- On balancing his art with his business: “I’ve got so much brain, and 90% of it has to be free for songs and art. If I block that out with finance, I’m sunk. So 10% of me can think about where we’re going, but I keep the rest open to do various artistic things”
- Paul McCartney on The Beatles’ focus on continuing to get better and develop: “We’d do one song, and it’d be a hit, and instead of doing another with the same formula, we’d say, ‘OK, we’ve done that.’ You listen to The Beatles’ output and no two songs are alike.”
- On the value of getting a No. 1 with Egypt Station: “When you do something, you kind of do it for yourself, but at the same time, you want people to hear it and judge whether it’s any good.”
- On creating “Only One” with Kanye West: “Kanye was looking at his iPad, basically scrolling through images of Kim [Kardashian]. … At one point I told him how ‘Let It Be’ came from a dream about my mother, who had died years before, where she said, ‘Don’t worry, just let it be.’ He said, ‘I’m going to write a song about my mother,’ … And it became ‘Only One.’ “
- On collaborative songwriting and how it led to “FourFiveSeconds” with Rihanna and West: “It’s this modern process that I was happy to open myself up to…I was sitting around, just strumming a little groove, and nobody said, “Let’s make a song of that.” But months later I got a song with Rihanna on it and I said, “Where am I?” ….. I thought that record was great. Every time we go to a club, my wife Nancy requests it.”
- On remastering recordings and evaluating his previous work: “I go through these songs, and when we remaster, I go to Abbey Road, and it’s like popping into the office. And I get to hear these songs I haven’t heard forever.”
And on the occasion of Billboard’s 125th anniversary, the charts team created an equally monumental ranking: BILLBOARD’S TOP 125 ARTISTS OF ALL TIME. Using a formula blending all titles tallied on both the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart (since its inception on Aug. 4, 1958) and the Billboard 200 albums chart (since it became a combined stereo/mono survey on Aug. 17, 1963), we assembled a list of music’s all-time top artists:
- The Beatles crown the Top 125 Artists of All Time chart, thanks to their unrivaled dominance on the Hot 100 and Billboard 200 since their U.S. breakthrough in 1964.
- The Rolling Stones claim the No. 2 spot on Billboard‘s Top 125 Artists of All Time retrospective, powered by nine No. 1 Billboard 200 albums and eight No. 1 Hot 100 songs.
- Elton John is the No. 3 act and top soloist. In an 1:1 interview for Billboard’s birthday he reveals that for decades now, he has kept a diary, noting (by hand) his Billboard chart positions: “I get the Billboard [albums] charts sent to me on Monday. Then I get the [Hot] 100 sent to me on Wednesday. Billboard is my bible.”
- Mariah Carey is the No. 4 and wished Billboard a happy birthday!
- Madonna ranks at No. 5. She has scored 12 Hot 100 No. 1s and nine Billboard 200 toppers, while her 38 Hot 100 top 10s remain a record. Plus, of all the acts in the Top 125 Artists of All Time chart’s top five, she has led the Billboard 200 most recently, with her latest LP, Madame X, in June.
The rest of the elite top 10 on the Top 125 Artists of All Time ranking features acts that launched their legacies, and made their first chart appearances, in the ’60s and one who arrived, and has since dominated surveys, in the 2000s: Barbra Streisand (No. 6), Michael Jackson (No. 7), Taylor Swift (No. 8), Stevie Wonder (No. 9) and Chicago (No. 10).
Full article HERE for a complete look at Billboard‘s Top 125 Artists of All Time chart. Additional chart stories include:
- Decade-End Top Artists
- Decade-End Top Country Artists
- Decade End Top Rock Artists
- Decade End Top Hip&Hop and R&B
- Decade End Top Latin Artists
- Decade End Top Christian Artists
- Decade End Top Gospel Artists
- Decade End Top Dance Electronic Artists
- Decade End Top Touring Artists
- Elton John reveals that for decades now, he has kept a diary, noting (by hand) his Billboard chart positions: “I get the Billboard [albums] charts sent to me on Monday. Then I get the [Hot] 100 sent to me on Wednesday. Billboard is my bible.”
- On the bittersweet success of “Candle in the Wind 1997”: “I would have preferred not to have made the record and for [Princess Diana] to still be alive, but it was what it was. It raised 37 million pounds for her foundation because Bernie and I gave up [our] writing credits….It was a memento of grief and love for her. Other than at Princess Diana’s funeral, I’ve never, ever played it in front of Prince William or Prince Harry. Even the Marilyn Monroe version, I wouldn’t play it in front of them.”
- On how Billboard prepared him for his career after his and Bernie Taupin’s “golden period”: “Billboard really prepared me for when I wasn’t going to be No. 1 all the time. It didn’t matter to me because I had a huge back catalog of music and I knew that likewise I could always have a great career. Because I’m such a chart enthusiast, it really readied me for the fact that it’s someone else’s turn now”
- On her many hit collaborations: “It’s pretty amazing to look at these moments and say, “Wow, I was able to work with people that I loved,” even on songs that didn’t necessarily chart, like “The Roof” featuring Mobb Deep — one of my hardcore fans’ favorite songs. I don’t know that these things taught me anything necessarily different about myself as an artist except that I needed to trust my own instincts, you know what I mean? It really feels good to see, OK, this is where music was going, and I knew it, and I wasn’t trying to fit into something — I was searching for my own creative autonomy.”
- On her accomplishments as a songwriter and producer: “Songwriting and producing, being in the studio, that is my favorite thing on earth…When I look back on the songs that I’ve written that have become part of people’s lives, that’s what makes me the most proud. “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” the constant presence at Christmastime — to feel that as someone who loves Christmas so much, I can’t even explain. And then I think about “Hero,” which I performed at the Tribute to Heroes during the 9/11 tragedy: It was a song that I had written and debuted on a Thanksgiving special, and it went to No. 1 and has become kind of synonymous with me. I don’t think many people realize I wrote that song, either — because most people aren’t necessarily writing their songs. But I wouldn’t feel complete as an artist if I didn’t.”
- On her kids’ favorite Mariah Carey songs: “They can recognize my voice. They love “Always Be My Baby,” “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” “We Belong Together.” They surprise me with the songs that they know. They’ve been to a lot of the shows — you always think they’re on their iPads rather than paying attention, but I guess they’re paying attention!”