While it’s true that most songs are growers, revealing their full potential after multiple listens, some are undoubtedly showers – tracks whose connection with the masses is near-instant.
When it comes to the charts, the sign of a true shower is landing straight in at the top of the Official Singles Chart. Just over 530 songs have scored a Number 1 debut in the Official Charts’ 68-year history, its regularity ebbing and flowing over the years.
Singles tended to climb to Number 1 in the early days of the Official Chart, but by the early 2000s it was commonplace - in 2003, 19 of 22 Number 1 songs that year debuted at the top. Recent years have seen that number drop significantly; the introduction of streaming and the scrapping of a six-week build up to a single release (yes, this used to be a thing) means hit songs have a tendency to climb rather than make a splash in their first week.
In 2018, five songs debuted at Number 1; in 2019 is was just three, while the number has increased slightly this year to eight.
Westlife claim the most Number 1 debuts on the Official Singles Chart, with all 14 of their chart-toppers landing there in their first week. Their first was in 1999 with Swear It Again, followed by a mighty six consecutive Number 1s, with their most recent being 2006’s The Rose.
Behind Westlife, by quite a margin, are fellow boyband Take That, with ten of their 12 chart-toppers debuting at Number 1. The group had to wait until their eighth single, 1993’s Pray, to gain their first Number 1, but they were near-unstoppable from then, scoring their last in 2014 with These Days.
Five acts are close behind are close behind on seven chart-topping debuts, most recently Ariana Grande, who lands straight in at Number 1 on this week’s Official Singles Chart with Positions.
Acts with the most songs to debut at Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart
Westlife – 14
Swear It Again (1999), If I Let You Go (1999), Flying Without Wings (1999), I Have A Dream/Seasons In The Sun (1999), Fool Again (2000), Against All Odds with Mariah Carey (2000), My Love (2000), Uptown Girl (2001), Queen Of My Heart (2001), World Of Our Own (2002), Unbreakable (2002), Mandy (2003), You Raise Me Up (2005), The Rose (2006).
Take That – 10
Pray (1993), Relight My Fire ft. Lulu (1993), Babe (1993), Everything Changes (1994), Sure (1994), Back For Good (1995), Never Forget (1995), How Deep I Your Love (1996), Greatest Day (2008), These Days (2014).
Eminem - 8
The Real Slim Shady (2000), Stan (2000), Without Me (2002), Lose Yourself (2002), Just Lose It (2004), Like Toy Soldiers (2005), The Monster ft. Rihanna (2013), Godzilla ft. Juice Wrld (2020).
Oasis – 8
Some Might Say (1995), Don't Look Back In Anger (1996), D'you Know What I Mean? (1997), All Around The World (1998), Go Let It Out (2000), The Hindu Times (2002), Lyla (2005), The Importance Of Being Idle (2005).
Spice Girls – 8
Say You'll Be There (1996), 2 Become 1 (1996), Mama/Who Do You Think You Are (1997), Spice Up Your Life (1997), Too Much (1997), Viva Forever (1998), Goodbye (1998), Holler/Let Love Lead The Way (2000).
Ariana Grande – 7
Problem ft. Iggy Azalea (2014), Bang Bang with Jessie J, Nicki Minaj (2014), Thank U, Next (2018), 7 Rings (2019), Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored (2019), Rain On Me with Lady Gaga (2020), Positions (2020).
Calvin Harris - 7
Dance Wiv Me with Dizzee Rascal (2008), I'm Not Alone (2009), We Found Love with Rihanna (2011), Sweet Nothing with Florence Welch (2012), Under Control with Alesso, Hurts (2013), Summer (2014), Blame (2014).
McFly – 7
5 Colours In Her Hair (2004), Obviously (2004), All About You/You've Got A Friend (2005), I'll Be Ok (2005), Don't Stop Me Now/Please Please (2006), Star Girl (2006), Baby's Coming Back/Transylvania (2007).
Robbie Williams – 7
Millennium (1998), She's The One/It's Only Us (1999), Rock DJ (2000), Eternity/The Road To Mandalay (2001), Somethin' Stupid with Nicole Kidman (2001), Radio (2004), Candy (2012).
Tinie Tempah - 7
Pass Out ft. Labrinth (2010), Written In The Stars ft. Eric Turner (2010), R.I.P with Rita Ora (2012), Tsunami (Jump) with DVBBS & Borgeous (2014), Crazy Stupid Love with Cheryl (2014), Not Letting Go ft. Jess Glynne (2015), Turn The Music Louder with KDA, Katy B (2015).