For the first time, Britain’s Official Chart Company has released a list of the top selling singles of the last sixty years in the U.K.
In total, 123 singles are on the list which consists of all records that sold one million or more copies in Britain. Only seven have passed the two million mark, so there is a lot bunching up in the lower portion of the list.
At the top is the record considered to being the biggest selling single of all time worldwide, Elton John’s Something in the Way You Look Tonight/Candle in the Wind ’97. It was the b-side of the record that was the real sales driver as it was released just after the tragic death of Princess Diana with slightly changed lyrics. John performed the version at Diana’s memorial service. It sold 4.9 million copies.
In second, 1.2 million behind, is the song that kicked off the charity song trend, Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid.
Those two songs are really in a class by themselves as the only records to sell north of three million. Five more exceeded two million, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Wings’ (Paul McCartney) Mull of Kintyre, John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John’s You’re the One That I Want, Boney M’s Rivers of Babylon and Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax.
Only a few artists have multiple entries, lead by the Beatles with six and Rihanna with three. Boney M, Celine Dion, Engelbert Humperdinck, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John each have two.
Unchained Melody is the song with the most versions on the list with three by Robson Greene & Jerome Flynn, Gareth Gates and the Righteous Brothers. Do They Know It’s Christmas? has two.
This is the top forty from the list. To see all 123, go to The Guardian.
- Something in the Way You Look Tonight / Candle in the Wind ’97 – Elton John (4.9 million)
- Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid (3.69)
- Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen (2.36)
- Mull of Kintyre / Girl’s School – Wings (2)
- You’re The One That I Want – John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John (2)
- Rivers of Babylon / Brown Girl in the Ring – Boney M (2)
- Relax – Frankie Goes to Hollywood (2)
- She Loves You – Beatles (1.9)
- Unchained Melody / (There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover – Robson Greene & Jerome Flynn (1.86)
- Love is All Around – Wet Wet Wet (1.85)
- Mary’s Boy Child / Oh My Lord – Boney M (1.85)
- I Just Called To Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder (1.83)
- Barbie Girl – Aqua (1.79)
- Anything is Possible / Evergreen – Will Young (1.79)
- I Want to Hold Your Hand – Beatles (1.77)
- Believe – Cher (1.74)
- (Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams (1.72)
- Last Christmas / Everything She Wants – Wham! (1.6)
- Imagine – John Lennon (1.6)
- Summer Nights – John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John (1.59)
- Two Tribes – Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1.58)
- I’ll Be Missing You – Puff Daddy & Faith Evans (1.56)
- Perfect Day – Various Artists (1.55)
- Don’t You Want Me? – Human League (1.54)
- Can’t Buy Me Love – Beatles (1.53)
- I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston (1.53)
- Three Lions – Baddiel & Skinner & Lightning Seeds (1.53)
- Tears – Ken Dodd (1.52)
- …Baby One More Time – Britney Spears (1.51)
- My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion (1.48)
- Karma Chameleon – Culture Club (1.47)
- YMCA – Village People (1.46)
- Careless Whisper – George Michael (1.45)
- (We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock – Bill Haley & the Comets (1.42)
- I Feel Fine – Beatles (1.41)
- The Carnival is Over – Seekers (1.41)
- Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio Featuring L.V. (1.41)
- Eye of the Tiger – Survivor (1.41)
- The Power of Love – Jennifer Rush (1.39)
- We Can Work It Out / Day Tripper (1.39)