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UK Singles Chart records and statistics

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

Most number ones

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
13 Madonna
12 The Shadows
Take That
10 Calvin Harris
Spice Girls
Ed Sheeran
8 The Rolling Stones

Most weeks at number one by artist

Rank Artist Weeks at No. 1
1 Elvis Presley 80
2 The Beatles 69
3 Cliff Richard 46
4 The Shadows 44
5 Ed Sheeran 41
6 Justin Bieber 38
7 Frankie Laine 32
8 ABBA 31
Calvin Harris
11 Madonna 29
Take That
13 Rihanna 25
14 Elton John 23
15 Spice Girls 22
16 Westlife 20

Most weeks at number one by single

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.

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 (feat. 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 (feat. Justin Bieber) "Despacito"* 2017
Tones and I "Dance Monkey" 2019
10 David Whitfield "Cara Mia" 1954 10 weeks
Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You" 1992
Rihanna (feat. Jay-Z) "Umbrella" 2007

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

Self-replacement at number one

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 from chart debut

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 1996–1997 with "Wannabe" in July, 1996 to "Too Much" in December, 1997.

Westlife became the first music act, group, male group and pop band 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.[6] With this, Westlife broke an unexpected record of the most consecutive number-one singles in the UK, having their first seven singles debut at the top and became the fastest number one music act - their 23 months beating Elvis Presley's previous record of three years. (The Beatles had ten consecutive number ones with official releases on EMI between 1963 (From Me To You) and 1966 (Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby). This period however saw releases of archive material from their previous record company).[7]

Lowest selling number one

The lowest weekly sale for a number one single is 17,694 copies held by Orson's "No Tomorrow" in 2006.[8]

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.[9]

Longest/Shortest song to reach number one

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.[10]

Non-English language number-ones


Acts to occupy the top two

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.[12]

Most weeks

Weeks on chart by single

  • Most weeks in the chart by a single:

Top 100: "Mr Brightside" by The Killers (236 weeks)
Top 75: "My Way" by Frank Sinatra (124 weeks) (122 weeks when only a top 50 was compiled followed by two more in the top 75)
Top 40: "My Way" (75 weeks)[13]

  • Longest consecutive run in the chart by a single*

Top 100: "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran (95 weeks)
Top 75: "Someone You Loved" by Lewis Capaldi (83 weeks)
Top 40: "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran (54 weeks)[14]


Fastest selling singles

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).[15]

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.[16] Publicity had built up due to the televised talent contest Pop Idol with 8.7 million people phoning in to vote for the finalists.[17]

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.[18]

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.[19]

Biggest-selling singles artists

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. Madonna (28,345,000)
  2. Rihanna (27,100,000)
  3. Michael Jackson (26,995,000)[20][citation needed][verification needed]
  4. Beyoncé (22,870,000)[21]
  5. The Beatles (22,100,000)[22]
  6. Elton John (21,635,000)
  7. Cliff Richard (21,500,000)
  8. Queen (12,800,000)[22]
  9. Elvis Presley (12,205,000)
  10. David Bowie (12,000,000)[23]
  11. ABBA (11,300,000)[22]
  12. Ariana Grande (10,700,000)
  13. Paul McCartney (10,200,000)
  14. Kylie Minogue (10,100,000)
  15. The Rolling Stones (10,100,000)[22]
  16. Rod Stewart
  17. Take That
  18. Stevie Wonder
  19. Oasis (9,079,000)[22]
  20. Eminem
  21. Whitney Houston
  22. Spice Girls (8,500,000)[22]
  23. George Michael
  24. Robbie Williams
  25. Bee Gees (7,600,000)[22]
  26. U2 (7,500,000)[22]
  27. Shakin' Stevens
  28. Britney Spears
  29. Lady Gaga (7,357,000)[24]
  30. Status Quo (7,200,000)[22]
  31. Boyzone (7,100,000)[22]
  32. Blondie (7,037,000)[22]
  33. The Black Eyed Peas (7,034,000)[24]
  34. Boney M (6,859,000)[24]
  35. Slade (6,856,000)[24]
  36. Westlife (6,830,000)[24]
  37. Celine Dion
  38. UB40 (6,600,000)[24]
  39. Olivia Newton-John
  40. Mariah Carey
  41. Tom Jones

Outside number one

Acts to peak across the entire top ten

Acts who have peaked at every position in the Top 10[25]
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" "You Need to Calm Down" "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. ^ Kimberley Walsh of Girls Aloud did peak at No. 8 as a solo artist.
  6. ^ Diana Ross did peak at No. 8 as one third of The Supremes.

Biggest selling non-number one

The record is held by Wham! with their 1984 Christmas release, "Last Christmas" / "Everything She Wants", which peaked at number two, being kept off the top by Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?".[26] It has sold 1.77 million copies following first week sales of half a million.[27] In December 2017, a year after George Michael's death, fans tried to get "Last Christmas" to number one, but again it peaked at number two.[28]

The biggest selling single to peak at number three is New Order's "Blue Monday", which has sold over a million copies.[26] 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.[29] 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".[30] 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

Most hits without reaching...

Other records

First to...

  • 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.[35]
  • 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.[36]


Downloads grew steadily in popularity after first being integrated into the chart in 2004. In early September the UK Official Download Chart was launched, and a new live recording of Westlife's "Flying Without Wings" was the first number-one.[37] 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:[38]

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

On 31 August 2008, the top three were download-only at the time:[39]

  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:[40]

  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:[41]

  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


  1. ^ "Record-Breakers and Trivia". 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. 15 February 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  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. ^ British Hit Singles. Virgin Books. 4 November 2010.
  7. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (2000). "Found the 'love' of a Westlife time". Billboard.
  8. ^ Masterton, James (13 April 2013). "Hey, What Does It Take".
  9. ^ Jones, Alan (21 April 2017). "Official Charts Analysis: Ed Sheeran topples Harry Styles to reclaim singles top spot". Music Week.
  10. ^ "Adam Faith - What do You want? (78rpm - 1959)". YouTube. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  11. ^ Myers, Justin (13 May 2017). "Foreign language songs that got to Number 1". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  12. ^ "Acts that have held number 1 and 2 on the Official Singles Chart". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud sets chart record". BBC News. 22 June 2015.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Walker-Arnott, Ellie (14 November 2012). "60 years of singles charts... in numbers". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  16. ^ Wells, Matt (4 March 2002). "Pop Idol Will faces Top of the Pops ban". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Pop Idol's career hots up". BBC News. BBC. 11 February 2002. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  18. ^ Myers, Justin (14 December 2017). "Classic Christmas Number Ones". Official Charts. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  19. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (2000). "Found the 'love' of a Westlife time". Billboard.
  20. ^ "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  21. ^ "BeyScan – United Kingdom Units Figures". BeyScan. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ "Official Charts Analysis: David Bowie's UK chart life". Music Week. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  24. ^ a b c d e f "The Official Top 20 Biggest selling groups of all time revealed". Official Charts Company.
  25. ^ "BINGO! Acts who have peaked at every position in the Top 10". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  26. ^ a b "The million-selling songs that never made it to Number 1". Official Charts Company. 24 August 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  27. ^ Myers, Justin (17 October 2015). "Ask Official Charts: Your questions on Demi, Selena, Britney and more answered". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  28. ^ Copsey, Rob (29 December 2017). "Ed Sheeran caps off a hugely successful 2017 by claiming a new Official Charts record". Official Charts. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ Moss, Liv (19 June 2015). "Official Biggest Selling Singles of the decade so far revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  31. ^ Philip Dodd, Paul Du Noyer (1999). The encyclopedia of singles. p. 222. ISBN 0752533371.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  32. ^ Adam Bychawski (21 December 2008). "Alexandra Burke, Jeff Buckley storm Christmas charts with 'Hallelujah'".
  33. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100 | Official Charts Company".
  34. ^ "The curse of Number 11: Big songs that missed the Top 10".
  35. ^ 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.
  36. ^ "Charts analysis: First ever static singles Top 10 in chart history | Analysis".
  37. ^ "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.
  38. ^ "Official Chart for the 22nd June 2008". Official Charts Company.
  39. ^ "Official Chart for the 31st August 2008". Official Charts Company.
  40. ^ "Official Chart for the 1st March 2009". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  41. ^ "Official Chart for the 13th of Feb 2010". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
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