List of million-selling singles in the United Kingdom

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"Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets was the first single in the UK to sell more than one million copies.

A million-selling single is regarded as one that has sold more than one million copies.[nb 1] In the United Kingdom, singles that sold this quantity were formerly classified as a "platinum record", although the platinum sales threshold was reduced in 1989 due to declining sales.[3] Despite this, the seven-figure mark has retained its importance[4] and the Official Charts Company and Music Week regularly announce when a record reaches this threshold.[5][6][7] The OCC classify records as million-sellers using sales data from November 1952 onwards and, for the 2010 summer bank holiday, the BBC commissioned them to compile a chart of records that had passed this mark.[8]

As of December 2013, 142 singles have achieved this feat.[9] At the start of the century, 69 records had sold one million copies. Since the introduction of music downloads in 2004, 32 singles released in the prior century have passed the one million sales,[5] and a total of 33 records released this century have become million-sellers.[10] The most recently released is "Happy" by Pharrell Williams and the most recently classified are "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele and "Diamonds" by Rihanna . The best-selling record is Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997".

The following list is restricted to sales data since the inception of a UK chart in 1952.

History[edit]

In 1959, British periodical Disc introduced an initiative to present a gold record to singles that sold more than 1 million units.[11] Information about when a record was classified gold by Disc is "not well documented", and the awards relied on record companies correctly compiling and supplying sales information.[11] This led to errors, such as The Shadows instrumental, "Apache", and The Archies' "Sugar, Sugar" incorrectly being awarded a gold disc in January 1970.[nb 2] Such inaccuracies led to the instigation of an official classification system.[11] In April 1973, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) began classifying singles and albums by the number of units sold. The highest threshold is "platinum record" and was then awarded to singles that sold more than 1 million units.[12] For singles released after 1 January 1989, the number of sales required to qualify for platinum, gold and silver records was dropped to 600,000 units (platinum), 400,000 units (gold) and 200,000 units (silver).[12][13][14] In February 1987, the BPI introduced multi-platinum awards so if a single sold 1,200,000 units it was classified as double-platinum, 1,800,000 units as triple-platinum, etc.[13]

The Beatles' song "She Loves You" became the best-selling single of all time in 1963.[15] This record was broken in 1977 when Paul McCartney's new band, Wings, surpassed it with "Mull of Kintyre", which also became the first song to sell two million copies.[16] In 1984 Band Aid released the charity-record "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in response to the famine in Ethiopia; it sold one million copies in the first week and soon became the best-selling single.[17][18] This record was broken in 1997, following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, when Elton John released "Candle in the Wind 1997", a re-write of the Marilyn Monroe tribute released in 1973. Selling more than 650,000 copies on the first day and more than 1.5 million in the first week, it quickly became the best-selling single.[17][19][20] It was classified by the BPI as nine-times platinum (5.4 million) in October 1997 but more recent estimates suggest approximately 4.9 million sales.[21][22]

Million-selling singles[edit]

Artist Single Date released[nb 3] Date certified
platinum
Date sold
one million
[nb 4]
Order songs Reached One Million Sales
Crosby, BingBing Crosby "White Christmas" 1942 N/A 2010–12 117
Haley & His Comets, BillBill Haley & His Comets "Rock Around the Clock" December 1954[24] N/A 1955
Anka, PaulPaul Anka "Diana" August 1957[25] N/A 1957
Belafonte, HarryHarry Belafonte "Mary's Boy Child" October 1957[26] N/A 1957
Presley, ElvisElvis Presley "It's Now or Never" October 1960[26] N/A 1960
Bilk, AckerAcker Bilk "Stranger on the Shore" November 1961[25] N/A 1961
Richard, CliffCliff Richard and The Shadows "The Young Ones" January 1962[25] N/A 1962
Ifield, FrankFrank Ifield "I Remember You" June 1962[25] N/A 1962
Beatles, TheThe Beatles "She Loves You" August 1963[27] N/A 1963
Beatles, TheThe Beatles "I Want to Hold Your Hand" November 1963[27] N/A 1963
Beatles, TheThe Beatles "Can't Buy Me Love" March 1964[27] N/A 1964
Beatles, TheThe Beatles "I Feel Fine" November 1964[27] N/A 1964
Righteous Brothers, TheThe Righteous Brothers "Unchained Melody" July 1965
October 1990 (re-issue)
1 November 1990 2004–10[28]
Dodd, KenKen Dodd "Tears" August 1965[25] N/A 1965
Seekers, TheThe Seekers "The Carnival Is Over" October 1965[25] N/A 1965
Beatles, TheThe Beatles "Day Tripper" / "We Can Work It Out" December 1965[27] N/A 1965
Jones, TomTom Jones "Green, Green Grass of Home" November 1966[29] N/A 1966
Humperdinck, EngelbertEngelbert Humperdinck "Release Me" May 1967[30] N/A 1967
Humperdinck, EngelbertEngelbert Humperdinck "The Last Waltz" November 1967[30] N/A 1967
Beatles, TheThe Beatles "Hey Jude" August 1968 N/A 2010–12 116
Archies, TheThe Archies "Sugar, Sugar" October 1969[26] N/A 2004–10[nb 2]
New Seekers, TheThe New Seekers "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)" December 1971[33] N/A 2004–10[34]
Park Orchestra, SimonSimon Park Orchestra "Eye Level" November 1972 1 January 1978 1978
Osmond, Little JimmyLittle Jimmy Osmond "Long Haired Lover from Liverpool" November 1972[35] N/A 2004–10[36]
Orlando and Dawn, TonyTony Orlando and Dawn "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" February 1973 N/A 2010–12 118
Glitter, GaryGary Glitter "I Love You Love Me Love" November 1973 1 January 1974 1973
Slade "Merry Xmas Everybody" December 1973 1 December 1980 1980
Stewart, RodRod Stewart "Sailing" September 1975 N/A[nb 5] 2010–12 120
Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody" October 1975 1 January 1976 1975
Lennon, JohnJohn Lennon "Imagine" October 1975 1 February 1981 1981
Showaddywaddy "Under the Moon of Love" November 1975 N/A[nb 5] 2010–12 121
Brotherhood of Man "Save Your Kisses for Me" March 1976 1 May 1976 1976
John, EltonElton John and Kiki Dee "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" June 1976 N/A[nb 5] 2013 134
ABBA "Dancing Queen" August 1976 N/A[nb 5] 2004–10[32]
Covington, JulieJulie Covington "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" November 1976 N/A[nb 5] 2004–10[38]
Soul, DavidDavid Soul "Don't Give Up on Us" December 1976 1 February 1977 1976
Summer, DonnaDonna Summer "I Feel Love" July 1977 N/A 2004–12[39] 115
Wings "Mull of Kintyre" November 1977 1 December 1977 1978
Boney M. "Rivers of Babylon" / "Brown Girl in the Ring" April 1978 1 May 1978 1978
Travolta, JohnJohn Travolta and Olivia Newton-John "You're the One That I Want" May 1978 1 July 1978 1978
Travolta, JohnJohn Travolta and Olivia Newton-John "Summer Nights" September 1978 1 October 1978 1979
Gaynor, GloriaGloria Gaynor "I Will Survive" October 1978 N/A[nb 5] 2010–12 119
Boney M. "Mary's Boy Child – Oh My Lord" November 1978 1 December 1978 1978
Village People "Y.M.C.A." November 1978 1 January 1979 1979
Dury and The Blockheads, IanIan Dury and The Blockheads "Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick" November 1978 N/A[nb 5] 2004–10[5]
Blondie "Heart of Glass January 1979 1 February 1979 1979
Garfunkel, ArtArt Garfunkel "Bright Eyes" January 1979 1 May 1979 1979
Pink Floyd "Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)" November 1979 1 January 1980 2004–10
Adam and the Ants "Stand and Deliver" May 1981 N/A[nb 5] 2004–10[5]
Soft Cell "Tainted Love" July 1981 N/A[nb 5] 1981
Human League, TheThe Human League "Don't You Want Me" November 1981 1 January 1982 1982
Tight Fit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" January 1982 N/A[nb 5] 2010–12 122
Dexy's Midnight Runners and the Emerald Express "Come On Eileen" June 1982 1 September 1982 1982
Cara, IreneIrene Cara "Fame" June 1982 N/A[nb 5] 2004–10[32]
Survivor "Eye of the Tiger" July 1982 N/A[nb 5] 2004–10[32]
New Order "Blue Monday" March 1983[40] N/A[nb 6] 1983
Culture Club "Karma Chameleon" September 1983 1 October 1983 1983
Joel, BillyBilly Joel "Uptown Girl" September 1983 N/A[nb 5] 2004–10[42]
Frankie Goes to Hollywood "Relax" January 1984 1 March 1984 1984
Frankie Goes to Hollywood "Two Tribes" May 1984[43] 1 June 1984 1984
Michael, GeorgeGeorge Michael "Careless Whisper" July 1984 1 September 1984 1984
Wonder, StevieStevie Wonder "I Just Called to Say I Love You" August 1984 1 September 1984 1984
Parker, Jr., RayRay Parker, Jr. "Ghostbusters" August 1984 N/A[nb 5] 2004–10[32]
Band Aid "Do They Know It's Christmas?" November 1984 1 December 1984 1984
Wham! "Last Christmas" / "Everything She Wants" December 1984 1 January 1985 1985
Rush, JenniferJennifer Rush "The Power of Love" May 1985 1 November 1985 1985
Pogues, TheThe Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl "Fairytale of New York" December 1987 22 July 2013 2012 126
Black Box "Ride on Time" August 1989 1 October 1989 2004–10[44]
Adams, BryanBryan Adams "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" June 1991 1 August 1991 1991
Houston, WhitneyWhitney Houston "I Will Always Love You" October 1992 1 December 1992 1993
Wet Wet Wet "Love Is All Around" May 1994 1 June 1994 1994
Whigfield "Saturday Night" September 1994 1 September 1994 1994
Dion, CelineCeline Dion "Think Twice" October 1994 1 January 1995 1994
Carey, MariahMariah Carey "All I Want for Christmas Is You" December 1994 22 July 2013 2013[45] 142
Robson Green & Jerome Flynn "Unchained Melody" / "White Cliffs of Dover" May 1995 May 1995 1995
Take That "Back for Good" March 1995 1 April 1995 2004–10[5]
Andre, PeterPeter Andre featuring Bubbler Ranx "Mysterious Girl" September 1995 1 August 1996 2013 135
Coolio featuring L.V. "Gangsta's Paradise" October 1995 1 November 1995 1995
Robson Green & Jerome Flynn "I Believe" / "Up on the Roof" October 1995 1 November 1995 1995
Oasis "Wonderwall" October 1995 1 January 1996 2004–10[46]
Jackson, MichaelMichael Jackson "Earth Song" November 1995 1 December 1995 1995
Babylon Zoo "Spaceman" January 1996 1 January 1996 1996
Baddiel & Skinner & The Lightning Seeds "Three Lions"
"3 Lions '98"
June 1996
June 1998
1 July 1996
3 July 1998
1998[nb 7]
Fugees "Killing Me Softly June 1996 1 June 1996 1996
Spice Girls "Wannabe" July 1996 1 August 1996 1996
Spice Girls "2 Become 1" December 1996 1 December 1996 1996
Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans "I'll Be Missing You" June 1997 1 July 1997 1997
John, EltonElton John "Candle in the Wind 1997" /
"Something About the Way You Look Tonight"
September 1997 1 September 1997 1997
Aqua "Barbie Girl" October 1997 7 November 1997 1997
Imbruglia, NatalieNatalie Imbruglia "Torn" October 1997 12 December 1997 2004–10[47]
Various artists "Perfect Day" November 1997 21 November 1997 1997
All Saints "Never Ever" November 1997 5 December 1997 1998
Teletubbies "Teletubbies say 'Eh-oh!'" December 1997 12 December 1997 1997
Williams, RobbieRobbie Williams "Angels" December 1997 6 February 1998 2009–10
Dion, CelineCeline Dion "My Heart Will Go On" February 1998 27 February 1998 1998
Run-D.M.C. vs Jason Nevins "It's Like That" March 1998 27 March 1998 1998
Boyzone "No Matter What" August 1998 7 August 1998 1998
Aerosmith "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" September 1998 22 July 2013 2012[48] 113
Cher "Believe" October 1998 30 October 1998 1998
Steps "Heartbeat" / "Tragedy" November 1998 8 January 1999 1999
Spears, BritneyBritney Spears "...Baby One More Time" February 1999 19 February 1999 1999
Eiffel 65 "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" September 1999 8 October 1999 1999
Bob the Builder "Can We Fix It" December 2000 15 December 2000 2001
Atomic Kitten "Whole Again" February 2001 2 March 2001 2013 131
Shaggy featuring Rikrok "It Wasn't Me" February 2001 2 March 2001 2001
Hear'Say "Pure and Simple" March 2001 30 March 2001 2001
Minogue, KylieKylie Minogue "Can't Get You Out of My Head" September 2001 28 September 2001 2002
Young, WillWill Young "Evergreen" / "Anything Is Possible" February 2002 1 March 2002 2002
Gates, GarethGareth Gates "Unchained Melody" March 2002 22 March 2002 2002
Band Aid 20 "Do They Know It's Christmas?" November 2004 17 December 2004 2004
Christie, TonyTony Christie featuring Peter Kay "Is This the Way to Amarillo" March 2005 8 April 2005 2005
Ward, ShayneShayne Ward "That's My Goal" December 2005 13 January 2006 2005
Gnarls Barkley "Crazy" April 2006 26 May 2006 2010–11[5][10] 104
Snow Patrol "Chasing Cars" July 2006 22 July 2013 2013[49] 139
Lewis, LeonaLeona Lewis "Bleeding Love" October 2007 18 January 2008 2010[50] 103
Kings of Leon "Sex on Fire" September 2008[51] 22 July 2013 2010[6] 101
Kings of Leon "Use Somebody" October 2008 22 July 2013 2013[52] 133
Burke, AlexandraAlexandra Burke "Hallelujah" December 2008 16 January 2009 2009[7]
Lady Gaga "Poker Face" April 2009 7 January 2010 2010[6] 102
Black Eyed Peas, TheThe Black Eyed Peas "I Gotta Feeling" July 2009 7 January 2010 2010[5] 100
Cole, CherylCheryl Cole "Fight for This Love" October 2009 14 May 2010 2012[9] 125
Gaga, LadyLady Gaga "Bad Romance" October 2009 22 July 2013 2013[53] 138
Eminem featuring Rihanna "Love the Way You Lie" July 2010 22 July 2013 2011[54] 107
Mars, BrunoBruno Mars "Just the Way You Are" September 2010 2 August 2011 2011[10] 106
Rihanna "Only Girl (In the World)" October 2010 7 January 2011 2011[55] 108
Cardle, MattMatt Cardle "When We Collide" December 2010 22 July 2013 2012[56] 123
Adele "Rolling in the Deep" January 2011 24 June 2011 2014 [57] 144
Adele "Someone Like You" January 2011 1 April 2011 2011[10] 105
Jessie J featuring B.o.B "Price Tag" January 2011 13 May 2011 2012[58] 111
LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock "Party Rock Anthem" January 2011 22 July 2013 2012[59] 110
Sheeran, EdEd Sheeran "The A Team" June 2011 28 October 2011 2013 132
Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera "Moves Like Jagger" August 2011 22 July 2013 2011 109
Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris "We Found Love" September 2011 22 July 2013 2012[60] 112
Gotye featuring Kimbra "Somebody That I Used To Know" December 2011 22 July 2013 2012[39] 114
Guetta, DavidDavid Guetta featuring Sia "Titanium" January 2012 10 August 2012 2013 130
fun. featuring Janelle Monáe "We Are Young" April 2012 22 July 2013 2013 128
Jepsen, Carly RaeCarly Rae Jepsen "Call Me Maybe" April 2012 22 July 2013 2012 124
Passenger "Let Her Go" July 2012 28 June 2013 2013 141
Psy "Gangnam Style" August 2012 22 July 2013 2013[61] 129
Rihanna "Diamonds" September 2012 15 February 2013 2014 [57] 145
Arthur, JamesJames Arthur "Impossible" December 2012 15 February 2013 2013 127
Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams "Get Lucky" April 2013 22 July 2013 2013 136
Thicke, RobinRobin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams "Blurred Lines" May 2013 22 July 2013 2013 137
Avicii "Wake Me Up!" July 2013 9 August 2013 2013[49] 140
Pharrell Williams "Happy" November 2013 24 January 2014 2014[62] 143

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ There are two methods of sales certification. Either by the number of sales (a record may be regarded as sold if not returned by a retailer within a fixed time period) or by the number of shipments (the number of records provided to retailers).[1] This list is based on estimates of sales, the BPI awards certifications based on shipments.[2]
  2. ^ a b "Sugar, Sugar" was erroneously awarded a gold record by Disc having sold approximately 945,000 copies. The RCA informed Disc that one million copies had been shipped, however not all were sold.[31][11] The single went on to sell more than a million copies with the introduction of music downloads in 2004.[32]
  3. ^ Unless explicitly cited, the release dates are given by the BPI.[23]
  4. ^ General reference, except where explicitly cited
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n The record was classified "gold" (500,000) prior to 1989.[37] Not classified platinum when the threshold was reduced to 600,000 in 1989, as record was released under the old thresholds.[12]
  6. ^ "Blue Monday" was released in 1983 and re-released in 1988 and 1995. New Order's label, Factory Records, were not a member of the British Phonographic Industry so they never received any sales certifications.[41] However, the record sold more than one million units.
  7. ^ "Three Lions" and "3 Lions '98" were each treated as individual songs and classified platinum by the BPI. The OCC's list of million-sellers grouped them as the same song, thus making it a million-seller.

References[edit]

General
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  61. ^ [1]
  62. ^ http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/music/news/a554681/pharrell-williamss-happy-passes-1-million-sales-in-the-uk.html