List of best-selling singles in the United Kingdom

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"Candle in the Wind 1997" / "Something About the Way You Look Tonight" by Elton John is the best-selling single in the UK.

A single is a type of music release defined by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as having no more than four tracks and not lasting longer than 25 minutes;[1] the best-selling single in the UK is "Candle in the Wind 1997" / "Something About the Way You Look Tonight", a double A-side released by Elton John following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Since September 1997, the single has sold over 4,900,000 copies in the UK.

Sales of singles have been monitored and charted in the UK since 1952, when Percy Dickins of New Musical Express (NME) telephoned around 20 record stores and aggregated their best-selling singles into a hit parade. Dickins published this Top 12 chart in NME on 14 November 1952.[2][3] Since then, two singles have sold over 3 million copies – "Candle in the Wind 1997" / "Something About the Way You Look Tonight", and "Do They Know It's Christmas?", a charity single by Band Aid released in aid of victims of the 1983–85 famine in Ethiopia. A further five singles have sold more than 2 million copies.

The highest-selling by a solo female artist is "Believe" by Cher – released in October 1998, the single has sold 1.79 milliion copies in the UK, and is the country's 16th biggest-selling single.[4][5]

The biggest-selling single not to top the UK Singles Chart is "Last Christmas" / "Everything She Wants" by Wham!. Released in December 1984, the single sold more than 500,000 copies in its first week, but was kept off number one by "Do They Know It's Christmas?", and peaked at number two. It has since sold a total of 1.7 million copies.

Best-selling singles[edit]

No. Single Artist Record label[a] Released[a] Chart
peak[a]
Sales
(millions)[b]
1 "Candle in the Wind 1997" / "Something About the Way You Look Tonight" John, EltonElton John Rocket September 1997 1 4.92
2 "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Band Aid Mercury November 1984 1 3.75
3 "Bohemian Rhapsody"
"Bohemian Rhapsody" / "These Are the Days of Our Lives"
Queen EMI October 1975
November 1991
1 2.44
4 "Mull of Kintyre" / "Girls' School" Wings Parlophone November 1977 1 2.08
5 "You're the One That I Want" Travolta, JohnJohn Travolta and Olivia Newton-John RSO May 1978 1 2.05
6 "Relax" Frankie Goes to Hollywood ZTT January 1984 1 2.03
7 "Rivers of Babylon" / "Brown Girl in the Ring" Boney M. Atlantic/Hansa April 1978 1 2.02
8 "She Loves You" Beatles, TheThe Beatles Parlophone August 1963 1 1.91
9 "Love Is All Around" Wet Wet Wet PolyGram May 1994 1 1.86
10 "Mary's Boy Child – Oh My Lord" Boney M. Atlantic/Hansa November 1978 1 1.86
11 "Unchained Melody" / "(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover" Robson Green & Jerome Flynn RCA May 1995 1 1.86
12 "I Just Called to Say I Love You" Wonder, StevieStevie Wonder Motown August 1984 1 1.84
13 "Barbie Girl" Aqua Universal October 1997 1 1.80
14 "I Want to Hold Your Hand" Beatles, TheThe Beatles Parlophone November 1963 1 1.79
15 "Evergreen" / "Anything Is Possible" Young, WillWill Young S February 2002 1 1.79
16 "Believe" Cher WEA October 1998 1 1.79
17 "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" Adams, BryanBryan Adams A&M June 1991 1 1.75
18 "Last Christmas" / "Everything She Wants" Wham! Epic December 1984 2 1.70
19 "Happy" Pharrell Williams Columbia November 2013 1 1.70
20 "Imagine" Lennon, JohnJohn Lennon Apple October 1975 1 1.64
21 "Summer Nights" Travolta, JohnJohn Travolta and Olivia Newton-John RSO September 1978 1 1.60
22 "I'll Be Missing You" Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans Bad Boy June 1997 1 1.59
23 "Two Tribes" Frankie Goes to Hollywood ZTT May 1984 1 1.59
24 "Blurred Lines" Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams Interscope May 2013 1 1.59
25 "Don't You Want Me" Human League, TheThe Human League Virgin November 1981 1 1.58
26 "I Will Always Love You" Houston, WhitneyWhitney Houston Arista October 1992 1 1.58
27 "Perfect Day" Various artists Chrysalis November 1997 1 1.55
28 "Three Lions"
"3 Lions '98"
Baddiel & Skinner & The Lightning Seeds Epic June 1996 1 1.54
29 "Can't Buy Me Love" Beatles, TheThe Beatles Parlophone March 1964 1 1.54
30 "Eye of the Tiger" Survivor Scotti Brothers July 1982 1 1.53
31 "Someone Like You" Adele XL January 2011 1 1.53
32 "My Heart Will Go On" Dion, CelineCeline Dion Epic February 1998 1 1.53
33 "...Baby One More Time" Spears, BritneyBritney Spears Jive February 1999 1 1.53
34 "Tears" Dodd, KenKen Dodd Columbia August 1965 1 1.52
35 "Karma Chameleon" Culture Club Virgin September 1983 1 1.49
36 "Gangsta's Paradise" Coolio featuring L.V. Tommy Boy October 1995 1 1.47
37 "Y.M.C.A." Village People Mercury November 1978 1 1.47
38 "Moves Like Jagger" Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera A&M/Octone August 2011 2 1.47
39 "Careless Whisper" Michael, GeorgeGeorge Michael Epic July 1984 1 1.46
40 "Somebody That I Used to Know" Gotye featuring Kimbra Island January 2012 1 1.45
  1. ^ a b c The record labels, dates and chart peaks are those given by the OCC.[6]
  2. ^ The sales are those given by the OCC as of 27 June 2013, except where a more recent OCC figure is available.[7][8][9][10][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rules For Chart Eligibility: Singles" (PDF). London: Official Charts Company. August 2009. p. 5. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Williams, Mark (19 February 2002). "Obituary: Percy Dickins". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 22 July 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Smith, Alan. "50s & 60s UK Charts – The Truth!". davemcaleer.com. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Lane, Daniel (7 March 2014). "Adele and Rihanna score UK's latest million selling singles". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Lane, Daniel; Myers, Justin (8 March 2014). "Official Top 40 Biggest Selling Singles Of All Time By Female Artists". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. 2010. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Lane, Daniel (27 June 2013). "Daft Punk's Get Lucky becomes one of the UK's biggest selling singles of all-time!". Official Charts Company. 
  8. ^ Lane, Daniel (10 June 2014). "Naughty Boy and Sam Smith smash 1 million UK sales with La La La". Official Charts Company. 
  9. ^ Copsey, Rob (September 9, 2014). "Pharrell's Happy now the UK's most downloaded track of all time". Official Charts Company. 
  10. ^ Copsey, Rob (1 October 2014). "The Official Top 40 Biggest Selling Singles of 2014 so far!". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  11. ^ Copsey, Rob (1 January 2015). "The Official Top 40 Biggest Selling Singles of 2014". Official Charts Company. 

External links[edit]