This biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous or harmful.Find sources: "Joel Whitburn" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (May 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Joel Whitburn
Born (1939-11-29) November 29, 1939 (age 82)
OccupationAuthor, music historian

Joel Carver Whitburn (born November 29, 1939, in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin)[1] is an American author and 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 in the Record Research catalogue. His research extends from 1890 to the present and covers many genres. 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 flagship publication is Top Pop Singles, which covers the history of Billboard's popular singles charts, primarily the Billboard Hot 100. The most recent edition, Top Pop Singles 1955–2018, was released in June 2019.[2]

Whitburn was also the author of the series Top 40 Hits, published by Billboard Books.[3] The most recent edition, the ninth, was published in 2010.

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 50 years.


  1. ^ a b "Joel (Carver) Whitburn". Contemporary Authors. Detroit: Gale. 2002. Gale H1000105451 (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–2018". Recordresearch. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  3. ^ Billboard Books' Newest Stars. Billboard. June 1, 1996. p. 106. Retrieved May 19, 2010.