100 songs turning 20 in 2022: From Girls Aloud and Sugababes to Will Young and Avril Lavigne

2002 was a year of change for the British charts. From the genre-shifting Number 1 debut from Girls Aloud to hits by the likes of Eminem and Liberty X.

It's telling that 2002 started with a Number 1 single from a former Beatle - the group who almost singlehandedly defined what pop music 'is' - and ended with the chart-topping debut from Girls Aloud, another band who would go on throughout their career to challenge what British pop music could look, feel and sound like.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. From beginning to end, the UK had a total of 30 Number 1s throughout 2002. That's the same number as 2001.

There were a diverse number of genres and acts topping the Official Charts that year; everything from Aaliyah's futuristic R&B, to Eminem's hard-edged rap music with Lose Yourself and even a Latin-inspired novelty record in the form of Las Ketchup's The Ketchup Song.

But what 2002 is most notable for - in terms of trends that would come to define the charts for years to come - would be the emergence of reality TV show acts as hitmaking presences. This had started the previous year, with Hear'Say winning the inaugural series of Popstars, but two of the genre's most well-known and enduring acts would debut and flourish in 2002; Will Young and Girls Aloud.

2002: Will Young – Evergreen. The fastest-selling debut single ever.

As the first-ever winner of Pop Idol, Will Young triumphed over Gareth Gates and his debut single, the double-A side Evergreen and Anything Is Possible became the best-selling single of 2002; shifting 1.78 million chart sales. It's still the 19th best-selling single in UK chart history, as well as the best-selling debut single by a solo act too. 

But don't feel too sorry for runner-up Gareth Gates; he would gain a whopping three UK Number 1 singles in 2002 alone - his Elvis cover Unchained Melody, debut solo single Anyone Of Us (A Stupid Mistake) and a team-up with Will too, The Long And Winding Road.

There were more reality TV contestants hitting the top of the charts too; Popstars runners-up Liberty X debuted at number one with the enchanting Just A Little, and memorable Pop Idol finalist Darius gained his debut solo Number 1 with Colourblind. Novelty duo The Cheeky Girls also proved that camp certainly wasn't dead with The Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum) peaking at Number 2.

But perhaps most impressive of all is that the year closed out with Girls Aloud - triumphing over boyband One True Voice on Popstars: The Rivals - who bucked trends and expectations when their imposing drum'n'bass, electronic rock debut single Sound of the Underground became that year's Christmas Number 1.

It would kick off one of the most exciting pop careers of the new decade; with producers Xenomania in tow, Sarah, Nicola, Cheryl, Kimberley and Nadine would go on to redefine the shape and feel of British pop music, netting a then-recording setting 20 consecutive Top 10 hits in the process. And it all started here.

MORE: Remembering Girls Aloud's Sarah Harding, who we sadly lost this year

Further Number 1 singles that year came from Christina Aguilera, who hit the top spot with her comeback banger Dirrty (seeing her evolve from a Disney princess into a spray-tanned, lip-pierced, leather chap-wearing pop provocateur), Sugababes' Freak Like Me (who kickstarted their second line-up with their first-ever Number 1) and even Elvis Presley, resurrected digitally 25 years after his death on Junkie XL's remix of A Little Less Conversation.

2002 will also mark two decades since the emergence of Avril Lavigne; riding a pop-punk revival on the Official Charts, Avril scored two UK Top 10 hits that year (Complicated at Number 3, Sk8er Boi at Number 8) and 20 years on, is rightfully looked on a direct inspiration for acts ruling the Singles Chart today, from Olivia Rodrigo to Willow Smith.

There were further memorable hits Top 10 hits from Madonna (whose Bond theme Die Another Day peaked at Number 3), Jennifer Lopez (who scored two - Ain't It Funny at Number 4 and signature bop Jenny From The Block at Number 3) and Pink with the anti-pop star pop anthem, Don't Let Me Get Me at Number 6 - her revelationary second album Missundaztood also celebrates its 20th anniversary next year.

And finally, some songs that didn't quite reach the Top 10 but are still worth celebrating 20 years on include George Michael's anti-war statement Shoot The Dog (peaking at Number 12), Red Hot Chilli Peppers' The Zephyr Song (Number 11) and the biggest release from US singer-songwriter Michelle Branch, another precursor to the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, whose anthemic All I Wanted sadly peaked at just Number 33.

Number 1 Singles

Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman - Somethin' Stupid*

Daniel Bedingfield - Gotta Get Thru This*

Aaliyah - More Than A Woman*

George Harrison - My Sweet Lord

Westlife - World Of Our Own

Will Young - Evergreen/Anything Is Possible

Gareth Gates - Unchained Melody

Oasis - The Hindu Times

Sugababes - Freak Like Me

Holly Valance - Kiss Kiss

Ronan Keating - if Tomorrow Never Comes

Liberty X - Just A Little

Eminem - Without Me

Will Young - Light My Fire

Elvis vs JXL - A Little Less Conversation

Gareth Gates - Anyone Of Us (A Stupid Mistake)

Darius - Colourblind

Sugababes - Round Round

Blazin' Squad - Crossroads

Atomic Kitten - The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling)

Pink - Just Like A Pill

Will Young & Gareth Gates - The Long And Winding Road/Suspicious Minds

Las Ketchup - The Ketchup Song (Aserje)

Nelly ft. Kelly Rowland - Dilemma

DJ Sammy and Yanou ft. Do - Heaven

Westlife - Unbreakable

Christina Aguilera - Dirrty

Daniel Bedingfield - If You're Not The One

Eminem - Lose Yourself

Blue ft. Elton John - Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Girls Aloud - Sound of the Underground

Top 10 singles

Pink - Don’t Let Me Get Me (6)

Christina Milian - AM to PM (3)

Britney Spears - I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman (2)

Jennifer Lopez ft. JaRule and Caddillac Tah - Ain't It Funny (4)

Jennifer Lopez - Jenny From The Block (3)

Victoria Beckham - A Mind Of Its Own (6)

Kylie Minogue - In Your Eyes (3)

Beverly Knight - Shoulda Woulda Coulda (10)

NSYNC - Girlfriend (2)

S Club Juniors - One Step Closer (2)

Mary J Blige - No More Drama (9)

H & Claire - DJ (3)

Nigel & Marvin - Follow Da Leader (5)

Enrique Inglesias - Escape (3)

DJ Otzi - Hey Baby (10)

Kylie Minogue - Love At First Sight (2)

Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Get Over You/Move This Mountain (3)

Chad Kroeger ft. Josey Scott - Hero (4)

Scooter - The Logical Song (2)

Oasis - Stop Crying Your Heart Out - (2)

Nelly - Hot In Herre (4)

Madonna - Die Another Day (3)

No Doubt - Hey Baby (2)

Red Hot Chilli Peppers - By The Way (2)

Mis-Teeq - Roll On (7)

Flip & Fill - Shooting Star (3)

Beyonce - Work It Out (7)

S Club Juniors - Automatic High (2)

Britney Spears ft. Pharrell - Boys (7)

Shakira - Underneath Your Clothes (3)

Vanessa Carlton - A Thousand Miles (6)

Madhouse - Like A Prayer (3)

Daniel Bedingfield - James Dean (I Wanna Know) (4)

Kelly Osbourne - Papa Don't Preach (3)

Busted - What I Go To School For (3)

Will Smith ft. Tra-Knox - Black Suits Comin’ (Nod Ya Head) (3)

Eminem - Cleain’ Out My Closet (4)

Avril Lavigne - Complicated (3)

Holly Valance - Down Boy (2)

Foo Fighters - All My Life (5)

Scooter - Nessaja (4)

Appleton - Fantasy (2)

Oasis - Little By Little (2)

Manic Street Preachers - There By The Grace Of God (6)

Big Brovaz - Nu Flow (3)

Justin Timberlake - Like I Love You (2)

Blue - One Love (3)

Craig David - What’s Your Flava (8)

Shania Twain - I’m Gonna Getcha Good (4)

Missy Elliott - Work It (6)

Dannii Minogue - Put The Needle On It (7)

Coldplay - The Scientist (10)

Kylie Minogue - Come Into My World (8)

The Cheeky Girls - Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum) (2)

Robbie Williams - Feel (4)

Avril Lavigne - Sk8er Boi (8)

One True Voice - Sacred Trust/After You've Gone (2)

Top 40 singles

Jamiroquai - Love Foolosophy (14)

Anastacia - One Day In Your Life (11)

Travis - Flowers In The Window (18)

Michelle Branch - All You Wanted (33)

So Solid Crew - Ride Wid Us (19)

Aaliyah - Rock The Boat (12)

Korn - Here To Stay (12)

Paul Oakenfold - Southern Sun (16)

Amy Studt - Just A Little Girl (14)

George Michael - Shoot The Dog (12)

Celine Dion - I’m Alive (17)

Red Hot Chilli Peppers - The Zephyr Song (11)

Britney Spears - I Love Rock’N’Roll (13)

Pink - Family Portrait (11)

Queens of the Stone Age - No One Knows (15)

* = denotes a song that while reaching Number 1 in 2002, was actually released in 2001

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Lee Moore


OCC, if you're going to put a link to an article (which gives sales information) within the text, please make sure the data is up to date.


Jason Smith


Should George Harrison - My Sweet Lord, be on this list, the song itself is 51 years old in January 2022, by UK Release?


Miserable Mozz


It should probably have an asterisk like the 2001 releases do.