These are the UK’s most streamed songs by each year – and some may surprise you

No Bowie or Beatles, but we've got The Kooks and Nickelback

The UK’s most streamed songs from the year they were released have been revealed, and the figures yield some surprising results.

Published by the BPI, the list looks at the 90billion songs that were streamed in 2018 by the year that they were released. See below for the most popular year-by-year of the songs streamed in 2018.

Nickelback, Foster The People, The Kooks, George Ezra and Toto are all among those featured, while iconic songs by The Beatles, Abba, Madonna and David Bowie did not make top ranking.


Among the statistics, 2018 saw previous years’ tracks from Drake, The Greatest Showman OST, Bruno Mars, Sia, Ed Sheeran, George Ezra and Passenger pull in millions of listeners, but there are some interesting results from tracks released in the decade before.

Foster The People’s ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ reached Number 18 when it was released in 2010, but was streamed 21million times last year – more than previous 2010 Number One singles like ‘Telephone’ by Lady Gaga and ‘Forget You’ by Cee-Lo Green.

Meanwhile, The Kooks’ 2006 single ‘Naïve’ attracted a massive 26.9million streams, beating that year’s biggest selling singles including ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkley, Leona Lewis’ ‘A Moment Like This’ and Shakira’s ‘Hips Don’t Lie’.

“The album it’s from sold a lot of copies and they’ve still got a big, hardcore fanbase – but it’s only becoming apparent now what a cult hit that song’s turned into,” the BPI’s Rob Crutchley told the BBC. “And sometimes that’s what this is about, I think. Songs can be rediscovered and gain momentum a bit later on.”

Speaking to Music Week in 2017, Robert Swerdlow from The Kooks’ management team at Starwood pointed out the link between Spotify’s popular curated playlists, and the demand for the band’s arena tour. “When you’ve got songs like ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’, ‘Naïve’, ‘Shine On’ and ‘Junk Of The Heart’ – big indie pop and rock songs – they’re fitting into those playlists,” he said. “The kids are listening to it, they are popping when they come across The Kooks, they’re saving it and putting it into their own playlists.”


Seminal singles by Arctic Monkeys, Nirvana, The Verve, Linkin Park, Radiohead, Nirvana, and AC/DC also beat off strong competition from huge pop singles released in their respective years, while Kanye West, Eminem, Dr Dre, Macklemore and TLC show a strong representation for hip-hop and R&B.

Curiously, Nickelback’s ‘How You Remind Me’ is the most streamed song from 2001. There’s also a strong presence of iconic Christmas singles by Mariah Carey, Chris Rea, The Pogues and Wham!, while TV and film appearances have seen streams by tracks by Queen and Hall & Oates increase.

“It’s a process of songs gathering momentum as time goes on,” said Rob Crutchley of the BPI, who compiled the figures. “A few of those tracks have featured in TV programmes and films, which helps push them over the edge in terms of gaining even more mass popularity, as new audiences become exposed to them.”

Year Artist Song 2018 streams (million)
2018 Drake God’s Plan 147.4
2017 Keala Settle/Greatest Showman cast This Is Me 114.7
2016 Bruno Mars Finesse 54.7
2015 Sia Cheap Thrills 26.5
2014 Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud 30.6
2013 George Ezra Budapest 31.3
2012 Passenger Let Her Go 22.5
2011 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Can’t Hold Us 26.3
2010 Foster the People Pumped Up Kicks 21.0
2009 Miley Cyrus Party In The USA 18.0
2008 Jason Mraz I’m Yours 26.9
2007 Arctic Monkeys Fluorescent Adolescent 22.7
2006 The Kooks Naive 26.9
2005 Kanye West ft Jamie Foxx Gold Digger 21.2
2004 Mario Let Me Love You 19.0
2003 The Killers Mr Brightside 46.9
2002 Eminem Lose Yourself 23.6
2001 Nickelback How You Remind Me 11.4
2000 Linkin Park In The End 16.8
1999 TLC No Scrubs 22.6
1998 Goo Goo Dolls Iris 20.1
1997 The Verve Bittersweet Symphony 17.5
1996 Blackstreet ft Dr Dre No Diggity 17.9
1995 Oasis Wonderwall 34.1
1994 Mariah Carey All I Want For Christmas Is You 39.0
1993 The Cranberries Linger 9.7
1992 Radiohead Creep 10.1
1991 Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit 18.6
1990 AC/DC Thunderstruck 12.7

Year Artist Song 2018 Streams (million)
1989 The Stone Roses Waterfall 8.2
1988 Tracy Chapman Fast Car 14.3
1987 The Pogues ft Kirsty MacColl Fairytale of New York 29.4
1986 Chris Rea Driving Home for Christmas 19.8
1985 Shakin’ Stevens Merry Christmas Everyone 21.0
1984 Wham! Last Christmas 34.4
1983 Eurythmics Sweets Dream (Are Made of This) 21.5
1982 Toto Africa 32.1
1981 Journey Don’t Stop Believin’ 24.3
1980 Daryl Hall & John Oates You Make My Dreams 24.8
1979 Paul McCartney Wonderful Christmas Time 15.9
1978 Queen Don’t Stop Me Now 25.4
1977 ELO Mr Blue Sky 26.7
1976 Fleetwood Mac Go Your Own Way 20.1
1975 Queen Bohemian Rhapsody 29.8
1974 Lynyrd Skynyrd Sweet Home Alabama 14.9
1973 Elton John Step Into Christmas 21.6
1972 Stevie Wonder Superstition 19.5
1971 John Denver Take Me Home Country Roads 16.5
1970 Elton John Your Song 12.5
1969 The Jackson 5 I Want You Back 20.4
1968 Otis Redding (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay 11.2
1967 Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell Ain’t No Mountain High Enough 18.3
1966 The Rolling Stones Paint It Black 9.9
1965 The Four Tops I Can’t Help Myself 8.7
1964 The Temptations My Girl 12.5
1963 Andy Williams It’s The Most Wonderful Time 12.3
1962 Sam Cooke Bring It On Home to Me 5.1
1961 Ben E King Stand By Me 16.2
1960 Etta James At Last 6.8