25 most downloaded songs ever


As iTunes nears its 10 billionth download, the retailer has revealed its 25 most downloaded songs since it launched in 2003. And at 25, it’s clean-cut piano-rockers The Fray, with ‘How To Save A Life’. Pic: PA Photos


At 24, it’s a song that was only released in America in July 2009, and in the UK even more recently – ‘Fireflies’ by synth-pop act (and Postal Service rip-off merchant) Owl City.


At 23, it’s ‘Use Somebody’, by one of only three guitar bands in the list, Kings Of Leon. You’d have thought ‘Sex On Fire’ would have sold more downloads, but in America – which accounts for the lion’s share of iTunes downloads – ‘Use Somebody’ was a bigger hit. Pic: Dean Chalkley



21. Journey, ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’. Originally released in 1981, this power ballad is the only song in the Top 25 that’s more than five years old. It was given a new lease of life by its use on high-profile TV shows such as The Sopranos, The X Factor and Glee.


19. Flo Rida, ‘Right Round’. Sampling Dead Or Alive’s 1985 hit ‘You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)’, in the States this song broke a record for the most digital one week sales, with 636,000, beating the previous record Flo Rida had set himself with ‘Low’.


18. Plain White Ts, ‘Hey There Delilah’. A big hit on both sides of the Atlantic in 2006/7, this lovelorn ballad was written by Tom Higgenson about Delilah DiCrescenzo, a professional steeplechase and cross country runner. He’d only met her once, and they didn’t end up going out. Pic: PA Photos


17. T.I. (featuring Rihanna), ‘Live Your Life’. In America, a week after being released in October 2008, the song jumped from Number 80 to Number One on the Hot 100, setting a record for the highest jump to Number One in history.



16. Kanye West, ‘Stronger’. Released in 2007, the second single from ‘Graduation’ sampled Daft Punk’s 2001 track ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’. Pic: PA Photos


15. Katy Perry, ‘Hot N Cold’. Perry’s second hit, after ‘I Kissed A Girl’, was described by now-defunct music mag Blender as a “spunky, climate-controlled kiss-off”.


14. Beyonce, ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’. Recently, this track won no fewer than three Grammy awards, for Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Pic: PA Photos


13. Katy Perry, ‘I Kissed A Girl’. Perry’s breakthrough hit was co-written by Swedish songwriter Max Martin (who also wrote another song in the Top 25, Pink’s ‘So What’) – with a little help from Cathy Dennis, the brains behind such tracks as ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ and ‘Toxic’. Pic: PA Photos


Pink Performs in Nice

12. Pink, ‘So What’. Pink’s first solo US Number One was also a hit around the world, hitting the top spot in 26 countries.


11. Rihanna, ‘Disturbia’. Originally written by Rihanna’s then-boyfriend Chris Brown – who later disgraced himself by assaulting her – the song was intended for his debut album, but ended up being given to Rihanna instead. Pic: PA Photos


10. Ke$ha, ‘Tik Tok’. The woman born Kesha Rose Sebert found fame singing the chorus on Flo Rid’s ‘Right Round’, before releasing this, her debut single. Pic: PA Photos


9. Leona Lewis, ‘Bleeding Love’. One of only two British acts on the list, Leona Lewis’ weepy ballad was recently judged to be the ‘most romantic song in Britain’ in a slightly dubious survey conducted by music royalties body PRS. Pic: PA Photos

30th Anniversary Gala of MOCA

6. Lady Gaga, ‘Just Dance’. Gaga describes writing her debut single thus: “I was very hungover. I wrote the song in about 10 minutes with [producer] RedOne And it was my first time being in a Hollywood studio. Very pristine, big huge room with giant speakers.” Pic: PA Photos

Australia Sound Relief Concerrt

5. Coldplay, ‘Viva La Vida’. Only the sixth song in digital history to reach the four million mark in paid downloads. Pic: PA Photos


3. Black Eyed Peas, ‘Boom Boom Pow’. Released in March 2009, this was the group’s first US Number One, holding the spot for 12 consecutive weeks. Pic: PA Photos

Lady Gaga in concert – Paris

2. Lady Gaga, ‘Poker Face’. According to Gaga herself, this is a song about sex and gambling: “I’ve dated a lot of guys who are really into sex and booze and gambling, so I wanted to write a record my boyfriends would like too.” Pic: PA Photos


1. And the most downloaded song in iTunes history is… ‘I Gotta Feeling’ by Black Eyed Peas, which topped the charts in no fewer than 20 countries. Pic: PA Photos