Best UK Number Ones Ever

I hate it when people post on Twitter: “Here’s my list of the best…, what’s yours?”, because I simply can’t resist.

Oh bugger. Off I go.

The list of every number one single in Official Charts history is here. There are over 1400 songs, and you notice quite a few things:

  • Several great artists never had a number one (Amy Winehouse, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley, etc.)
  • Many more had just a single number one with a song which was far from their best (ELO’s Xanadu, FFS!)
  • Quite a few stone cold classics never made it to the top (e.g. Last Christmas, Blue Monday, Wonderwall, Angels, Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever, My Generation, Vienna)

So if you want to make a list of your favourite number ones ever, the pool from which you have to pick is an odd one.

Anyway, I went down the list and ticked off the ones for my long list. There were 38 that made it. I expected the list to be eighties-dominated, but far from it, pop music’s greatest decade only got 13 (34%) of the nods. The spread over the decades was:

  • 1960s: 0 (surprisingly)
  • 1970s: 7
  • 1980s: 13
  • 1990s: 7
  • 2000s: 7
  • 2010s: 4

Here then is the long list:

20/05/1972Metal GuruT Rex
03/03/1973Cum On Feel The NoizeSlade
07/12/1974You’re The First The Last My EverythingBarry White
11/03/1978Wuthering HeightsKate Bush
27/01/1979Hit Me With Your Rhythm StickIan Dury
03/02/1979Heart Of GlassBlondie
17/03/1979I Will SurviveGloria Gaynor
22/03/1980Going Underground/Dreams Of ChildrenJam
09/08/1980The Winner Takes It AllAbba
10/01/1981ImagineJohn Lennon
11/07/1981Ghost TownSpecials
05/03/1983Billie JeanMichael Jackson
30/04/1983TrueSpandau Ballet
04/06/1983Every Breath You TakePolice
16/06/1984Two TribesFrankie Goes To Hollywood
18/08/1984Careless WhisperGeorge Michael
10/11/1984I Feel For YouChaka Khan
03/08/1985Into The GrooveMadonna
09/09/1989Ride On TimeBlack Box
11/11/1989All Around The WorldLisa Stansfield
09/06/1990World In MotionEnglandneworder
02/02/19913AM EternalKLF
17/10/1992Sleeping SatelliteTasmin Archer
05/12/1992I Will Always Love YouWhitney Houston
02/03/1996Don’t Look Back In AngerOasis
05/09/1998If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be NextManic Street Preachers
26/08/2000Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)Spiller
29/09/2001Can’t Get You Out Of My HeadKylie Minogue
12/07/2003Crazy In LoveBeyonce
24/07/2004Lola’s ThemeShapeshifters
31/07/2004Dry Your EyesStreets
28/06/2008Viva La VidaColdplay
01/11/2008The PromiseGirls Aloud
09/10/2010Written In The StarsTinie Tempah
04/05/2013Get LuckyDaft Punk Ft Pharrell
20/12/2014Uptown FunkMark Ronson

And now the hard bit – picking out just ten. After the usual agonising, I decided on the following. This is correct, by the way. I’m not explaining or arguing about any of them.

10. You’re The First The Last My EverythingBarry White

9. TrueSpandau Ballet

8. VogueMadonna

7. Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)Spiller

6. Crazy In LoveBeyonce

5. The PromiseGirls Aloud

4. 3AM EternalKLF

3. Going Underground/Dreams Of ChildrenJam

2. Viva La VidaColdplay

1. The Winner Takes It AllAbba