Like just about every top 10 that has followed in the past 65 years, that first top 10 featured a mix of legends (Glenn Miller, Judy Garland, Tommy Dorsey) and hit-makers that had just a brief time in the spotlight. (Does anybody out there remember orchestra leader Mark Warnow or the "boogie woogie" piano duo of Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons? I didn't think so.)
To get the party started, here are 20 all-time record-holders from the past 65 years. I also identify the two closest runners-up.The first six categories are open to all artists. The next six are divided by musical genre. Carving 65 years of music into genres is something only a fool would attempt. Naturally, I couldn't resist.
The Fine Print: I adhered to the Grammys' genre classifications of albums. This played a big role in shaping the R&B listing above. The Grammys classified numerous contenders as pop, rather than R&B, including Michael Jackson's Thriller and Bad, Stevie Wonder's Songs In The Key Of Life, Donna Summer's Bad Girls and multiple albums by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. The Grammys classified Prince & the Revolution's Purple Rain as rock.
On the youngest solo artist to have a #1 album, I didn't count the duo Kris Kross, whose members were 13 and 14 in May 1992 when Totally Krossed Out hit #1. And I didn't count the first Hannah Montana soundtrack, because it wasn't billed as a Miley Cyrusalbum. Cyrus was 13 years and 11 months old in November 2006 when that soundtrack topped the chart. She had stepped up to front-cover billing nine months later when Hannah Montana 2/Meet Miley Cyrus topped the chart.
Henry Mancini died in 1994, but he still has one of the longest-running #1 instrumental soundtracks and one of the longest-running #1 TV soundtracks of all time.