The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

With thanks to the Official Charts Company, in with a bullet at 50. Black Eyed Peas – ‘I Gotta Feelin’’. An object lesson in directness: all you need to sell warehouse-loads is an airheaded lyric and a one-fingered synth riff from David Guetta. Year: 2009 Sold: 1.3m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

49. Celine Dion – ‘Think Twice’. Celine Dion’s first UK No.1 took an unprecedented 14 weeks to get to the top of its chart run – just shy of its actual running time. Year: 1994 Sold: 1.3m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

48. Dexys Midnight Runners – ‘Come On Eileen’. Kevin Rowland’s celtic soul reinvention was fuelled by nabbing fiddle player Helen O’Hara from former Runner Kevin Archer’s new band Blue Ox Babes. The result was a transatlantic No.1 and wedding disco purgatory. Year: 1982 Sold: 1.31m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

47. All Saints – ‘Never Ever’. “A few questions that I need to know.” Grammatical crimes did nothing to derail All Saints’ sweet doo-wop update, another slow-burner that took two months to finally win over the public. Year: 1997 Sold: 1.31m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

46. Tony Christie feat. Peter Kay – ‘(Is This The Way To) Amarillo’. Goofing around in the video is enough to get you a “featuring” credit these days. Peter Kay doesn’t actually appear on the record, a Comic Relief re-release of Christie’s 1971 version, but his moonface dominates. Year: 2005 Sold: 1.31m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

45. Spice Girls – ‘Wannabe’. The only thing that could fill the Take That-less void in 1996 was a girlband who overcame charming amateurism to make “Girl Power!” a viable mantra and record some damned good tunes. Yeah, they did. Year: 1996 Sold: 1.32m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

44. Gareth Gates – ‘Unchained Melody’. After losing the Pop Idol final to the far superior Will Young, Gareth Gates embarked on a pop career with all the enthusiasm of Eeyore. He tackles ‘Unchained Melody’ with less vim and charisma than Robson and bleedin’ Jerome. Year: 2002 Sold: 1.34m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

43. Fugees – ‘Killing Me Softly’. One time, two time. Credit goes to Lauryn Hill for effortlessly redirecting attention from Wyclef Jean’s dunderheaded rap barfs with a soul vocal so sweet it bore comparison with Roberta Flack’s take. Year: 1996 Sold: 1.36m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

42. Adele – ‘Someone Like You’. Check back here in 60 years to see how high this can fly. Adele’s probably pulling in about 10K sales a week for her heartsick ballad/weirdo stalker anthem. Year: 2011 Sold: 1.36m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

41. Engelbert Humperdinck – ‘Release Me’. This kept The Beatles’ ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’/’Penny Lane’ off No.1, don’t you know, using the underhand tactic of selling hundreds of thousands more copies. Year: 1967 Sold: 1.38m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

40. The Beatles – ‘We Can Work It Out’/’Day Tripper’. The first of five entries for The Beatles, who made the most of the market by rarely putting their singles on albums. Pop stars were generous back then. Year: 1964. Sold: 1.39m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

39. Jennifer Rush – ‘The Power Of Love’. One of those vast power ballads that you know you love despite it representing everything you hate about music – unearned melodrama, strangled vowels and everyone’s mum buying one record a decade. Year: 1985 Sold: 1.39m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

38. Survivor – ‘Eye Of The Tiger’. The theme from Rocky III with the left-hook, right-hook, uppercut riff was outsold by ‘Come On Eileen’ and Irene Cara’s ‘Fame’ in 1982 but eventually won on points. Year: 1982 Sold: 1.41m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

37. Coolio feat. L.V. – ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’. Coolio’s remodeling of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Pastime Paradise’ was an inspired flip, taking a raging diatribe against flabby nostalgia and turning it inwards on himself. Year: 1995 Sold: 1.41m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

36. The Seekers – ‘The Carnival Is Over’. Aussie folkers The Seekers made it to No.1 at the end of 1966, sandwiched between The Beatles and The ‘Stones. This adaptation of a Russian folk song is the biggest selling single you’ve never heard. Year: 1965 Sold: 1.41m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

35. The Beatles – ‘I Feel Fine’. A profound influence on The Jesus And Mary Chain, ‘I Feel Fine’ features the first recorded use of feedback, caused when John Lennon leant his guitar against the amp. Cool cat George Martin let them stick it on the record. Year: 1964 Sold: 1.41m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

34. Bill Haley & His Comets, ‘(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock’. An old boy pushing 30 by time ‘…Rock Around The Clock’ became a hit, Bill Haley nevertheless found himself the kiss-curled poster-boy for teenage rebellion. For about five minutes. Year: 1955 Sold: 1.42m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

33. George Michael, ‘Careless Whisper’. “I ain’t planning on going solo,” lied George just a few weeks earlier on Wham!’s ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’. This one was already in the can, but Andrew Ridgeley was gifted a writing credit to sweeten the pill. Year: 1984 Sold: 1.45m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

32. Village People – ‘YMCA’. The Young Men’s Christian Association still thrives today, 170 years after its creation, thanks in no small part to the campaigning efforts of a motorcycle cop, a Native American, a cowboy, a construction worker, an army officer and a biker. Year: 1978 Sold: 1.46m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

31. Culture Club – ‘Karma Chameleon’. The peak of Culture Club’s career when they could release any old drivel with a catchy harmonica solo and it would bed down at No.1 for six weeks. Just one year later it was all ‘The War Song’ and an empire in ruins. Year: 1983 Sold: 1.47m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

30.Celine Dion – ‘My Heart Will Go On’. "But I thought the old lady dropped it into the ocean at the end?" "Well, baby, I went down and got it for you…". Year: 1998 Sold: 1.48m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

29. Britney Spears – ‘…Baby One More Time’. Amazing what a school uniform and a vast, peerless, indelible pop tune by Swedish chart don Max Martin will do. That sort of blend means instant, doomed megastar. Year: 1999 Sold: 1.51m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

28. Ken Dodd – ‘Tears’. Actually, this might be the biggest selling single you’ve never heard – and you might be better off keeping it that way, as Doddy shelves the tickling stick for a minute and gets all ‘emosh’. This is not what we paid for. Year: 1965 Sold: 1.52m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

27. Baddiel & Skinner & Lightning Seeds – ‘Three Lions’. A song that was catchy enough to become the kind of terrace anthem it aped, ‘Three Lions’ drove our brave Ingerlund boys on to ignominious semi-final penalty shoot-out disgrace. Year: 1996 Sold: 1.53m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

26. Whitney Houston – ‘I Will Always Love You’. Whitters took Dolly Parton’s quavery original and invested it with monolithic power and a note that she held for its full 10-week reign at No.1. The single was an event that dwarfed The Bodyguard, the movie it came from. Year: 1992 Sold: 1.53m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

25. The Beatles – ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’. Unusually, ‘Can’t Buy me Love’ was originally recorded in Paris at the Pathé Marconi Studios. The Beatles were playing a residency at the Olympia Theatre and knocked this one off at a piano in their hotel room. Bang. Million-seller. Year: 1964 Sold: 1.53m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

24. The Human League – ‘Don’t You Want Me’. Beautiful but dour synth pop noir that appeared to voice Phil Oakey’s fears that alchemical singers Joanne Catherall and Susanne Sulley would leave the band. In the end, everyone else did except them. Year: 1981 Sold: 1.54m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

23. Various Artists – ‘Perfect Day’. Naturally, Lou Reed’s bittersweet ballad ended up as a star-studded, back-slapping BBC corporate funding advert. He was happy with the version though, and even happier when it was put out under the Children In Need banner and sold bucketloads. Year: 1997 Sold: 1.55m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

22. Puff Daddy & Faith Evans – ‘I’ll Be Missing You’. The Notorious B.I.G. seen off in style with Puffy mumbling lazily over The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’. It’s what he would’ve wanted. Year: 1997 Sold: 1.56m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

21. Frankie Goes To Hollywood – ‘Two Tribes’. There was only one way to go after ‘Relax’: bigger. ‘Two Tribes’ is Trevor Horn chucking in every production trick in the book, only Holly Johnson’s sneer surviving like a sarky Cheshire Cat. Year: 1984 Sold: 1.58m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

20. John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – ‘Summer Nights’. The follow-up to the even huger ‘You’re The One That I Want’ is a ruthless dissection of boy/girl perspectives on a summer fling, softened by a shot of doo-wop ecstasy. Year: 1978 Sold: 1.59m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

19. John Lennon – ‘Imagine’. It took four years to get a single release over here and five more to reach No.1, but Lennon’s reappropriation of Yoko Ono’s notebook philosophy set to Phil Spector’s cushioned production has become a universal prayer for a secular society. Year: 1975 Sold: 1.60m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

18. Wham! – ‘Last Christmas’/’Everything She Wants’. Not even a No.1 – you try releasing a record the same week as Band Aid – ‘Last Christmas’ saw Wham! performing the classic switcheroo, promoting ‘Everything She Wants’ to centre stage once all the decorations came down. Year: 1984 Sold: 1.60m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

17. Bryan Adams – ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’. Sometimes, in those brief moments between sleep and wakefulness, it feels like ‘(Everything I Do)…’ is still No.1, that arrow is still piercing the tree and Bryan Adams has never met Mel C. Year: 1991 Sold: 1.72m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

16. Cher – ‘Believe’. Who knew Cher would introduce the future? The birth of Brian Higgins’ Xenomania writing and production crew was also the – reputed – first use of Auto-Tune as a creative effect rather than sticking plaster. Nice one. Year: 1998 Sold: 1.74m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

15. The Beatles – ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’. The one that broke the Fab Four in America. Just as crucially, it was one of the true collaborative efforts by Lennon and McCartney, written “eyeball to eyeball” in Jane Asher’s cellar. So to speak. Year: 1963. Sold: 1.77m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

14. Will Young – ‘Anything Is Possible’/’Evergreen’. Still the biggest reality show winner, consigning attempts by Hear’Say, Leona Lewis, Girls Aloud and, um, Steve Brookstein to the dustbin of history. Year: 2002 Sold: 1.79m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

13. Aqua – ‘Barbie Girl’. ONE AND THREE QUARTER MILLION OF YOU. Bravo. Aqua’s big day-glo breakthrough is a po-mo pop classic. Amazingly, Mattel launched a lawsuit against the best advert they ever had. Year: 1997 Sold: 1.79m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

12. Stevie Wonder – ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’. Grown men weep salt tears that this schmaltzy stroll is the biggest selling Stevie Wonder single, but over here it was the only song of his we sent to No.1. We’re just going to have to swallow it. Year: 1984 Sold: 1.83m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

11. Boney M – ‘Mary’s Boy Child’/’Oh My Lord’. Frank Farian’s proto-Milli Vanilli had a stellar year in 1978, capping it with a shameless tilt at the Christmas No.1 spot with this Harry Belafonte cover, medleyed with Farian original ‘Oh My Lord’. It worked and everything. Year: 1978 Sold: 1.85m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

10. Wet Wet Wet – ‘Love Is All Around’. The amazing thing about ‘Love is All Around’’s 15-week stay at No.1 was that it just got better. Right? Oh. Well, the Wets finally got the message and deleted it as soon as interest waned. Year: 1994 Sold: 1.85m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

9. Robson & Jerome – ‘Unchained Melody’/’(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs Of Dover’. Collective lunacy swamped the UK for a year or so as every wet fish Soldier, Soldier duo Robson & Jerome slopped out was belted towards the top of the charts. Year: 1995 Sold: 1.86m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

8. The Beatles – ‘She Loves You’. Finally, the biggest of The Beatles’ singles. It could’ve been so different – Macca’s dad suggested they sing, “She loves you, yes, yes, yes,” demonstrating in one fell swoop rock’n’roll’s generational schism. Year: 1963 Sold: 1.90m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

7. Frankie Goes To Hollywood – ‘Relax’. Whatever you may have heard, ‘Relax’ was already pelting up the charts before Mike Read ‘banned’ it. Trevor Horn’s monster production and Holly Johnson’s filthy swagger were destined for nothing less. Year: 1983 Sold: 2.00m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

6. Boney M – ‘Rivers of Babylon’/’Brown Girl In The Ring’. Wham!’s cunning switcheroo had its roots in Boney M flipping the two sides of their million-seller when ‘Rivers Of Babylon’ was sinking out of the top 20. A quick re-branding and it was top 3. Year: 1978 Sold: 2.00m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

5. John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – ‘You’re The One That I Want’. All it took was a bit of leather and lycra to persuade Danny that Sandy was the girl for him. How heartwarming. Written by long-term Newton-John collaborator John Farrar. Year: 1978 Sold: 2.00m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

4. Wings – ‘Mull Of Kintyre’/’Girls School’. Macca must have felt a certain frisson as he outsold every Beatles track and saw ‘Mull Of Kintyre’ become the first single to pass two million sales in the UK. But he doesn’t like to talk about it. Year: 1977 Sold: 2.00m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

3. Queen – ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Two separate No.1 stints for Queen’s epic loop-out propel it to the upper reaches, and past anything Beatley. The greatest UK rock band then? 180 overdubs say “maybe”. Year: 1975 Sold: 2.36m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

2. Band Aid, ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’. Bob Geldof and Midge Ure braved critical ego mass to get all the stars of the 80s in one place, without make-up. The mammoth sales and humanitarian aid seem a secondary achievement. Year: 1984 Sold: 3.69m

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

The UK's top 50 million-selling singles

1. Elton John – ‘Something About The Way You Look Tonight’/’Candle In The Wind 97’. Let’s not pretend the A-side had anything to do with this. A miasma of collective grief sent the whole country to the shops. Were you one of them? Year: 1997 Sold: 4.90m

Now watch our million-sellers playlist.

Photo:
Added: 5 Nov 2012

Comments

Please login to add your comment.