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50 Number One Songs From the Last 50 Years

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For more than half a century, the Billboard Hot 100 has been documenting the biggest, most commercially successful hits in the U.S.

The chart—compiled by Billboard magazine using record sales, radio airplay and now digital streaming—first appeared on August 4, 1958, when “Poor Little Fool” by Ricky Nelson took the inaugural top spot.

Since then there have been 1,117 different No.1s.

Below, The Liberty Buzz highlights 50 tracks that have come to define the chart in the last five decades. Many of these are included in Billboard’s own 100 biggest hits of all-time list.

1. “Me and Bobby McGee” (March 1971)

by Janis Joplin

On this day 50 years ago, the song at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 was the posthumously released track by Janis Joplin. The song was written by American singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson and originally performed by Roger Miller.

Janis Joplin had died six months earlier from a drug overdose.

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