List of best-selling singles in the United Kingdom
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; 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. 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.
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.
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