 40

87:
Irene Cara

  • 6 hits       
  • 65 weeks in the Top 40

86:
.38 Special

  • 8 hits       
  • 65 weeks in the Top 40

85:
Corey Hart

  • 8 hits       
  • 65 weeks in the Top 40

84:
Men At Work

  • 5 hits       
  • 66 weeks in the Top 40

83:
Billy Idol

  • 8 hits       
  • 66 weeks in the Top 40

82:
Taylor Dayne

  • 5 hits       
  • 67 weeks in the Top 40

81:
Jody Watley*

  • 6 hits       
  • 67 weeks in the Top 40

80-71:

80:
U2

  • 6 hits       
  • 69 weeks in the Top 40

79:
Loverboy

  • 9 hits       
  • 69 weeks in the Top 40

78:
The Jets

  • 6 hits       
  • 70 weeks in the Top 40

77:
INXS     

  • 6 hits       
  • 71 weeks in the Top 40

76:
Glenn Frey

  • 7 hits       
  • 71 weeks in the Top 40

75:
Howard Jones

  • 8 hits       
  • 71 weeks in the Top 40

74:
Expose

  • 7 hits       
  • 76 weeks in the Top 40

73:
New Kids on the Block

  • 7 hits       
  • 76 weeks in the Top 40

72:
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers*

  • 9 hits       
  • 76 weeks in the Top 40

71:
Aretha Franklin*

  • 9 hits       
  • 76 weeks in the Top 40

70-61:

70:
Bobby Brown

  • 6 hits       
  • 77 weeks in the Top 40

69:
Wham!

  • 6 hits       
  • 77 weeks in the Top 40

68:
David Bowie*

  • 9 hits       
  • 77 weeks in the Top 40

67:
Barbra Streisand*

  • 8 hits       
  • 78 weeks in the Top 40

66:
Laura Branigan

  • 7 hits       
  • 81 weeks in the Top 40

65:
Eddie Rabbitt

  • 6 hits       
  • 83 weeks in the Top 40

64:
Kim Carnes

  • 9 hits       
  • 85 weeks in the Top 40

63:
Don Henley*

  • 8 hits       
  • 86 weeks in the Top 40

62:
Toto

  • 9 hits       
  • 87 weeks in the Top 40

61:
Eurythmics*

  • 10 hits       
  • 87 weeks in the Top 40

60-51:

60:
The Bangles

  • 8 hits       
  • 88 weeks in the Top 40

59:
Neil Diamond

  • 9 hits       
  • 88 weeks in the Top 40

58:
Donna Summer*

  • 11 hits       
  • 88 weeks in the Top 40

57:
Fleetwood Mac

  • 9 hits       
  • 89 weeks in the Top 40

56:
Jefferson Starship/Starship

  • 11 hits       
  • 90 weeks in the Top 40

55:
Juice Newton

  • 7 hits       
  • 91 weeks in the Top 40

54:
Richard Marx

  • 7 hits       
  • 91 weeks in the Top 40

53:
Debbie Gibson

  • 8 hits       
  • 91 weeks in the Top 40

52:
Dan Fogelberg

  • 9 hits       
  • 91 weeks in the Top 40

51:
Def Leppard

  • 9 hits       
  • 91 weeks in the Top 40

50-41:

50:
Christopher Cross

  • 8 hits       
  • 95 weeks in the Top 40

49:
Survivor

  • 8 hits       
  • 96 weeks in the Top 40

48:
The Cars

  • 10 hits       
  • 96 weeks in the Top 40

47:
Foreigner    

  • 8 hits       
  • 97 weeks in the Top 40

46:
The Rolling Stones

  • 11 hits       
  • 99 weeks in the Top 40

45:
Miami Sound Machine

  • 9 hits       
  • 101 weeks in the Top 40

44:
Bon Jovi

  • 9 hits       
  • 101 weeks in the Top 40

43:
Stevie Nicks*

  • 11 hits       
  • 101 weeks in the Top 40

42:
The Police

  • 9 hits       
  • 103 weeks in the Top 40

41:
Steve Winwood

  • 9 hits       
  • 103 weeks in the Top 40

40-31:

40:
Janet Jackson*

  • 9 hits       
  • 105 weeks in the Top 40

39:
Heart

  • 10 hits       
  • 105 weeks in the Top 40

38:
Genesis

  • 11 hits       
  • 105 weeks in the Top 40

37:
Van Halen

  • 12 hits       
  • 110 weeks in the Top 40

36:
Bryan Adams*

  • 12 hits       
  • 112 weeks in the Top 40

35:
Culture Club

  • 10 hits       
  • 113 weeks in the Top 40

34:
Kenny Loggins*

  • 12 hits       
  • 115 weeks in the Top 40

33:
Cyndi Lauper

  • 10 hits       
  • 116 weeks in the Top 40

32:
Tina Turner*  

  • 12 hits       
  • 116 weeks in the Top 40

31:
Paul McCartney*

  • 10 hits       
  • 118 weeks in the Top 40

30-21:

30:
Olivia Newton-John*

  • 11 hits       
  • 118 weeks in the Top 40

29:
Bob Seger

  • 11 hits       
  • 118 weeks in the Top 40

28:
Diana Ross*

  • 12 hits       
  • 119 weeks in the Top 40

27:
REO Speedwagon

  • 13 hits       
  • 124 weeks in the Top 40

26:
George Michael*

  • 10 hits       
  • 128 weeks in the Top 40

25:
The Pointer Sisters

  • 11 hits       
  • 129 weeks in the Top 40

24:
Bruce Springsteen

  • 13 hits       
  • 131 weeks in the Top 40

23:
Rod Stewart

  • 13 hits       
  • 132 weeks in the Top 40

22:
Whitney Houston

  • 10 hits       
  • 134 weeks in the Top 40

21:
Billy Ocean

  • 11 hits       
  • 135 weeks in the Top 40

20-11:

20:
Sheena Easton*

  • 13 hits       
  • 136 weeks in the Top 40

19:
Pat Benatar

  • 15 hits       
  • 139 weeks in the Top 40

18:
Duran Duran

  • 13 hits       
  • 141 weeks in the Top 40

17:
Air Supply

  • 11 hits       
  • 142 weeks in the Top 40

16:
Kenny Rogers*

  • 13 hits       
  • 146 weeks in the Top 40

15:
Chicago

  • 12 hits       
  • 149 weeks in the Top 40

14:
Stevie Wonder*  

  • 14 hits       
  • 150 weeks in the Top 40

13:
Journey      

  • 16 hits       
  • 151 weeks in the Top 40

12:
Rick Springfield

  • 16 hits       
  • 157 weeks in the Top 40

11:
Phil Collins*

  • 14 hits       
  • 167 weeks in the Top 40

10-1:

10:


Huey Lewis and the News

  • 15 hits       
  • 175 weeks in the Top 40

9:
Kool and the Gang

  • 16 hits       
  • 179 weeks in the Top 40

8:
Lionel Richie*

  • 14 hits       
  • 192 weeks in the Top 40

7:
John Cougar Mellencamp  

  • 17 hits       
  • 195 weeks in the Top 40

6:
Elton John*

  • 21 hits       
  • 197 weeks in the Top 40

5:
Billy Joel

  • 20 hits       
  • 204 weeks in the Top 40

4:
Prince*

  • 20 hits       
  • 210 weeks in the Top 40

3:
Michael Jackson*

  • 19 hits       
  • 223 weeks in the Top 40

2:
Madonna

  • 19 hits       
  • 228 weeks in the Top 40
1.       Daryl Hall and John Oates*      22      241

Next week: Back to the countdown…to 1990!

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Chuck Small

Journalist-turned-high school counselor. Happily ensconced in Raleigh, N.C., with hubby of 31 years (9 legal).

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JJ Live At Leeds
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November 7, 2023 8:24 am

Thanks for the made to order list. I expected a top 40 but you’ve gone above and beyond with a top 100. All the expected big names there.

Kool & The Gang being at #9 feels a bit of a surprise. Not that they weren’t popular but they’re not generally referenced in terms of the big names. Shows how consistent they must have been over a long period, one of those bands you might not call your favourite but you know plenty of their songs.

Given Phil Collins is at #11 solo and #38 with Genesis I guess combining his results would make him the ultimate Mr 80s. That’d be 25 hits and 272 weeks – he spent over half the decade in the top 40.

No wonder he dropped off in the 90s, we’d heard enough.

mt58
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November 7, 2023 9:43 am

Ah, the 80s: It was an uninformed and simpler time.

Second only to, “Hey, waddayaknow: a girl who can actually play the guitar” was the equally ridiculous take of, “ Hey, lookit that: a drummer who writes songs.”

I never exactly figured out why Phil became a little bit of a punchline, but maybe JJ is right: maybe it was just too much output.

rollerboogie
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November 7, 2023 10:51 am
Reply to  mt58

I don’t remember hearing anything negative about him in real time during that era. Sussudio was cause for some side-eye, mostly for the non-sensical title, but I think it wasn’t until Another Day in Paradise in ’89 that fatigue may have set in. I think like a lot of music of the 80s, the punchline thing may have been more in retrospect.

JJ Live At Leeds
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November 7, 2023 12:41 pm
Reply to  mt58

From a home country perspective I think that Phil came off as too smug and self satisfied. By all accounts he didn’t have a great relationship with the press which led to him being targeted with stories designed to make him look bad – like telling his wife by fax that he was divorcing her.

Then the music just got that bit blander. And it was everywhere. Especially when by the late 80s the likes of Kylie and Madchester were dominating the charts making Phil seem old and irrelevant and the kind of thing their dad would listen to.

Ozmoe
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Ozmoe
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November 10, 2023 12:53 pm
Reply to  mt58

I think that was the case, mt58. I remember at one point thinking I could hear a Phil Collins song on virtually every hour of a station. Only a few artists like Elvis and the Beatles at their peak could handle that sort of saturation play, and eventually we got our fill of Phil in the 1980s.

Pauly Steyreen
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November 7, 2023 11:04 am

Same with Wham! and George Michael. If you combined their totals, would’ve been Top 10, maybe Top 5.

R.S.Wonham
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November 7, 2023 8:59 am

What a treat! Still love an AT40/TNOCS’ Extra! I would have guessed that the acts at 4, 3, and 2 would have been the Top 3, but I forgot how dominant H20 were on the singles chart. Truly impressive, but even more so given their chart drought in the late 70s. Those remakes can certainly revive careers.

Several acts that I associate more with the 90s, NKOTB, Marx, Brown and Dayne were surprises. Perhaps I subconsciously chose to block them from all the fantastic music in the 80s. Cheers!

Virgindog
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November 7, 2023 9:39 am

I have a feeling I’m going to go down many rabbit holes today. Sheena Easton had 13 hits? I think I can name two. Billy Ocean had 11? Juice Newton had 7? And Queen is only #100? Did I live in a different world? Who am I? Where are my car keys? Why did I come in here?

dutchg8r
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November 7, 2023 9:46 am
Reply to  Virgindog

‘Big Suit delivery for a Mr Bois from Mr Byrne….’

Virgindog
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Virgindog
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November 7, 2023 9:50 am
Reply to  dutchg8r

Thinking about it for next Halloween….

mt58
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mt58
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November 7, 2023 9:47 am
Reply to  Virgindog

Cue Rod Serling from over in the corner:

Submitted for your approval: A Mr. V-Dog.

A man bewildered by alternate musical memories. His next stop on this confusing and frightening timeline:

The Chuck Zone.

JJ Live At Leeds
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November 7, 2023 12:44 pm
Reply to  Virgindog

Sounds like an idea for an article, exploring Bill’s alternative universe.

dutchg8r
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November 7, 2023 9:44 am

Holy crap, Hall and Oates for the win!!!!! What a pleasant surprise! And we love you Beloved Music Critic Tommy B, but Daryl Hall most certainly does NOT have a nasal whine….

Oh, the studies we can pull from this list. It’s a fabulous cross section of music genre’s in this 100, isn’t it? I mean, glam metal, r&B, yacht rock, pop – and that’s just Prince. 🙃

I’m combining Wham! and solo George for my selfish benefit, which would put him what, just ahead of Elton?!

mt58
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mt58
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November 7, 2023 9:50 am
Reply to  dutchg8r

“… but Daryl Hall most certainly does NOT have a nasal whine…”

I thought I was the only one that caught that yesterday over at The Number Ones. Good on you for the Daryl defense.

dutchg8r
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November 7, 2023 10:10 am
Reply to  mt58

#JusticeForHall&Oates

My Hall&Oates funny even though no one cares – so during the Phillies 2008 World Series run, they had 3 home games. As is tradition, home town singers are asked to do the National Anthem before each game. It was Patti LaBelle, Taylor Swift, and Daryl Hall was supposed to sing also. But day of, Darryl comes down with laryngitis, and so plan B was John Oates. And John was fantastic! I was watching the game thinking Darryl was such a selfish hog to never let Oates sing!!!!

Virgindog
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November 7, 2023 11:47 am
Reply to  dutchg8r

I heard John Oates speak at a NAMM convention. He seemed like a good guy, self-deprecating and very funny.

lovethisconcept
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November 7, 2023 12:32 pm
Reply to  dutchg8r

I didn’t understand the “nasal whine” shot at all. Can’t hear that at all.

thegue
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thegue
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November 7, 2023 10:19 am

I could be wrong, but I think Dan Fogelberg is the highest on the Chuck Scale to have never been mentioned over in The Number Ones.

Also, Sheena Easton!!

Pauly Steyreen
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November 7, 2023 11:03 am

Thank you for putting this together, Chuck! Wonderful!!!

Of course we all knew Prince, Michael and Madonna would be in the top tier, but Hall and Oates at the top was a pleasant surprise. Also happy to see Kool and the Gang so high. I’ve had “Joanna” on a nostalgia repeat in my head lately (and no, I don’t know anybody named Joanna, just saw a reference to the song recently in TNOCS and it brought it back).

rollerboogie
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November 7, 2023 11:07 am
Reply to  Pauly Steyreen

I cannot speak ill of any song with a trombone solo.

JJ Live At Leeds
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November 7, 2023 12:48 pm
Reply to  rollerboogie
LinkCrawford
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November 8, 2023 11:16 am

The Music Man soundtrack is well known in the Crawford household.

LinkCrawford
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November 8, 2023 11:10 am
Reply to  Pauly Steyreen

I LOVE “Joanna” and I love that trombone solo! My favorite 80s era KATG song.

rollerboogie
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November 7, 2023 11:05 am

This is really cool, Chuck. Thanks for digging into it. The first 4 came as no shock. I didn’t expect Billy and Elton to come in at 5 and 6, as I identify more with their 70s output, though I forget that Glass Houses came out in ’80. Mellencamp at #7 was a lot higher than expected. The rest of the top 20 was not surprising. The amount of hits many of these artists had was higher than I would have predicted, but for most artists, its easy to miss a number of their top-40 hits unless you’re really paying close attention.

Virgindog
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November 7, 2023 12:33 pm

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this but as I first scrolled down and got to the picture of Taylor Dayne, I thought, “Wow, I didn’t think David Lee Roth would be on this list.”

JJ Live At Leeds
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November 7, 2023 12:49 pm
Reply to  Virgindog

I had something similar when I scrolled quickly past Janet Jackson and thought it was Michael.

dutchg8r
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November 7, 2023 3:07 pm

My afternoon has consisted of meetings, meetings, running database scripts, meetings….

And trying to come up with the songs that made the Top 40 that Chuck accounted for for Wham!, Duran, and George Michael in today’s list.

Hmm, which task held my interest the most??!

cappiethedog
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November 7, 2023 6:28 pm

I kind of forgot how popular Air Supply was. #17! Air Supply seemed like a seventies band. “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” was their last major hit. So the seventies actually ended in 1983. “Just As I Am” charted because people were nostalgic for the seventies. Everybody who hated MTV supported “Just As I Am”.

Great series.

Ozmoe
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November 10, 2023 1:14 pm

Night Ranger and the Thompson Twins being behind Barry Manilow at the start already told me we were in for a wild ride here. Thanks for compiling and sharing this, Chuck!

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