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Under 18 & No. 1: Chart-Topping Teens, From Lorde to Michael Jackson

With "Royals" ruling the Billboard Hot 100 for its second week, we rounded up all the solo singers who were No. 1 before turning 18

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Lorde's "Royals" & Beyond

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Sixteen-year-old New Zealand native Lorde is celebrating her second week atop the Billboard Hot 100 with debut single "Royals." With her chart-topping sucess, the teenage singer-songwriter joins an exclusive club of musicians who all scored a No. 1 hit before legally becoming an adult.

Starting with Lorde and reaching back to 1958, revisit the select few who have ruled the Billboard charts as teens. A few turned into icons (Stevie WonderBritney Spears) while others stayed absent from the charts for years (where've you been, Soulja Boy!?). Check out the other minors Lorde joins in the club of Youngest No. 1 Hitmakers on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

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Sean Kingston - "Beautiful Girls" (2007)

For his No. 1 hit "Beautiful Girls," then 17-year-old Jamaica native Sean Kingston sampled the Ben E. King 1961 classic "Stand By Me." Curiously, King's version only peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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Soulja Boy - "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" (2007)

Soulja Boy's novelty song and dance for "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" took him to the No. 1 spot in 2007. At age 17, Soulja Boy landed his biggest hit, and as an adult (should we call him Soulja Man?) he hasn't found the same chart success. 

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Chris Brown - "Run It!" (2005)

Before the drama that's since dominated his career narrative, Chris Brown was known mainly as a crazy-talented teen. Breezy's debut single soared to No. 1, making the 16-year-old singer the first solo male act since Michael Jackson to top the Hot 100 while still under 18. 

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Britney Spears - "...Baby One More Time" (1999)

Britney Spears' "...Baby One More Time" kickstarted the career of what would become one of the decade's new pop icons—all at the ripe age of 17!

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Monica - "The Boy Is Mine" (1998)

R&B songbird Monica was only 17 when her duet with Brandy, "The Boy Is Mine," ruled the Hot 100 for a massive 13 weeks. Monica's collab partner was 19 at the time, meaning this "Boy" was two timing a minor and an adult. Who is this guy?!?

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Debbie Gibson - "Foolish Beat" (1988)

At the age 17, Brooklyn singer Debbie Gibson became the youngest person to sing, write and produce a No. 1 single entirely on her own. She's still the only woman to do so, as Lorde co-wrote "Royals" with Joel Little and didn't produce her hit.

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Tiffany - "I Think We're Alone Now" (1987)

Eighties pop phenom Tiffany had the biggest chart accomplishment before turning legal: The singer sent her first two singles to No. 1 (the Tommy James & the Shondells cover "I Think We're Alone Now" [above] and "Could've Been"). She was the first female act to do so. Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera and Lady Gaga all landed the same honor, though all three were older than 18.

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Michael Jackson - "Ben" (1972)

While still part of the Jackson 5—who had topped the charts as a group four times already—and before legitimizing his solo career with the blockbuster Off the Wall album, Michael Jackson recorded this delicate ode to a rat that went No. 1 when he was 14 years old. 

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Donny Osmond - "Go Away Little Girl" (1971)

In February 1971, Donny Osmond and his family members topped the charts with "One Bad Apple." Donny, 16 at the time, had to wait just seven months until he ruled the top slot without the help of his family members when "Go Away Little Girl" hit No. 1 in September.

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Stevie Wonder - "Fingertips - Pt 2" (1963)

Stevie Wonder's career accomplishments are truly remarkable, but none compare to when the blind singer/instrumentalist landed his first No. 1 at age 12! The phrase "child prodigy" was invented for such a feat.

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Lesley Gore - "It's My Party" (1963)

With legendary producer Quincy Jones on board, Lesley Gore recorded this immortal teen-pop drama at the age of 16 and watched it go No. 1 when she was 17. Her feminist anthem "You Don't Own Me" was kept out of the No. 1 spot by the Beatles' smash "I Want to Hold Your Hand" later that same year. 

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Little Peggy March - "I Will Follow Him" (1963)

After being discovered while performing at her cousin's wedding, Peggy March delivered a knockout vocal performance at age 15 with the girl group-styled pop song "I Will Follow Him."  Decades later, Whoopi Goldberg and a bunch of sassy nuns sang it in Sister Act and in 1999, Eminem referenced it on his Dr. Dre collabo "Guilty Conscience."

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Brenda Lee - "I'm Sorry" (1960)

Country pop legend Brenda Lee sang the torch song "I'm Sorry" at the age of 15. Initially, her label was afraid to release such a mature (by 1960 standards) song from a 15 year old, but when "I’m Sorry" came out in 1960 it rocketed to No. 1 and remains an all-time country standard. 

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Laurie London - "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands" (1958)

Months before the Billboard Hot 100 was standardized in 1958, 14-year-old Laurie London—who coincidentally was British—scored a No. 1 on the "Most Played By Jockeys" Billboard charts with his folky recording of an American gospel song. 


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