On this date (March 16) in 1996, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's "One Sweet Day" spent its 16th and final week atop the Billboard Hot 100, wrapping the longest reign for any title in the chart's history. The song's success was hardly surprising, given Carey and Boyz II Men's track records in the '90s. It had already passed the prior-record 14-week commands of two titles: Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" and Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You". (Three songs have since also led for 14 weeks each, including Carey's "We Belong Together", in 2005.)
Aided by the record domination of "Sweet", which debuted at No. 1 on the December 2, 1995, Hot 100, Carey boasts the most total weeks at No. 1 (79) for any artist in the Hot 100's history. The Beatles rank second with 59, followed by Rihanna (51) and Boyz II Men (50). (Boyz II Men, meanwhile, are the only act with at least three singles that have each spent 12 weeks or more at No. 1.) Carey's 18 Hot 100 No. 1s are the most among soloists and second only to the Beatles' 20.
Here's a look at the songs that have logged the most time at No. 1 in the Hot 100's 55-year archives:
16, "One Sweet Day", Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men, 1995
14, "I Gotta Feeling", the Black Eyed Peas, 2009
14, "We Belong Together", Mariah Carey, 2005
14, "Candle in the Wind 1997", Elton John, 1997
14, "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)", Los Del Rio, 1996
14, "I'll Make Love to You", Boyz II Men, 1994
14, "I Will Always Love You", Whitney Houston, 1992
13, "The Boy Is Mine", Brandy & Monica, 1998
13, "End of the Road", Boyz II Men, 1992
12, "Blurred Lines", Robin Thicke feat. T.I. + Pharrell, 2013
12, "Boom Boom Pow", the Black Eyed Peas, 2009
12, "Yeah!", Usher feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris, 2004
12, "Lose Yourself", Eminem, 2002
12, "Smooth", Santana feat. Rob Thomas, 1999
Carey, currently climbing Adult R&B Songs and Rhythmic Songs with "You're Mine (Eternal)", the first single from her May 6 studio album, received a glowing review in the November 4, 1995, Billboard issue for "Sweet" (the same week that Billboard also praised Madonna's "You'll See" and Alanis Morissette's "Hand in My Pocket"). "Expect big chart numbers," Billboard accurately predicted of the ballad, the second single from Carey's album "Daydream"; lead track "Fantasy" ruled the Hot 100 for eight weeks (before being displaced by "Sweet") and third single "Always Be My Baby" led for two.
"Its success will be much deserved, as Carey's increasingly mature and soulful delivery effectively melts into Boyz II Men's wall-to-wall harmonies, combining to give depth to the song's lyrics, which offer a heartfelt farewell to friends who have passed."
In addition to the Hot 100, "Sweet" crowned Radio Songs for 13 weeks, Pop Songs, Adult Contemporary (11 each) and Rhythmic Songs (nine). It also topped the first Adult Pop Songs chart, which launched the same week that it completed its unparalleled Hot 100 command. At the end of the '90s, "Sweet" was honored as the Hot 100's top song of the decade.