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
14/04/1990VogueMadonna
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
18/01/2014HappyPharrell
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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN8mC2lJPL4

9. TrueSpandau Ballet

8. VogueMadonna

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

6. Crazy In LoveBeyonce

5. The PromiseGirls Aloud

4. 3AM EternalKLF

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLdT5nTwVWQ

3. Going Underground/Dreams Of ChildrenJam

2. Viva La VidaColdplay

1. The Winner Takes It AllAbba