Record Breakers and Trivia : Singles : Individual Hits : Number 1s
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Most Weeks at Number 1 by a Record
18 - by Frankie Laine's "I Believe". It topped the chart on three separate occasions (all in 1953).
Most Consecutive Weeks at Number 1 by a Record
16 - by Bryan Adams' "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" (1991).
Longest Time For A Track To Get To Number 1
33 Years, 3 Months, and 27 Days. Tony Christie "(Is This The Way To) Amarillo" first made the Top 40 on w/e 27th Nov 1971 when it peaked at no. 18. Its use by comedian Peter Kaye in various TV performances resulted in a re-release in aid of Comic Relief. That catapulted the track back into the chart - at no. 1 - on w/e 26th Mar 2005.
This broke a record set over 18 years previously by Jackie Wilson's "Reet Petite (The Sweetest Girl In Town)". It topped the chart in Dec 1986, 29 Years, 1 Month, and 11 Days after it first entered the chart.
The slowest climb to the top in a single spell inside the Top 40 is 13 weeks for Celine Dion's "Think Twice" (Nov 1994 to Feb 1995).
Title With Most Weeks At Number One
"I Believe" has spent 22 weeks at the top of the chart (18 weeks for Frankie Lane, in three separate visits throughout 1953) and 4 weeks for Robson & Jerome (1995).
Runner up is "Unchained Melody" which has spent 18 weeks at the summit by four different artists.
Topping The Chart By Different Artists
Only one track has topped the chart by four different artists. It is "Unchained Melody". Artists to take it to number one in the UK are:
Jimmy Young (1955), Righteous Brothers (as a re-issue in 1990), Robson & Jerome (1995) and Gareth Gates (2002).
Four tracks have topped the chart by three different artists. They are:
Twenty-eight titles have hit the top performed by two different artists:
- "You'll Never Walk Alone." It topped the chart for:
Gerry & Pacemakers (1963), The Crowd (1985) and Robson & Jerome (1996 as a 'triple A-Side' with "What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted"
and "Saturday Night At The Movies".)
- "Spirit In The Sky" - Norman Greenbaum (1970) / Doctor & The Medics (1986) / Gareth Gates featuring The Kumars (2003)
- "With A Little Help From My Friends" - Joe Cocker (1968) / Wet Wet Wet (1988) / Sam & Mark (2004)
- "Do They Know It's Christmas?" - Band Aid (1984) / Band Aid II (1989) / Band Aid 20 (2004)
- "Answer Me" - David Whitfield / Frankie Laine (both 1953)
- "Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White" - Perez Prado / Eddie Calvert (both 1955)
- "Singing The Blues" - Guy Mitchell / Tommy Steele (both 1957)
- "Young Love" - Tab Hunter (1957) / Donny Osmond (1973)
- "Mary's Boy Child" - Harry Belafonte (1957) / Boney M (as a medley with "Oh My Lord" (1978)
- "This Ole House" Rosemary Clooney (1954) / Shakin' Stevens (1981)
- "Can't Help Falling In Love" - Elvis Presley (1962) / UB40 (1993)
- "I Got You Babe" - Sonny & Cher (1965) / UB40 with Chrissie Hynde (1985)
- "Living Doll" - Cliff Richard & The Drifters (1959) / Cliff Richard & The Young Ones (1986)
- "Everything I Own" - Ken Boothe (1974) / Boy George (1987)
- "Dizzy" - Tommy Roe (1969) / Vic Reeves & The Wonder Stuff (1991)
- "Without You" - Nilsson (1972) / Mariah Carey (1994)
- "Baby Come Back" - The Equals (1968) / Pato Banton (1994)
- "I Believe" - Frankie Laine (1953) / Robson & Jerome (1995)
- "Every Breath You Take" - The Police (1983) / Puff Daddy & Faith Evans (1997) [as "I'll Be Missing You"]
- "Three Lions" - Baddiel, Skinner & Lightning Seeds (1996) / Baddiel, Skinner & Lightning Seeds (1998) [with revised lyrics as "Three Lions '98"]
- "Tragedy" - Bee Gees (1979) / Steps (1999)
- "Barbados" - Typically Tropical (1975) / Vengaboys (1999) [though they changed the location; "(We're Going To) Ibiza"]
- "Seasons In The Sun" - Terry Jacks Jacks (1974) / Westlife (1999)
- "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going" - Billy Ocean (1986) / Boyzone (1999)
- "Uptown Girl" - Billy Joel (1983) / Westlife (2001)
- "Lady Marmalade" - All Saints (1998) / Christina Aguilera with Lil' Kim, Mya & Pink (2001)
- "Eternal Flame" - The Bangles (1989) / Atomic Kitten (2001)
- "Mambo No 5" - Lou Bega (1999) / Bob The Builder (2001)
- "Somethin' Stupid" - Nancy Sinatra & Frank Sinatra (1967) / Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman (2001)
- "The Tide Is High" - Blondie (1980) / Atomic Kitten (2002) [as "The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling)"]
- "F**k It (I Don't Want You Back)" - Eamon (2004) / Frankee (2004) [as "F.U.R.B. (F U Right Back)" - an answer to the Eamon track performed over the same melody]
- "Against All Odds" - Mariah Carey & Westlife (2000) / Steve Brookstein (2005)
Others worth a mention:
"Take A Chance On Me" made No. 1 for Abba in 1978 and was also a track Erasure's 1992 "Abba-Esque" EP.
"Killer" made No. 1 for Adamski in 1990 and also featured in a George Michael medley with "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" on the chart-topping Five Live EP in 1993.
"These Are The Days Of Our Lives", a chart-topper for Queen in 1991 also featured on George Michael's aforementioned Five Live EP.
Same Version Topping The Chart More Than Once
Strictly speaking, only five chart-topping tracks have ever left the chart and then returned to top it a second time in exactly the same version. They are:
"My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison (1971 and 2002; though with different 'B-sides'),
"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen (1975 and 1991, though on the latter occasion it was a double-A side with "These Are The Days Of Our Lives").
The one-a-week re-issue series commemorating what would have been Elvis Presley's 70th birthday in 2005 spawned a series of his old hits returning to the top spot. Each featured the original B side, though some CDs featured extra tracks. For this reason, they were all assigned new catalogue numbers. The full list of these (thus far) is:
"Jailhouse Rock" (1958 and 2005)
"One Night" / "I Got Stung" (1959 and 2005)
"It's Now Or Never" (1960 and 2005)
Other tracks worth a mention are:
- "Three Lions" / "Three Lions '98" - Baddiel, Skinner & Lightning Seeds (1996/98)
The version recorded in 1996 was one of the tracks on the CD for "Three Lions 98" [here entitled "Three Lions (Original Version)"]. So, in effect, the 1996 version has been number one twice, although not as an A-side and therefore not officially.
- "Living Doll" Topped the chart for Cliff Richard & The Drifters in 1959 and then for Cliff Richard & The Young Ones in 1986.
- "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" topped the chart for the Righteous Brothers in 1965. When "Unchained Melody" made number one for them in 1990, the original of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" was featured on the 12" single and CD. Together, these formats contributed 105,000 copies to the total sold.
- "Do They Know It's Christmas?" - Band Aid (1984) / Band Aid II (1989) / Band Aid 20 (2004)
In the same way as "Three Lions" revisited the no. 1 as a non-A-side, the 1984 recording of "Do They Know It Was Christmas?" was a B-side on the 1989 version. It was also featured on the CD single of the 2004 version of "Do They Know It's Christmas" by Band Aid 20. So, by stealth, the 1984 version has been number one three times, though not as an A-side and is therefore not officially recognised as a triple (or even double) chart-topper.
First Single To Enter At Number 1
Al Martino's "Here In My Heart" was the track to Top the first ever chart (Nov 1952) so, technically, this was the first track to debut at Number 1. But ignoring this, the first to enter at Number 1 in the established chart was "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis Presley in January 1958.
First Number 1 by a British Artist
The seventh number one, The Stargazers' "Broken Wings" (Apr 1953), was the first chart-topper by a British artist. The previous six had all been by US acts.
Biggest Jump To Number 1
The biggest jump to no. 1 from within the Top 40 was by Pink's "So What", leaping from no. 38 the previous week (only two days worth of downloads contributed to that postion due to an unconventional release date to the online stores). It broke The Sugababes' previous record for "About You Now" which, a little over year before had shot to the top from no. 35. This was due to its initial chart position being entirely due to downloads of a pre main release dance mix (The Spencer And Hill Remix). The release of the main track the following week led to its leap to the top (entirely on download sales, incidentally).
The previous greatest leap to no. 1 from inside the Top 40 was by Captain Sensible's "Happy Talk". In July 1982 it rose to the top from no. 33.
The biggest jump to no. 1 from inside the Top 75 occurred in Sep 2009 when Pixie Lott leapt from no. 73 to no. 1 with "Boys And Girls".
In March 2003, "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera managed to reach no. 71 on import sales alone. The following week it was officially released in Britain. It 'debuted' at no. 1, creating the impression of a 70-place jump.
Purists argue that to be classed as a 'jump' a single must have the same label and catalogue number for successive weeks. This would preclude the Christina Aguilera 'imported' jump described above. Accepting this, the biggest leap to no. 1 is by DJ Otzi whose hit "Hey Baby (Uuh, Aah)" rose from no. 45 to no. 1 in Sep 2001. Here, the British version had the same catalogue details as the imported version which had made charts in previoius weeks.
But wait! For industry purposes, a weekly Top 200 is compiled. In the chart for week ending 22th Nov 2003, Westlife appeared at no. 200 with "Mandy". This was due to sales 'leaks'; a relatively small number of singles being accidentally sold the day before the embargo date of 23rd Nov. The following week it shot to Number 1. This 199 place leap could well be considered to be the biggest ever jump to No. 1.
Most Successive Weeks With A New Number 1
From 24th June 2000 to 16th Sep 2000, every week saw a new record top the chart. This run of 13 new number ones in as many weeks is the longest of such instances in chart history.
Most Number 1s In A Year
2000 also holds the record for most number ones in a year; 42 of them (43 if you count the Westlife track which spanned over from 1999).
Number One In Most Years
Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the only record to be number one in four different years 1975, 1976, 1991 & 1992 (as it spanned the New year period on both occupancies at number one).
Lowest-Selling Number One
Lowest selling No.1 in total since at least 1960 is the 2005 re-issue of Elvis Presley's "It's Now Or Never" (39,900 copies). This was, however, a limited edition single.
The record for a non-limited edition single is "Wonderful" by Ja Rule featuring R Kelly & Ashanti. Entering the chart w/e 6th Nov 2004 it went on to sell a total of 65,000 copies. Prior to the slump in singles sales which occurred from late 2002 onwards, the lowest selling no. 1 since (since at least 1960) had been Iron Maiden's "Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter"; its first week sales were roughly 42,000, second week 29,000, with a further 30,000 or so in the next few weeks bringing it to a total of around 100,000.
Lowest weekly sale for a no. 1 since at least 1960 is for Orson's 2006 track "No Tomorrow". It sold 17,694 on its third week in the chart to take it to the top spot (w/e 25th March 2005), beating the previoius record of 20,463 set by Presley's "One Night / Got Stung" reissue in Jan 2005. The latter title is also the lowest sale which enabled a track to enter at No. 1
The figures for 2005 (and before) reflect only physical sales and do not take into account the increasing number of downloads.
Shortest Chart Stay For A Number 1
The shortest stay in the Top 40 by a chart-topper is just three weeks. It has happened on four occasions:
In 1997, Blur's "Beetlebum" entered the chart at the top spot. In its second week it dropped to number 7. It then descended to number 29 before vanishing altogether.
In 2005, a commemorative limited re-issue of Elvis Presley's "It's Now Or Never" entered the chart at no. 1, spending a single week there before falling to no. 14, and then to 27 before leaving the chart. (The track had, though, previously spent 19 weeks in the Top 40 in 1960/1977.)
In 2007, McFly's double-A side "Baby's Coming Back / Transylvania" entered the chart at no. 1 before dropping to no. 20, no. 39 and out. Later that year, Eva Cassidy & Katie Melua's rendition of "What A Wonderful World" crashed in at the top spot and then fell to no. 2 no. 14 and out.
Initially, Elvis Presley's 2005 re-issue of "Jailhouse Rock" (a limited edition of, supposedly, 27,500 copies) spent just two weeks inside the Top 40. After a single week at the top, it fell to number 10 before disappearing out of the Top 40 altogether. This, momentarily, set a new record for the shortest chart stay for a no. 1 (2 weeks) but the record company gave in to public pressure though, making extra copies available to satisfy the demand of disgruntled fans. The single consequently returned to the Top 40 as a re-entry a fortnight later. (Of course, this track had also previously spent 22 weeks inside the chart in its original form.)
Biggest Fall From Number 1
In May 2007, McFly's double A side single "Baby's Coming Back/ Transylvania" dropped from the top spot to number 20; the biggest fall from the summit in chart history. A drop of this magnitude had been registered on one previous occasion when, in January 2005, the limited edition re-issue of Elvis Presley's "One Night / I Got Stung" fell to number 20 after a single week at number one. So this 'honour' is in fact shared. Elvis fans are quick to point out that (a) there were insufficient stocks in the shops (due to its limited nature) and (b) the tracks had been available as singles before. McFly fans have no similar defence as it remained freely available and was on first time of release.
Prior to the Elvis incident outlined above, Harry Belafonte's "Mary's Boy Child" had held the record for biggest drop (for 47 years!) from the top; no. 1 to no. 12 in the post-Christmas change of heart of record buyers.
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