List of best-selling singles of the 1980s in the United Kingdom

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Singles are a type of music release that typically have fewer tracks than an extended play or an album. For the first three years of the 1980s the UK Singles Chart was compiled by the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB) who had been compiling the charts throughout the 1970s. On 8 January 1983 Gallup took over the compilation of the UK music charts and continued to provide the chart data for the next eleven years. The charts were produced from the sales data of a representative panel of around 500 record shops across the country. The "panel sales" data from each shop were sent to the chart compilers were week and a multiplication factor was then applied to obtain an estimate of total sales across the country. Under the BMRB this sales data was posted to the chart compilers, but when Gallup took over they automated the system by installing computer terminals in the shops that registered each sale and sent the information to Gallup immediately.

The best-selling singles of the 1980s were compiled for Gallup by chart statisticians Alan Jones and Bob Macdonald.[1] They were first revealed on BBC Radio 1 on 1 January 1990, with the "Top 80 of the 80s" counted down and played between 12:35 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. by DJs Alan Freeman and Mark Goodier.[2] The top eighty best-selling singles of the decade were also printed in the music magazine Record Mirror in the issue dated 6 January 1990.[1] However, in the following week's issue a correction was published stating that two singles had been omitted from the chart in error, caused by "computer storage problems at Gallup". The two singles were "Blue Monday" by New Order which should have been at number 13, and "Like a Virgin" by Madonna which should have been at number 53.[3] The chart was then expanded to a top 100, including the two corrections, and published in Guinness Hits of the 80s later in 1990.[4]

The 19 September 2009 issue of the UK music trade magazine Music Week included a special supplement to celebrate its 50th anniversary. It contained updated charts of the top twenty best-selling singles of each decade of the magazine's existence, based on the most recent information available from the Official Charts Company (OCC). The top twenty chart for the 1980s comprised the same twenty singles as the chart published in 1990, but "Blue Monday" was placed at number 12 and "Eye of the Tiger" at number 13.[5]

The 1984 charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid was the best-selling single of the decade, and also became the biggest selling single of all time in the UK. It kept this title until 1997, when Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997"/"Something About the Way You Look Tonight" overtook it.

At number six is Wham! with "Last Christmas"/"Everything She Wants", which is the highest selling number two hit and the highest selling single not to top the chart.[6] In total, there were 20 non-number one singles in the Top 100 (eight of these in the bottom ten), including the biggest selling number three single "Blue Monday" by New Order.

Jennifer Rush at number nine with "The Power of Love" became the first female artist ever to have a million-selling single in the UK. Wham!, David Bowie, John Lennon and Adam and the Ants have three singles in the Top 100, while Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Stevie Wonder, Culture Club, Dexys Midnight Runners, Kylie Minogue, Lionel Richie, Madonna, Cliff Richard, Shakin' Stevens, Bucks Fizz, Michael Jackson, Ottawan and Paul McCartney all have two.

Chart[edit]

[1][4]

No. Title Artist Year Peak
position
1 "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Band Aid 1984 1
2 "Relax" Frankie Goes to Hollywood 1983 1
3 "I Just Called to Say I Love You" Stevie Wonder 1984 1
4 "Two Tribes" Frankie Goes to Hollywood 1984 1
5 "Don't You Want Me" The Human League 1981 1
6 "Last Christmas"/"Everything She Wants" Wham! 1984 2
7 "Karma Chameleon" Culture Club 1983 1
8 "Careless Whisper" George Michael 1984 1
9 "The Power of Love" Jennifer Rush 1985 1
10 "Come On Eileen" Dexys Midnight Runners & the Emerald Express 1982 1
11 "Tainted Love" Soft Cell 1981 1
12 "Eye of the Tiger" Survivor 1982 1
13 "Blue Monday" New Order 1983 3[a]
14 "Stand and Deliver" Adam and the Ants 1981 1
15 "Especially for You" Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan 1988 1
16 "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" Tight Fit 1982 1
17 "Fame" Irene Cara 1982 1
18 "Ghostbusters" Ray Parker, Jr. 1984 2
19 "Uptown Girl" Billy Joel 1983 1
20 "Ride On Time" Black Box 1989 1
21 "Swing the Mood" Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers 1989 1
22 "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" Culture Club 1982 1
23 "Hello" Lionel Richie 1984 1
24 "I Know Him So Well" Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson 1985 1
25 "Imagine" John Lennon 1981[b] 1
26 "Don't Stand So Close to Me" The Police 1980 1
27 "Agadoo" Black Lace 1984 2
28 "Woman in Love" Barbra Streisand 1980 1
29 "Red Red Wine" UB40 1983 1
30 "Antmusic" Adam and the Ants 1980 2
31 "Into the Groove" Madonna 1985 1
32 "Save Your Love" Renée and Renato 1982 1
33 "Feels Like I'm in Love" Kelly Marie 1980 1
34 "Pass the Dutchie" Musical Youth 1982 1
35 "Never Gonna Give You Up" Rick Astley 1987 1
36 "Prince Charming" Adam and the Ants 1981 1
37 "Mistletoe and Wine" Cliff Richard 1988 1
38 "Don't Leave Me This Way" The Communards 1986 1
39 "I Don't Wanna Dance" Eddy Grant 1982 1
40 "This Ole House" Shakin' Stevens 1981 1
41 "The Land of Make Believe" Bucks Fizz 1982 1
42 "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" Starship 1987 1
43 "Vienna" Ultravox 1981 2
44 "Seven Tears" Goombay Dance Band 1982 1
45 "Freedom" Wham! 1984 1
46 "One Day in Your Life" Michael Jackson 1981 1
47 "Making Your Mind Up" Bucks Fizz 1981 1
48 "Super Trouper" ABBA 1980 1
49 "The Birdie Song" The Tweets 1981 2
50 "19" Paul Hardcastle 1985 1
51 "Every Loser Wins" Nick Berry 1986 1
52 "Shaddup You Face" Joe Dolce Music Theatre 1981 1
53 "Like a Virgin" Madonna 1985 3
54 "I Wanna Wake Up with You" Boris Gardiner 1986 1
55 "Reet Petite" Jackie Wilson 1986 1
56 "D.I.S.C.O." Ottawan 1980 2
57 "Frankie" Sister Sledge 1985 1
58 "I Want to Know What Love Is" Foreigner 1984 1
59 "The Tide Is High" Blondie 1980 1
60 "Let's Dance" David Bowie 1983 1
61 "Total Eclipse of the Heart" Bonnie Tyler 1983 1
62 "True" Spandau Ballet 1983 1
63 "Chain Reaction" Diana Ross 1986 1
64 "We All Stand Together" Paul McCartney and the Frog Chorus 1984 3
65 "The Only Way Is Up" Yazz and the Plastic Population 1988 1
66 "Living Doll" Cliff Richard and The Young Ones featuring Hank Marvin 1986 1
67 "Ebony and Ivory" Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder 1982 1
68 "Only You" The Flying Pickets 1983 1
69 "You Drive Me Crazy" Shakin' Stevens 1981 2
70 "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" Wham! 1984 1
71 "The Lady in Red" Chris de Burgh 1986 1
72 "Geno" Dexys Midnight Runners 1980 1
73 "Down Under" Men at Work 1983 1
74 "Dancing in the Street" David Bowie and Mick Jagger 1985 1
75 "Town Called Malice"/"Precious" The Jam 1982 1
76 "I Should Be So Lucky" Kylie Minogue 1988 1
77 "Together We Are Beautiful" Fern Kinney 1980 1
78 "Coward of the County" Kenny Rogers 1980 1
79 "I Feel for You" Chaka Khan 1984 1
80 "Ghost Town" The Specials 1981 1
81 "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" Whitney Houston 1987 1
82 "Move Closer" Phyllis Nelson 1985 1
83 "(Just Like) Starting Over" John Lennon 1980 1
84 "It's My Party" Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin 1981 1
85 "Being with You" Smokey Robinson 1981 1
86 "Working My Way Back to You" The Detroit Spinners 1980 1
87 "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going" Billy Ocean 1986 1
88 "Billie Jean" Michael Jackson 1983 1
89 "9 to 5" Sheena Easton 1980 3
90 "A Good Heart" Feargal Sharkey 1985 1
91 "Baggy Trousers" Madness 1980 3
92 "Take On Me" A-ha 1985 2
93 "Happy Birthday" Altered Images 1981 2
94 "Hands Up (Give Me Your Heart)" Ottawan 1981 3
95 "Ashes to Ashes" David Bowie 1980 1
96 "Woman" John Lennon 1981 1
97 "Love & Pride" King 1985 2
98 "Golden Brown" The Stranglers 1982 2
99 "All Night Long (All Night)" Lionel Richie 1983 2
100 "Love of the Common People" Paul Young 1983 2

Notes:

  1. ^ This is the highest position achieved by the "Blue Monday '88" remix in 1988. The original version of "Blue Monday" peaked at number 9 in 1983. Sales of the two versions were later combined.
  2. ^ Originally released in 1975 and reached number 6; it was re-released in 1981 following Lennon's death.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Jones, Alan (6 January 1990). "Charts". Record Mirror. London, England: United Newspapers. p. 46. (top 80 only)
  2. ^ "The Top 80 of the 80s". Radio Times. London, England: BBC Magazines. 23 December 1989 – 5 January 1990. p. 134.
  3. ^ Jones, Alan (13 January 1990). "Charts". Record Mirror. p. 46.
  4. ^ a b Gambaccini, Paul; Rice, Tim; Rice, Jonathan, eds. (1990). Guinness Hits of the 80s. London, England: Guinness Publishing. p. 288. ISBN 978-0-85112-398-1.
  5. ^ "Top 20 Singles of the Eighties". Music Week. London, England: United Business Media. 19 September 2009. ("1959–2009: Anniversary Special" supplement, p. 28.)
  6. ^ "The Official UK Charts Company (Chart positions)". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 January 2010.