I noticed that Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers finally hit number one last year in the US with Hypnotic Eye, their 13th studio album. Is this a record? If not, which artist has released the most original studio albums (i.e. not live albums, compilations or reissues), in any given country, before finally getting their first number 1 album (in that same country)?

  • Do you mean a US number one or a Worldwide number one ?
    – Pat Dobson
    Mar 5, 2015 at 10:44
  • 1
    Could be anywhere. (related discussion : meta.musicfans.stackexchange.com/questions/52/…)
    – user16
    Mar 5, 2015 at 10:55
  • I think this question needs some clarifying, because a few Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers albums before Hypnotic Eye went number one in New Zealand. So, for further clarification, is it how many studio albums did they release before one went number one on any chart, or on a specific chart? If the latter, did all the previous studio albums have to chart on that chart? Did all the previous studio albums need to be released in the country in which that chart is based? Dec 30, 2015 at 22:53
  • @JoeKennedy let's say... the 'number' to be measured is the number of albums in a given national chart before the number one is scored on that given chart, but I'm interested in the maximum number across all national charts. So if an artist has released 20 albums that peaked at number 2 in Turkmenistan before finally getting a number 1 in Turkmenistan with their 21st album, that still 'counts', even if they went straight in at no1 with their third album in Liechtenstein.
    – user16
    Dec 30, 2015 at 23:12
  • So, just to confirm, for an individual studio album to count towards the total, it needs to actually appear on that chart. In other words, if a band's first 20 albums peak at number 2 on the Turkmenistan charts, their 21st studio album doesn't chart at all on the Turkmenistan charts, and their 22nd studio album hits number one in Turkmenistan, then their total would still be 21, same as the artist in your example. Is that correct? Dec 30, 2015 at 23:38

1 Answer 1


I believe I've found an answer to this that should be very hard to counter: David Bowie. The last release in his lifetime, Blackstar, was put out on January 8, 2016, two days before his death. It was his 25th studio album, and his first to hit #1 in the United States, bringing the number to beat up to 25.

  • 1
    As you say, that's a big number - big enough to 'accept' for now I think! Blackstar seems to have hit #1 pretty much everywhere. R.I.P. David.
    – user16
    Jan 18, 2016 at 14:52

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