Motown Records’ ability to produce chart-ruling albums as well as chart-busting singles was evident as long ago as the summer of 1963, when Little Stevie Wonder’s The 12 Year Old Genius Recorded Live reached Number One. It was the company’s first LP to top the Billboard charts, and Wonder was then the youngest artist to score a Number One album.
In 1976, Stevie delivered once more. Songs In The Key of Life became Motown’s most successful album release of the past 60 years, with 14 weeks at the summit and 18 months on the charts. Meanwhile, Motown queen Diana Ross is represented both as a member of the Supremes – their 1967 two-LP set, Greatest Hits, spent 24 weeks in the Top 10 – and as a solo star, with the soundtrack of her first motion picture, Lady Sings The Blues.
Boyz II Men represented a new generation of Motown stars, and their 1994 album II spent more than six months in the Top 10 of the Billboard charts, as well as five weeks at the peak. And if this particular countdown had run to one more place, the same group’s 1997 album, Evolution, would have occupied it.
MOTOWN’S TOP 10: THE NUMBER ONE ALBUMS
Things you need to know. This time: the albums which ruled the longest
(ranked by weeks at #1 on the main Billboard album chart*)
- Songs In The Key of Life, STEVIE WONDER (14)
- II, BOYZ II MEN (5)
- Greatest Hits, DIANA ROSS & THE SUPREMES (5)
- Can’t Slow Down, LIONEL RICHIE (3)
- Dancing On The Ceiling, LIONEL RICHIE (2)
- The Supremes A’ Go-Go, THE SUPREMES (2)
- Lady Sings The Blues, DIANA ROSS/MOVIE SOUNDTRACK (2)
- Fulfillingness’ First Finale, STEVIE WONDER (2)
- TCB, DIANA ROSS & THE SUPREMES with THE TEMPTATIONS (1)
- The 12 Year Old Genius/Recorded Live, LITTLE STEVIE WONDER (1)
(*Ties broken by weeks in the Top 10)