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Lionel Richie Tied for Most No. 1 Hits by a Solo Songwriter in Hot 100 History

October 28, 2020

The majority of hit songs in recent years have been written by committee. But prior to 2000, many songs were the work of just one songwriter — a talented scribe who, all by him or herself, came up with both music and lyrics (imagine that!).

Here’s a complete list of the 18 songwriters who are the sole writers of three or more No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. This dates from the launch of the Hot 100 in August 1958 to this week’s Hot 100, dated Oct. 31, 2020. (Actually, we could have closed it out in December 2017, when Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” hit No. 1; that’s the most recent song written by just one songwriter to reach the summit.)

Diane Warren and Lionel Richie are tied for the lead, with eight No. 1 hits written all by themselves. Warren is the only female songwriter who has written three or more No. 1 hits all by herself. Three female songwriters — Dolly Parton, Gloria Estefan and Debbie Gibson — have each written two.

Lionel Richie, 8: Commodores’ “Three Times a Lady” (1978) and “Still” (1979); Kenny Rogers’ “Lady” (1980); Diana Ross & Richie’s “Endless Love” (1981); Richie’s “Truly” (1982), “All Night Long (All Night)” (1983), “Hello” (1984) and “Say You, Say Me” (1985). SHOF: 1994