presents The Top Pop Songs
Of All Time !
We have ranked the top pop songs that have charted over the past
50+ years on The ARC Weekly Top 40 and Billboard Hot 100, and
come up with
a definitive list that will continue to expand as we add to it,
and continue to modify as new songs chart on The ARC Weekly Top
could I have been anything else but what I
am, having been named Madonna. I would either
have ended up a nun or this..." - Madonna
Madonna (Louise Ciccone)
was born on August 16, 1958, in Michigan. Madonna
grew up in a suburb of Detroit with her father,
step-mother and 7 siblings - Madonna's mother
died of cancer when Madonna was 5. In the
mid-80s, Madonna burst onto the worldwide music
scene and remains one of the biggest music
personalities in the world. Although often
criticized for less than supreme vocals, Madonna
continues to amaze and entertain fans with her
dancing, imaginative videos, and captivating
antics. The world has watched Madonna's
"metamorphism" over the years: pop
queen, struggling actress, MTV maven, record
company developer, successful actress, and
mother. Whatever role Madonna has played, it can
not be disputed that she has always put 110% into
her craft. Madonna is able to portray her
sexuality and femininity while still maintaining
an empowering image of control (which is rare in
music and set the framework for other powerful
female artists). In the late 70s, Madonna began
her entertainment career modeling and dancing
with the Alvin Ailey dance troupe in New York
with hopes of becoming a ballet dancer. Madonna
then worked with Patrick Hernandez
and became a member of the Breakfast Club for a
short time playing drums and then singing lead.
After leaving the Breakfast Club and
forming a short-lived band named Emmy, Madonna
recorded some dance tracks that eventually led
her to being signed with Sire Records 2 years
With a record deal with Sire
Records, Madonna's music finally hit the club
scene with the track "Everybody."
Madonna's club hits
continued with the track "Physical
July 27: The 3rd dance song
released, "Holiday," was crossing over onto pop
radio, and Madonna's debut LP, Madonna, was released. Even though
the LP got off to a slow-start, it went on to
sell millions copies and was later named one of Rolling
Stone magazine's 100 Best Albums of the 80s.
Madonna also had to
contend with 7 year-old nude photos of her
published in Penthouse and Playboy
magazines, along with a low-budget film she had
done 6 years previously, A Certain Sacrifice.
Although Madonna did not want the photos
published, there was little impact on her rising
Madonna's success had
expanded worldwide, and she appeared at Live Aid
in Philadelphia, toured worldwide with The Virgin
Tour, and married actor Sean Penn (the couple was
divorced 4 years later) - all by the end of the
July:Songs from True
continued to dominate pop radio, but Madonna had
another commercial disappointment with the film Who's
That Girl - the title song however went to #1
and the Who's That Girl Tour was successful.
March: Madonna released her 4th
A Prayer, and during the year had three more
#1 hits: "Like A Prayer," "Express Yourself," and "Cherish." The LP showed that Madonna
was getting more comfortable experimenting with
her musical styles, incorporating more rock,
R&B, and adult contemporary elements into her
March: Madonna appeared on the
cover of Rolling Stone.
March: Madonna's soda commercial
for Pepsi began airing on TV only to be pulled
off the air within a few days due to the
controversy over the "Like A Prayer" video and
accompanying religious images.
May: Madonna took the 1990's
by storm when she began her worldwide Blonde
Ambition tour. The tour was accompanied by a
successful role in Dick
and the release of I'm
Breathless (with songs inspired from the film)
which contained the classic dance #1, "Vogue" and sold over 2 million
copies in the U.S.
Breathlessalso contained the hits
"Hanky Panky" and was hailed by Rolling
Stone: "...Madonna pulls it off with
brass and panache..." All three ventures
were successful, but it was the tour that
established Madonna as a musical force quickly
becoming legendary. The Blonde Ambition tour was
different than typical live shows by
incorporating much more dancing and more
theatrical themes running through different sets
May: By the end of the month, I'm
Breathless was certified 2x platinum.
May 5: Madonna topped the
Billboard Dance Music 12" Singles Sales
chart for 6 weeks with "Vogue."
The same year,
Madonna released the concert tour documentary Truth
Or Dare showcasing her Blonde Ambition
worldtour. The movie was a critical success and
fared well at the box-office for a documentary.
performed the Oscar-winning "Sooner Or
Later" from Dick
Tracyat the Academy Awards earlier in the year.
October: Madonna became an
"author" when she released a pictorial
book called Sex which was followed by
the controversial and commercially and critically
disappointing movie Body
Of Evidence. Both of these ventures received
negative publicity, but did not hurt the success
of Madonna's next LP, Erotica released. The LP contained
the hits, "Deeper And Deeper" and "Erotica" as well as Madonna first song
directly addressing AIDS, "In This
Life." Madonna was one of the first artists
to ever support charities regarding the epidemic.
October 14: Madonna spent the year
cultivating what might be her 2 greatest
achievements: a baby andEvita. Lourdes Maria Ciccone
Leon was born on October 14, 1996 to Madonna and
boyfriend, Carlos Leon.
November: By the end of the year, Evita was released to mostly
rave reviews, with much of the credit going to
Madonna. The accompanying soundtrack was also a
success with the tracks "You Must Love Me" and a dance remix of
"Don't Cry For Me Argentina" that became her 19th
#1. The soundtrack had sales of over 4 million in
August: Freddy DeMann announced
that he was stepping down as Madonna's manager, a
job he has held since Madonna became a household
name 14 years ago. Although the move may appear
detrimental to the pop icon's career and signify
problems, it is actually a sign of her creative
success. DeMann is actually changing his job to
focus all his efforts on Madonna's record label,
Maverick Records. The company has seen a surge of
success in recent years with the likes of Alanis Morissette, Me'Shell
NdegéOcello, and Prodigy. Madonna's co-manager,
Caresse Norman, will take over as her manager.
September 4: Madonna took aim at
tabloids at the MTV Video Music Awardsin
response to the death of Princess Diana by
stating "... it's time for us to take
responsibility for our own insatiable need to run
after gossip and scandals and lies and rumors, to
live vicariously through other people's
misery...until we change our negative behaviors,
tragedies will continue to occur."
March: Madonna's next LP Ray
Of Light was released. Madonna told
columnist, Liz Smith, "It's truly the album
I'm the most proud of in my entire career. I may
even go back to my club roots and perform some of
the songs." After much promotion and
critical acclaim, the LP debuted at #2 with an
impressive 371,000 copies sold (while the Titanic
soundtrack continued its reign at #1). Madonna
hit the Top 10 and #1 with "Frozen."
March: In an interview with the Los
Angeles Times (appearing March 1st), Madonna
expressed her desire to have more children:
"Oh, yes, I would love to have a brother or
sister for Lola. I don't know when, but it'll
happen. . . . There's a song on the album called
Really Matters,' and it was very much inspired by
my daughter. It's just about realizing that when
the day is done the most important thing is
loving people and sharing love, so of course I
want more of that love in my life."
March: Madonna's Ray
Of Light couldn't topple the Titanic
soundtrack in the U.S., but she did hit #1 in
other countries: England, Canada, Germany,
Norway, Israel, Switzerland, Singapore, Finland,
May: Coming off the success of
Of Light, Madonna appeared on The Oprah
Winfrey Show at the end of the month for a
candid interview: On the "new
Madonna," she stated: "I've grown
up a lot... I've learned a lot. I feel like when
my daughter was born, I was born again... I had a
lot of rage and anger I had to work out through
the years. It's not about regret... I had to go
through what I had to go through to get where I
am now." On fame: "Just
surviving 15 years of being famous is a feat
itself. It isn't until you become famous that you
realize how superficial it is - it's a
by-product, not a goal." On her past:
"I wasn't really thinking - I was just
doing... It's like 'who is that?'... (it's) like
me 5 lifetimes ago." On working out:
"No more pumping iron... no more
Stairmasters - I'm gym-free! I found a yoga
teacher... and it changed my life." On
the death of Princess Diana: "I
realized... that we're all responsible - who's
too blame? we are... it was a big slap in the
face to humanity." On Lola (Lourdes):
"I'd like to give my daughter the
friendship... of a mother... which I didn't
have." On her clothes: "I never
wear anything twice that I've been photographed
in... because then people will think I'm
January: Madonna told MTV that she
is planning on her first tour since 1993 by the
end of this year: "I'm going on tour this
year. This is definite. I'll be on the road in
the fall. I'll be rehearsing all summer and then
going on the road in September." What isn't
definite is Madonna's participation in the film
version of Chicago which was described
as an inactive project at this time.
January: Madonna also talked with
Larry King on CNN about the Grammy Awards: "I'm nervous about
performing. I'm not nervous about the whole award
thing. I mean I'm excited, I'm keeping my fingers
January: Madonna also told Daily
News: "I don't want to get too attached
to the idea of whether I'm going to win or not...
If you get too attached to winning, then you get
upset if you lose... People do see me as a less
threatening individual now... Motherhood has made
me, in a lot of people's eyes, more respectable
February 12: Madonna's next music
venture coincided with her film The
Next Best Thing. Madonna recorded a cover of Don
McLean's "American Pie" and the new song
"Time Stood Still" for the film which
hit theaters in March. Madonna said of doing the
remake: "I thought, 'Who am I to do a cover
of a pop classic?' But I was working in the
studio on other music and it was like 'okay,
let's just try it' and it kind of worked to my
surprise." Madonna hit the ARC Weekly Top 40 with "American Pie."
April 1: Madonna topped the
Billboard Dance Music Club Play chart for 1 week
with "American Pie."
May: Unfinished new material
by Madonna (a track called "Music")
leaked out on the Internet months before any
release dates and her record company is
threatening legal action.
July: Madonna allowed fans to
download 4 different remixes (by Groove Armada,
Tracy Young, Hex Hector, and Deep Dish) of her
new single "Music" on VH1.com, MTV.com, and her new website, Madonnamusic.com.
July: Madonna talked with Billboard
about her new LP: "The world is in the
doldrums musically. No one's doing anything
interesting or daring, with the exception of the
occasional artist who is unique and who manages
to sneak into consciousness. It's all so generic
and homogenized... If [Music] happens, it might mean
that people are ready for something
August 11: Madonna gave birth to a
baby boy (3 weeks earlier than expected) - the
baby is named Rocco Ritchie. Reports stated that
Madonna was taken to a Los Angeles hospital with
abdominal pain and bleeding, and surgery was
performed to save the baby.
September: Madonna's 1st week of
sales for Music, exceeded 400,000 copies
in the U.S. allowing her to debut at #1 on
Billboard's LP charts (her 1st #1 LP in 11 years)
- the LP has topped the charts in 23 countries.
September: Madonna appeared on the
cover of Rolling Stone.
September 9: Madonna topped the
Billboard Music Maxi-Singles Sales chart for 11
weeks with "Music."
September 16: Madonna's "Music" hit #1 on the ARC Weekly Top 40and also
topped the Billboard charts (for 4 weeks) and UK
chart. Madonna released her next LPMusic and hit #1 in the U.K. and
Canada by the month's end.
December 31: Madonna topped Billboard Year-End
Chart-Toppers as Top Hot Dance Club-Play Artist,
Top Hot Dance Club-Play Single ("Music"), Top Hot Dance
Club-Play Artist - Female, Top Hot Dance
Maxi-Single Sales ("Music"), and Top Hot Dance
Maxi-Single Sales Artist - Female.
February: Madonna won a Brit Award
for Best International Female Artist.
February 3: Madonna topped the
Billboard Hot 100 Singles Sales chart for 1 week
and Dance Music Maxi-Singles Sales chart for 5
weeks with "Don't Tell Me."
February 21: Madonna was nominated for
3 Grammy Awards including Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance - Female ("Music"), and Best Pop Vocal Album (Music). Madonna defended the
controversy over Eminem and his Grammy
nominations: "Since when is offensive
language a reason for being unpopular? I find the
language of George W. (Bush) much more offensive.
He's stirring things up, he's provoking a
discussion, he's making people's blood boil. He's
reflecting what's going on in society right now.
That it what art is supposed to do. And after all
he's just a boy."
June: Madonna cancelled her
sold-out shows in Germany due to technical
problems which angered many fans.
June: Madonna's 1st tour in 8
years (the 'Drowned World' Tour) kicked off in
August: Madonna had to cancel a
concert performance in New Jersey due to
August: Madonna appeared live in
concert from Detroit on HBO.
September: Madonna cancelled a
performance in Los Angeles the night of the
terrorist attack, but returned later in the week
and called for peace and restraint: "Tonight
I'd like to say a prayer for peace. `Violence
begets violence, and I don't know about you, but
I want to live a long and happy life, and I want
my kids to live a long and happy life... We're
not doing this show because we want people to
forget. We're doing this because we want people
to remember how precious life is."
March: Madonna signed a deal
with Penguin Publishing to write 5 children's
fables with the first (The English Roses)
to be released in September.
March: Madonna's film Swept
didn't fair too well at the Razzie Awards -
claiming the 'prize' for Worst Film and Worst
Performance by an Actress (along with Worst
Screen Couple, Worst Director, Worst Supporting
Actress for Die
Another Day, and Worst Remake).
April: Madonna decided to pull
her music video for "American Life" from release to
video outlets due to concerns over how it would
be interpreted given the US war with Iraq:
"It was filmed before the war started and I
do not believe it is appropriate to air it at
this time. Due to the volatile state of the world
and out of sensitivity and respect to the armed
forces, who I support and pray for, I do not want
to risk offending anyone who might misinterpret
the meaning of this video."
April 3: Madonna topped the
Billboard Dance Club Songs chart with "Love
May: Madonna canceled tour
performance in Israel after threats of violence
were made against her and her family.
May: Madonna launched her
"Re-Invention" tour of North America
June: Madonna gave up her
control over Maverick Records to Warner Bros.
Records after some legal wrangling. Madonna will
no longer have any input with Maverick Records,
but will continue with Warner Bros.
December: Madonna's 'Re-Invention
Tour' was the biggest money maker of the year
according to Billboard Boxscore.
July 2: Madonna performed in
London, England, as part of the worldwide Live 8 concerts. The mission of
the concerts was to raise awareness of the
on-going poverty in Africa and to pressure the G8
leaders to take action by doubling aid, canceling
debt, and delivering trade justice for Africa.
August 16: While celebrating her
47th birthday, Madonna fell off her horse at her
home in London and suffered several broken bones
including a few cracked ribs, a broken collar
bone, and a broken hand.
December 3: Madonna topped the
Billboard Digital Songs chart for 2 weeks with
December 3: Madonna topped the
Billboard 200 LP chart for 1 week, Top Digital
Albums chart for 1 week, and Dance/Electronic
Albums chart for 13 weeks with Confessions
On A Dance Floor. The LP sold over 350,000 copies
its first week of release in the US.
May: Madonna wrote and
recorded the track "Hey You" for the
charity Live Earth.
July 7: Madonna performed at the Live Earth concert in the UK. The
7-continent concert organized by Al Gore brought
together over 100 artists to perform and raise
the world's awareness about the climate crisis
and how to make a difference to help the
environment and the world.
May: Madonna topped the UK LP
charts with Hard
May 17: Madonna topped the
Billboard 200 LP chart for 1 week, Top Digital
Albums chart for 1 week, and Top Internet Albums
chart with Hard
The LP sold over 280,000 copies its first week of
release in the US.
US: 2x Platinum Billboard peak: # 2 Rolling Stone: - Entertainment
A Tracks: "He's A
Man" - "Sooner Or Later" -
"Hanky Panky" - "I'm
Going Bananas" - "Cry Baby" -
"Something To Remember" -
"Back In Business" -
"More" - "What Can You
Lose" - "Now I'm Following You -
Part 1" - "Now I'm Following You -
Part 2" - "Vogue"
US: 5x Platinum Billboard peak: # 2 Rolling Stone: - Entertainment
A- Madonna Tracks: "Oh What A
Circus" - "Buenos Aires" -
"Another Suitcase In Another Hall"
- "Goodnight And Thank You" -
"I'd Be Surprisingly Good For You"
- "Hello And Goodbye" -
"Peron's Latest Flame" - "A
New Argentina" - "Don't Cry For Me
Argentina" - "On The Balcony Of
The Casa Rosada 2" - "High Flying,
Adored" - "Rainbow High" -
"The Actress Hasn't Learned The
Lines" - "Partido Feminista" -
"Waltz For Eva And Che" -
"Your Little Body's Slowly Breaking
Down" - "You Must Love Me" - "Eva's
Final Breakdown" - "Lament"
November, 2003 Billboard peak: # 115 Entertainment Weekly: C+ Tracks: "Nothing
Fails" (Nevins Mix) - "Love
Profusion" (Headcleanr Rock Mix) -
"Nobody Knows Me" (Mount Sims Old
School Mix) - "American Life" (Headcleanr Rock
Mix) - "Like A Virgin/Hollywood Medley" (live MTV
VMA performance with Christina Aguilera,
Britney Spears & Missy Elliott) -
"Into The Hollywood Groove" (The
Passengerz Mix) (with Missy Elliott) -
Note: Song title and position
links lead you to the song's ARC Weekly Top 40 chart run, LP links take
you to Amazon.com for that LP's info (often
including track listings and track samples), and
single cover art takes you to Amazon.com for that CD single (if
available). Songs charting prior to 1980 have
information from Billboard magazine.