Joel Whitburn

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Joel Whitburn (born November 29, 1939 in Wauwatosa , Wisconsin ) is an American non-fiction author. He is known for his extensive evaluations of the US music charts , which are considered standard works on the Billboard charts.


Joel Whitburn began collecting records as a teenager. He managed his collection with index cards and added further information to them. From 1958 he subscribed to Billboard magazine and also noted the positions of the singles and albums in the US charts. Since he also created maps for records that he did not yet have, a complete collection of chart data was created.

Later he also worked in the music sector and worked for the RCA label in the 1960s . When he was talking to radio hosts about his hobby, he came up with the idea of ​​publishing his knowledge in book form for the experts. In five years of work he completed his data and put together the top pop singles 1955-1969 . He founded his own publishing company, Record Research, and published the first volume in 1970 for USD 50. The book met with great interest and sold more than 15,000 copies.

Since then, the books have been updated at certain intervals, there have been further evaluations from other charts and from earlier times as well as books with detailed information on chart hits. Whitburn has published over 130 different books since then. He officially works with Billboard and has an exclusive license from the chart company. In collaboration with Rhino Records , a series of over 150 CDs with Billboard chart hits, which Whitburn has put together, was also released.

Joel Whitburn owns an extensive record collection, believed to be one of the most complete collections of popular American music, valued at over $ 4 million. Among other things, it contains every single that was ever featured on the Billboard Hot 100 . Whitburn has had a fire-proof vault built in his house for his collection of over 150,000 records.

Joel Whitburn is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame committee that decides on the admission of artists and musical works to the Hall of Fame.


Some of the best known book publications by Joel Whitburn include:

  • Top pop singles
  • Top pop albums
  • The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits
  • The Billboard Book of Top 40 Albums
  • Billboard Hot 100 Charts (by decade)
  • The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits
  • The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B and Hip-Hop Hits
  • Billboard Music Yearbook (by year)
  • Billboard Top 1000 Hits of the Rock Era

The album / CD series with his involvement include:

  • Billboard Top Pop Hits (by year)
  • Billboard Top Rock 'n' Roll Hits (By Year)
  • Billboard Top R&B Hits (by year)
  • Billboard Top Dance Hits (by year)
  • Billboards # 1's (by decade)
  • Joel Whitburn Presents: Top Pop Treasures (By Year)


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