1. Prince, The Very Best of Prince
How long: 14 years, nine months and one week
Released: July 31, 2001
Reached No. 1: May 7, 2016 (in its 40th chart week)
Reason for Surge: Prince’s death from an accidental fentanyl overdose on April 21, 2016, boosted sales of his catalog. Prince had two other albums in the top 10 on the May 7 chart: the Purple Rain soundtrack (which he recorded with The Revolution) at No. 2 and The Hits/The B-Sides at No. 6. Six Prince songs re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 that week, including “Purple Rain” at No. 17 and “When Doves Cry” at No. 20.
2. Roberta Flack, First Take
How long: two years, 10 months and one week
Released: June 20, 1969
Reached No. 1: April 29, 1972 (in its 12th chart week)
Reason for Surge: Flack’s smash single “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” which was then in its third week at No. 1 on the Hot 100, boosted sales of Flack’s debut album, which included the hypnotic ballad. “Face,” which was featured in the popular Clint Eastwood film Play Misty for Me, spent a total of six weeks on top. It won Grammys for record and song of the year at the 1973 ceremony.
3. Jim Croce, You Don’t Mess Around With Jim
How long: approx. one year and nine months
Released: April 1972
Reached No. 1: Jan. 12, 1974 (in its 47th chart week)
Reason for Surge: Croce’s death in a plane crash on Sept. 20, 1973, boosted his record sales. The almost eerily reflective ballad “Time in a Bottle” had spent the two weeks leading up to Jan. 12 at No. 1 on the Hot 100. It was the album’s third top 20 hit, following the title song and “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels).” Unlike, say, Prince, Croce was still a (relative) newcomer when he died. He had landed his first No. 1 hit on the Hot 100 (“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”) just two months previously.
4. Movie soundtrack, O Brother, Where Art Thou?
How long: one year, three months and three weeks
Released: Dec. 5, 2000
Reached No. 1: March 23, 2002 (in its 63rd chart week)
Reason for Surge: The soundtrack won four Grammys, including album of the year, at the 44th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 27, 2002. An ensemble of artists who performed on the album, including Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch and the Soggy Bottom Boys, gave TV viewers a taste of the album. O Brother was the third film soundtrack to win album of the year, following the Bee Gees-led Saturday Night Fever and the Whitney Houston-paced The Bodyguard.
5. Paula Abdul, Forever Your Girl
How long: one year, three months and and two weeks
Released: June 21, 1988
Reached No. 1: Oct. 7, 1989 (in its 64th chart week)
Reason for Surge: Abdul won four Moonmen (as they were called in those less enlightened times) at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 6, 1989. That tied Madonna for most awards for the night. Abdul also performed a medley of her hits. “(It’s Just) The Way That You Love Me” jumped into the top 40 on the Hot 100 on the Oct. 7 chart, on its way to a No. 3 peak. The album’s first three hits, “Straight Up,” the title track and “Cold Hearted,” all made No. 1 — as would the album’s fifth hit, “Opposites Attract” (with The Wild Pair). For a time, Abdul rivaled Madonna and Janet Jackson as the hottest female singer in contemporary pop.
6. No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom
How long: one year, two months and two weeks
Released: October 10, 1995
Reached No. 1: Dec. 21, 1996 (in its 49th chart week)
Reason for Surge: The irresistible “Don’t Speak” was in its third week at No. 1 on the Radio Songs chart. The song, which was the first non-single to top that chart, would remain on top for 16 weeks. “Don’t Speak” went on to receive a Grammy nod for song of the year at the 1998 ceremony.
7. Fleetwood Mac, Fleetwood Mac
How long: one year, one month and three weeks
Released: July 11, 1975
Reached No. 1: Sept. 4, 1976 (in its 58th week)
Reason for Surge: “Say You Love Me” jumped to No. 13 on the Sept. 4 Hot 100 (on its way to a No. 11 peak). It was the third song from the album to crack the top 20, following “Over My Head” and “Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win).” Fleetwood Mac interrupted Peter Frampton’s run at No. 1 with his blockbuster Frampton Comes Alive! The two superstar acts had co-headlined a “Day on the Green” outdoor concert at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in California on April 25.
8. New Kids on the Block, Hangin’ Tough
How long: one year and one month
Released: Aug. 12, 1988
Reached No. 1: Sept. 9, 1989 (in its 55th chart week)
Reason for Surge: The title track from the boy band’s sophomore album hit No. 1 on that week’s Hot 100. It was the album’s second No. 1 hit, following “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever).” Two other songs from the album — “Please Don’t Go Girl” and “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” — had made the top 10, as would “Cover Girl,” which was the top new entry on the Sept. 16 Hot 100.
9. Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston
How long: one year and three weeks
Released: Feb. 14, 1985
Reached No. 1: March 8, 1986 (in its 50th chart week)
Reason for Surge: Houston made a huge impression at the 28th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 25, 1986. Her sublime recording of “Saving All My Love for You” won for best pop vocal performance, female. (Making it even sweeter: Her cousin, Dionne Warwick, presented the award.) Houston also performed the torchy ballad on the show. Her impact was so strong that she later won an Emmy for her Grammy show appearance, the first time anything like that had ever happened. Also, “How Will I Know,” the third smash single from the album, was still going strong on the Hot 100 (at No. 3) a few weeks after reaching No. 1.
10. Bonnie Raitt, Nick of Time
How long: one year and two weeks
Released: March 21, 1989
Reached No. 1: April 7, 1990 (in its 52nd chart week)
Reason for Surge: Raitt won her first four Grammys, including album of the year, at the 32nd annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 21, 1990. The ceremony, at which she performed “Thing Called Love,” made her a star overnight — after nearly 20 years of often admired but rarely celebrated work. A track from the album, “Have a Heart,” climbed to No. 49 on the Hot 100 on the April 15 chart, higher than Raitt had ever been to that point.
11. Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction
How long: one year and two weeks
Released: July 21, 1987
Reached No. 1: Aug. 6, 1988 (in its 50th chart week)
Reason for Surge: “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” the album’s classic single, had caught fire on the Hot 100. It sprinted from No. 25 to No. 18 on the chart dated Aug. 6, and would reach No. 1 five weeks later. Rock bands were notably hot at the time. The No. 1 albums just before Appetite were Def Leppard’s Hysteria and Van Halen’s OU812.
12. The Kid LAROI, F*ck Love
How long: one year and two weeks
Released: July 24, 2020
Reached No. 1: Aug. 7, 2021 (in its 53rd chart week)
Reason for Surge: F*ck Love was reissued with seven additional tracks on July 23 and reissued again with six additional tracks on July 27, bringing the track list to a whopping 35. (All those streams add up.) The new additions include “Stay,” a collab with Justin Bieber, which is No. 4 on this week’s Hot 100 (after climbing as high as No. 3).
13. Live, Throwing Copper
How long: one year and one week
Released: April 26, 1994
Reached No. 1: May 6, 1995 (in its 52nd chart week)
Reason for Surge: “Lightning Crashes” was in its seventh week at No. 1 on Mainstream Rock Tracks. The song spent a total of 10 weeks on top, the most by any song that year. It also topped the Modern Rock chart for nine weeks and climbed as high as No. 12 on the Radio Songs chart.
14. Vangelis, Chariots of Fire soundtrack
How long: approx. one year
Released: April 1981
Reached No. 1: April 17, 1982 (in its 27th chart week)
Reason for Surge: The film won four Oscars, including best picture and best original score for Vangelis, at the 54th annual Academy Awards on March 29, 1982. Vangelis’ title theme was holding at No. 3 on the Hot 100. Three weeks later, it reached No. 1, dislodging Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ monster hit “I Love Rock N’ Roll.” Vangelis’ single was nominated for record of the year at the 1983 Grammy ceremony.