We all know about Public Enemy’s monster hit “Harder Than You Think“, but did you know that it took 25 years for the legendary group to get a chart-topping hit???
While some artists like Chuck Berry & The Kinks found chart success almost overnight, many waited years if not decades for a hit. Hip-Hop is one of those genres where the wait for a mega hit can be long.
Visualising the birth of top hits from the greatest artists
Working closely with Gocompare.com, we visualised the careers of Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 greatest artists of all time, plotting how long each took to score their first top 10 single in the US or UK.
The results may surprise you:
What did the study show???
James Brown took 12 years, AC/DC took 40 years, even Michael Jackson the King of Pop took 7 years to score his first hit. The average wait for a hit is 6 years.
According to our dataset, the hip-hop artists needed to work hard to get a chart-topping hit. Have a look at the list below, hip-hop artists bolded.
10 artists with the longest wait for a hit below:
- AC/DC – 40 years with “Highway To Hell” in 2013
- Public Enemy – 25 years with “Harder Than You Think” in 2007
- Grateful Dead – 22 years with “Touch Of Grey” in 1987
- Nine Inch Nails – 17 years with “The Hand That Feeds” in 2005
- Curtis Mayfield – 16 years with “Freddie’s Dead” in 1972
- Bruce Springsteen – 16 years with “Hungry Heart” in 1980
- Johnny Cash – 15 years with “A Boy Named Sue” in 1969
- Bob Marley – 13 years with “No Woman, No Cry” in 1975
- Ray Charles – 12 years with “What”d I Say” in 1959
- Jay Z – 12 years with “Hard Knock Life” in 1998
Overnight success or decades of effort???
This story should serve as an inspiration for anyone that’s been slogging away for a while without a hit, as it challenges the preconception that the greats achieved chart success overnight.