Published On: Mon, Sep 16th, 2013

Lucian Grainge scores a perfect ten

Grainge, head of Universal Music,  broke a record by having  every one of the top 10 records on the Billboard Hot 100 charts come from a label that he controls

 Lucian Grainge

Lucian Grainge / Getty

There are very few people in the music business that have enjoyed chart success at the level of Lucian Grainge, the Universal Music Group CEO. This week Universal, the largest music company in the US shattered a number of records, by becoming the first record company in living memory to have released each one of the ten singles occupying the top 10 positions in this week’s Billboard charts.

The enormity of Universal’s success can only be compared to that of the Beatles, who even at the peak of their popularity in 1964, only succeeded in occupying the first five places in the Billboard charts, although, for the good or the bad, Grainge’s achievement was reached with 10 separate artists, some of them pretty unknown, with the most popular artists among the ten  being Justin Timberlake and Eminem.

Obviously feeling proud of not just his achievements but that of the record company that he has built up and maintained, Lucian Grainge expressed his gratitude to his staff stating that the company has succeeded in achieving what has never been done before in the Billboard charts.


Lucian Grainge was born and raised in the North of London and began his musical career immediately after leaving high school in 1978. After learning the basics of industry and deciding that this is where his future lay, the young Grainge got his first real break when he convinced Maurice Oberstein, at that time head of CBS Records, that he had the talent to make it big in the music business.

Oberstein apparently was impressed and found an opening for Lucian in the A&R department of one of CBS’s minor publishing companies. That was all the help that was needed to get Grainge’s career underway and by the early Eighties he was already rapidly climbing up the ladder of success in the music publishing business.

By the late nineties was appointed to the post of managing director of the Polydor record label where he remained for fourteen years before being appointed to the post of Chairman and Chief Executive of Universal Music in 2011.

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