Musician Taylor Swift has been setting new records left and right with her 2020 albums Folklore and Evermore. Putting out one hit album in a year is impressive, but two is almost unheard of. Almost. Discover which other artists released two Billboard No. 1 albums in one calendar year.
Taylor Swift’s albums’ Folklore’ debuted at No. 1
Less than one year after her 2019 album Lover, Swift dropped a surprise record, Folklore. “Before this year I probably would’ve overthought when to release this music at the ‘perfect’ time, but the times we’re living in keep reminding me that nothing is guaranteed,” the artist wrote of her decision to release it without promotion.
Folklore debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart dated August 8, 2020. Swift became the first artist in the chart’s history to debut at the top of both the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Hot 100 in the same week, with the single “Cardigan.” Folklore remained atop the chart for several weeks, setting more records.
‘Folklore’s ‘sister record,’ ‘Evermore’ also earned the top spot
Following Folklore’s chart-topping run, Swift came with yet another new album, Evermore. “To put it plainly, we couldn’t stop writing songs,” she wrote. “There was something different with Folklore. In making it, I felt less like I was departing and more like I was returning,” Swift said of penning another album immediately after.
Like Folklore, Evermore debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, for the chart dated December 26, 2020. And, once again, its lead single, “Willow,” topped the Billboard Hot 100. Not only is Swift the first artist to do this twice, but she’s set many other records with her incredible year in music.
Swift’s friend Paul McCartney released 2 No. 1 albums
Releasing a No. 1 album takes a lot of work. So it’s not surprising there are few artists who’ve done it more than once — let alone multiple times in the same years. Of the musical acts who have, Swift joins The Beatles, whose back-to-back 1967 LPs Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour both topped the chart.
These days, Swift refrains from competing with the Beatles — or, one of them, at least. After Paul McCartney tweeted, “Congratulations to my friend on her wonderful ‘#evermore’ album,” Swift replied, “Everyone stream/buy McCartney III because it’s excellent,” of the rock star’s own December 2020 record, which debuted the week after Evermore.
Other artists with 2 No. 1 releases include BTS
The Beatles certainly aren’t the most recent group to put out two hit albums in one calendar year. The Monkees also did it in 1967 — in fact, they released three No. 1s that year: More of the Monkees, Headquarters, and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. And metal band System of a Down did it with their 2005 albums.
In recent years, it’s become even less common for artists to put out back-to-back albums. Rappers like Drake will sometimes release a mixtape followed by an album. But just before Swift, K-pop group BTS released their second Billboard 200 No. 1 debut of 2020, Be, following their February album Map of the Soul: 7.
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