By Daniel Lane
Many happy returns to Robbie Williams, who is celebrating his 40th birthday today!
Robbie was born in Stoke-On-Trent on February 13, 1974. The Number 1 single when he was born was Tiger Feet by Mud, while the Number 1 album was The Carpenters’ The Singles 1969-1973. You can see the Top 10s here. But we’re not here to talk about anyone else, today it’s all about Robbie!
If you believe the old adage, and that song by John Lennon, life begins at 40. But Mr Williams has achieved more in the 39-and-a-bit years leading up to this special anniversary than most artists manage in a life time. In short: he's scored 14 Official Number 1 singles (both with Take That and as a solo artist), he's had as many chart topping albums in the UK as Elvis Presley, he’s won a record number of BRIT Awards (17 in all), and had more Official Christmas Number 1s than anyone other than the members of The Beatles and the Spice Girls. Basically, Robbie Williams is a national treasure!
So, what better way to celebrate 40 glorious years since his illustrious birth, than counting down Robbie Williams’ Official Top 40 Biggest Selling Solo Singles? (Okay, erecting a blue plaque near his childhood home in Stoke-On-Trent was our original plan, but the local council beat us to it –Birthday Honours ED).
So, without further ado, the biggest selling solo single of Robbie’s career so far is (drum roll please)…
Co-written by Robbie, Guy Chambers and Ray Heffernan, Angels was released as the fourth single from his debut solo album, Life Thru A Lens. It entered at Number 7 on the Official Singles Chart in the week ending December 13, 1997. However, it took 11 weeks for Angles to reach its peak position of Number 4, while the likes of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On, Aqua’s Dr Jones, the Spice Girls’ Too Much and, um, Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh! by The Teletubbies basked in the glory of being the nation’s Official Number 1 single.
During its initial chart run, Angels spent a total of 12 weeks in the Top 10 and a further 17 weeks in the Top 75. Sure Robbie has had higher charting singles before Angels, and many, many higher charting ones since, but with over 1.16 million sales to date (more than that of Take That’s biggest selling single, Back For Good, BTW), this timeless ballad is without a doubt the nation’s favourite Robbie Williams song. And, rather criminally, this is the only Official Chart it has actually appeared at Number 1 on so far.
The Number 2 song on Robbie Williams’ Official Top 40 Biggest Solo Selling singles may surprise you. No it’s not his 2001 Christmas Number 1 with Nicole Kidman, Somethin’ Stupid (that’s Number 7 with 378,000 sales), nor is it Kids, his 2000 duet with Kylie Minogue (that’s at 14 with 234,500 sales). It’s actually...
Released in November 2012, Candy went straight in at Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart, knocking Labrinth and Emeli Sande’s Beneath Your Beautiful off the top spot. It not only became Robbie’s first UK Number 1 in eight years, it was also the 14th chart topper of his career, putting Robbie level with his Take That bandmate Gary Barlow, and, incidentally, chart legend Sir Cliff Richard! While Robbie may have settled down in recent years - he got married and became a father for the first time - he hasn’t lost his edge!
At Number 3 is a track where Robbie really laid himself bare for his fans. The cheeky chappie from Stoke literally ripped his heart out, and his buttocks off, too...
Released during the summer of 2000, the accompanying video to Rock DJ caused controversy due to its explicit content; Robbie is dancing in a club, slowly ripping off skin, muscles and internal organs until nothing but a bloodied skeleton is left. Despite the warning that ‘No Robbies were harmed during the making of this video’ it was pretty much banned by music TV channels right across the board.
Nevertheless, Rock DJ became Robbie’s third solo Number 1 knocking Craig David’s 7 days off the top spot. It spent five consecutive weeks in the Top 10, a further 12 in the Top 75 and became the fourth biggest selling single of 2000. To date, it has sold nearly 666,000 copies.
Robbie’s Top 5 biggest selling solo singles are completed by his 1998 and 1999 Number 1s Millennium (4) and She’s The One (5), which have sold 491,000 and 489,000 copies to date, respectively.
Other notable gems in the Top 40 include Robbie’s first solo single, a rather apt cover of George Michael’s Freedom (Number 13). It peaked at Number 2 on the Official Singles Chart - 26 places higher than George's original – and has sold 254,000 copies to date.
1998’s Let Me Entertain You, which, along with Angels, is arguably one of Robbie’s best-loved hits, is at Number 8 with sales of 345,000 copies.
Shame, from Robbie’s 2010 greatest hits compilation album, In and Out of Consciousness: Greatest Hits 1990–2010, is his 15th biggest selling single to date. The track marked the first time Robbie and Take That mainman Gary Barlow had properly worked together since he left the group, and an end to their long-running feud, too.It peaked at Number2 on the Official Singles Chart and has sold over 224,000 copies in the UK.
If Take That fans ever wrote Gary and Robbie (Gobbie?) fan fiction, the accompanying music video would be their (wet) dream come true. Eat-you-hear-out Brokeback Mountain!
And finally, no Robbie Williams chart would be complete without his 2006 Number 4 hit Rudebox (Number 28 with sales of over 84,000 copies). Despite charting quite high, the track dropped out of the Top 40 after six weeks and was slated by much of the British press. One newspaper even branded it “the worst song ever.” Still, Rudebox was absolutely massive in South America, and went on to win Song Of The Year at Premios Oye!, the Mexican equivalent of the BRITs. So haters, ‘R U D E B O X, Up yer jacksy, Split yer kecks!’.
Robbie Williams’ Official Top 40 Biggest Selling Solo Singles are as follows. Happy birthday sir, here’s to the next 40 years!
|3||ROCK DJ||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||1||2000|
|5||SHE'S THE ONE||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||1||1999|
|7||SOMETHIN' STUPID||ROBBIE WILLIAMS/NICOLE KIDMAN||1||2001|
|8||LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||3||1998|
|10||NO REGRETS||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||4||1998|
|11||YOU KNOW ME||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||6||2009|
|14||KIDS||ROBBIE WILLIAMS & KYLIE MINOGUE||2||2000|
|15||SHAME||ROBBIE WILLIAMS & GARY BARLOW||2||2010|
|19||OLD BEFORE I DIE||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||2||1997|
|20||GOIN' CRAZY||DIZZEE RASCAL FT ROBBIE WILLIAMS||5||2013|
|21||COME UNDONE||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||4||2003|
|22||GO GENTLE||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||10||2013|
|24||SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||3||2003|
|26||LET LOVE BE YOUR ENERGY||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||10||2001|
|27||LAZY DAYS||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||8||1997|
|28||ADVERTISING SPACE||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||8||2005|
|30||MR BOJANGLES||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||n/a||2002|
|31||MY CULTURE||1 GIANT LEAP FT MAXI JAZZ
& ROBBIE WILLIAMS
|32||SEXED UP||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||10||2003|
|34||SOUTH OF THE BORDER||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||14||1997|
|35||MORNING SUN||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||45||2010|
|36||SHE'S MADONNA||ROBBIE WILLIAMS & PET SHOP BOYS||16||2007|
|38||MACK THE KNIFE||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||n/a||2001|
|39||SIN SIN SIN||ROBBIE WILLIAMS||22||2006|
|40||I WAN'NA BE LIKE YOU||ROBBIE WILLIAMS FT OLLY MURS||78||2013|
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