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Swedish Pop Hitmaker Max Martin Set to Break More Chart Records

The producer with the most No. 1 hits on the Billboard charts is poised to notch another.

max martin
Source: MEGA

Max Martin already has 26 No. 1 hits to his name, and next week, he could have another.

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If you're not a pop music obsessive, you may or may not know Max Martin's name, but you definitely know his work. The legendary Swedish songwriter and producer first burst onto the scene in the late '90s, working with acts like the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, and NSYNC, and he's since become one of the most in-demand and successful behind-the-scenes hitmakers in the industry.

Martin, who was born Karl Sandberg, earned his first No. 1 hit in 1999 with Spears' debut single "...Baby One More Time," and that was just the beginning. Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl," California Gurls" and "Teenage Dream"; Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," "Shake It Off," "Blank Space" and "Bad Blood"; the Weeknd's "Can't Stop the Feeling" and "Blinding Lights" — Martin was behind all of them.

When Ariana Grande's Eternal Sunshine lead single "Yes, and?" debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100 in January, Martin broke the record for producing the most No. 1 songs in America. "Yes, and?" was his 24th, edging out the previous record holder, longtime Beatles producer George Martin, who had set the bar with 23, 19 of which were Beatles songs.

Eternal Sunshine came out last Friday, March 8. And if the album's second single "We Can't Be Friends (Wait for Your Love)," released alongside the LP last week, makes it to No. 1, Martin will overtake John Lennon with the second-most Hot 100 No. 1s for a songwriter at 26 — behind only Lennon's Beatles bandmate and frequent songwriting partner Paul McCartney, who still has a considerable lead with 32.

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max martin justin timberlake karl johan schuster
Source: MEGA

Max Martin wrote and produced hits for NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, the Weeknd, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and more.

"What's so impressive is that he's always in tune with the times, which has enabled him to stay relevant all these years," Dave Penn, co-founder of Hit Songs Deconstructed, told Billboard of Martin in 2021. "A decade ago, he was opting for more clubby dance beats and EDM-styled synths. But toward the end of the 2010s, he had embraced hip-hop and started including trap beats in songs.

"But while he has adjusted certain aspects of his writing and producing style over the years, what's interesting is that many things have remained essentially the same. Melody reigns supreme when it comes to mainstream hits, and Max Martin is still the undisputed champion of pop melody. As the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Martin's formula to writing his has come to be known as "melodic math," a laser-precise approach that focuses relentlessly on vocal melody over lyrical content.

"It's very mathematical," Bonnie McKee, who co-wrote Katy Perry's "California Gurls" and "Teenage Dream" alongside Martin, told The New Yorker in 2013. "A line has to have a certain number of syllables, and the next line has to be its mirror image ... If you add one syllable, or take it away, it's a completely different melody to Max. I can write something I think is so clever, but if it doesn’t hit the ear right then Max doesn’t like it."

Although Max Martin has never worked with One Direction, Savan Kotecha, who has worked with Martin and co-wrote 1D's "What Makes You Beautiful" and "Live While We're Young," credited him as an influence. "We work melody first. That's Max Martin’s school," he told Time in 2012. "We'll spend days, sometimes weeks, challenging the melody. The goal is to make it sound like anyone can do this, but it's actually very difficult. In Sweden, you don't do anything until you do it right."

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max martin doris sandberg jenny pettersson
Source: MEGA

Martin's approach to songwriting has come to be known as "melodic math."

Here's a full list of his Martin's #1 hits as a writer and producer:

"...Baby One More Time," Britney Spears

Hot 100 peak date: Jan. 30, 1999 (two weeks at No. 1)

"It's Gonna Be Me," *NSYNC (songwriter only)

Hot 100 peak date: Jul. 29, 1999 (two weeks at No. 1)

"I Kissed a Girl," Katy Perry (songwriter only)

Hot 100 peak date: Jul. 5, 1999 (seven weeks at No. 1)

"So What," P!nk

Hot 100 peak date: Sept. 27, 2008 (one week at No. 1)

"My Life Would Suck Without You,” Kelly Clarkson

Hot 100 peak date: Feb. 7, 2009 (two weeks at No. 1)

"3," Britney Spears

Hot 100 peak date: Oct. 24, 2009 (one week at No. 1)

"California Gurls," Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg

Hot 100 peak date: June 19, 2010 (six weeks at No. 1)

"Teenage Dream," Katy Perry

Hot 100 peak date: Sept. 18, 2010 (two weeks at No. 1)

"Raise Your Glass," P!nk

Hot 100 peak date: Dec. 11, 2010 (one week at No. 1)

"Hold It Against Me," Britney Spears

Hot 100 peak date: Jan. 29, 2011 (one week at No. 1)

"E.T.," Katy Perry feat. Kanye West

Hot 100 peak date: April 9, 2011 (five weeks at No. 1)

"Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)," Katy Perry

Hot 100 peak date: Aug. 27, 2011 (two weeks at No. 1)

"Part of Me," Katy Perry

Hot 100 peak date: March 3, 2012 (one week at No. 1)

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Taylor Swift

Hot 100 peak date: Sept. 1, 2012 (three weeks at No. 1)

“One More Night,” Maroon 5

Hot 100 peak date: Sept. 29, 2012 (nine weeks at No. 1)

“Roar,” Katy Perry

Hot 100 peak date: Sept. 14, 2013 (two weeks at No. 1)

“Dark Horse,” Katy Perry feat. Juicy J

Hot 100 peak date: Feb. 8, 2014 (four weeks at No. 1)

“Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift

Hot 100 peak date: Sept. 6, 2014 (four weeks at No. 1)

“Blank Space,” Taylor Swift

Hot 100 peak date: Nov. 29, 2014 (seven weeks at No. 1)

“Bad Blood,” Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar

Hot 100 peak date: June 6, 2015 (one week at No. 1)

“Can't Feel My Face,” The Weeknd

Hot 100 peak date: Aug. 22, 2015 (three weeks at No. 1)

“Can't Stop the Feeling!,” Justin Timberlake

Hot 100 peak date: May 28, 2016 (one week at No. 1)

“Blinding Lights,” The Weeknd

Hot 100 peak date: April 4, 2020 (four weeks at No. 1)

“Save Your Tears,” The Weeknd & Ariana Grande

Hot 100 peak date: May 8, 2021 (two weeks at No. 1)

“My Universe,” Coldplay X BTS

Hot 100 peak date: Oct. 9, 2021 (one week at No. 1)

“Yes, And?,” Ariana Grande

Hot 100 peak date: Jan. 27, 2024 (one week at No. 1, to date)

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