Number One Hits: Facts & Feats

Fastest #1s | Slowest #1 (artists) | Slowest #1 (records) | Biggest leaps to #1 | Straight in at #1 before 1995 | Climbs to #1 since 1995 | Longest span of #1 hits | Longest gap between #1 hits | Most successful act not to have reached #1 | Shortest career of a #1 act | Ultimate One Hit Wonders | Most #1 hits | Most weeks at #1 by an artist | Most weeks at #1 by a record | Most consecutive number one hits | Records that returned to #1 | First three or more hits at #1 | Drops from the top | #1 in two or more versions | Longest #1 hits | Family connections | Other number one facts and feats


In 1969, The Beatles with Billy Preston debuted at #1 with Get Back. It was their only single to debut at #1 in the official BBC/Record Retailer singles chart and was the debut chart appearence for Preston, who went on to moderate success as a solo artist.

Apart from Preston, and Al Martino, who debuted at number one by default in the very first chart, no act aside from charity collectives scored an instant number one hit until Whigfield nearly 42 years later. Here is the list of acts who have started at the very top since then:

17.09.94 Whigfield Saturday Night
20.05.95 Robson Green and Jerome Flynn Unchained Melody / The White Cliffs Of Dover
27.01.96 Babylon Zoo Spaceman
01.06.96 Baddiel and Skinner and The Lightning Seeds Three Lions
21.12.95 Dunblane Knockin' On Heaven's Door / Throw These Guns Away
25.01.97 White Town Abort, Retry, Fail? EP (Your Woman)
07.06.97 Hanson Mmmbop
13.12.97 Teletubbies Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh!
06.06.98 B*Witched C'est la Vie
11.07.98 Billie Because We Want To
24.10.98 Spacedust Gym And Tonic
27.02.99 Britney Spears Baby One More Time
03.04.99 Mr Oizo Flat Beat
01.05.99 Westlife Swear It Again
12.06.99 Baz Luhrmann Presents Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) - The Sunscreen Song
19.06.99 S Club 7 Bring It All Back
06.05.00 Oxide and Neutrino Bound 4 Da Reload (Casualty)
26.08.00 Spiller Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)
16.09.00 Modjo Lady (Hear Me Tonight)
13.01.01 Rui Da Silva ft Cassandra Touch Me
24.03.01 Hear'Say Pure And Simple
02.06.01 DJ Pied Piper and the Masters Of Ceremonies Do You Really Like It?
18.08.01 So Solid Crew present 21 Seconds 21 Seconds
08.12.01 Daniel Bedingfield Gotta Get Thru This
09.03.02 Will Young Anything Is Possible / Evergreen
30.03.02 Gareth Gates Unchained Melody
11.05.02 Holly Valance Kiss Kiss
10.08.02 Darius Colourblind
31.08.02 Blazin' Squad Crossroads
09.11.02 DJ Sammy & Yanou ft Do Heaven

28.12.02 Girls Aloud Sound Of The Underground
25.01.03 David Sneddon Stop Living the Lie

The Lightning Seeds had, of course, hit in their own right before. Dunblane were a charity ensemble, but unlike previous charity ensembles they were not made up of previously-charting acts. Babylon Zoo and White Town both debuted at #1 with major-label reissues of previously unsuccessful independent singles. Dunblane, Teletubbies and Baz Luhrmann all debuted at number one with their only single releases.

So Solid Crew's previous single "Oh No (Sentimental Things)" would have charted at #13 the previous year, but was disqualified for having too many tracks. So Solid Crew members Megaman, Lisa Maffia and Romeo had previously appeared on Oxide & Neutrino's hit "No Good 4 Me". All formats of 21 Seconds consistently give the artist credit as So Solid Crew Present 21 Seconds rather than simply So Solid Crew.

The Baz Luhrmann Presents... record has the additional credit "performed by Quindon Tarver" hidden away in the detailed credits. The single is a remix of Tarver's cover of Rozalla's hit Everybody's Free (To Feel Good). Tarver can therefore also legitimately claim to have gone straight in at number one with his first hit.

"Featured" artists who have made their chart debuts at number one are:

28.10.95 Coolio featuring LV Gangsta's Paradise
28.06.97 Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans and 112 I'll Be Missing You
06.02.99 Armand Van Helden featuring Duane Harden You Don't Know Me
10.03.01 Shaggy featuring Rikrok It Wasn't Me
22.03.03 Gareth Gates and The Kumars Spirit In The Sky

BeBe Winans' first individual chart credit was as featured vocalist on I Wanna Be The Only One by Eternal, but he had enjoyed (admittedly minor and fleeting) chart action as a member of The Winans.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor's first individual chart credit was as the featured vocalist on Spiller's Groovejet (If This Ain't Love), but she had enjoyed previous chart action as a member of theaudience.
Kelly Rowland's first individual chart credit was in collaboration with Nelly, but she had previously charted as a member of Destiny's Child.

The following artists "debuted" at number one with domestic releases, having previously charted on import:

21.05.98 Run DMC Vs Jason Nevins It's Like That (re-mix)
04.09.99 Lou Bega Mambo No.5 (A Little Bit Of...)

25.09.99 Eiffel 65 Blue (Da Ba Dee)
16.10.99 Christina Aguilera Genie In A Bottle
27.10.99 Wamdue Project King Of My Castle
24.06.00 Black Legend You See The Trouble With Me
22.09.01 DJ Otzi Hey Baby
27.10.01 Afroman Because I Got High

19.10.02 Las Ketchup The Ketchup Song (Asereje)
08.02.03 T.a.t.u. All The Things She Said

And these acts entered at number one having previously appeared on the chart in other guises:

16.08.97 Will Smith Men In Black (previously hit number one in DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince)
26.09.98 Mel B ft Missy Elliot I Want You Back (Melanie Brown is a Spice Girl; Elliot has had solo hits)
17.04.99 Martine McCutcheon Perfect Moment (previously hit with Uno Clio)
28.05.99 Shanks and Bigfoot Sweet Like Chocolate (previously hit as Doolally)
07.08.99 Ronan Keating When You Say Nothing At All (had #1s with Boyzone)
15.04.00 Craig David Fill Me In (previously hit with Artful Dodger)


Four solo artists - all American - have taken more than twenty years to achieve their first number one hit:

Jackie Wilson (29 years 42 days)
Isaac Hayes / Chef (27 years 29 days)
Ben E. King (26 years 19 days)
Cher (25 years 259 days)

Cher, of course, had hit number one as half of Sonny and Cher prior to her solo career.

Several other acts who have never had a #1 hit in their own right have waited a very long time to snatch a moment of chart-top glory in collaboration with others. The most patient of these was Eric Clapton, who first hit as a member of The Yardbirds in 1964 but had to wait 30 years 134 days before he was involved with a #1 hit in collaboration with Cher, Chrissie Hynde and Neneh Cherry. To be fair, The Yardbirds' second hit For Your Love, on which he appeared, was a number one in the NME chart but this was never recognised by Record Retailer. His first official number one was his 30th hit in a variety of guises, not counting three reissues. The only artist to score more hits prior to their first appearance at number one was The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, whose #1 The Most Beautiful Girl In The World was his 39th new hit.

Other people who've waited over 20 years are:

Lulu (29 years 148 days) - first hit solo in 1964, reached #1 with Take That in 1993.
Chubby Checker (29 years 85 days) - first hit solo in 1960, contributed original vocals to Jive Bunny and The Mastermixers' Let's Party in 1989 (having been sampled on the group's two previous #1s).
Gene Pitney (27 years 311 days) - first hit solo in 1961, reched #1 in collaboration with Marc Almond in 1989.
Lou Reed (24 years 201 days) - first hit solo in 1973, hit #1 with Various Artists in 1997.
Emmylou Harris (21 years 268 days) - first hit solo in 1976, hit #1 with Various Artists in 1997.
Joan Armatrading (21 years 44 days) - first hit solo in 1976, hit #1 with Various Artists in 1997.
Bob Dylan (20 years 26 days) - first hit solo in 1965, reached #1 with USA For Africa in 1985.


The recordings that took the longest to reach #1 after their first appearance on the chart are:

29 years 42 days Reet Petite (The Sweetest Girl In Town) Jackie Wilson (1957-86)
25 years 244 days Stand By Me Ben E King (1961-87)
25 years 83 days Unchained Melody Righteous Brothers (1965-90)
18 years 356 days He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother The Hollies (1969-88)
8 years 284 days Young At Heart The Bluebells (1984-93)
8 years 166 days Should I Stay Or Should I Go? The Clash (1982-91)
7 years 327 days Living On My Own Freddie Mercury (1985-93)
6 years 63 days Space Oddity David Bowie (1969-75)
5 years 70 days Imagine John Lennon (1975-81)

Between 1986 and 1993, no fewer than nine "golden oldies" topped the chart. They were the seven listed above plus Steve Miller Band's The Joker, which had failed to chart when originally released in 1973, and Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, which became the first recording to top the chart on two entirely separate chart runs. The only other recording to match this feat is My Sweet Lord by George Harrison, which took the top slot for a second time in January 2002.

The slowest climb to number one on a single chart run is 14 weeks by Celine Dion with Think Twice.


Besides those which entered at number one, these are the singles which have made the biggest leaps to number one in a single week:

45-1: Hey Baby DJ Otzi (29.09.01)
33-1: Happy Talk Captain Sensible (03.07.82)
27-1: Surrender Elvis Presley (01.06.61)
26-1: Pass The Dutchie Musical Youth (02.10.82)
22-1: Green Door Shakin' Stevens (01.08.81)
21-1: Hey Jude The Beatles (11.09.68)
21-1: (Just Like) Starting Over John Lennon (20.12.80)
19-1: Are You Lonesome Tonight? Elvis Presley (26.01.61)
19-1: (If Paradise Is) Half As Nice Amen Corner (12.02.69)
19-1: Love Me For A Reason The Osmonds (31.08.74)
19-1: Stand By Me Ben E. King (21.02.87)
17-1: Get Off Of My Cloud Rolling Stones (04.11.65)
16-1: I Hear You Knockin' Dave Edmunds' Rockpile (28.11.70)
16-1: Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep Middle Of The Road (19.06.71)
16-1: Young Love Donny Osmond (25.08.73)
16-1: Dancing Queen Abba (04.11.76)

It should be noted that for most of the 1960s, the Record Retailer chart was out-of-sync with the sales week, meaning that debut positions for records such as Surrender were based on only one or two days' sales. Had the chart reflected a full week's sales, such records would undoubtedly have debuted inside the top ten and maybe even at number one, rather than making such spectacular but misleading leaps in their second week.

Hey Baby tops the list on a technicality. The single had already charted on import, and it went to number one when given a full UK release. Under the chart rules in force at the time, import and domestic releases were (and still are) to be regarded as separate, but because the UK release had the same catalogue number (and presumably barcode) as the import, the computerised chart system was unable to distinguish between them, and credited DJ Otzi with a 44-place climb. Since it would have been nigh impossible to disentangle the two releases, and since it would have been unfair to punish the record company for what was effectively a bug in the chart compilers' computer program, the outcome was allowed to stand.

The 18-place leap by Amen Corner is in part due to the changeover from the old Record Retailer chart to the new official BMRB compilation that week.

Incidentally, if we take the Top 200 into account, then there are several singles which have made even more spectacular climbs, mainly as a result of a small number of copies slipping out before their official release date. As far as this site is concerned, the Top 75 remains the "real" chart, but it may interest visitors to know that the biggest leap to the top within the Top 200 was from #196 by Westlife with Unbreakable in the 50th anniversary chart on 16.11.02. It beat the previous record set just one week earlier by DJ Sammy and Yanou with Heaven which leapt from #191. It still doesn't count though!

The biggest genuine jumps within the top 75 have been:

(70 places) 72-02 It's The Way You Make Me Feel Steps (13.01.01)
(66 places) 68-02 Addicted To Bass Puretone (12.01.02)
(63 places) 74-11 Macarena Los Del Rio (20.07.96)
(62 places) 66-04 Every Loser Wins Nick Berry (11.10.86)
(61 places) 74-13 Star Trekkin' The Firm (13.06.87)
(55 places) 62-07 Coming Up Paul McCartney (26.04.80)
(51 places) 60-09 Only You Flying Pickets (03.12.83)

Of these, Every Loser Wins, Star Trekkin' and Only You reached #1. All the rest peaked at #2.


Once upon a time, it was quite a spectacular occurrence for a single to go straight in at number one. It was confirmation of a group or artist's superstar status to sell enough in a single week to secure the top spot - rather than having to start small and build up like all the other acts in the charts. Nowadays, if a single doesn't enter at the top then it has virtually no chance of getting there at all. These are the records which entered at number one back when it really meant something:

01 14.11.52 Here In My Heart Al Martino (#1 in the first chart, so debuted there by default)
02 24.01.58 Jailhouse Rock Elvis Presley
03 03.11.60 It's Now Or Never Elvis Presley
04 11.01.62 The Young Ones Cliff Richard and the Shadows
05 23.04.69 Get Back The Beatles with Billy Preston
06 03.03.73 Cum On Feel The Noize Slade
07 30.06.73 Skweeze Me Pleeze Me Slade
08 17.11.73 I Love You Love Me Love Gary Glitter
09 15.12.73 Merry Xmas Everybody Slade
10 22.03.80 Going Underground / Dreams Of Children The Jam
11 27.09.80 Don't Stand So Close To Me The Police
12 09.05.81 Stand And Deliver Adam And The Ants
13 13.02.82 A Town Called Malice / Precious The Jam
14 04.12.82 Beat Surrender The Jam
15 26.03.83 Is There Something I Should Know? Duran Duran
16 16.06.84 Two Tribes Frankie Goes To Hollywood
17 15.12.84 Do They Know It's Christmas? Band Aid
18 07.09.85 Dancing In The Street David Bowie and Mick Jagger
19 04.04.87 Let It Be Ferry Aid
20 20.05.89 Ferry 'Cross The Mersey Christians, Holly Johnson, Paul McCartney, Gerry Marsden and Stock Aitken Waterman
21 10.06.89 Sealed With A Kiss Jason Donovan
22 16.12.89 Let's Party Jive Bunny And The Mastermixers
23 23.12.89 Do They Know It's Christmas? Band Aid II
24 05.01.91 Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter Iron Maiden
25 26.01.91 Innuendo Queen
26 02.11.91 The Fly U2
27 23.11.91 Black Or White Michael Jackson
28 07.12.91 Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me George Michael and Elton John
29 21.12.91 Bohemian Rhapsody / These Are The Days Of Our Lives Queen
30 13.06.92 Abba-Esque EP Erasure
31 01.05.93 Five Live EP Queen and Geoge Michael with Lisa Stansfield
32 17.06.93 Pray Take That
33 09.10.93 Relight My Fire Take That with Lulu
34 18.12.93 Babe Take That
35 19.02.94 Without You Mariah Carey
36 09.04.94 Everything Changes Take That
37 17.09.94 Saturday Night Whigfield
38 15.10.94 Sure Take That

06 and 07 represent the first instance of an act going straight in at #1 with consecutive single releases. 17-20 are all charity fundraising singles. 20 and 21 were the first instance of consecutive chart-toppers entering at the top; 22 and 23 were first such to enter in consecutive weeks. 24 was the first single already available on an album to debut at #1. 25 was the first single to enter at the top and fall every successive week until it dropped out. 26 was the first single to be promoted as being available for a limited time only in order to secure early sales and thus a high entry position. 27-29 were the first instance of three consecutive chart-toppers debuting at #1.

As can be seen from the list above, only two singles entered at number one in the Record Reatiler chart during its first nine years (March 1960-February 1969). By contrast, during the same period all of the following managed the feat in the NME chart:

26.03.60 My Old Man's A Dustman Lonnie Donegan
27.05.61 Surrender Elvis Presley
07.12.63 I Want To Hold Your Hand The Beatles
28.03.64 Can't Buy Me Love The Beatles
18.07.64 A Hard Day's Night The Beatles
21.11.64 Little Red Rooster Rolling Stones
05.12.64 I Feel Fine The Beatles
17.04.65 Ticket To Ride The Beatles
31.07.65 Help! The Beatles
11.12.65 We Can Work It Out / Day Tripper The Beatles
15.07.67 All You Need Is Love The Beatles

Number One singles debuting at the top became the norm from April 1995 onwards. Since then, the only records to climb within the Top 75 to reach number one are:

08.07.95 Boom Boom Boom Outhere Brothers (debut #15, reached #1 in its 4th chart week)
09.09.95 You Are Not Alone Michael Jackson (#3, 2nd week)
20.04.96 Return of The Mack Mark Morrison (#6, 6th week)
25.05.96 Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit Gina G (#6, 8th week)
27.07.96 Wannabe Spice Girls (#3, 2nd week)
21.09.96 Ready Or Not Fugees (#2, 2nd week)
05.10.96 Breakfast At Tiffany's Deep Blue Something (#3, 3rd week)
18.01.97 Professional Widow (It's Got To Be Big) Tori Amos (#2, 2nd week)
12.04.97 I Believe I Can Fly R.Kelly (#2, dropped to 5 then climbed to #1, 3rd week)
01.11.97 Barbie Girl Aqua (#2, 2nd week)
17.01.98 Never Ever All Saints (#3, dropped as low as #6 during its meanderings, 9th week)
30.05.98 Feel It The Tamperer ft Maya (#3, 6th week)
02.01.99 Chocolate Salty Balls Chef (#2, 2nd week)
09.01.99 Heartbeat / Tragedy Steps (#2, dropped as far as #8 before climbing back up, 8th week)
04.12.99 The Millennium Prayer Cliff Richard (#2, 2nd week)
23.12.00 Can We Fix It? Bob The Builder (#2, 2nd week)
22.09.01 Hey Baby DJ Otzi (debuted outside the Top 40 on import sales only, jumped to #1 in its 6th week when released domestically).


Elvis Presley (44 years 277 days) 1957-2002
Cliff Richard (40 years 145 days) 1959-99
George Harrison (31 years 2 days) 1971-2002

Righteous Brothers (25 years 286 days) 1965-90
Queen (24 years 250 days) 1975-2000
The Hollies (23 years 105 days) 1965-88
Bee Gees (20 years 34 days) 1967-87
Blondie (20 years 16 days) 1979-99
Michael Jackson (15 years 317 days) 1981-97
Madonna (15 years 36 days) 1985-2000
Kylie Minogue (14 years 248 days) 1988-2001
U2 (12 years 19 days) 1988-2000

If George Harrison's hits with the Beatles are taken into account, then he has a span of 38 years 274 days (1963-2002).

These individuals also have a span of more than 20 years in various guises:

Cher (33 years 112 days) Sonny and Cher 1965 - solo 1998
Tom Jones (32 years 309 days) solo 1965 - Various Artists 1997
Gerry Marsden (26 years 57 days) Gerry and The Pacemakers 1963 - Gerry Marsden and friends 1989
Paul McCartney (26 years 26 days) The Beatles 1963 - Gerry Marsden and friends 1989
Elton John (25 years 147 days) Elton John & Kiki Dee 1976 - Blue & Elton John 2002
Tammy Wynette (22 years 244 days) solo 1975 - Various Artists 1997

David Bowie (22 years 69 days) solo 1975 - Various Artists 1997
Diana Ross (21 years 128 days) The Supremes 1964 - solo 1986

Elton John's recent chart-topping stint with Blue has moved him up from seventh to fifth in this table.


Nine regular acts have endured a gap of more than a decade between appearances at the top:

George Harrison (30 years 325 days) 1971-2002
Righteous Brothers (25 years 259 days) 1965-90

Elvis Presley (24 years 258 days) 1977-2002
The Hollies (23 years 65 days) 1965-88

Blondie (18 years 77 days) 1980-99
Diana Ross (14 years 172 days) 1971-86
Frank Sinatra (11 years 238 days) 1954-66
Cliff Richard (11 years 124 days) 1968-79
Kylie Minogue (10 years 148 days) 1990-2000

Diana Ross appeared on the USA For Africa disc toward the end of her exile in 1985; this does not affect her place in the above table. The Righteous Brothers and The Hollies both returned with reissues of previous hits.

Queen waited 14 years 361 days between their own chart-toppers but appeared at #1 in collaboration with David Bowie in the meantime.

25 years 239 days passed between Sonny & Cher's only number one hit and Cher's first solo chart-topper. Tammy Wynette had to wait 22 years 175 days after her only solo #1 to reappear with Various Artists. Gerry Marsden was away from the summit for 21 years 200 days between chart-toppers with Gerry And The Pacemakers and The Crowd. Mick Jagger waited 16 years 9 days from his last #1 with The Rolling Stones to his reappearance in collaboration with David Bowie, who in turn waited 12 years and 55 days before featuring on Various Artists' #1. Eddy Grant hit #1 as a soloist 14 years 13 days after leaving the top spot with The Equals. Elton John waited 13 years 293 days between his #1 with Kiki Dee and his first solo table-topper. Suzi Quatro reappeared as part of Ferry Aid 13 years and 26 days after her last solo #1. There were 10 years 268 days between Smokey Robinson's group (The Miracles) and solo appearances at the top.


Billy Fury has spent more time on the singles chart than anyone else without a number one hit to their credit, with 281 weeks. However, Depeche Mode have had more hits and are still racking them up. The front-runners as of 1 October 2001 were:

Billy Fury (29 hits, 281 weeks)
Depeche Mode (37 hits, 234 weeks)
Nat King Cole (31 hits + 1 reissue + 1 b-side + 1 uncredited duet with Natalie Cole, 248 weeks)
The Who (28 hits + 3 reissues, 247 weeks)

Other notable non-chart-toppers include Gloria Estefan who has notched up 32 hits in all, including two uncredited as lead singer of Miami Sound Machine, but has never climbed higher than number 6. Siouxsie Sioux and Peter "Budgie" Clark have so far enjoyed 29 hits as part of Siouxsie And The Banshees and a further five as The Creatures. Siouxsie also had a hit in collaboration with Morrissey, bringing her personal total to 35. Morrissey himself has an even more impressive 41 hits without a #1, comprising 17 with the Smiths, 23 solo and the Siouxsie duet.


6 Band Aid II
7 Ferry Aid
7 Hale & Pace And The Stonkers
7 Victoria Wood
9 Steve "Silk" Hurley
9 Timelords
10 Overlanders
10 Joe Dolce Music Theatre
10 Nicole
10 White Town

Band Aid II and Ferry Aid were, of course, charity ensembles including many acts who had hits in their own right. Hale & Pace & The Stonkers and Victoria Wood's only hits were the two halves of a double-A-side. Away from the charts, both are successful comedy acts. Bad II's nine weeks of chart action were on the AA side of The Clash's only number one hit, though their presence on the single went completely ignored at the time, and indeed since. Steve "Silk" Hurley also charted for 6 weeks as half of JM Silk and the Timelords went on to further chart success under a variety of other guises, including another #1 hit as The KLF. White Town and Nicole are the only acts on this list to have had more than one hit - each had 9 weeks on chart with their #1s and one week with a follow-up.


Back in the days when the Guinness books were still being edited by the GRR(R) team, they used to define a one-hit wonder as an act that has had one number one hit and nothing else - ever. Which is a rather narrower definition of the term than most people would use, but it does throw up an interesting list of acts who've made only one, albeit quite spectacular, impression on the public consciousness. This list, in fact:

1954 Kitty Kallen Little Things Mean A Lot
1956 Dreamweavers It's Almost Tomorrow
1958 Kalin Twins When
1959 Jerry Keller Here Comes Summer
1960 Ricky Valance Tell Laura I Love Her
1962 B.Bumble And The Stingers Nut Rocker
1966 Overlanders Michelle
1968 The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown Fire
1969 Zager And Evans In The Year 2525 (Exordium And Terminus)
1969 Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg Je T'aime... Moi Non Plus
1969 The Archies Sugar Sugar
1970 Matthews Southern Comfort Woodstock
1970 Lee Marvin Wand'rin' Star
1970 Norman Greenbaum Spirit In The Sky
1971 Clive Dunn Grandad
1973 Simon Park Orchestra Eye Level
1974 John Denver Annie's Song
1975 Typically Tropical Barbados
1976 JJ Barrie No Charge
1977 The Floaters Float On
1978 Althia And Donna Uptown Top Ranking
1978 Brian & Michael Matchstalk Men And Matchstalk Cats And Dogs
1979 Anita Ward Ring My Bell
1979 Lena Martell One Day At A Time
1980 Fern Kinney Together We Are Beautiful
1980 The Mash Theme From M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless)
1980 St Winifreds School Choir There's No One Quite Like Grandma
1981 Joe Dolce Music Theatre Shaddap You Face
1982 Charlene I've Never Been To Me
1985 Phyllis Nelson Move Closer
1987 Steve "Silk" Hurley Jack Your Body
1987 M|A|R|R|S Pump Up The Volume / Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance)
1989 Robin Beck The First Time
1990 Partners In Kryme Turtle Power
1991 Hale And Pace And The Stonkers The Stonk
1991 Victoria Wood The Smile Song
1994 Doop Doop
1996 Dunblane Knockin' On Heaven's Door / Throw These Guns Away
1997 Teletubbies Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh!
1999 Mr Oizo Flat Beat
1999 Baz Luhrmann Presents... Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)
2001 Rui Da Silva fetauring Cassandra Touch Me
2001 DJ Pied Piper and the Masters Of Ceremonies Do You Really Like It?

Steve "Silk" Hurley also had minor success as half of JM Silk. John Denver had a minor hit in collaboration with Placido Domingo. Most of these acts released follow-ups which flopped; only The Mash, M|A|R|R|S, Dunblane, Baz Luhrmann and Teletubbies appear to have bowed out voluntarily. As noted previously, the Baz Luhrmann disc credits Quindon Tarver as performer, and he too is therefore a one-hit wonder.

Although Rui Da Silva has gone two years without following up his only hit, he is reportedly planning a comeback and is likely to escape this list before very long. Watch this space!

During the Top 50 era, both Scott MacKenzie and Hugo Montenegro narrowly avoided the one-hit wonders list by charting a follow-up for just one week at #50. The modern equivalent, a follow-up spending just one week at #75, was achieved by the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest winner Nicole.

Other acts who failed to follow-up a number one hit are Charles Aznavour, Bob The Builder, The Firm, Benny Hill, The Jam, Tommy James And The Shondells, Queen, Robson & Jerome, Spice Girls, Steve Miller Band, Kay Starr, Starship, Take That and Wham!. Queen's last hit was a collaboration with Five. Simon And Garfunkel's last original hit went to #1, though they have since charted with other tracks which had not been hits during the duo's active career. Only Bob The Builder, The Jam, Queen, Robson & Jerome, Spice Girls, Take That and Wham! retired of their own volition.


By a regular act:
18 Elvis Presley (includes 1 with JXL)
17 The Beatles
14 Cliff Richard
12 Shadows (includes 7 backing Cliff Richard)
11 Westlife (includes 1 with Mariah Carey)
10 Madonna

9 Abba
9 Spice Girls
8 Rolling Stones

By an individual:
22 Paul McCartney (includes 3 charity ensembles)
20 John Lennon
18 George Harrison (includes the 2002 re-appearence of My Sweet Lord)
18 Elvis Presley
16 Ringo Starr
15 Cliff Richard (includes Band Aid II)
13 Hank B Marvin (Shadows)
12 Robbie Williams (includes one with Nicole Kidman)
12 Bruce Welch (Shadows)

11 Nicky Byrne (Westlife)
11 Melanie Chisholm (aka Mel C)

11 Kian Egan (Westlife)
11 Shane Filan (Westlife)
11 Mark Freehily (Westlife)
11 Geri Halliwell

11 Bryan McFadden (Westlife)
11 George Michael

10 Gary Barlow
10 Ronan Keating (includes Various Artists)
10 Madonna

Hank Marvin has one more #1 than Bruce Welch because he was credited on Cliff Richard And The Young Ones' remake of Livin' Doll.

Beatles Ringo Starr and George Harrison did not appear on The Ballad Of John And Yoko.

Most number one hits achieved on the RR/MW chart in a calendar year is four, by Elvis Presley in 1961 and 1962; The Beatles in 1964; Spice Girls in 1997 and Westlife in 1999 and 2000. Elvis Presley in 1961 & 1962 and Westlife in 1999 are the only acts to achieve four new chart-toppers in a year; the other instances included chart-topping runs carried on from the year before. Though The Beatles did achieve four number one hits on the NME chart in 1963.


77 Elvis Presley
69 The Beatles (Paul McCartney +17 solo; John Lennon + 7 solo; George Harrison + 6 solo)
46 Cliff Richard
44 The Shadows (28 backing Cliff Richard, 16 of their own)
32 Frankie Laine
31 Abba
23 Wet Wet Wet
22 Spice Girls (Melanie C + 2 solo; Melanie B + 1 solo; Emma Bunton + 2 solo; Geri Halliwell 20 with the group + 5 solo)
21 Take That (Robbie Williams 18 with the group + 8 solo; Gary Barlow + 2 solo)
21 Queen (includes 2 with David Bowie, 3 with George Michael and 1 with Five)
20 Slade

Totals do not include appearances with charity ensembles.

Freddie Mercury appeared with Queen for only 17 of the group's weeks at #1. He has two solo weeks to his credit for a total of 19.

The Shadows' chart history is made somewhat more confusing by the various line-up changes that occurred during their run of #1 successes. The members' individual totals are as follows:
47 Hank B Marvin was on all of their #1s, plus 3 weeks with Cliff Richard & The Young Ones in 1986.
44 Bruce Welch also appeared on all twelve #1s.
39 Jet Harris (36 as a Shadow, 3 with Tony Meehan).
25 Tony Meehan (22 as a Shadow, 3 with Jet Harris).
22 Brian Bennett (22 as a Shadow).
Brian Locking, who replaced Harris, has 8 weeks at #1.


18 I Believe Frankie Laine (in three runs at the top 9+6+3)
16 (Everything I Do) I Do It For You Bryan Adams
15 Love Is All Around Wet Wet Wet
14 Bohemian Rhapsody Queen (two runs at the top 9+5)
11 Rose Marie Slim Whitman
10 Cara Mia David Whitfield
10 I Will Always Love You Whitney Houston
9 Here In My Heart Al Martino
9 Oh Mein Papa Eddie Calvert
9 Secret Love Doris Day
9 Diana Paul Anka
9 Mull Of Kintyre / Girls School Wings
9 You're The One That I Want John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
9 Two Tribes Frankie Goes To Hollywood


11 The Beatles (From Me To You through to Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby)
7 Westlife (Swear It Again through to My Love, includes one with Mariah Carey)
6 The Beatles (All You Need Is Love through to Ballad Of John And Yoko)
6 Spice Girls (Wannabe through to Too Much)
5 Elvis Presley (Little Sister / His Latest Flame through to Return To Sender)
5 Rolling Stones (It's All Over Now through to Get Off Of My Cloud)

Gary Barlow appeared on the last four #1 hits for Take That and then had two solo, for a total of six.

During the Beatles' run of 11, two cash-in singles on another label also charted. During their run of six, the double EP "Magical Mystery Tour" reached number two. An EP by Elvis Presley entered the lower reaches of the chart during his run of five #1s.



Normally, once a record is replaced at number one, there is no way back. But over the years a few records have managed to hang on with enough tenacity to return to the very top. Here's the list:

24.04.53 I Believe Frankie Laine (9 weeks)
24.04.53 I'm Walking Behind You Eddie Fisher and Sally Sweetland (1)
03.07.53 I Believe Frankie Laine (6)
14.08.53 The Song From The Moulin Rouge Mantovani & his Orchestra (1)
21.08.53 I Believe Frankie Laine (3)

06.11.53 Answer Me David Whitfield (1)
13.11.53 Answer Me Frankie Laine (8)
11.12.53 Answer Me David Whitfield / Answer Me Frankie Laine (top equal for 1 week)

12.03.54 I See The Moon Stargazers (5)
16.04.54 Secret Love Doris Day (1)
23.04.54 I See The Moon Stargazers (1)
30.04.54 Such A Night Johnnie Ray (1)
07.05.54 Secret Love Doris Day (8)

08.10.54 Hold My Hand Don Cornell (4)
05.11.54 My Son My Son Vera Lynn (2)
19.11.54 Hold My Hand Don Cornell (1)

07.01.55 Finger Of Suspicion Dickie Valentine (1)
14.01.55 Mambo Italiano Rosemary Clooney (1)
21.01.55 Finger Of Suspicion Dickie Valentine (2)
28.01.55 Mambo Italiano Rosemary Clooney (2)

25.11.55 Rock Around The Clock Bill Haley and his Comets (3)
16.12.55 Christmas Alphabet Dickie Valentine (3)
06.01.56 Rock Around The Clock Bill Haley and his Comets (2)

16.03.56 It's Almost Tomorrow Dreamweavers (2)
30.03.56 Rock And Roll Waltz Kay Starr (1)
06.04.56 It's Almost Tomorrow Dreamweavers (1)

04.01.57 Singing The Blues Guy Mitchell (1)
11.01.57 Singing The Blues Tommy Steele and the Steelmen (1)
18.01.57 Singing The Blues Guy Mitchell (1)
25.01.57 The Garden Of Eden Frankie Vaughn (4)
01.02.57 Singing The Blues Guy Mitchell / The Garden Of Eden Frankie Vaughn (1 week top equal)

28.07.60 Please Don't Tease Cliff Richard and the Shadows (1)
04.08.60 Shakin' All Over Johnny Kidd and the Pirates (1)
11.08.60 Please Don't Tease Cliff Richard and the Shadows (2)

12.09.63 She Loves You The Beatles (4)
10.10.63 Do You Love Me Brian Poole and the Tremoloes (3)
31.10.63 You'll Never Walk Alone Gerry And The Pacemakers (4)
28.11.63 She Loves You The Beatles (2)
The longest gap between runs at the top.

17.06.65 Crying In The Chapel Elvis Presley (1)
24.06.65 I'm Alive The Hollies (1)
01.07.65 Crying In The Chapel Elvis Presley (1)
08.07.65 I'm Alive The Hollies (2)

31.07.68 Mony Mony Tommy James and the Shondells (2)
14.08.68 Fire Crazy World Of Arthur Brown (1)
21.08.68 Mony Mony Tommy James and the Shondells (1)

11.12.68 Lily The Pink The Scaffold (3)
01.01.69 Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da The Marmalade (1)
08.01.69 Lily The Pink The Scaffold (1)
15.01.69 Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da The Marmalade (2)

11.12.93 Mr Blobby Mr Blobby (1)
18.12.93 Babe Take That (1)
25.12.93 Mr Blobby Mr Blobby (2)

01.06.96 Three Lions (Official Song Of The England Football Team) Baddiel, Skinner and The Lightning Seeds (1)
08.06.96 Killing Me Softly Fugees (Refugee Camp) (4)
06.07.96 Three Lions (Official Song Of The England Football Team) Baddiel, Skinner and The Lightning Seeds (1)
Three Lions returned to the top when England reached the semi-finals of the World Cup.

28.06.97 I'll Be Missing You Puff Daddy and Faith Evans (3)
19.07.97 D'you Know What I Mean? Oasis (1)
26.07.97 I'll Be Missing You Puff Daddy and Faith Evans (3)

29.11.97 Perfect Day Various Artists (2)
13.12.97 Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh! Teletubbies (2)
27.12.97 Too Much Spice Girls (2)
10.01.98 Perfect Day Various Artists (1)

09.05.98 Under The Bridge / Lady Marmalade All Saints (1)
16.05.98 Turn Back Time Aqua (1)
23.05.98 Under The Bridge / Lady Marmalade All Saints (1)

05.05.01 Don't Stop Movin' S Club 7 (1)
12.05.01 It's Raining Men Geri Halliwell (2)
26.05.01 Don't Stop Movin' S Club 7 (1)

08.12.01 Gotta Get Thru This Daniel Bedingfield (2)
22.12.01 Somethin' Stupid Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman (3)
13.01.02 Gotta Get Thru This Daniel Bedingfield (1)


In 1963, Gerry And The Pacemakers were the frst act to take all of their first three hits to #1. For many years it was thought that this record might never be beaten, or even equalled, though some acts did come close - Adam Faith had already achieved an opening run of 1,1,2, and Engelbert Humperdinck later took his first three hits to 1,2,1.

But the record was equalled in 1984, by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. By a strange co-incidence, FGTH had covered Gerry And The Pacemakers' Ferry Cross The Mersey (not one of their #1s) as a bonus track on the 12" of their first chart-topper!

George Michael took his first two solo singles to number one in 1984 and 1986, followed by a duet with Aretha Franklin.

In 1989, Jive Bunny And The Mastermixers took their first three hits to number one. The last of these, Let's Party, made its debut at the top.

As the chart became more open to high new entries, it might have been expected that an act who had enjoyed a first number one would find it easier to follow it up with a second and third, but it wasn't until 1996 that a fifth act joined the club. In doing so, Robson & Jerome became the first act to go straight in at number one with their first three singles. As they retired immediately after the third, they also have a perfect 100% record of number one hits. Their final #1 - a triple-A-side - included a cover of Gerry's final #1, You'll Never Walk Alone.

Spice Girls took their first three singles to #1 in 1996, though contrary to popular belief they didn't enter at #1 with the first (it debuted at #3). The group went on to set a new record with all of their first six singles going to the top.

In May 1998, Aqua became the first overseas act to take their first three singles to number one. Their second and third had debuted at the top. They were followed by B*Witched, who became the first group to enter in the top position with each of their first four singles.

Westlife now hold the record, with their first six (seven including a collaboration with Mariah Carey) debuting at number one. Each of their first eleven singles entered in the top two, and each of their first thirteen entered inside the top five, both also new records.

In 2002, the Will Young / Gareth Gates duet The Long And Winding Road completed hat-tricks for both singers. Solo tracks by each artist also appeared on the single, though only the Gates track Suspicious Minds recieved a chart credit. Gates has since gone on to a fourth straight chart-topper.


Although chart turnover has been faster than ever in recent years, it is still comparatively rare for a single to drop out of the top five from number one. These are the records that have done so:

To number 6:
16.01.53 Here In My Heart Al Martino
20.01.56 Rock Around The Clock Bill Haley & His Comets
23.06.60 Cathy's Clown Everly Brothers
11.04.63 Summer Holiday Cliff Richard and the Shadows
15.06.74 Sugar Baby Love The Rubettes
17.07.76 You To Me Are Everything Real Thing
26.06.79 Bright Eyes Art Garfunkel
10.01.81 There's No One Quite Like Grandma St Winifred's School Choir
14.11.81 It's My Party Dave Stewart with Barbara Gaskin
30.04.83 Let's Dance David Bowie
23.03.85 You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) Dead Or Alive
10.05.86 A Different Corner George Michael
11.03.89 Belfast Child Simple Minds
18.01.97 2 Become 1 Spice Girls
22.02.97 Discotheque U2
17.05.97 Love Won't Wait Gary Barlow
31.10.98 Gym And Tonic Spacedust
30.01.99 A Little Bit More 911
02.03.02 World Of Our Own Westlife
22.06.02 Light My Fire Will Young

To number 7:
14.03.63 Wayward Wind Frank Ifield
22.09.73 Young Love Donny Osmond
07.05.77 Knowing Me Knowing You Abba
08.02.97 Beetlebum Blur
19.09.98 Bootie Call All Saints

To number 8:
24.01.68 Hello Goodbye The Beatles
18.01.75 Lonely This Christmas Mud
12.04.97 Block Rockin' Beats Chemical Brothers
10.05.97 Blood On The Dance Floor Michael Jackson
15.04.00 Fool Again Westlife
25.11.00 Same Old Brand New You A1
28.04.01 What Took You So Long Emma Bunton

To number 9:
06.01.56 Christmas Alphabet Dickie Valentine
01.06.61 You're Driving Me Crazy Temperance Seven
17.03.66 These Boots Are Made For Walking Nancy Sinatra
19.01.91 Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter Iron Maiden
03.04.99 Blame It On The Weatherman B*Witched

To number 10:
14.01.84 Only You Flying Pickets

To number 12:
10.01.58 Mary's Boy Child Harry Belafonte

Four singles have dropped one place at a time, 1-2-3-4-5: Finger Of Suspicion by Dickie Valentine, It's All In The Game by Tommy Edwards, You Are Not Alone by Michael Jackson and Eminem's The Real Slim Shady. In fact, Finger Of Suspicion followed its week at number 5 with a week jointly at number 5 with a climbing record. Had a modern tie-break been used, Finger would have gone 1-2-3-4-5-6!

Speaking of ol' Dickie, from 1956, Dickie Valentine's Christmas Alphabet solely held the record for the shortest chart run of any number one hit - just seven weeks. This was equalled in 1987 by Ferry Aid's version of Let It Be, and again in 1989 by another charity disc Ferry Cross The Mersey by an all-star conglomeration led by Gerry Marsden. The record was finally beaten in January 1990 by two consecutive chart-toppers, Let's Party by Jive Bunny And The Mastermixers and Do They Know It's Christmas? by Band Aid II, each with just six weeks on chart. In 1991, Iron Maiden brought the record down to just five weeks with their classic Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter. U2 nearly matched this with The Fly later in the year, vacating the chart with a run of just five weeks but then spoiling its record by re-entering for a further week. In 1997, Blur's Beetlebum did likewise, but did set several new records on its way down: it was the first #1 to spend just 2 weeks in the top 20 and 3 in the top 40, and set the record for the biggest drop in the second week by a number one debutant, dropping 1-7 (this record broken only a few weeks later by Chemical Brothers with Block Rockin' Beats which fell to 8; the record is now 1-9 by Blame It On The Weatherman, the fourth and final number one by B*Witched.)

By way of contrast, the single which remained in the charts longest after dropping from #1 is also the single with the most consecutive weeks on chart: Englebert Humperdinck's extraordinary debut hit Release Me. Its last week at number one was its eleventh on chart; it went on to notch up a further 45 chart weeks taking it to an amazing total of 56 weeks on chart.


One song has been #1 in four versions:

Unchained Melody Jimmy Young; Righteous Brothers; Robson & Jerome; Gareth Gates
Written by Alex North (music) and Hy Zaret (words).
The song was originally recorded by the Alex North Orchestra with vocals by Todd Duncan for the 1955 film Unchained. The movie flopped; the song survived. American singer Al Hibbler was credited with a number one version (with Jimmy Young at 2) in the Record Mirror chart.

Two songs have been number one in three versions:

You'll Never Walk Alone Gerry & The Pacemakers; The Crowd; Robson & Jerome
Written by Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (words).
This anthemic singalong first appeared in the musical Carousel in 1948. Popularised in the USA by Louis Armstrong, in the UK it has become strongly associated with football, and especially with Liverpool FC, who have recorded it in various line-ups.

Spirit In The Sky Norman Greenbaum; Doctor And The Medics; Gareth Gates and the Kumars
Words and music by Norman Greenbaum.
Many people wrongly assume that Greenbaum was an evangelical Christian - in fact he was, and still is, Jewish, but thought it would be fun (and a little more profitable) to write a rock song about Jesus. Subsequent versions have kept the joke going by recording it in Pagan and Hindu contexts - but as yet, no Christian version. (Thanks to Jenny for pointing this out.)

The following songs have been #1 in two versions:

Answer Me David Whitfield; Frankie Laine
Baby Come Back Equals; Pato Banton
Can't Help Falling In Love Elvis Presley; UB40
Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White Perez Prado & his Orchestra; Eddie Calvert
Dizzy Tommy Roe; Vic Reeves and the Wonderstuff
Do They Know It's Christmas? Band Aid; Band Aid II
Everything I Own Ken Boothe; Boy George
Eternal Flame Bangle; Atomic Kitten
I Believe Frankie Laine; Robson & Jerome
I Got You Babe Sonny & Cher; UB40 with Chrissie Hynde
Killer Adamski; Queen & George Michael (EP track - medley with Papa Was A Rolling Stone)
Lady Marmalade
All Saints; Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya & Pink
Living Doll Cliff Richard & the Drifters; Cliff Richard & The Young Ones
Mambo No.5 Lou Bega; Bob The Builder
Mary's Boy Child Harry Belafonte; Boney M (medley with Oh My Lord)
Seasons In The Sun Terry Jacks; Westlife
Singing The Blues Guy Mitchell; Tommy Steele
Somethin' Stupid Nancy Sinatra & Frank Sinatra; Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman
Take A Chance On Me Abba; Erasure (EP track)
This Ole House Rosemary Clooney; Shakin' Stevens
The Tide Is High Blondie; Atomic Kitten (medley with Get The Feeling)
Three Lions Baddiel & Skinner & The Lightning Seeds (two different recordings)
Tragedy Bee Gees; Steps
Uptown Girl Billy Joel; Westlife
When The Going Gets Tough Billy Ocean; Boyzone
With A Little Help From My Friends Joe Cocker; Wet Wet Wet
Without You Nilsson; Mariah Carey
Young Love Tab Hunter; Donny Osmond

Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice was heavily based on Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie (even though Ice denied it at the time).
I'll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112 set new words to the backing of Every Breath You Take by The Police.
We're Going To Ibiza! by Vengaboys set new words to the backing of Barbados by Typically Tropical.
Both Fastlove by George Michael and Men In Black by Will Smith used samples from Patrice Rushen's #8 hit Forget Me Nots - the Smith track using Rushen's backing more heavily than Michael's.
Rise by Gabrielle was based on Bob Dylan's song Knockin' On Heaven's Door, a cover of which had been a #1 hit for Dunblane.
Angel by Shaggy was set to the bassline of The Joker by Steve Miller Band.
Freak Like Me by Sugababes was partly based on Tubeway Army's Are Friends Electric?.
The medley Swing The Mood by Jive Bunny And The Mastermixers incorporated bits of Bill Haley and his Comets' #1 Rock Around The Clock and remakes of Elvis Presley's #1s All Shook Up and Jailhouse Rock.
The medley That's What I Like by Jive Bunny And The Mastermixers included a snippet of Jerry Lee Lewis' #1 Great Balls Of Fire.
I actually had to listen to the Jive Bunny records to get those last two. Can I have my OBE now please?


The Animals caused quite a sensation when, in 1964, their House Of The Rising Sun became the first number one to top the four minute mark. But it wasn't until 1968 that The Beatles set the benchmark for really long number ones with the seven-and-a-quarter minute Hey Jude. Even today, such extent is considered uncommercial, and while long tracks may be released, most have shorter edits alongside to sweeten the pill. The following are therefore the only number one hits to run for more than seven minutes. It is probably fair to say that in all cases, the actual songs have been somewhat swamped by the artist's desire to create an "epic":

9.38 All Around The World Oasis
7.58 I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That) Meat Loaf
7.32 D'You Know What I Mean? Oasis
7.15 Hey Jude The Beatles

Don McLean's American Pie (8.27) and Laurie Anderson's O Superman (8.21) both peaked at number two; one place higher and either one would have comfortably made the list above.

The longest chart single, and longest top ten hit, is Blue Room by The Orb with a running time of 39.58 on one of two CD formats, though it was also available in several shorter edits. The longest chart single with no shorter edit available is N-Joi's Live In Manchester, an improvised jam which reached #12 in 1992. The shorter of the two parts is part 1, with a running time of 13.41.

The shortest number one hit is What Do You Want by Adam Faith, with a running time of 1.35. (Thanks to Theo for that one.) The shortest top ten hit is United States Of Whatever by Liam Lynch (1.26). It beat Elvis Presley's Party by one second. I have seen Hayley Mills' Let's Get Together listed as the shortest Top 40 hit but I do not have a precise timing for it.

The US record-holder for shortest Top 40 hit is Some Kinda Earthquake by Duane Eddy, which would have topped (or bottomed?) the list in the UK too - had it not been re-edited from its original 1.17 to a less paltry 2.01 for its UK release.

The shortest Top 75 hit is Millennium Chimes by Big Ben. Yes, that Big Ben.


The following combinations of relatives have topped the charts:

Father & Son:
Julio Iglesias (solo 1981) and Enrique Iglesias (solo 2002)
Chip Hawkes (in The Tremeloes 1967) and Chesney Hawkes (solo 1990)
Ringo Starr (in The Beatles 1963) and Zac Starkey (in The Crowd 1985)

Father & Daughter:
Frank Sinatra and Nancy Sinatra (both solo and together)

Mother & Son:
Hilda Woodward and Rob Woodward (both in Lieutenant Pigeon 1972)

Brother & Sister:
Shane Lynch (Boyzone) and Edele and Keavy Lynch (B*Witched).

Chart-topping groups which feature brothers in their line-ups include The Kinks, The Osmonds, The Real Thing, UB40, Oasis, Bee Gees, Spandau Ballet, The Jacksons (well, obviously) and no doubt plenty of others that I've forgotten. (And who'd bet against the The Pipes And Drums And Military Band Of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards including at least one pair of brothers?). One impressive fraternal feat belongs to brothers Mike McGear and Paul McCartney, the only blood relations to write two consecutive chart-toppers (respectively, Lily The Pink by The Scaffold and Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da as recorded by The Marmalade) and incidentally the only brothers to have both had christmas number ones.

Chart-topping groups featuring sisters include Sister Sledge (uh-huh...), All Saints and B*Witched.

Very few husband-and-wife combinations have topped the charts. Esther and Abi Ofarim, Sonny and Cher, and Enigma were husband-and-wife duos. Abba were uniquely made up of two married couples (at least to start with). The Goombay Dance Band also featured a married couple. Happy couple Gillian Gilbert and Steven Morris of New Order don't count as they didn't marry until several years after their number one hit. Siobhan Fahey of Shakespear's Sister and David A Stewart of Eurythmics were married (to each other, that is) at the time of her chart-topper but not at the time of his.


The youngest solo chart-topper remains Little Jimmy Osmond who was just 9 when Long Haired Lover From Liverpool gave him the 1972 christmas number one. However, Dawn Ralph was just 8 when she sang lead on There's No One Quite Like Grandma by St Winifred's School Choir, and it is likely that some members of the choir were even younger. A children's chorus also featured on Clive Dunn's #1 Grandad but I suspect these were older children.

The first act to write their own number one hit was Dreamweavers. Young songwriters Wade Buff and Eugene Adkinson formed the group in desperation after their song It's Almost Tomorrow was repeatedly turned down by music publishers.

The first number one hit to be written, produced and entirely performed by a single person was A Different Corner by George Michael.

The last single to reach number 1 without the benefit of a CD format being available was Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter by Iron Maiden. They did in fact release a CD format a couple of weeks later but it didn't count toward their chart position as the single was already available on the maximum five formats (four vinyl and one cassette).

Only one Nobel Prize winner has ever written a UK number one hit single. US Vice-President Charles Gates Dawes, who won the Peace Prize in 1925, also wrote the melody of Tommy Edwards' 1958 chart-topper It's All In The Game. Carl Sigman wrote the words.

Mr Vain by Culture Beat was the first single since the 1950s to reach number one without being available on vinyl.

Only once since 1955 has there ever been an instance of three consecutive chart-toppers all being covers of previously-charted songs: In September 2001, Too Close by Blue (previously a hit for Next); Mambo No.5 by Bob The Builder (previously a hit for Lou Bega) and Hey Baby by DJ Otzi (formerly a hit for Bruce Channel) each had a week at the top.

Speaking of covers, during 2000, five cover versions reached number one. In four cases, the original had peaked at number 2; the fifth (We Will Rock You) had been the b-side of a number 2 hit.

UB40 enjoyed a string of hits with original material, yet all three of their number one hits were covers.

During the 80s, Neil Diamond's song Red Red Wine and David Gates' song Everything I Own reached the top spot as reggae covers (for UB40 and Boy George respectively). In both cases, the artists who took the song to the top were unaware of the original folk-rock versions and had taken previous reggae-fied covers as their source - namely Ken Boothe's version of Everything I Own and Tony Tribe's remake of Red Red Wine.

The fastest hat-trick of number one hits was by John Lennon - he notched up three number one hits in the space of just eight weeks following his death in December 1980.





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