On May 10, Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber released “I Don’t Care,” the first single from Sheeran’s upcoming album. The song immediately catapulted to No. 2 on the Billboard Charts, the influential US music popularity ranking. Sheeran and Bieber may be successful pop stars, but they don’t hold a candle to another contributor to the song, pop-music hit machine Max Martin.
Martin has written 22 Billboard No. 1 songs. 60 of his songs have reached the top ten over his three decade career. “I Don’t Care” is Martin’s second No. 2 hit of 2019, after Ariana Grande’s “break up with your girlfriend, im bored.”
At its peak, “I Don’t Care” was lodged one spot behind Lil Nas X’s “Old Country Road.” If it doesn’t find a resurgence and reach the top of the chart it would still be in good company. Three of Martin’s greatest songs never hit No. 1: Backstreet Boys “I Want It That Way,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” and Katy Perry’s “Firework.”
Martin’s next No. 1 will tie him with Beatles producer George Martin for most No. 1 hits produced, and inch him closer to Paul McCartney and John Lennon for songwriting No. 1s—they have 32 and 26 respectively. (this also counts cowriting and coproducing, which is common.)
Below, we’ll give you the dates Martin’s 22 songs hit No. 1. Let’s see if you can name them:
Born in Sweden in 1971, Martin’s given name was Martin Sandberg. His first foray into the music business was as the singer and songwriter a metal band called It’s Alive. The band folded, but Martin eventually came to work at the legendary Swedish music studio Cheiron. His earliest songwriting and production credits include a reggae-pop song “Right Type of Mood” by Herbie and a lush Euro-pop song “Beautiful Life” by Ace of Bass—both released in 1995.
Martin truly came to prominence in the US during the late 1990s boom of teen idols. He is famously reclusive, which may have contributed to his success. He doesn’t take attention away from the artists that perform his songs.