Photo finish: Close races for Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart

The moments when chart history could have been altered by just a handful of sales.

Drake and Rudimental's recent tussle for Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart left them almost neck and neck on several occasions, with just 937 combined sales separating the two earlier this month. 

Unsurprisingly, it's not the first time the race for the top spot has gone down to a photo finish in the chart's 66-year history; and since 1994 - where weekly charts and sales figures have been logged digitally and most comprehensively (capturing 99.9% of singles consumed in the UK) - there have been some seriously close races for the top spot...

All Saints – Never Ever Vs. Bamboo – Bamboogie (1998)

Sales difference: 557 copies

After a nine-week hike up the Top 10 to claim their first Number 1 single, All Saints were very nearly pipped to the post on its victory week, finishing a nail-biting 557 sales ahead of a seriously popular new entry by short-lived British house act Bamboo. See the full Top 100 Official Singles Chart from this week here.

Timbaland – The Way I Are  Vs. Kate Nash – Foundations (2007)

Sales difference: 16 copies

After a frustrating few weeks stuck behind Rihanna's Umbrella and Timbaland's The Way I Are, Kate Nash's closest shot at the top came in its sixth week on the chart, when it finished just 16 sales behind Timbaland. Let's hope she's not bit-tuh about it. View the full Top 100 from this week here.

Boyzone - You Needed Me Vs. Geri Halliwell - Look At Me (1999)

Sales difference: 748 copies

Never underestimate the power of a boyband. Despite all signs pointing Geri heading for her first Number 1 as a solo artist with Look At Me, she just missed out, with 142,153 sales to Boyzone's 142,901. See what else was in the chart that week here.

Nelly Furtado - Maneater Vs. Sandi Thom - I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (2006)

Sales difference: 186 copies

Sandi Thom's runaway debut single was knocked off the summit after one week, but only just, toppled by Nelly's stompathon Maneater by only 186 copies. Read more about Maneater's rise to Number 1 here.

Mike Posner - I Took A Pill In Ibiza Vs. Lukas Graham - 7 Years (2016)

Sales difference: 261 combined sales

Danish soul-pop band Lukas Graham didn't give up their chart crown easily in March 2016. After five weeks at Number 1, the top spot was taken from them by Mike Posner by only 216 combined sales. 

Eminem - Like Toy Soldiers Vs. Elvis Presley - Are You Lonesome Tonight? (2005)

Sales difference: 969 copies

Remember when all of Elvis' Number 1 singles (18, to be exact) were reissued once a week every week from the start of 2005? Many artists struggled to compete with the King's chart power as they all landed in the Top 5, but one artist who (just) managed to beat him to the top was Eminem with his Matika-sampling Like Toy Soliders. 

Example - Stay Awake Vs. Maroon 5 - Moves Like Jagger (2011)

Sales difference: 266 copies

UK rapper/singer Example landed his second chart-topper in September 2011, denying Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera's Moves Like Jagger the Number 1 by just a handful of sales, kick-starting the group's record seven-week stint at Number 2. 

Orson - No Tomorrow Vs. Chico - It's Chico Time Vs. Black Eyed Peas - Pump It (2006)

Sales difference: 334 copies between the Top 3

Music sales were down significantly in 2006 as the age of downloading was yet to take hold, but this Top 3 is still eye-wateringly close. US pop-rock band Orson snagged the Number 1 with their debut single No Tomorrow, just 329 copies ahead of Chico, while Black Eyed Peas were perched behind him by just five sales. See the full Top 100 Official Singles Chart from that week here.