Biggest Selling Single Not To Top The Chart
The record is held by Wham! and their 1984 Christmas release, "Last Christmas / Everything She Wants". It hit #2 being kept off the top by Band Aid's huge sales. The single itself sold 1.45 million copies and even managed a first week sale of 0.5 million, meaning it would have easily topped the chart any other week.
In 1997, Natalie Imbruglia's worldwide hit, "Torn" sold more than one million copies without reaching #1 and stalling at #2.
In 2011, Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera hit "Moves like Jagger" sold 1,147,000 copies without reaching #1, spending seven consecutive weeks at #2.
The biggest selling single to peak at #3 is New Order's "Blue Monday", which has sold just over a million copies. However, it could be said this was not achieved on its own merit, because its two remixes caused the single to be re-issued twice, pushing up sales. If we are talking about the biggest selling single to peak at #3 where sales from re-issues are not counted, then Everything But The Girl's "Missing" takes the record. It sold 870,000 copies during its chart run in 1995–97.
In 1942, Christmas classic "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby was released which became the second biggest selling single in the world (30 million copies sold). It peaked at #5 in 1977 after Crosby's death and is believed to have sold a million copies (if it has, it has been the million seller taking the longest to achieve the millionth sale – a total of 33 years). It is incredibly likely to have sold a million copies, seeing as it is so popular and has clocked up high sales around the world, but with the inception of the singles chart happening 10 years after the release, we can never be sure. If this is excluded due to uncertainty, "I Love You Because" by Jim Reeves is the biggest selling single to peak at #5. Although total sales are hard to come by, it seems to be the only #5 to have exceeded 750,000 copies with such a high degree of certainty.
The biggest selling single to peak at #6 is Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol, which has sold 816,877 copies since its release in 2006, becoming the longest-running song on the top 100 of the chart in the process. The highest-selling #7 hit, which for a long time exceeded the sales of any #6 hits, is LeAnn Rimes' "How Do I Live" which despite selling around 714,000 copies during 1998, it only managed to peak at #7 (it did however spend 30 weeks in the UK Top 40).
I'm Yours by Jason Mraz only managed to peak at #11 on the singles chart, but has sold an excess of 400,000 copies, making it the highest-selling song to never chart in the Top 10.
As for lower peaking singles, sales get so close, it is hard to make out which singles have sold more overall, and it is usually not in a chart researchers interest to be aware of lower peaking singles sales. Dog Days Are Over by Florence and the Machine, which only reached #23, but has sold over 345,000 copies since release - this is very likely to be the highest-selling song to never chart in the Top 20, while Gold Dust by DJ Fresh also didn't chart within the top 20, only peaking at #24, but has managed to sell over 202,000 copies. It is known, however, that Forever by Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne & Eminem - charting only at #42 but having so far cleared 150,000 copies - is the highest selling song to miss the top forty.
Read more about this topic: UK Singles Chart Records And Statistics
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—Eleanor Roosevelt (18841962)
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“We fight our way through the massed and leveled collective safe taste of the Top 40, just looking for a little something we can call our own. But when we find it and jam the radio to hear it again it isnt just oursit is a link to thousands of others who are sharing it with us. As a matter of a single song this might mean very little; as culture, as a way of life, you cant beat it.”
—Greil Marcus (b. 1945)