UK Singles Chart records and statistics

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The UK Singles Chart was first compiled in 1969. However the records and statistics listed here date back to 1952 because the Official Charts Company counts a selected period of the New Musical Express chart (only from 1952 to 1960) and the Record Retailer chart from 1960 to 1969 as predecessors for the period prior to 11 February 1969, where multiples of competing charts coexisted side by side. For example, the BBC compiled its own chart based on an average of the music papers of the time; many songs announced as having reached number one on BBC Radio and Top of the Pops prior to 1969 may not be listed here as chart-toppers since they do not meet the legacy criteria of the Charts Company.

Number one hits[edit]

Most number ones[edit]

The following is a list of all the acts who are on eight or more UK number one songs with an individual credit (meaning, the main artist or named separately as a featured artist – being part of a group does not count towards an individual's total).[1]

Simply playing or singing on a single without credit will not count, or the top positions would almost certainly belong to session musicians such as Clem Cattini who is reported to have played drums on over 40 number ones.[2]

Total Artist
21 Elvis Presley
17 The Beatles
14 Cliff Richard
Westlife
13 Madonna
12 The Shadows
Take That
11 Ed Sheeran
10 Calvin Harris
Eminem
9 ABBA
Spice Girls
Rihanna
8 The Rolling Stones
Oasis

Most weeks at number one by artist[edit]

Rank Artist Weeks at No. 1
1 Elvis Presley 80
2 The Beatles 69
3 Ed Sheeran 53
4 Cliff Richard 46
5 The Shadows 44
6 Justin Bieber 38
7 Frankie Laine 32
8 ABBA 31
Calvin Harris
Drake
11 Madonna 29
Take That
13 Rihanna 25
14 Elton John 23
15 Spice Girls 22
16 Slade 20
Westlife
Ariana Grande

Most weeks at number one by single[edit]

The record for most non-consecutive weeks at number one is 18 by Frankie Laine's "I Believe" in 1953. It spent nine weeks at number one, dropped down for a week, returned to number one for six weeks, dropped down for a further week and returned to number one for a third time for three weeks.

The longest unbroken run at number one is "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" by Bryan Adams, which spent 16 consecutive weeks in 1991.

Ed Sheeran is the only artist to ever have multiple songs spend 10 or more weeks at the top of the charts, achieving the feat with both "Shape of You" in 2017 and "Bad Habits" in 2021.

Below is a table of all singles that have spent 10 or more weeks at the top of the charts:

Position Artist Single Year Weeks
1 Frankie Laine "I Believe"* 1953 18 weeks
2 Bryan Adams "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" 1991 16 weeks
3 Wet Wet Wet "Love Is All Around" 1994 15 weeks
Drake (featuring Wizkid and Kyla) "One Dance" 2016
5 Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody"* 1975/76 & 1991/92 14 weeks
Ed Sheeran "Shape of You"* 2017
7 Slim Whitman "Rose Marie" 1955 11 weeks
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee (featuring Justin Bieber) "Despacito"* 2017
Tones and I "Dance Monkey" 2019
Ed Sheeran "Bad Habits" 2021
11 David Whitfield "Cara Mia" 1954 10 weeks
Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You" 1992
Rihanna (featuring Jay-Z) "Umbrella" 2007

Note: Songs denoted with an asterisk (*) spent non-consecutive weeks at number one.[3]

Self-replacement at number one[edit]

Since the inception of the UK Singles Chart in 1952 only six acts have replaced themselves at the top of the UK charts with exactly the same billing (as opposed to any named artist, for example 'Cliff Richard and the Shadows' and 'The Shadows' have had back to back number ones on four occasions):

In addition, Ariana Grande is the first female artist to replace herself, and the first artist to replace herself at Number 1 for two consecutive weeks.[5]

Most consecutive number ones[edit]

The Beatles had 11 consecutive number ones with official releases on Parlophone between 1963 ("From Me To You") and 1966 ("Yellow Submarine" / "Eleanor Rigby"), though releases of archive material from their previous record company also charted during this time.[6]

Most consecutive number ones from chart debut[edit]

Spice Girls became the first British music act and girl group to have their first six singles reach number one on the UK singles chart between 1996 and 1997 with "Wannabe" in July, 1996 to "Too Much" in December, 1997.

Westlife became the first music act to have their first seven singles ("Swear It Again", "If I Let You Go", "Flying Without Wings", "I Have a Dream / "Seasons in the Sun", "Fool Again", "Against All Odds" & "My Love") to reach number one from 1999 to 2000.[7] It took Westlife just over 18 months to achieve their first seven number ones, faster than any other music act.

Most songs to debut at Number 1 on the chart[edit]

Acts with the most songs to debut at Number 1 on the Official singles chart. Westlife claim the most Number 1 debuts on the Official Singles Chart, with all 14 of their chart-toppers landing there in their first week.[8]

Total Artist
14 Westlife
10 Take That
8 Spice Girls
Oasis
Eminem
7 McFly
Tinie Tempah
Calvin Harris
Robbie Williams
Ariana Grande

Lowest selling number one[edit]

The lowest weekly sale for a number one single is 17,694 copies held by Orson's "No Tomorrow" in 2006.[9]

The addition of downloads to the UK charts meant that singles could reach number one with no physical copy being released. The first single to achieve this was Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" in early 2006. Since 2014, audio streaming has been included in the calculation of chart position, so it is now possible for a single to reach number one without selling any copies (if it were only available on streaming services). In the week ending 24 September 2015, "What Do You Mean?" by Justin Bieber became the first number one with over half of its chart sales made up of streaming points, with sales of 30,000 and 36,000 points from 3.6 million streams.

Since the incorporation of streaming into the singles chart, the Official Charts Company have continued to compile a sales only chart. In week ending 27 April 2017 "Sign of the Times" by Harry Styles became the first number one in the sales-only chart to sell less than "No Tomorrow" by Orson, with 16,686 copies.[10]

Longest/Shortest song to reach number one[edit]

In terms of a song's running length, "All Around the World" by Oasis (1998) at 9 minutes and 38 seconds is the longest song to reach No.1. "What Do You Want?" by Adam Faith at 1 minute 35 seconds (1959) is the shortest.[11]

Non-English language number-ones[edit]

Source:[12]

Acts to occupy the top two[edit]

In addition, in the final week that Justin Bieber was at No. 1 and No. 2 with "Love Yourself" and "Sorry", "What Do You Mean" was at No. 3. For the first three weeks that Ed Sheeran was at No. 1 and No. 2 with "Shape of You" and "Galway Girl", "Castle on the Hill" was at No. 3, and for the first of these three weeks Sheeran's "Perfect", "New Man" and "Happier" were at No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 respectively.[13]

Most weeks[edit]

Weeks on chart by single[edit]

  • Most weeks in the chart by a single:

Top 100: "Mr Brightside" by The Killers (283 weeks)
Top 75: "Perfect" by Ed Sheeran (130 weeks)
Top 40: "My Way" by Frank Sinatra (75 weeks)[14]

  • Longest consecutive run in the chart by a single*

Top 100: "Someone You Loved" by Lewis Capaldi (100 weeks)
Top 75: "Someone You Loved" by Lewis Capaldi (99 weeks)
Top 40: "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran (54 weeks)[15]

Sales[edit]

Fastest selling singles[edit]

The fastest selling single in chart history is "Candle in the Wind 1997" by Elton John which sold 1.55 million copies in its first week (it sold 658,000 on the first day of release, 13 September 1997).[16]

The fastest selling debut single is "Anything Is Possible/Evergreen" by Will Young, which sold 1.11 million copies in its first week on sale.[17] Publicity had built up due to the televised talent contest Pop Idol with 8.7 million people phoning in to vote for the finalists.[18]

The fastest selling single by a girl group is the Spice Girls "2 Become 1" which sold over 462,000 copies during its first week on sale and over 763,000 copies in a fortnight. In total, the single sold over 1.2 million copies to date.[19]

The fastest number one single music act and band is Westlife with its first seven consecutive number one singles and fourteen number one singles in total. They are also the second music act to have the longest string of number ones in UK history.[6]

Biggest-selling singles artists[edit]

Artists with references have been updated as the original list was published by the Official Charts Company during 2012. This means that positions on this list may not be 100% accurately reflected as most of the artists are still active and releasing new singles. This includes all singles (solo, duets and as featuring artists) and in all formats (vinyl, cassette, CD, digital). All singles with collaborations are counted several times on the list.

  1. Justin Bieber (28,625,000)[20]
  2. Madonna (28,345,000)
  3. Rihanna (27,100,000)
  4. Michael Jackson (26,995,000)[21][citation needed][verification needed]
  5. Beyoncé (22,870,000)[22]
  6. The Beatles (22,100,000)[23]
  7. Elton John (21,635,000)
  8. Cliff Richard (21,500,000)
  9. Coldplay (15,720,000)
  10. Queen (12,800,000)[23]
  11. Elvis Presley (12,205,000)
  12. David Bowie (12,000,000)[24]
  13. ABBA (11,300,000)[23]
  14. Ariana Grande (10,700,000)
  15. Paul McCartney (10,200,000)
  16. Kylie Minogue (10,100,000)
  17. The Rolling Stones (10,100,000)[23]
  18. Westlife (9,800,000)[25]
  19. Rod Stewart
  20. Take That
  21. Stevie Wonder
  22. Oasis (9,079,000)[23]
  23. Eminem
  24. Whitney Houston
  25. Spice Girls (8,500,000)[23]
  26. George Michael
  27. Robbie Williams
  28. Bee Gees (7,600,000)[23]
  29. U2 (7,500,000)[23]
  30. Shakin' Stevens
  31. Britney Spears
  32. Lady Gaga (7,357,000)[26]
  33. Status Quo (7,200,000)[23]
  34. Boyzone (7,100,000)[23]
  35. Blondie (7,037,000)[23]
  36. The Black Eyed Peas (7,034,000)[26]
  37. Boney M (6,859,000)[26]
  38. Slade (6,856,000)[26]
  39. Celine Dion
  40. UB40 (6,600,000)[26]
  41. Olivia Newton-John
  42. Mariah Carey
  43. Tom Jones

Outside number one[edit]

Acts to peak across the entire top ten[edit]

Acts who have peaked at every position in the Top 10[27]
Artist No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 No. 4 No. 5 No. 6 No. 7 No. 8 No. 9 No. 10
Lonnie Donegan "Cumberland Gap" "Lost John/Stewball" Tom Dooley Don't You Rock Me Daddy-O I Wanna Go Home The Grand Coolie Dam Bring A Little Water Sylvie/Dead or Alive Rock Island Line/John Henry "The Party's Over" "My Dixie Darling"
Elvis Presley "All Shook Up" "Heartbreak Hotel" "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" "A Big Hunk o' Love" "Until It's Time for You to Go" "Too Much" "Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me)" "Paralyzed" "Blue Suede Shoes" "Kissin' Cousins"
Madonna "Into the Groove" "Crazy for You" "Like a Virgin" "Gambler" "Angel" "Deeper and Deeper" "Rain" "Human Nature" "The Look of Love" "Bad Girl"
Mariah Carey "Without You" "I'll Be There" "Endless Love" "Fantasy" "Heartbreaker" "One Sweet Day" "Hero" "Anytime You Need a Friend" "Vision of Love" "Thank God I Found You"
Tom Jones "It's Not Unusual" "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" "Sex Bomb" "Mama Told Me Not to Come" "Help Yourself" "The Young New Mexican Puppeteer" "Funny Familiar Forgotten Feelings" "Detroit City" "Love Me Tonight" "Without Love (There Is Nothing)"
Elton John "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" "Rocket Man" "Nikita" "Daniel" "Crocodile Rock" "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" "Blue Eyes" "I Want Love" "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
U2 "Desire" "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" "Pride (In the Name of Love)" "With or Without You" "Walk On" "The Unforgettable Fire" "One" "Even Better Than the Real Thing" "Angel of Harlem" "New Year's Day"
Cliff Richard "Living Doll" "Move It" "Nine Times Out of Ten" "Gee Whiz It's You" "Santa's List" "In the Country" "High Class Baby" "I'm the Lonely One" "It's All Over" "Mean Streak"
Usher "You Make Me Wanna..." "Pop Ya Collar" "U Remind Me" "U Don't Have to Call" "U Got It Bad" "Without You" "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love" "I Don't Mind" "Caught Up" "Good Kisser"
Pink "Just Like A Pill" "Get the Party Started" "Feel Good Time" "Stupid Girls" "Most Girls" "There You Go" "Trouble" "Try" "You Make Me Sick" "U + Ur Hand"
Taylor Swift "Look What You Made Me Do" "Love Story" "Me!" "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" "Cardigan" "Everything Has Changed" "Exile" "22" "The 1"
Nine out of ten
No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 No. 4 No. 5 No. 6 No. 7 No. 8 No. 9 No. 10
  1. ^ Bon Jovi band member Jon Bon Jovi did peak at No. 1 as part of the charity single Everybody Hurts in 2010.
  2. ^ Michael Jackson did peak at No. 6 as a fifth of The Jackson 5.
  3. ^ Beyoncé did peak at No. 6 as a quarter of Destiny's Child.
  4. ^ Frankie Bridge and Rochelle Humes of The Saturdays did peak at No. 6 as two-eighths of S Club 8.
  5. ^ All nine of Eurythmics' top ten hits reached different peaks.
  6. ^ Diana Ross did peak at No. 8 as one third of The Supremes.
  7. ^ Kimberley Walsh of Girls Aloud did peak at No. 8 as a solo artist.

Biggest selling non-number one[edit]

The record is held by Maroon 5 with their 2011 single, "Moves Like Jagger", with 1.55 million copies sold. The song peaked at number two for seven weeks.[28] The record was formerly held by Wham! for their 1984 Christmas release, "Last Christmas" / "Everything She Wants", until it finally charted at the top spot in 2021.

The biggest selling single to peak at number three is New Order's "Blue Monday", which has sold over a million copies.[29] However, it garnered its total sales via two further remixes of the track, meaning its one million sales are attributed over all three releases. The biggest selling release to peak at number three is Ed Sheeran's "The A Team", which has sold over 1,067,000 copies since its 2011 release.[30] The biggest selling single never to make the top 5 is "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol, which peaked at number 6 and has sold more copies than "The A Team".[31] The biggest selling single not to reach the top 10 is "Numb" by Linkin Park which never charted higher than No. 14.

Simultaneously charting songs and singles[edit]

Most hits without reaching...[edit]

Other records[edit]

First to...[edit]

  • On January 8, 2016, Justin Bieber became the first artist in history to hold the top three positions in the UK Official Singles Chart. He achieved this feat as "Love Yourself", "Sorry" and "What Do You Mean?" charted at positions one, two and three simultaneously.[38]
  • The first song to have four separate spells at number one with the same artist line-up was "Three Lions" by Baddiel & Skinner and The Lightning Seeds. The original 1996 version had two one-week stints in 1996, while the 1998 re-work had one three-week spell at the top. The 2018 FIFA World Cup propelled it to a record-breaking fourth outing at the top in July 2018.[39]
  • The first week when all the Top 10 singles (actually Top 12) stayed at the previous week's positions (other than Xmas or other "frozen" charts) occurred on 7 June 2019.[40] This is only true of the combined sales and streaming chart; in the sales only chart, only the top two positions were static and there was a new entry.[41]

Downloads[edit]

Downloads grew steadily in popularity after first being integrated into the chart in 2005. In early September 2004, the UK Official Download Chart was launched, and a new live recording of Westlife's "Flying Without Wings" was the first number-one.[42] The first number one to chart without ever receiving a UK physical release was Coldplay's "Viva la Vida" in June 2008. As of 2012, very few songs are given a physical release, and almost the entire chart is released solely on digital download.

On 22 June 2008, both songs in the top two were there on downloads alone:[43]

  1. "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay
  2. "Closer" by Ne-Yo

On 31 August 2008, the top three were download-only at the time:[44]

  1. "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry
  2. "Pjanoo" by Eric Prydz
  3. "Disturbia" by Rihanna

On 1 March 2009, the top four were all download-only:[45]

  1. "My Life Would Suck Without You" by Kelly Clarkson
  2. "Love Story" by Taylor Swift
  3. "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga
  4. "Dead and Gone" by T.I. (feat. Justin Timberlake)

By 13 February 2010, the whole top 9 consisted of download-only songs:[46]

  1. "Fireflies" by Owl City
  2. "Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby)" by Jedward (feat. Vanilla Ice)
  3. "If We Ever Meet Again" by Timbaland (feat. Katy Perry)
  4. "Don't Stop Believin'" by Glee Cast
  5. "Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down" by Alicia Keys
  6. "Replay" by Iyaz
  7. "Starstrukk" by 3OH!3 (feat. Katy Perry)
  8. "One Shot" by JLS
  9. "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Record-Breakers and Trivia". EveryHit.com. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  2. ^ Wilson, John. "Clem Cattini, Britain's record chart topper, keeps that backbeat going strong at 72". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  3. ^ "The songs that spent the longest at Number 1". Official Charts Company. 4 August 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  4. ^ "The acts who outperformed themselves, knocking their own hit off Number 1". Official Charts Company. 17 September 2021. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  5. ^ "Ariana Grande replaces herself at Number 1 for a second time on the Official Singles Chart". Official Charts Company. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b Inc, Nielsen Business Media (2000). "Found the 'love' of a Westlife time". Billboard.
  7. ^ British Hit Singles. Virgin Books. 4 November 2010.
  8. ^ Copsey, Rob (30 October 2020). "Acts with most songs to debut at Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart".
  9. ^ Masterton, James (13 April 2013). "Hey, What Does It Take".
  10. ^ Jones, Alan (21 April 2017). "Official Charts Analysis: Ed Sheeran topples Harry Styles to reclaim singles top spot". Music Week.
  11. ^ "Adam Faith - What do You want? (78rpm - 1959)". YouTube. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  12. ^ Myers, Justin (13 May 2017). "Foreign language songs that got to Number 1". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  13. ^ "Acts that have held number 1 and 2 on the Official Singles Chart". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud sets chart record". BBC News. 22 June 2015.
  15. ^ Copsey, Rob (22 June 2015). "Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud becomes first single ever to spend one year inside the Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  16. ^ Walker-Arnott, Ellie (14 November 2012). "60 years of singles charts... in numbers". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  17. ^ Wells, Matt (4 March 2002). "Pop Idol Will faces Top of the Pops ban". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  18. ^ "Pop Idol's career hots up". BBC News. BBC. 11 February 2002. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  19. ^ Myers, Justin (14 December 2017). "Classic Christmas Number Ones". Official Charts. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  20. ^ "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  21. ^ "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  22. ^ "BeyScan – United Kingdom Units Figures". BeyScan. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "The Official Top 20 Biggest selling groups of all time revealed". Official Charts Company.
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  25. ^ Jones, Alan (22 November 2019). "Charts analysis: Westlife reach summit with first album in nine years". Music Week. Intent Media. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  26. ^ a b c d e "The Official Top 20 Biggest selling groups of all time revealed". Official Charts Company.
  27. ^ "Official Charts bingo: Acts who have peaked at every position in the Top 10". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  28. ^ "Wham's Last Christmas finally reaches Number 1 and sets Official UK Chart record". Official Charts Company. 1 January 2021. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  29. ^ "The million-selling songs that never made it to Number 1". Official Charts Company. 24 August 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  30. ^ Jones, Alan (2 January 2015). "Official Charts Analysis: Sheeran's x scores 12th week at No.1 with sales of 211,168". Music Week. Intent Media. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  31. ^ Moss, Liv (19 June 2015). "Official Biggest Selling Singles of the decade so far revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  32. ^ Philip Dodd, Paul Du Noyer (1999). The encyclopedia of singles. p. 222. ISBN 0752533371.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  33. ^ Bychawski, Adam (21 December 2008). "Alexandra Burke, Jeff Buckley storm Christmas charts with 'Hallelujah'". Nme.com.
  34. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100 | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com.
  35. ^ https://www.officialcharts.com/artist/16970/ac-dc/
  36. ^ https://www.officialcharts.com/artist/54297/d-block-europe/
  37. ^ "The curse of Number 11: Big songs that missed the Top 10". Officialcharts.com.
  38. ^ Copsey, Rob (15 February 2019). "Acts that have held Number 1 and 2 at the same time on the Official Singles Chart". Official Charts Company.
  39. ^ Copsey, Rob (13 July 2018). "Football may not have come home, but Three Lions has on the UK's Official Chart - and it's broken an all-time chart record". Official Charts Company.
  40. ^ "Charts analysis: First ever static singles Top 10 in chart history | Analysis". Musicweek.com.
  41. ^ "Official Singles Sales Chart Top 100 07 June 2019 - 13 June 2019". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  42. ^ "Download chart waits for youth: while its beginnings may be modest, the new rundown has an important future ahead". Music Week. 11 September 2004. ISSN 0265-1548.
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  44. ^ "Official Chart for the 31st August 2008". Official Charts Company.
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  46. ^ "Official Chart for the 13th of Feb 2010". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 March 2016.