Ready? Here we go.
• Who has had more top 10 R&B hits than any other artist?
• What female artist has had the most?
• What group has had the most?
• What female group has had the most?
• What family group has had the most?
• What Motown act has had the most?
• What white artist has had the most?
• What rap or hip-hop artist has had the most?
In 1945, the chart's name was changed to "Most-Played Jukebox Race Records." In 1949, Billboard finally came up with a name worthy of the music: "Best-Selling Retail Rhythm & Blues Records." The term was shortened to "R&B" in 1956.Paul & Paula's "Hey Paula" and Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs' "Sugar Shack." The chart resumed in January 1965 with the Temptations' R&B classic "My Girl" in the lead (and with its credibility restored). The name changed to "Soul" in 1969, then to "Black" in 1982. It reverted back to "R&B" in 1990. The name expanded to include "Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks" in 1999.
OK, time's up. Here are the answers to today's quiz.James Brown had more top 10 R&B hits than any other artist. The Godfather of Soul had 60, from 1956's "Please, Please, Please" to 1988's "Static." In second place: Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five with 54 top 10 hits. (Note: If you combine Michael Jackson's solo hits and his hits with the Jackson 5 (later known as the Jacksons), he zooms to second place among all artists, with 57 top 10 hits). Aretha Franklin has had more top 10 R&B hits than any other female artist. The Queen of Soul has had 52, from 1960's "Today I Sing The Blues" to 1998's "A Rose Is Still A Rose." In second place: Dinah Washington, with 34 top 10 hits. (Note: If you combine Diana Ross' solo hits and her earlier hits with the Supremes, she moves up to second place among female artists, with 37 top 10 hits.) The Temptations had more top 10 R&B hits than any other group. The mighty Temps had 44, from "The Way You Do The Things You Do" in 1964 to "Special" in 1990. In second place: Gladys Knight & the Pips, with 31 top 10 hits. (This tally doesn't count two top 10 hits that Gladys later recorded without the Pips). The Supremes had more top 10 R&B hits than any other female group. The iconic trio had 24, from "When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes" in 1964 to "Floy Joy" in 1972. This tally includes two collabos with the Temptations and one with the Four Tops. In second place: the Marvelettes and Destiny's Child, with 11 top 10 hits each. Gladys Knight & the Pips had more top 10 R&B hits than any other family group. The beloved group, which consisted of Gladys, her brother Merald "Bubba" Knight and cousins William Guest and Edward Patten, amassed 31 top 10 R&B hits, from 1961's "Every Beat Of My Heart" to 1988's "Lovin' On Next To Nothin'." In second place: the Isley Brothers and the Jackson 5, with 27 top 10 hits each. (The Isleys' tally doesn't count two top 10 hits that featured individual members.) Stevie Wonder has had more top 10 hits than any other Motown act. The legendary composer has had 48, from 1963's "Fingertips - Pt 2" (on which he was billed as Little Stevie Wonder) to 1992's "These Three Words." All but one of these hits appeared on Motown labels. In second place: the Temptations, with 44 top 10 hits, all on Motown labels. Elvis Presley had more top 10 R&B hits than any other white artist. The King of Rock and Roll had 24, from "Heartbreak Hotel" in 1956 to "(You're The) Devil In Disguise" in 1963. In second place: Johnny Otis Orchestra, with 17. Otis, the son of Greek immigrants, is best known today for the 1958 hit "Willie And The Hand Jive." Ludacris has had more top 10 R&B hits than any other rapper. The rap star and actor has had 29, from "What's Your Fantasy" (featuring Shawna) in 2000 to Ciara's "Ride" (on which he was featured) in 2010. In second place: Jay-Z, with 25. (Jay-Z picks up his 25th top 10 R&B hit just this week with "Otis," a collaboration with Kanye West. The hit salutes and features another R&B legend, Otis Redding.)
Here are two additional questions based on the book's list of the 50 acts with the most top 10 R&B hits. Think of these as "extra credit."
• Two artists appear twice on the list--as solo artists and as members of groups. Name them.
• The list includes two pairs of related artists (artists who are from the same immediate family). Name them.Fats Domino (39 top 10 hits), Gladys Knight & the Pips (31), the Drifters (27), the Jackson 5 (27), Bobby "Blue" Bland (27) and the Miracles (26).
In his listing of the 50 artists with the most top 10 R&B hits, Whitburn gave artists half-credit, rather than full credit, for collaborations on which they were featured. In the numbers in this report, I give all hits full weight (for the sake of simplicity and clarity), though I understand his reasoning.The King Cole Trio's "The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)," the Drifters' "White Christmas" and Dinah Washington's "Salty Papa Blues" each made the top 10 on two occasions. As a result, Whitburn counts each song as two top 10 hits. I count each song as just one top 10 hit, which explains the discrepancy between our counts.
Here are the answers to the "extra credit" part of today's quiz.Janet Jackson (32 top 10 R&B hits each) and Nat "King" Cole (35 top 10 hits) and his daughter Natalie Cole (17 top 10 hits). (Nat's tally includes 21 early hits with The King Cole Trio.) Both pairs shared billing on one top 10 hit. Nat was featured on Natalie's remake of his 1952 hit "Unforgettable" (#10 in 1991). The Jackson sibs joined forces for "Scream" (#2 in 1995).
There's a lot more where this came from in this highly recommended book. If you're not an R&B expert when you pick it up, you will be when you put it down. Here's a link to Joel's site.
- Joel Whitburn