Revealed – music’s all-time chart record breakers


Jack White’s been involved in a bizarre spat with Guinness World Records. He reckons the White Stripes should be given the record for the shortest concert in history after they performed one single note and a clash of the cymbal at a stop in Newfoundland, Canada. However the band were denied their place in the record books by the company. Here a few musicians who really did break records.


Adele’s been smashing the charts lately, with her album ’21’ holding the longest consecutive run at Number One by a female. Topping the charts for 11 weeks, the album slipped to Number Two for one week, only to ascend again to the top spot one week later. In honour of Adele’s achievement, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the biggest record breakers in the music world.


The award for most weeks at Number One in the Singles Chart goes to Frankie Laine, for his 1953 hit ‘I Believe’. It spent 18 weeks there.



And the award for second most weeks at Number One goes to ‘Everything I Do’ by Bryan Adams, which managed 16 in 1991. Although it felt like a lot longer.


The bestselling single of all time, though, goes to this beauty, which shifted 4.9 million copies after Elton John performed it at Diana’s funeral in 1997.


The second best-selling single, from back in 1984 was the Band Aid classic ‘Do They Know it’s Christmas?’. 3.5 million people bought a copy.


The longest-running Number One album, both consecutively and non-consecutively, is the soundtrack for the film ‘South Pacific’. It had a consecutive run of 70 weeks from November 1958 to March 1960 (meaning it was number one for the entire year of 1959). It had further runs at the top in 1960 and 1961, clocking in at a non-consecutive total of 115 weeks.



The biggest selling group of all time? Who do you think? The Fab Four spent a whopping 333 weeks on the UK Singles Chart in the swingin’ ’60s.


Madonna is the most successful female solo recording artist in the UK, with 11 Number One albums and the most weeks (29) on top of the the UK Albums Chart. Her status of holding the most chart-topping albums in the UK has only ever been matched by Elvis Presley.


Not counting their film soundtracks, the two females with the most weeks at the top spot in the Albums Chart are ABBA’s Agnetha and Frida. The band spent 57 weeks at the spot.


Queen’s 1981 ‘Greatest Hits’ collection is the best-selling album in UK Chart history, earning a 19x Platinum certification here. The album spent over 450 weeks on the chart upon its initial release.



The fastest-selling debut album comes from Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys. ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ sold 363,735 copies in its first week of release in the UK.


In 2010, Kylie Minogue became the first female artist to have chart-topping albums in the UK in four consecutive decades (1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s).


The fastest-selling album by a female artist is 2009’s ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ by Susan Boyle, the X-Factor phenomenon. She sure showed Mr. Cowell.


The first band to reach Number One on the Singles Chart, Downloads Chart and Albums Chart simultaneously were the Sugababes. They did so on two occasions, with hits ‘Push The Button’ and ‘About You Now’.


The X-Factor‘s 2006 runner-up, Ray Quinn, became the only solo artist to top the Album Chart without even releasing a single. His 2007 self-titled debut album went straight to the top of the chart upon its release. Despite the success, his label Sony BMG dropped him after a mere eight months.


The oldest person to top the charts is Vera Lynn – at the age of 92. ‘We’ll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn’ was released in 2009, the 70th anniversary of Britain’s entrance into World War II. The compilation album consisted of recordings Lynn made during her heyday as Britain’s premier singer.


Led Zeppelin achieved eight consecutive Number One albums from 1970 to 1979 without releasing a single in the UK until 1997.


Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ spent 14 non-consecutive weeks at Number One, ranking fourth in the list of songs that spent the most weeks in the top chart spot.


The youngest female artist to top the UK Albums Chart is Joss Stone. At the age of 17, her 2004 album ‘Mind, Body & Soul’ knocked Avril Lavigne out of the ring (her album ‘Let Go’ had previously given her the same title).


In 1980, Kate Bush became the first British female to have a Number One album in the UK with ‘Never For Ever’. This was also the first album by any female solo artist to enter the chart at the Number One spot.


The first act to score five consecutive chart-topping debuts was Erasure. Their albums ‘The Innocents’, ‘Wild!’, ‘Chorus’, ‘Pop! The First 20 Hits’ and ‘I Say, I Say, I Say’ all reached the top spot of the charts over a six-year period.


The youngest person to top the Singles Chart meanwhile was Scotland’s Neil Reid, who after winning talent show ‘Opportunity Knocks’ hit the top spot in 1972 at the age of 12 years 9 months old.


Christina Aguilera made UK chart history with her fourth studio album, ‘Bionic’. On 20 June, 2010, it registered the largest weekly decline by a UK Number One album by slipping 28 places to Number 29. Poor Xtina – 2010 was a pretty horrible year for her.


Elsiv Presley holds the record for cumulative weeks at Number One, as well as the record for most UK chart-toppers (21), and top ten hits (76).


In a slightly less proud moment for music fans, Ke$ha set a record last year in 2010 – for the most downloads sold globally (for ‘Tik Tok’).


The second biggest selling download globally in 2010 was Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’.


The Spice Girls managed to match one of the records The Beatles set by scoring three consecutive Christmas Number Ones, from 1996 to 1998.


‘Mary’s Boy Child’ is the only song that’s been a Christmas Number One for two entirely unrelated artists (Harry Belafonte in 1957 and Boney M in 1978). It was the latter version that got David Brent on the dancefloor.


Lady Gaga became the first female artist to score three number ones in a single year, with ‘Just Dance’, ‘Poker Face’ and ‘Bad Romance’ all topping the chart in 2009.


The fastest selling album (based on first week sales) is Oasis’ ‘Be Here Now’, which shifted 763,735 copies in its first week in the UK in 1997.


The fastest selling debut album by a male solo act is Craig David. Yes, really. His flogged 225,320 copies of his debut ‘Born To Do It’ in the heady days of 2000.


The firsty single to sell over two million copies? Wings’ ‘Mull of Kintyre’, back in 1977.


As of May 2011, Rihanna feat. Jay-Z’s track ‘Umbrella’ has spent the most weeks on the UK Official Download Chart. It’s clocked up eight of them.


Rihanna broke another record this year (2011) by becoming the first female artist to have Number One singles in five consecutive years, including ‘Only Girl (In The World)’ from 2010 and ‘What’s My Name?’ from 2011.


Isaac Hayes reached Number One on the UK Singles Chart under the pseudonym Chef (from South Park) with ‘Chocolate Salty Balls (P.S. I Love You)’ in 1998.


Bruno Mars became the first artist to gain four Number Ones during the 2010s, after ‘The Lazy Song’ topped the charts on 16 January 2011.