How Long Can It Take to Have a Top 40 Hit Single? You’d Be Surprised. Look.

AC/DC has never been a singles band, instead selling albums by the tens of millions. Everyone knows about the Velvet Underground, but they’ve never had a hit single. It took Bruce Springsteen to have his first genuine hit single.

Gocompare studied career longevity, looking for how long it took for legendary musicians to have a hit single. Here’s some of what they found:

Artists Who Waited the Longest to Have a Top 40 Hit Single

1. AC/DC – 40 years with ‘Highway To Hell‘ in 2013
2. Public Enemy – 25 years with ‘Harder Than You Think‘ in 2007
3. Grateful Dead – 22 years with ‘Touch Of Grey‘ in 1987
4. Nine Inch Nails – 17 years with ‘The Hand That Feeds‘ in 2005
5. Curtis Mayfield – 16 years with ‘Freddie’s Dead‘ in 1972
6. Bruce Springsteen – 16 years with ‘Hungry Heart‘ in 1980
7. Johnny Cash – 15 years with ‘A Boy Named Sue‘ in 1969
8. Bob Marley – 13 years with ‘No Woman, No Cry‘ in 1975
9. Ray Charles – 12 years with ‘What’d I Say‘ in 1959
10. Jay Z – 12 years with ‘Hard Knock Life‘ in 1998


Legendary Artists Who Have Never Had a Top 40 Hit Single

Howlin’ Wolf
Bo Diddley
Velvet Underground

Everything is laid out in an interactive chart. Make sure you have fun with the filters.



Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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