Longest-Running Number 1 Albums Of The '80s & '90s

Longest-Running Number 1 Albums Of The '80s & '90s

dire straits
Dire Straits, 1983. Photo by s.e.t./ullstein bild via Getty Images.

Plenty of artists can lay claim to a number 1 record, but it’s a much smaller group of acts that have released an album that stays on top for more than 10 weeks. In fact, in the ’80s and ’90s combined, only 12 titles registered 11 or more weeks at number 1 in Australia. 

12. Rolling Stones: Tattoo You 

Released: 1981

Weeks at number 1: 11 

They hadn’t managed a number 1 album since 1973’s Goats Head Soup, but Mick Jagger et al. made up for lost time by monopolising the top spot for a career-best stretch. Fuelled by the success of lead single “Start Me Up” – also a number 1 on the singles chart – Tattoo You was mostly comprised of songs that had started out as studio outtakes before being knocked into shape.

The Rolling Stones | "Start Me Up"

11. Titanic: Music From The Motion Picture by James Horner

Released: 1997

Weeks at number 1: 11 

It is debatable whether or not this soundtrack would have stayed at number 1 quite as long if the original CD single of Celine Dion’s theme song, “My Heart Will Go On,” had not been deleted (and replaced with a dance remix single), forcing fans of the power ballad to buy the album. What is not in question is how much of a phenomenon anything associated with the James Cameron blockbuster was.

Céline Dion | "My Heart Will Go On" [Theme from Titanic]

10. Icehouse: Man Of Colours 

Released: 1987

Weeks at number 1: 11 

They’d been successful throughout the decade since launching as Flowers in 1980, but Icehouse had never been as big as they were with the unstoppable Man Of Colours. As well as yielding five top 30 hits, the band’s sixth studio set is partly responsible for INXSKick never reaching number 1, with Man Of Colours holding it off for six straight weeks during its run on top.

Icehouse | "Electric Blue"

9. Whitney Houston: Whitney Houston 

Released: 1985

Weeks at number 1: 11 

Spending longer at number 1 than both her other chart-topping albums, 1987’s Whitney and the 1992 soundtrack to The Bodyguard, combined, Whitney Houston’s debut release also clocked up 125 weeks in the top 100. As well as solo hits like “How Will I Know” and “Greatest Love Of All”, the album featured two duets with Jermaine Jackson and one with Teddy Pendergrass.

Whitney Houston | "Greatest Love Of All"

8. Michael Jackson: Thriller 

Released: 1982

Weeks at number 1: 11 

The highest-selling studio album of all time spent three weeks at number 1 in mid-1983 following the success of “Billie Jean” and “Beat It,” and then returned for another eight non-consecutive weeks in early 1984 in the wake of the release of the ground-breaking video for the title track. Not bad for an album that only stayed in the top 50 for seven weeks following its initial release in late 1982, re-entering later.

Michael Jackson | "Billie Jean"

7. Bryan Adams, So Far So Good 

Released: 1993

Weeks at number 1: 14

The only greatest hits collection on this list, So Far So Good came at the perfect point in the Canadian singer's career. Bryan had mixed fortunes on the chart in the 1980s, but by 1993 was a regular chart-topper. Indeed, for much of the time that his best of ruled the albums list, he sat atop the singles chart with “Please Forgive Me” and his collaboration with Sting and Rod Stewart, “All For Love.”

Bryan Adams | "Please Forgive Me"

6. Dire Straits: Love Over Gold 

Released: 1982

Weeks at number 1: 15

From a collection of hits, we move now to an album that contained just five tracks, only one of which was a top 50 single – “Private Investigations” reached number 21. The second chart-topping album for the British band following their self-titled debut, “Love Over Gold” remained in the top 100 for a mammoth 140 weeks.

Dire Straits | "Private Investigations"

5. Mariah Carey: Music Box 

Released: 1993

Weeks at number 1: 18 

It took a while for Mariah Carey’s Australian chart stats to come anywhere near matching her impressive run of number 1s in the US, but by 1994, the multi-octave-voiced singer was a reliable shifter of albums. Her first local chart-topper, Music Box, spent six separate stints at number 1 during an 11-month run inside the top 10.

Mariah Carey | "Without You"

4. Savage Garden: Savage Garden 

Released: 1997

Weeks at number 1: 19 

As well as monopolising the number 1 position for over a third of 1997, Savage Garden’s self-titled debut (and its singles) set a record for the most ARIA Awards won at one ceremony: 10. Savage Garden also won an ARIA the following year for Best Selling Album, while four of its five singles reached the top 10.

Savage Garden | "Truly Madly Deeply"

3. Shania Twain: Come On Over 

Released: 1997

Weeks at number 1: 20

Originally released in late 1997, country star Shania Twain’s third album took flight in 1999, when it came and went from the number 1 spot six times between February and December that year. The textbook example of how to cross over to the mainstream, Come On Over featured four top 5 hits, including chart-topper “You’re Still The One.”

Shania Twain | "You’re Still The One"

2. John Farnham: Whispering Jack 

Released: 1986

Weeks at number 1: 25 

And this is the textbook example of how to make a comeback, with John Farnham’s 1986 return to the charts as a solo artist resulting in the second highest-selling album of all time in Australia, behind Meat Loaf’s original Bat Out Of Hell. Among its many achievements, Whispering Jack was the first album by an Australian artist released on compact disc. Speaking of successful CDs…

John Farnham | "You're the Voice"

1. Dire Straits: Brothers In Arms 

Released: 1985

Weeks at number 1: 34

Although it didn’t sell as many copies overall as Whispering Jack, Dire Straits’ fifth album spent more time at number 1: a staggering 34 weeks – a tally that is second only in the all-time list to the soundtrack of The Sound Of Music, which spent 76 weeks at number 1 between 1965 and 1967. Brothers In Arms spent four blocks of time at number 1 in 1985-86, making way (briefly) for Eurythmics (Be Yourself Tonight), INXS (Listen Like Thieves) and Jimmy Barnes (For The Working Class Man).

Dire Straits | “Money For Nothing”

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