List of best-selling singles of the 20th century in the United Kingdom

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Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997" was the best-selling single in the UK during the 20th century.

Singles are a type of music release defined by the British organisation the Official Charts Company (OCC) as having fewer than four tracks and not lasting longer than 25 minutes.[1] Sales of singles in the United Kingdom have been monitored since 1952, when Percy Dickins of NME contacted a sample of 20 shops to asking what their 10 best-selling singles for that week had been. Dickins compiled the results into a Top 12 hit parade, which eventually by the UK Singles Chart.[2] On 16 November 2002, Channel 4 broadcast a television programme to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the chart, which counted down the biggest-selling singles up to that point. The song at number one was "Candle in the Wind 1997" / "Something About the Way You Look Tonight" by Elton John, a charity single released to commemorate the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The artist that appeared the most on the chart was Liverpudlian band The Beatles, who had released five of the biggest-selling singles of the century.

Singles[edit]

No. Artist Single Year Sales
1 Elton John "Candle in the Wind '97 1997 4,864,611
2 Band Aid "Do They Know It's Christmas" 1984 3,550,000
3 Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody" 1975 2,130,000
4 Wings "Mull of Kintyre" / "Girls' School" 1977 2,050,000
5 Boney M "Rivers of Babylon" / "Brown Girl in the Ring" 1978 1,985,000
6 John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John "You're the One That I Want" 1978 1,975,000
7 Frankie Goes to Hollywood "Relax" 1983 1,910,000
8 The Beatles "She Loves You" 1963 1,890,000
9 Robson & Jerome "Unchained Melody" 1995 1,843,701
10 Boney M "Mary's Boy Child" / "Oh My Lord" 1978 1,790,000
11 Wet Wet Wet "Love Is All Around" 1994 1,783,827
12 Stevie Wonder "I Just Called to Say I Love You" 1984 1,775,000
13 The Beatles "I Want to Hold Your Hand" 1963 1,750,000
14 Aqua "Barbie Girl" 1997 1,722,418
15 Cher "Believe" 1998 1,672,108
16 Various artists "Perfect Day" 1997 1,548,538
17 Bryan Adams "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" 1991 1,527,824
18 Ken Dodd "Tears" 1965 1,521,000
19 The Beatles "Can't Buy Me Love" 1964 1,520,000
20 John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John "Summer Nights" 1978 1,515,000
21 Frankie Goes to Hollywood "Two Tribes" 1984 1,510,000
22 Britney Spears "Baby One More Time" 1999 1,450,000
23 Human League "Don't You Want Me" 1981 1,430,000
24 John Lennon "Imagine" 1975 1,426,000
25 Wham! "Last Christmas" / "Everything She Wants" 1984 1,420,000
26 The Beatles "I Feel Fine" 1964 1,410,000
27 Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans "I'll Be Missing You" 1997 1,409,688
28 Culture Club "Karma Chameleon" 1983 1,405,000
29 Seekers "The Carnival is Over" 1965 1,400,000
30 Bill Haley & His Comets "Rock Around the Clock" 1955 1,392,000
31 The Beatles "Day Tripper" 1965 1,385,000
32 Village People "YMCA" 1978 1,380,000
33 George Michael "Careless Whisper" 1984 1,365,995
34 Engelbert Humperdinck "Release Me" 1967 1,365,000
35 Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You" 1992 1,355,055
36 Jennifer Rush "The Power of Love" 1985 1,321,530
37 Celine Dion "My Heart Will Go On" 1998 1,312,551
38 Spice Girls "Wannabe" 1996 1,269,841
39 Fugees "Killing Me Softly" 1996 1,268,157
40 All Saints "Never Ever" 1997 1,254,604
41 Coolio featuring L.V. "Gangsta's Paradise" 1995 1,246,306
42 Paul Anka "Diana" 1957 1,240,000
43 Celine Dion "Think Twice" 1994 1,234,982
44 Elvis Presley "It's Now or Never" 1960 1,210,000
45 Tom Jones "Green Green Grass of Home" 1966 1,205,000
46 Dexy's Midnight Runners "Come On Eileen" 1982 1,201,000
47 Blondie "Heart of Glass" 1979 1,180,000
48 Harry Belafonte "Mary's Boy Child" 1957 1,175,000
49 Engelbert Humperdinck "The Last Waltz" 1967 1,160,000
50 Art Garfunkel "Bright Eyes" 1979 1,155,000
51 Steps "Heartbeat" / "Tragedy" 1998 1,150,285
52 David Soul "Don't Give Up on Us" 1976 1,145,000
53 Gary Glitter "I Love You Love Me Love" 1973 1,140,000
54 Soft Cell "Tainted Love" 1981 1,135,000
55 Acker Bilk "Stranger on the Shore" 1961 1,130,000
56 Run D.M.C vs. Jason Nevins "It's Like That" 1998 1,119,905
57 Teletubbies "Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh!" 1997 1,107,235
58 Babylon Zoo "Spaceman" 1996 1,098,880
59 Frank Ifield "I Remember You" 1962 1,096,000
60 Robson & Jerome "I Believe" / "Up on the Roof" 1995 1,093,972
61 Whigfield "Saturday Night" 1994 1,092,250
62 Boyzone "No Matter What" 1998 1,074,192
63 Spice Girls "2 Become 1" 1996 1,072,073
64 Cliff Richard & The Shadows "The Young Ones" 1962 1,052,000
65 Michael Jackson "Earth Song" 1995 1,038,821
66 Slade "Merry Xmas Everybody" 1973 1,006,500
67 Brotherhood of Man "Save Your Kisses for Me" 1976 1,006,200
68 Simon Park Orchestra "Eye Level" 1972 1,005,500
69 New Order "Blue Monday" 1983 1,001,400
70 Little Jimmy Osmond "Long Haired Lover from Liverpool" 1972 998,000
71 Pink Floyd "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" 1979 995,000
72 Julie Covington "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" 1976 993,000
73 Survivor "Eye of the Tiger" 1982 990,000
74 The New Seekers "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" 1971 990,000
75 Dawn "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree" 1973 988,000
76 Adam & the Ants "Stand and Deliver" 1981 985,000
77 Showaddywaddy "Under the Moon of Love" 1976 985,000
78 Natalie Imbruglia "Torn" 1997 982,325
79 Kylie Minogue & Jason Donovan "Especially For You" 1988 982,000
80 Ian Dury & The Blockheads "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" 1978 979,100
81 The Archies "Sugar Sugar" 1969 979,000
82 Tight Fit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" 1982 978,000
83 Cliff Richard "Bachelor Boy" / "The Next Time" 1962 976,000
84 Irene Cara "Fame" 1982 975,000
85 Ray Parker, Jr. "Ghostbusters" 1984 974,001
86 Billy Joel "Uptown Girl" 1983 974,000
87 Black Box "Ride On Time" 1989 973,850
88 The Tornados "Telstar" 1962 967,000
89 Oasis "Wonderwall" 1995 966,940
90 The Pipes and Drums and Military
Band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
"Amazing Grace" 1972 962,000
91 Take That "Back For Good" 1995 959,582
92 Eiffel 65 "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" 1999 956,000
93 Rod Stewart "Sailing" 1975 955,000
94 Pussycat "Mississippi" 1976 947,000

References[edit]

General (chart positions)
Specific
  1. ^ "Rules For Chart Eligibility: Singles" (PDF). London: Official Charts Company. August 2009. p. 5. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Williams, Mark (19 February 2002). "Obituary: Percy Dickins". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 22 July 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2010.