At this point, Bruce Springsteen is basically an American institution unto himself. However, even The Boss couldn't even make it to the top of the charts. Considering how long he's been releasing hits, it has to be some sort of statistical anomaly that not a single song made it to number one.
The closest he ever made it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 was his iconic hit "Dancing in the Dark" off of his equally famous album, Born in the USA. Unfortunately for Springsteen, his song was hitting the charts at the same time that Prince was releasing his mega-hit "When Doves Cry", which stole the top spot from him.
Imagine Dragons continue to be a wildly popular band, but as of now, they've never managed to conquer the Billboard Hot 100. They may have won Grammys (among other awards) and sold millions of albums, but even that's not enough to get a number one hit, apparently.
That being said, they've done just fine; several of their singles have managed to break into the top ten. These have included "Radioactive" (coming in at number three), as well as "Believer" and "Thunder", both coming in at number four.
The Backstreet Boys
The 1990s were a great time for boy bands—none more than The Backstreet Boys, except for maybe N'SYNC! However, while everyone may have lost their minds for these singing, dancing pretty boys, they just couldn't quite make it to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. At least they have their millions to comfort them.
The Backstreet Boys managed to have six singles crack the top ten, but number two was as close as they ever got to the top with "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart". Their single "I Want It That Way" was number one on the Radio Songs chart, but because of some music business technicalities it wasn't eligible for the number on spot on the Hot 100.
If the Godfather of Soul can't even make it to the top of the charts, what hope is there for the rest of us? As unbelievable as it sounds, American music icon James Brown never nabbed the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. It, thankfully, did nothing to squash his enduring popularity!
Even though he never had a number one hit, Brown gave it his best effort. By the end of his career, more than 90 of his songs had ranked on the Hot 100 charts. While some got close to the top, none ultimately made it. His closest misses included "I Got You", which came in at number three, and "Living in America", which made it to number four.
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Do you think that Creedence Clearwater Revival really cared that they never topped the Billboard Hot 100? Probably not. But as popular as the band was (and continues to be), it's a little shocking that they never climbed to the top. They ultimately had five singles make it to the number two spot, but number one was never in the cards for them.
While they never reached number one, they do have one chart-based accomplishment they should be very proud of. In 1976, their greatest hits compilation album made it onto the Billboard Top 200 album chart, and it's literally been there ever since. The album officially reached the 500-week mark in December of 2020.
Bob Dylan rose to fame in the 1960s and he's stayed there ever since. He's been on tour since 1988, he's gone platinum numerous times, and he's even won the Nobel Prize for literature. But despite all those accolades, he just can't quite seem to conquer the charts.
He did get close with a couple of singles making it to number two, but he never reached the top. With that said, rising on the charts doesn't automatically make you a good musician. There are plenty of people with number one hits that will never be half the musician Dylan is!
It seemed like Sheryl Crow was destined to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 the moment she stepped onto the scene in 1994. Her single "All I Wanna Do" was rising quickly, and nothing could stop her from reaching the top. But then, stalled at number two for six heartbreaking weeks.
Like many of the other musicians on this list, Crow's success was thwarted by a crowded chart. This was the same time when Boyz II Men's single "I'll Make Love to You" was in the number one spot, and Crow just never managed to dethrone them.
These days, most people consider MC Hammer's famous single "U Can't Touch This" to be one of the best and most memorable songs of the early '90s. However, back then, it was a different story. The rapper's most famous solo only managed to make it to number eight on the Billboard Hot 100.
His single "Pray" did manage to make it to number two, but that was the best he ever did. All that being said, Hammer did do better on other charts. His album Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em was number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart for a whopping 21 weeks.
Love may be a battlefield but the Billboard Hot 100 is no walk in the park either! Just ask Pat Benatar. This singer-songwriter to the music world by storm in the 1980s, but like everyone else on this list, she never managed to reach the top spot on the charts.
Her two best attempts came from her singles "Love is a Battlefield" and "We Belong", which both came in at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. Benatar's most famous days may be behind her, but she's still releasing music, so there's a chance she could still hit number one!
The Pointer Sisters
Disco, jazz, pop, blues, funk--the Pointer Sisters have done it all. Well, all except one thing: reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. We don't know what's going on with these crazy charts, but it's a real travesty that these icons have never gotten their proper due.
The family group did have some success on the charts. Their singles "Fire" and "Slow Hand" both made it to number two, but that was as far as they got. Another five of their singles peaked in the top ten, including "Neutron Dance", "Automatic", and "He's So Shy".
She's one of the most recognized rappers in the world, but even the great Missy Elliot can't manage to nab a number one single. Unfortunately for her - her number two hit "Work It" was released around the same time as Eminem's "Lose Yourself" and she just couldn't dethrone this other great rapper.
However, there is a silver lining to her number two disappointment. It's tied for the record of most weeks on the chart at number two without actually reaching number one. She shares this unusual distinction with Foreigner's single "Waiting for a Girl Like You."
French-born DJ David Guetta has taken the world by storm. He's been ranked as the number one DJ of all time and even has a Grammy win and multiple nominations under his belt. However, when it comes to the Billboard Hot 100, this world-class DJ just can't make it to the top.
Unlike some of the others on this list, Guetta hasn't reached number one, but he also has never reached number two...or number three! His best success so far has been his two number four hits, "Turn Me On" and "Without You". However, he's still got a rock-solid career, so there's still time for him to reach the top.
Love them or hate them, there's no denying it--One Direction managed to become one of the most popular boy bands of all time. They might be gone now, but at the height of their popularity, they had millions of rabid fans. But an overenthusiastic fan base is apparently not enough to make it to the top of the charts.
Even though One Direction had several singles that made their way into the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100, none of them ever actually reached the top. Some of their best attempts included "Best Song Ever" (#2), "Drag Me Down" (#3), and "What Makes You Beautiful" (#4).
Martha & the Vandellas
Martha & the Vandellas had decades of success as one of the most popular girl groups to come out of Motown, but a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 was just never in the cards for them. The charts may always be changing, but this is one group who's popularity has endured over the years.
Their famous hits like "Dancing in the Street" and "Heat Wave" might be classics today, but they couldn't conquer the charts back in the day. "Dancing in the Street" made it to number two, while "Heat Wave" only made it to the number four spot. They did, however, make it to number on on the R&B charts.
Chaka Khan is known as the Queen of Funk, and she more than deserves such a good title. She's had a career that spans decades, she's won ten Grammy awards, and she's sold more than 70 million records worldwide. If that's not royalty, I don't know what is! Unfortunately, she's never reigned over the Billboard Hot 100.
Her two best-performing singles were "Tell Me Something Good" and "I Feel For You," both of which didn't rise any higher than number three on the charts. She has, however, reached number one as a featured performer on another artist's single--including Steve Winwood's 1986 hit "Higher Love".