13

Who managed the longest period between their first ever release & their first number 1 single?

8

Louis Armstrong made his first recording as bandleader in 1925. His single Hello Dolly reached number 1 in 1964.

6

Looks like, in the US it was Santana with 'smooth':

The record for the longest wait from an artist's Hot 100 debut entry to its first #1 belongs to Santana, with 30 years between the time he first cracked the Hot 100 with "Jingo" (October 25, 1969) and the first of 12 weeks at #1 with "Smooth," featuring Rob Thomas (October 23, 1999).

From Wikipedia

In the UK I couldn't find that stats for that but the longest between number 1's is The Hollies at 23 years:

The Hollies went 23 years between their first top hit "I'm Alive" in 1965 and their next top hit, the re-release of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" in 1988. They had eleven other singles in the top 10 in that interim time, including three singles to reach the number 2 spot.

From Wikipedia

  • 1
    Beats the one I had in mind - Elton John, who's first [solo] number 1 in the UK was Sacrifice, 1990, 22 years after his first release. I'll give it a couple of days before hitting the 'tick' just in case anyone finds a surprise. – Tetsujin May 23 '15 at 11:54
1

A bit outside the requirements (single -> #1), but you can maybe consider anyway :

"Sugar Man" by Sixto Rodriguez 

This wong wasn't realeased as a single but was part of an album in 1970... and didn't really reach number 1 in 2012, but I think almost everyone heard it then on the radio/tv !

You can see why by watching the movie Searching for Sugar Man (I can't sum it up .. it would spoil the movie & that fascinating story)

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