Joel Whitburn

Joel Carver Whitburn (born November 29, 1939) is an American author and music historian.

Joel Whitburn
Joel Carver Whitburn

(1939-11-29) November 29, 1939
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, United States
OccupationAuthor, music historian


Whitburn founded Record Research Inc. in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, in 1970 and put together a team of researchers to examine in detail all of Billboard's music and video charts. Record Research publishes reference books based on data from the various popular music charts and to date has published over 200 books, 50 of which are currently in the Record Research catalogue. His flagship publication is Top Pop Singles, which covers the history of Billboard's popular music charts. Featuring each recording's peak position, date charted, weeks charted, label and information, and trivia on recordings and artists, Whitburn's books are used extensively by the entertainment industry (especially radio DJs) and music fans worldwide. His research extends from 1890 to the present and covers many genres.

Whitburn is also the author of the series Top 40 Hits, published by Billboard Books.[1]

Most recently published was the ninth edition of The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits 1955–2009, published in 2010. In 2014 Paul Haney of Record Research reported, "there are no plans for a 10th edition and I doubt there will ever be one". In light of this statement and the fact that as of 2018, that 15 years have passed since the last "Billboard Book of #1 Hits," it is likely neither will see an updated edition again.[2] The 1955–2015 edition of Top Pop Singles has been released, according to the company's website.[3]

Whitburn is an avid collector of phonograph records, with one of the world's largest collections in his underground vault. His collection includes a copy of nearly every 78-rpm record, 45-rpm single, LP, and compact disc to reach the Billboard charts.

In collaboration with Rhino Records, Whitburn has produced over 150 CD compilations, which are typically compiled according to their Billboard chart performance.

Whitburn's Record Research is Billboard's longest-running licensee, with a relationship extending over 40 years.


  1. Billboard Books' Newest Stars. Billboard. June 1, 1996. p. 106. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  2. "Chat Board". Top 40 Music on Compact Disk. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  3. "Top Pop Singles 1955-2015 - Joel Whitburn's Record Research". Retrieved June 25, 2019.

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