Chart Of All Time - Best Charting Singles Of All Time

   

by Matthew Dixon


Well here it is, you may have read the reviews of each year, or of each decade, here it is, the answer, the Chart Of All Time. What is the best charting song of all time, could it be "I Believe" by Frankie Laine from the 1950s, "Stranger On The Shore" by Mr Acker Bilk from the 1960s, "My Way" by Frank Sinatra from the 1970s, "Relax" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood from the 1980s, "Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet from the 1990s, Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" from the 2000s or maybe something that charted over more than one decade?

Working through the top 100, we start with the song that was No. 2 in the first ever chart, Jo Stafford's "You Belong To Me". "Knock Three Times", "The Locomotion" and "Ghostbusters" follow in a novelty hit extravaganza, and the classic hits from the Hollies, Soft Cell and Snap! followed, alongside some hits from Bing Crosby, the Shadows, Max Bygraves, Bobby Darin and Jim Reeves. "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" lands at No. 88, and is followed by two classic hits, Nat "King" Cole's "When I Fall In Love" and New Order's "Blue Monday".

Bryan Adams The best selling song of all time is Elton John's "Candle In The Wind 1997 / Something About The Way You Look Tonight". You would quite easily be fooled into thinking that it therefore must be one of the best charting hits of all time. There you would be wrong. The tribute to Lady Diana lands at No. 85. However many other high selling tracks don't even chart this well. Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas" lands at No. 183, whilst this 2002's biggest seller from Will Young, whilst one of the ten best selling songs of all time, lands at a rather dismal No. 845. After Elton John's track come hits from Mario Lanza and Buddy Holly, Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing" and the first of two Beatles entries inside the top 100, "From Me To You".

At No. 79 come Steps, with their double A-sided single "Tragedy / Heartbeat", however you have to go down to No. 1615 to find their second biggest single "5, 6, 7, 8". It narrowly beats "Island In The Sun" by Harry Belafonte, whilst tracks from Roy Orbison, Frank Sinatra, Guy Mitchell, Tom Jones and Frankie Laine, give this part of the chart a rather older feel. At No. 73 is singer/comedian/artist/TV star and general all round personality, Rolf Harris, with his biggest hit "Two Little Boys". "Sun Arise" is at No. 613 whilst the ever popular "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" doesn't even make the top 2000, landing at No. 2213. Wink Martindale's "Deck Of Cards" follows, a hit which charted in each of three decades, and then we have Procol Harum's one famous hit "A Whiter Shade Of Pale".

Judy Collins Elvis features four times inside the top 100 songs alone, his first entry, "It's Now Or Never", lands at No. 70, followed by Pat Boone. Largely thanks to the film "Top Gun", Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" gets in at No. 68, this is followed by Eddie Calvert, and then at No. 66, largely thanks to the film "Ghost" comes the Righteous Brothers' rendition of "Unchained Melody". Jimmy Young takes the track to No. 159, Robson Greene and Jerome Flynn take it to No. 218, Al Hibbler takes it to No. 263, whilst Gareth Gates can only take it to No. 475. The first ever UK No. 1 lands in at No. 65 on the chart of all time, Al Martino's "Here In My Heart". The Nilsson classic "Without You" follows, and then hits by Connie Francis and Johnnie Ray surround Stevie Wonder's biggest hit "I Just Called To Say I Love You" which is at No. 62.

The Beatles Just inside the top 60 are hits from Shirley Bassey, Ruby Murray, Jennifer Rush, and Rod Stewart, with his classic "Maggie May". No. 56 and No. 55 are both hits by Frankie Laine, and they are followed by another Frankie, "Two Tribes", the second best charting hit for Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Cher's 1998 classic "Believe" is at No. 53, followed by Chris Montez and Emile Ford and the Checkmates. Hits at Nos. 60-52 all come from the 1950s or 1960s. These include hits from Jim Reeves, Don Cornell, Mantovani, Eddie Calvert, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, the Everly Brothers and the Oberkirchen Children's Choir, as well as the "Telstar" single and Elvis Presley's second top 100 entry, "All Shook Up". Beating all of these but narrowly missing out on a top 40 placing is a song that owes its success to the successes of the England football team, the combined total of all versions of "Three Lions" by David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and the Lightning Seeds.

Doris Day Pat Boone's "I'll Be Home" starts off the top 40, the highest charting entry for a man who is often forgotten nowadays. It is followed by "Let's Twist Again" by Chubby Checker, one of the earlier songs on this list that is still just as popular now as ever. The Archies "Sugar Sugar" gets in at No. 38, the highest placing for a non-human act, and is followed by Free's "All Right Now", which has entered the chart on three completely separate occasions. Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross" comes next, followed by Connie Francis's biggest hit "Who's Sorry Now". Doris Day's most famous hit "Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera Sera)" is at No. 34, but there's still one more hit from Doris to come, further up our list. Next up, at No. 33, is our second all round personality, comedian turned singer Ken Dodd, with his song "Tears". Hits by old country stars Tennessee Ernie Ford and Slim Whitman land at Nos. 32 and 31.

Wet Wet Wet Starting off the top 30 is Candian balladeer Celine Dion. Her song "Think Twice" charts at No. 30. Her other famous song, "My Heart Will Go On" from the film "Titanic" lands at No. 248. Sir Cliff Richard follows, with his one and only top 100 chart of all time entry, "Living Doll". Can he top the artist chart? Find out in the next review. Kitty Kallen lands at No. 28 with "Little Things Mean A Lot". She beats the Archies, Baddiel and Skinner, and the Oberkirchen Children's Choir to become the best charting one hit wonder, having not registered any other hits on our listings. Another modern diva follows, with Whitney Houston's "Bodyguard" theme "I Will Always Love You". This is ten followed by Englebert Humperdinck's second biggest hit "The Last Waltz". "There Goes My Everything" makes No. 119 for him.

Only one hit to date has managed to chart in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. That hit is "Imagine" by former Beatle John Lennon. It manages to make No. 25 in our list, ranking as the highest placing for a former Beatle's hit. Despite being a two-million-seller, "Mull Of Kintyre / Girls School" by Paul McCartney's band Wings is only at No. 120. The second highest placing for Elvis Presley is for "Heartbreak Hotel", at No. 24, and this is followed by the Frank Chacksfield Orchestra, and "Terry's Theme from Limelight". Rod Stewart's greatest charting hit is "Sailing", landing at No. 22, 35 places higher than "Maggie May". The other hit that fails to make the top 20 is the 'classic' novelty hit "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree" by Dawn.

Mr Acker Bilk Boney M kick off the top 20 with their two-million-selling double-A-sided single "Rivers Of Babylon / Brown Girl In The Ring", the first of two massive 1970s singles in a row. The following one is the Grease classic "You're The One That I Want" by John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, which charts higher than Boney M in the chart of all time thanks to a 1998 rerelease. Classic early hits from Russ Conway, Frank Ifield and Paul Anka follow, and then it's the highest charting appearance for Elvis Presley, with "Hound Dog". Two classic ballads follow, "Gentleman" Jim Reeves with "I Love You Because" and David Whitfield with "Cara Mia".

At No. 12 it is the song that is most often put top in polls of the greatest hit of all time, Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody". It seems to have a timeless quality that people just can't get enough of, and the fact that it was No. 1 in each of four different years shows that off very well. The surprising thing is not how high it has got, but rather that it is not in the top 10. Also just missing out on the top 10 is Englebert Humperdinck, with his most famous hit "Release Me" landing at No. 11.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood So into the top 10 we go, and we start with the song that managed the longest consecutive run at No. 1, Bryan Adams's "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)", from the film "Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves". Its chart career was truly massive but, believe it or not there are nine tracks out there that beat it. At No. 9 we currently have Judy Collins, with her version of "Amazing Grace". Check back later when the full charts have been included in these reviews to see if she can climb any further. She managed an amazing 67 weeks on the chart and several of these weeks are currently being undercounted by us, so she could well rise a few more places. The other version of "Amazing Grace" that hit the charts big time, by the Pipes and Drums and Military Band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards landed at No. 169.

Bill Haley And His Comets At 8 we have a band who needs absolutely no introduction, it's the Beatles. Their biggest charting hit by quite a long way was "She Loves You", the track which brought them their real taste of huge megastardom, and their second UK No. 1. The sharp eyed amongst you will have noticed that earlier we passed the second largest charting hit for Doris Day, and will know there's still one to come, that means. "Secret Love" manages a truly remarkable No. 7, showing just how popular Doris was back in her day. The other song to fail to make the top 5 has the second longest consecutive spell at No. 1, Wet Wet Wet's "Love Is All Around". Taken from the film "Four Weddings And A Funeral" it was another song that many were really getting fed up of by the end but people just would not stop buying it!

Frankie Laine Into the top five we go, and we still have three Franks and the first big rock 'n' roll hit to go. First of all, the theme to an early sixties TV show about an au-pair girl in Brighton, "Stranger On The Shore" by Mr Acker Bilk. Believe it or not he has one of two songs in the top five not to have topped the chart. At four we have our first Frank. Frankie Vaughan followed up his music career with a spell in acting. The papers were full of the story, "Frankie Goes To Hollywood!" Anyway, at No. 4 we have "Relax" by the band who chose that as their name. It gets here due to the sheer controversy of its Radio One banning, which saw it rocket up the chart and make Frankie Goes To Hollywood the biggest phenomenon of 1984 on the charts.

At No. 3 we have Bill Haley and his Comets with "Rock Around The Clock". It was arguably the song that kick-started the rock 'n' roll movement, and possibly the most influential piece of popular music to date because of it. It managed many a spell on the chart, both when it was big in the 1950s and in numerous re-releases. Anyway, that leaves two hits, both by people called Frank. At No. 2 we have the single that spent the longest at the top of the chart of any single, Frankie Laine's "I Believe". Whether it got there due to lack of competition or due to the fact it is such an amazing powerful ballad is open for debate, but suffice to say it has almost made it to the end.

Frank Sinatra And now, the end is near, and so we face, the final countdown. Best charter of all time? You should have really worked it out now. We did a massive list and can I say, not in a shy way, the best charter of all, Sinatra's "My Way". So many weeks upon the chart, you'd not have thought it at the start. It only peaked at No. 5, 125 weeks it did survive. It beat them all, it topped the pile, it did it by a handsome mile. The records show, Frank stole the show, with his song "My Way".

Yes, it was "My Way".

Here are the 100 best charting singles of all time:

No. Artist Single Points

1

Frank Sinatra My Way
48.19
2 Frankie Laine I Believe
41.64
3 Bill Haley and his Comets Rock Around The Clock
38.38
4 Frankie Goes To Hollywood Relax
33.91
5 Mr Acker Bilk and the Leon Young String Chorale Stranger On The Shore
31.87
6 Wet Wet Wet Love Is All Around
29.03
7 Doris Day Secret Love
28.81
8 Beatles She Loves You
28.71
9 Judy Collins Amazing Grace
28.70
10 Bryan Adams (Everything I Do) I Do It For You
28.39
11 Englebert Humperdinck Release Me
28.25
12 Queen Bohemian Rhapsody
27.61
13 David Whitfield Cara Mia
26.69
14 Jim Reeves I Love You Because
24.36
15 Elvis Presley Hound Dog
24.34
16 Paul Anka Diana
24.10
17 Frank Ifield I Remember You
23.88
18 Russ Conway Side Saddle
23.36
19 John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John You're The One That I Want
23.29
20 Boney M Rivers Of Babylon
23.15

21

Dawn Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree
23.13
22 Rod Stewart Sailing
22.89
23 Frank Chacksfield Orchestra Terry's Theme from Limelight
22.75
24 Elvis Presley Heartbreak Hotel / I Was The One
22.70
25 John Lennon Imagine
22.44
26 Englebert Humperdinck The Last Waltz
22.36
27 Whitney Houston I Will Always Love You
22.24
28 Kitty Kallen Little Things Mean A Lot
22.06
29 Cliff Richard Living Doll
22.06
30 Celine Dion Think Twice
22.02
31 Slim Whitman Rose Marie
21.93
32 Tennessee Ernie Ford Give Me Your Word
21.93
33 Ken Dodd Tears
21.59
34 Doris Day Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera Sera)
9.46
35 Connie Francis Who's Sorry Now?
21.41
36 Fleetwood Mac Albatross
21.26
37 Free All Right Now
21.21
38 Archies Sugar Sugar
21.09
39 Chubby Checker Let's Twist Again
21.04
40 Pat Boone I'll Be Home
21.01

41

Baddiel, Skinner and the Lightning Seeds Three Lions
20.92
42 Elvis Presley All Shook Up
20.89
43 Oberkirchen Children's Choir The Happy Wanderer
20.79
44 Jim Reeves Distant Drums
20.67
45 Everly Brothers All I Have To Do Is Dream / Claudette
20.61
46 Mantovani The Song Of The Moulin Rouge
20.35
47 Don Cornell Hold My Hand
20.35
48 Eddie Calvert Oh Mein Papa
20.32
49 Gary Puckett and the Union Gap Young Girl
20.22
50 Tornadoes Telstar
20.21
51 Emile Ford and the Checkmates What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For
20.18
52 Chris Montez Let's Dance
20.07
53 Cher Believe
20.00
54 Frankie Goes To Hollywood Two Tribes
19.89
55 Frankie Laine A Woman In Love
19.81
56 Frankie Laine Cool Water
19.76
57 Rod Stewart Maggie May
19.69
58 Jennifer Rush The Power Of Love
19.67
59 Ruby Murray Softly Softly
19.67
60 Shirley Bassey As Long As He Needs Me
19.64

61

Johnnie Ray Just Walking In The Rain
19.34
62 Stevie Wonder I Just Called To Say I Love You
19.25
63 Connie Francis Stupid Cupid
19.02
64 Nilsson Without You
19.01
65 Al Martino Here In My Heart
19.00
66 Righteous Brothers Unchained Melody
19.00
67 Eddie Calvert Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White
18.95
68 Berlin Take My Breath Away
18.89
69 Pat Boone Love Letters In The Sand
18.87
70 Elvis Presley It's Now Or Never
18.86
71 Procol Harum A Whiter Shade Of Pale
18.86
72 Wink Martindale Deck Of Cards
18.82
73 Rolf Harris Two Little Boys
18.78
74 Frankie Laine Answer Me
18.69
75 Tom Jones The Green Green Grass Of Home
18.52
76 Guy Mitchell Singing The Blues
18.45
77 Frank Sinatra Three Coins In The Fountain
18.36
78 Roy Orbison Only The Lonely
18.34
79 Steps Tragedy / Heartbeat
18.31
80 Harry Belafonte Island In The Sun
18.24

81

Beatles From Me To You
18.23
82 Hot Chocolate You Sexy Thing
18.15
83 Buddy Holly It Doesn't Matter Anymore
18.14
84 Mario Lanza Because You're Mine
18.12
85 Elton John Candle In The Wind 1997 / Something About The Way You Look Tonight
17.97
86 New Order Blue Monday
17.97
87 Nat 'King' Cole When I Fall In Love
17.95
88 Middle Of The Road Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep
17.94
89 Jim Reeves I Won't Forget You
17.92
90 Bobby Darin Dream Lover
17.91
91 Max Bygraves Tulips From Amsterdam / You Need Hands
17.90
92 Shadows Apache
17.86
93 Bing Crosby True Love
17.86
94 Snap! Rhythm Is A Dancer
17.78
95 Soft Cell Tainted Love
17.77
96 Hollies He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
17.76
97 Ray Parker Jr. Ghostbusters
17.76
98 Little Eva Locomotion
17.76
99 Dawn Knock Three Times
17.72
100 Jo Stafford and the Paul Weston Orchestra You Belong To Me
17.59

You can also check out the chart of Top 1000 singles (in plain text).