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Record Breakers and Trivia : Singles : Artists : Sales / Chart Performance
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Best-Selling Artist
Cliff Richard has sold more singles than any other artist (21.0 million). The Beatles are the top group (20.8 million). Top female artist is Madonna (15.2 million).
Only five other acts have sold more than 10 million singles. They are Elvis Presley (20.0 million), Elton John (13.8 million), Michael Jackson (11.5 million), Queen (10.4 million) and Abba (10 million).
Best-selling all female group is The Spice Girls (7.5 million).

Most Top 40 Hits
Cliff Richard has been credited on 124 Top 40 hits (up to, and including, "Singing The Blues"; Sep 2009). This excludes re-entries too!
The record for most Top 40 hits by a female is held by Madonna with 66 (the most recent being "Celebration"; Sep 2009). Diana Ross trails with 57 (as of Dec 2005; Madonna caught up with Diana in July 2003 and overtook her in Nov 2003). In addition, Diana Ross has nine uncredited Top 40 hits with the Supremes and Madonna has one with Nick Kamen.
The Shadows (often paired with Cliff) are the leading group with 56 (62 when their 6 hits as The Drifters are included.) Status Quo are the group in second place with 55 Top 40 hits (as of Nov 2005).

Most Weeks Spent on The Top 40
1060 by Elvis Presley (last there w/e 15th Dec 2007 with the re-issue of "Burning Love")
Top female artist is Madonna with 510 weeks (last there with "Celebration" : w/e 3rd Oct 2009) (and another 9 uncredited weeks on the Nick Kamen's 1986 hit "Each Time You Break My Heart")
The Shadows are the leading group with 587 weeks inside the Top 40 (including hits with Cliff Richard).

Longest Span of Hits
Overall, the most durable artist is Elvis Presley on 51 years, 7 months 6 days [2692 weeks] ("Heartbreak Hotel", w/e 12th May 1956 to the re-issue of "Burning Love" w/e 15th Dec 2007).
Cliff Richard trails very narrowly behind (and stands a very good chance of overtaking this record). From "Move It" (w/e 12th Sep 1958") to "Singing The Blues" (w/e 26th Sep 2009) is a stretch of 51 years, 0 months and 14 days [2663 weeks].

From her first hit ("Banana Boat Song", w/e 15th Feb 1957) to her latest ("The Living Tree", w/e 5th May 2007), Shirley Bassey's chart career has spanned 50 years, 2 months and 18 days [2620 weeks]. She, became the first artist to have a career of hits spanning more than 50 years and has the longest span of (a) original hits (ie. not re-releases) and (b) hits whilst still alive.

The record for longest span of hits by a group is for The Shadows from "Travellin' Light" (9th Oct 1959) to "Singin The Blues" (26th Sep 2009); a period of 49 years, 11 months and 17 days [2607 weeks]. This is all the more impressive if the date of their first hit together ("Move It", 12 Sep 1958) is used, although they were, at the time, known as The Drifters. This gives the aforementioned stretch of 51 years, 0 months and 14 days [2663 weeks] (as Cliff's backing group).

By making the Top 40 in Sep 2009, The Drifters broke a long-standing record which had been held by Perez 'Prez' Prado & His Orchestra (40 years, 3 months 12 days) [2103 weeks] (from "Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White" in Mar 1955 to the departure of "Guaglione" in July 1995).

Longest Continuous Run in The Top 40 by an Artist
135 weeks by Elvis Presley. From July 1960 ("A Mess Of Blues") until Feb 1963 (when "Return To Sender" left the chart) - a total of 12 hits.

Most Top 40 Hits in One Year
19 - by Michael Jackson (as of w/e 8th July 2006). These were part of a commemorative sequence of releases. Furthermore, two other singles of 2006 sampled him: "Say Say Say" by Hi-Tack and "Somebody's Watching Me" by Beatfreakz (which sampled Jackson's vocal contribution to Rockwell's 1984 hit of the same title).
The record for most new Top 40 hits in one year is 12; held jointly by Elvis Presley (in 1957) and The Wedding Present (1992).

Most Simultaneous Top 40 Hits
13 - by Michael Jackson. The week after he died (the chart w/e 11th July 2009), he held positions 2, 10, 12, 13, 19, 25, 26, 32, 33, 34, 35, 38, 40 with "Man In The Mirror", "Billie Jean", "Thriller", "Smooth Criminal", "Beat It", "Black Or White", "Dirty Diana", "They Don't Care About Us", "Earth Song", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "You Are Not Alone", "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough", "Bad".

Prior to this, the record had been 7 simultaneous Top 40 hits... by Elvis Presley (on two occasions in Nov 1957). This feat is still worthy of note as (a) he was still alive and (b) only a Top 30 listing was produced at that time.
On week ending 2nd Nov 1957, Elvis held positions no. 4, 12, 16, 20, 21, 24, 26 with "Party", "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear", "All Shook Up", "Trying To Get To You"), "Got A Lot O' Livin' To Do", "Loving You", and "Paralysed."
The folowing week he held positions 2, 15, 17, 20, 23, 25, 30 with "Party", "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear", "Got A Lot O' Livin' To Do", "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", "Trying To Get To You", "All Shook Up", "Loving You", and "Paralysed."

Most Top 10 Hits
Elvis Presley has had most Top 10 hits (76 as of May 2005). Cliff Richard follows with 67 (most recent in Sep 2008).
Madonna overtook Paul McCartney in Nov 2005, and has now attained 60 hits (including those with Britney Spears / Justin Timberlake) (as of Oct 2009); the most by any female artist. McCartney has had 53 (28 with the Beatles, 14 solo, 10 with Wings, 1 with Ferry Aid).
No other artists have had 50 or more Top 10 hits.

Most Consecutive Top 10 Hits
Here, an artist must reach the Top 10 with every consecutive release. Re-entries are ignored; they can neither add to the tally nor be responsible for breaking a 'run'.

Madonna holds this record with 34 (from "Like A Virgin" in 1984 to "Secret" in 1994. The run was broken by "Take A Bow" which peaked at no. 16).

Top male artist is Cliff Richard with 23 (from "A Voice In The Wilderness" in 1960 to "The Minute You're Gone" in 1965. Run broken by "On My Word" which peaked at no. 12).

Two groups fare well in this respect; Westlife have 23 consecutive Top 10 hits Westlife (from "Swear It Again" in 1999 to "Us Against The World" in Mar 2008) and Oasis have the same total (from "Live Forever" in 1994 to "The Shock Of The Lightning" in 2008). However, the latter's run is over as "I'm Outta Time" stalled at number 12.

There is was an argument (from Beatles and Abba fans) that Oasis' run is broken after the fifth Top 10 hit ("Roll With It") by "Wibbling Rivalry: A Lot Of Swearing And Cussing / Even More Swearing And Cussing" - the release, by Creation Records, of an argument between the Gallagher brothers after a Radio One interview. It peaked at no. 52 in Nov 1995. But, for contractual reasons Creation released this under the name "Oas*s" (omitting the "i"), unintentionally protecting Oasis' unbroken chart run! Furthermore, a technical issue (related to the maximum number of formats of a release) led to a 12" single version of "Some Might Say" peaking separately at no. 71 a week after the main single topped the chart. Common consensus is that this should not be deemed to break the run of hits.
The Beatles and Abba each have 18 consecutive Top 10 hits. (Beatles from "A Hard Day's Night" 1964 to "Yesterday" in 1976, broken by "Back In The USSR" which stalled at no. 19. Abba from "S.O.S." in 1975 to "One Of Us" in 1981, broken by "Head Over Heels" which peaked at no. 25).
Top all-girl group is Girls Aloud with 20 consecutive Top 10 hits (from "Sound Of The Underground" in 2002 to "The Loving Kind" in Jan 2009).

Both Westlife and Girls Aloud have, in fact, had tracks peak outside the Top 40 which, were we to include them, would break their consecutive Top 10 runs. But the tracks responsible for this were never declared as singles, merely album tracks which charted due to the popularity of their individual downloads.

Most Simultaneous Top 10 Hits
4 - by Frankie Laine.
For three weeks in 1953 (31st Oct - 14th Nov) Frankie had four singles in the Top 10. They were "Hey Joe", "Answer Me", "Where The Winds Blow", and "I Believe."

Most Hits Without Making The Top 10
Two artists have had 19 Top 40 hits without managing to reach the Top 10.
  • AC/DC's nearest miss was in 1988 when "Heatseeker" made no. 12.
  • The Super Furry Animal's best effort was "Northern Lites"; no. 11 in 1999 (as of Sep 2005).

    Least successful Top 40 Acts
    Of course, thousands of artists never make the Top 40 at all. Any entry into the chart is an achievement. But the least successful chart acts will be those who have spent a sole week at Number 40... and nothing else... ever! They are listed below.
    Artists marked * have experienced success outside the Top 40 with another title. Artists which are greyed out have had more success with another single but they share the credit with a 'least successful' artist.

    1960 Shaye Cogan Mean To Me
    1960 Brothers Four Green Fields
    1960 Roy Castle Little White Berry
    1961 Tommy Cooper Don't Jump Off The Roof Dad
    1964 Major Lance Um Um Um Um Um Um
    1965 Jimmy Radcliffe Long After Tonight Is All Over
    1967 Ethiopians Train To Skaville
    1971 Grand Funk Railroad Inside Looking Out
    1972 Peter Straker & The Hands Of Dr Teleny The Spirit Is Willing
    1972 Jeff Collins Only You
    1973 Bloodstone Natural High
    1974 Act One Tom The Peeper
    1977 Peter Blake Lipsmackin' Rock And Rollin'
    1978 * 999 Homicide
    1979 Late Show Bristol Stomp
    1979 Carrie Lucas Dance With Me
    1979 * After The Fire One Rule For You
    1979 Merton Parkas You Need Wheels
    1980 * Chords Maybe Tomorrow
    1981 * Blue Rondo A La Turk Me And Mr Sanchez
    1982 * Young Steve & The Afternoon Boys I'm Alright
    1986 St John's College School Choir & The Band Of The Grenadier Guards The Queen's Birthday
    1990 Plus One featuring Sirron It's Happenin'
    1991 Frank Ifield featuring The Backroom Boys Yodelling Song
    1992 * Bump I'm Rushing
    1992 * TC 1992 Funky Guitar
    1993 * The Breeders Cannonball
    1993 Stan Suntan
    1993 * Sheep On Drugs From A To H And Back Again
    1993 * Jomanda Never
    1994 * Hysterix Must Be The Music
    1994 Mr V Give Me Life
    1994 Naomi Campbell Love And Tears
    1994 Mike Twangling Three Fingers In A Box
    1995 Joanne Farrell All I Wanna Do
    1995 * D'Bora Going Round
    1996 * Q-Tee Gimme That Body
    1996 Genius/GZA featuring D'Angelo & Inspektah Deck aka Rollie Fingers Cold World
    1996 Cliff Richard featuring Helen Hobson The Wedding
    1996 * Salt Tank Eugina
    1996 Eimear Quinn The Voice
    1996 Jann Arden Insensitive
    1996 * Octopus Saved
    1996 Tatjana Santa Maria
    1996 * Mazzy Star Flowers In December
    1996 Red Hill Children When Children Rule The World
    1997 * Shaquille O'Neal You Can't Stop The Reign
    1997 Lithiam & Sonya Madan Ride A Rocket
    1997 Laguna Spiller From Rio (Do It Easy)
    1997 * Serious Danger Deeper
    1998 Heartists Belo Horizonti
    1998 * Urusei Yatsura Hello Tiger
    1998 * Money Mark Hand In Your Head
    1998 * Alabama 3 Ain't Goin' To Goa
    1998 Lodger I'm Leaving
    1998 Studio 2 Travelling Man
    1998 * Grooverider Rainbows Of Colour
    1999 Big Room Girl featuring Darryl Pandy Raise Your Hands
    1999 M3 Bailamos
    2000 Jean Michel Jarre featuring Natacha Atlas C'est La Vie
    2000 Matt Darey presents DSP From Russia With Love
    2001 Lee Ann Womack I Hope You Dance
    2001 * Manchild Nothing Without Me
    2001 Slusnik Luna Sun
    2001 * Lowgold Beauty Dies Young
    2002 Brancaccio & Aisher It's Gonna Be (A Lovely Day)
    2002 * Agent Sumo Why
    2002 DJ Shog This Is My Sound
    2003 Artificial Funk featuring N Ettison Together
    2003 Foundation featuring Natalie Rossi All Out Of Love
    2004 * Shystie One Wish
    2005 * Sons And Daughters Dance Me In
    2006 * Lacuna Coil Our Truth
    2006 Klaus Badelt He's A Pirate
    2006 Frank I'm Not Shy
    2006 Trivium Anthem (We Are The Fire)
    2007 * Mumm-Ra What Would Steve Do
    2007 * New Young Pony Club Ice Cream
    2008 Hercules & Love Affair Blind
    2009 Livvi Franc featuring Pitbull Now I'm That Chick

    Last artist removed from this list: Asher Roth (Apr 2009)

    Exemptions from the table of 'Least Successful Top 40 Acts':
    • George Formby's sole appearance at No. 40 has been omitted as he was also the vocalist on the 2 In A Tent hit "When I'm Cleaning Windows (Turned Out Nice Again)."
    • Brooklyn Bronx & Queens' sole appearance at No. 40 has been omitted as they had another hit as 'The BB&Q Band'.
    • Alysha Warren's sole appearance at No. 40 has been omitted as she was a guest vocalist on The Nightcrawlers 1996 hit "Keep On Pushing Your Love."
    • Lady Saw's 2001 single-week No. 40 with UB40 ("Since I Met You Lady / Sparkle Of My Eyes") is exempted as she provided uncredited vocals on No Doubt's 2002 hit "Underneath It All"
    • JamX & DeLeon's 2002 single-week No. 40 "Can U Dig It" is exempted as they featured on the credit to the 2001 hit "Never Look Back" (as 'JamX & DeLeon present Dumonde').
    • Richard Hawley experienced prior chart success with The Longpigs (as their guitarist).
    • Gabriella & Troy are exempt as the characters also perform as part of Cast Of High School Musical / Cast Of High School Musical 2.
    • Pudsey's Beautiful Dreamers are exempt as they were a charity ensemble including BA Robertson who had prior hits.
    Other notes:
    • 'Young Steve' had some Top 75 success under his real name of Steve Wright.
    • TC 1992's success in the Top 75 was with releases under the names 'TC 1991' and 'TC 1993'.
    • Sonya Madan's name has been greyed from this listing as she had other Top 40 hits with Echobelly.
    • Big Room Girl had Top 75 success as Rhythm Masters. Darryl Pandy has been greyed in this listing due to his Top 40 success (just!) with Farley 'Jackmaster' Funk.

    Most Near-Misses
    Gorky's Zygotic Mynci have never made the Top 40 but have entered the Top 50 on five occasions. Their nearest miss was with "Patio Song" which reached no. 41 in Nov 1996. Three of their other singles have peaked at numbers 52, 60 and 65.

    Most Hits Peaking At Number Two
    There can be few things more frustrating for an artist than seeing their single just miss out on no. 1. Madonna knows this better than anyone as she has witnessed 12 of her hits have peak at no. 2. (Kylie Minogue is catching up, reaching 11 no. 2s in Dec 2004).
    Top male artist is Elvis Presley. He has peaked at no. 2 a record seventeen times (though eight of these were with posthumous re-issues of tracks which had previously risen to number 1). Cliff Richard has had eleven unique no. 2s. The top groups are Queen and Oasis (6 no. 2s each).

    Sash holds the record for most no. 2s without ever making no. 1 (5 of them).

    Cliff Richard has spent most weeks at no. 2 (23 weeks, Dec 2006) followed by Kylie Minogue (20) (Madonna is way behind at 14 weeks!). Top group in this sense is The Sweet (13 weeks).

    The record for most weeks at no.2 without ever making no. 1 is held by Nat 'King' Cole (9 weeks).

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