The Most-Streamed Songs Of 1952 To 2022 Revealed
What do Gene Kelly’s Singin’ In The Rain and The Notorious B.I.G.’s rap anthem Juicy have in common?
No, it’s not an infectious joie de vivre, or copious references to recreational drug use.
Instead, they are the most-streamed songs from the calendar year in which they were released.
That’s according to the Official Chart Company, who have identified the biggest streaming hit for every year since the chart’s inception in 1952.
Their findings will be broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 next weekend, marking 70 years of the UK singles chart.
It includes superstars from Elvis and the Beatles to Adele and Harry Styles – alongside several songs that were overlooked on release, only to be reclaimed as classics over time.
They include San Francisco rock band Journey, whose single Don’t Stop Believin’ stalled at number 62 in 1982, but subsequently became a rock standard, thanks to its inclusion in TV shows like The Sopranos and Glee.
It is now the most-streamed song of that year, overtaking contemporary hits like Come On Eileen (the UK’s biggest-selling record of 1982) and Survivor’s Eye Of The Tiger.
Ray Charles’ I Got A Woman has enjoyed a similar second-life after being interpolated in Kanye West’s 2005 hit Gold Digger. The track is now the most-played hit of 1954, and has been certified silver (representing 200,00 sales) on streams alone.
By contrast, some of the biggest songs of their era are entirely absent from the Official Charts’ list.
Bryan Adams’ Everything I Do (I Do It For You) spent 16 consecutive weeks at number one in 1991 – an all-time chart record – but Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit is now more popular with streaming fans.
2013’s biggest-selling hit, Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, has also fallen out of favour, replaced by Vance Joy’s beach ballad Riptide.
Other entries are more predictable.
The Killers’ Mr Brightside, which has spent an unprecedented 338 weeks on the UK singles chart, is the most-played song of 2003 respectively. And streaming behemoth Ed Sheeran appears in the list three times – for Thinking Out Loud (2014), Shape Of You (2017) and Bad Habits (2021).
Christmas songs have been excluded from the countdown.
The full chart will be broadcast decade by decade on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 on 11 and 12 November, with guest hosts including Tony Blackburn, Johnnie Walker, Fearne Cotton and Jack Saunders.
The special programmes are also available to stream now on BBC Sounds.
“It’s particularly fascinating to see which classic songs from the past are rated by today’s music consumers, and how that appeal can be driven by exposure on TV, adverts and social media,” said Robert Gallacher, commissioning editor at BBC Radio.
“This chart is a true testament to the timelessness of brilliant pop music.”
You can browse the full countdown below.
1952 – Singin’ In The Rain by Gene Kelly
1953 – That’s Amore by Dean Martin
1954 – I’ve Got A Woman by Ray Charles
1955 – Tutti Frutti by Little Richard
1956 – I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash
1957 – Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley
1958 – Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry
1959 – Put Your Head On My Shoulder by Paul Anka
1960 – At Last by Etta James
1961 – Stand By Me by Ben E King
1962 – Cry To Me by Solomon Burke
1963 – Be My Baby by Ronettes
1964 – My Girl by The Temptations
1965 – I Can’t Help Myself by Four Tops
1966 – Paint It Black by Rolling Stones
1967 – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
1968 – (Sittin’ On The) Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding
1969 – Here Comes The Sun by Beatles
1970 – Your Song by Elton John
1971 – Take Me Home Country Roads by John Denver
1972 – Tiny Dancer by Elton John
1973 – Jolene by Dolly Parton
1974 – Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
1975 – Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
1976 – Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac
1977 – Dreams by Fleetwood Mac
1978 – September by Earth Wind & Fire
1979 – Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen
1980 – Another One Bites The Dust by Queen
1981 – Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
1982 – Africa by Toto
1983 – Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) by Eurythmics
1984 – Wake Me Up Before You Go Go by Wham
1985 – Summer Of ’69 by Bryan Adams
1986 – Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi
1987 – I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston
1988 – Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac
1989 – We Didn’t Start The Fire by Billy Joel
1990 – Thunderstruck by AC/DC
1991 – Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
1992 – Creep by Radiohead
1993 – What Is Love? by Haddaway
1994 – Juicy by The Notorious B.I.G
1995 – Wonderwall by Oasis
1996 – No Diggity by Blackstreet Ft. Dr Dre
1997 – Bitter Sweet Symphony by The Verve
1998 – Iris by Goo Goo Dolls
1999 – No Scrubs by TLC
2000 – Dancing In The Moonlight by Toploader
2001 – How You Remind Me by Nickelback
2002 – Lose Yourself by Eminem
2003 – Mr Brightside by The Killers
2004 – Let Me Love You by Mario
2005 – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor by Arctic Monkeys
2006 – Naïve by The Kooks
2007 – Fluorescent Adolescent by Arctic Monkeys
2008 – I’m Yours by Jason Mraz
2009 – Party In The USA by Miley Cyrus
2010 – Love The Way You Lie by Eminem Ft. Rihanna
2011 – Someone Like You by Adele
2012 – Let Her Go by Passenger
2013 – Riptide by Vance Joy
2014 – Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
2015 – Cheap Thrills by Sia
2016 – Say You Won’t Let Go by James Arthur
2017 – Shape Of You by Ed Sheeran
2018 – Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi
2019 – Dance Monkey by Tones & I
2020 – Head & Heart by Joel Corry Ft. MNEK
2021 – Bad Habits by Ed Sheeran
2022 – As It Was by Harry Styles