Mainstream Rock (chart)

Mainstream Rock is a music chart in Billboard magazine that ranks the most-played songs on mainstream rock radio stations in the United States, a category that combines the formats of active rock and heritage rock. The chart was launched in March 1981, as Rock Albums and Top Tracks, after which the name changed first to Top Rock Tracks, then to Album Rock Tracks, and finally to its present title in 1996.


The Rock Albums & Top Tracks charts were introduced in the March 21, 1981, issue of Billboard. The 50- and 60-position charts ranked airplay on album rock radio stations in the United States.[1] Because album-oriented rock stations focused on playing tracks from albums rather than specifically released singles, these charts were designed to measure the airplay of any and all tracks from an album. Rock Albums was a survey of the top albums on American rock radio, while Top Tracks listed the top individual songs being played. Mike Harrison of Billboard explained that when major artists release albums, more than one song from the album can become popular at the same time.[1] The first number-one song on the Top Tracks chart was "I Can't Stand It" by Eric Clapton.[1]

In September 1984, the Rock Albums chart was discontinued and Top Tracks was renamed Top Rock Tracks.[2] It reduced from a 60-song tally to 50 songs on October 20, 1984, following a major revamp to the magazine. Coinciding with an increase in its reporting panel of album rock stations in the United States, the name of the chart was changed again with the issue dated April 12, 1986, to Album Rock Tracks.[3] In November 1991, instead of reporting panels, Billboard changed its methodology of measuring airplay by using monitored airplay as provided by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems to compile many of its charts. As a result, this data showed that many songs could spend months to over a year on the Album Rock Tracks chart. Billboard decided to drop to a 40-position chart (still its current format), and songs that fell out of the top 20 and after spending 20 weeks on the chart were moved to a new 10-position recurrent chart.[4] The recurrent chart was scrapped two years later, but not the methodology.

To differentiate between classic and alternative album rock radio formats, Billboard changed the name of the chart to Mainstream Rock Tracks beginning with issue dated April 13, 1996.[5] The Mainstream Rock Tracks chart did not appear in the print edition of Billboard from its issue dated August 2, 2003,[6] being accessible only through the magazine's subscription-based website, In late 2013, the chart was reintroduced to its primary website and magazine.

When R&R ceased publication in June 2009, Billboard incorporated its rock charts, Active Rock and Heritage Rock into its own publication. The radio station reporters of the two charts combine to make up the Mainstream Rock chart.[7] In the United States, Active rock stations concentrate on current hits over classic rock standards while heritage rock stations put a greater emphasis on classic rock with a few newer tracks mixed in.[8] The individual Active Rock and Heritage Rock components were discontinued by Billboard at the end of November 2013 due to a growing lack of difference between the two charts.[9]

Chart achievements

Artists with the most number one songs

These are the artists with at least 8 songs that topped the Mainstream Rock chart.

of songs
15Three Days Grace[10]
13Van Halen[10]
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers[10]
8Foo Fighters[11]
Linkin Park[11]

Artists with the most cumulative weeks at number one

ArtistTotal cumulative weeksReference
Three Days Grace82[12]
3 Doors Down53[12]
Collective Soul47[12]

Artists with the most top 10 songs

28Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers[14]
26Van Halen[14]
25Foo Fighters[14]
23John Mellencamp[14]
22Pearl Jam[14]
Five Finger Death Punch[15]

Artists with the most charted songs

Songs with the most weeks on the Mainstream Rock chart

Disturbed holds the record for having the most consecutive number one songs in the chart's history, with 7 straight number one's. They achieved this on September 3, 2019 when "No More" reached number one.


  1. Trust, Gary (March 23, 2010). "Album, Rock Charts Celebrate Anniversaries". Billboard. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  2. Whitburn, Joel (2002). Rock Tracks. p. 9. ISBN 0-89820-153-5.
  3. "Billboard Announces Expanded Album Rock Chart Panel". Billboard. 98 (15): 10, 16. April 12, 1986. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  4. "Album Rock Chart Changes". Billboard. 104 (26): 67. June 27, 1992. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  5. "Name Changed on Album Rock Tracks". Billboard. 108 (15): 6. April 13, 1996. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  6. Girard, Keith (August 2, 2003). "The Evolution Continues". Billboard. 115 (31): 10. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  7. Caulfield, Keith (June 20, 2009). "Dave Matthews Band Rolls Ahead of Rock Parade". Billboard. 121 (24): 41. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  8. Cole, Brian (July 15, 2012). "The Metamorphosis and Splitting of the Rock Music Format". Clarity Digital Group.
  9. Trust, Gary (November 29, 2013). "Chart Moves: A Great Big Jump for a Great Big World, Christina Aguilera; Volbeat's Victorious at Rock; Howard Jones Notches First Top 10 in 21 Years". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  10. Rutherford, Kevin (4 September 2019). "Disturbed Earns Record-Extending Seventh Straight No. 1 on Mainstream Rock Songs". Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  11. "Three Days Grace Ties Van Halen for Most No. 1s on Mainstream Rock Songs Chart". Billboard Magazine. March 28, 2018. Archived from the original on March 29, 2018. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  12. Rutherford, Kevin (28 September 2016). "Metallica Earns Eighth Mainstream Rock Songs No. 1 With 'Hardwired'". Billboard Magazine. Archived from the original on 12 October 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  13. "Shinedown Mainstream Rock Chart History". Billboard Music. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  14. Rutherford, Kevin (15 June 2018). "Foo Fighters Score 25th Mainstream Rock Songs Top 10 With 'The Line'". Billboard Music. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  15. "Five Finger Death Punch Mainstream Rock Chart History". Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  16. "U2 Chart History". Archived from the original on 2017-11-03.
  17. "Van Halen Chart History". Archived from the original on 2018-05-09.
  18. "John Mellencamp Chart History".
  19. "Aerosmith Chart History".
  20. "Pearl Jam Chart History". Archived from the original on 2017-10-20.
  21. "Rush Chart History".
  22. "Metallica Chart History Mainstream Rock". Billboard Magazine. Archived from the original on 29 October 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  23. "The Rolling Stones Chart History". Archived from the original on 2017-10-20.
  24. "R.E.M. Chart History". Archived from the original on 2018-05-09.
  25. "Breaking Benjamin So Cold Chart History". Archived from the original on 2018-05-09.
  26. "Crossfade Cold Chart History". Archived from the original on 2018-05-09.
  27. "Fuel Hemorrhage (In My Hands) Chart History".
  28. "Trapt Headstrong Chart History".
  29. "3 Doors Down Loser Chart History".
  30. "Godsmack Awake Chart History". Archived from the original on 2018-05-09.
  31. "10 Years Wasteland Chart History".
  32. "Finger Eleven Paralyzer Chart History".
  33. "Seether Remedy Chart History". Archived from the original on 2018-05-09.
  34. "Sixx: A.M. Life Is Beautiful Chart History". Archived from the original on 2018-05-09.
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