Elton John Diana tribute tops best-selling single chart

Sir Elton John Sir Elton John features just once on the list of million-selling UK singles

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Sir Elton John's Candle in the Wind tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales has topped a chart of the biggest-selling UK singles of the last 60 years.

The 1997 release sold 4.9 million copies - more than a million more than the second placed track, Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas?

The Official Charts Company rundown features 123 records that have sold more than one million copies in the UK.

Seven of the records included sold more than two million copies.

Elton John's double A-side - Something About The Way You Look Tonight/Candle in the Wind 97 - was released in the aftermath of Diana's death in August 1997.

The 1990s feature heavily in the list, with Aqua hit Barbie Girl and Bryan Adams' (Everything I Do) I Do It For You among the Top 20 biggest sellers.

The Beatles have six million-selling singles in the countdown, with She Loves You ranked highest in eighth place.

At the bottom of the chart, just scraping past the million mark, is When We Collide by 2010 X-Factor winner Matt Cardle.

1955 was the first year to see a single crack the one million mark, when Bill Haley & His Comets sold 1.42m copies of (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock.


  • 1. Something About the Way You Look Tonight/ Candle in the Wind 97 - Elton John (1997) 4.9m sales
  • 2. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid (1984) 3.69m sales
  • 3. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen (1975) 2.36m sales
  • 4. Mull of Kintyre/ Girls' School - Wings (1977) 2m sales
  • 5. You're The One That I Want - John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John (1978) 2m sales
  • 6. Rivers of Babylon/ Brown Girl in the Ring - Boney M (1978) 2m sales
  • 7. Relax - Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1983) 2m sales
  • 8. She Loves You - The Beatles (1963) 1.9m sales
  • 9. Unchained Melody/ (There'll Be Bluebells Over) The White Cliffs of Dover - Robson Green & Jerome Flynn (1995) 1.86m sales
  • 10. Love Is All Around - Wet Wet Wet (1994) 1.85m sales

Source - The Official Charts Company

According to Martin Talbot, managing director of the Official Charts Company, the release of the countdown and the anniversary it celebrates coincides with a period of "unprecedented demand" for the single.

"This year [is] set to be the biggest year on record for sales of the format," he said. "This truly is the era of the super hit."

In 2002, the 50th anniversary of the UK singles chart, 76 singles had sold in excess of one million copies.

Since then, the Official Charts Company has recorded a 62% rise in the number of singles to have sold a million or more.

The single's current success can be attributed to the rise in digital downloads, with 5.7m singles downloaded in the last week of 2011 alone.

Figures collated by the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) show that in 2011, 177.9m singles were sold in the UK with more than 99% sold as digital tracks.

It is forecasted that there will be a further rise in singles sales in 2012, with 10 tracks having already sold more than one million copies this year.

They include Adele's Someone Like You and Somebody That I Used To Know, by Gotye featuring Kimbra.

Should momentum continue for the next seven years, the current decade is on track to eclipse the 1970s and 1990s as the most successful ever.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    The Diana version of Candle in the Wind was dire - the original version was much better - but then I didn't buy either! The only ones I've got in the list are Bohemian Rhapsody and She Loves You. I even prefer the Troggs' version (the original) of Love is all Around. Ah well, showing my age again!

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Interesting and surprising. Many of the songs obviously bought for reasons other than simply musical appeal - national/world events (1 & 2), film & TV popularity (5, 9 & 10). So well done Queen at 3 - a very original song. But Mull of Kintyre at 4! - Paul's done much better work. 6 & 7 - very catchy but not outstanding. However, She Loves You at 8 was in its day a truly game altering song.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    It would be more appropriate to have a list minus any single released for charity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    I only ever bought a single if it was good enough and not on the album.

    Albums are of course being better value for money

    Personally I'm surpirsed the charts still exist when there are so many 'number 1s' now - there were 29 in 2011.

    Gone are the days of a song being number 1 for 18 weeks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    This is not a complete survey as Whiter Shade of Pale by Procul Harum is always near the top of the favourites list, so is a 'best sellers' list really very meaningful. For example charity records may well attract unusual sales patterns so should it be in the list in the first place?


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