It’s 17 years since Britney Spears brought pigtails and knee socks back into fashion for anyone over the age of 9, but there’s a lot more to Brit than inspiring a million easy peasy Halloween costumes up and down the country.
She's about to put out her ninth studio album Glory, and to celebrate, we've taken a look at Britney's biggest selling songs and albums - one of which has just passed a massive sales milestone...
1: …Baby One More Time (1999)
When it comes to the singles, the one to rule them all is the song that started us on our Hitney journey. Spawning a legion of imitators, …Baby One More Time scored more sales in its first week than many songs can hope to shift in a lifetime.
No doubt thanks to the perma-rotation of its iconic video on most music channels at the time, a whopping 463,000 of you raced down to your friendly local record shop to buy …Baby One More Time in that very first week. Imagine the queues.
Sales: 1.54 million
ChartFact: The first of six Number 1s for Britney, …Baby One More Time passed a million sales in just five weeks.
Britney Fact: …Baby One More Time was the first record Sam Smith ever bought.
2: Scream & Shout (2012)
Britney’s high-octane collaboration with Black Eyed Peas’ chief hat-wearer and top texter will.i.am is her most recent Number 1, reaching the top in early 2013 – and it’s already her second biggest seller! It was her first time at the top of the Official Singles Chart since Everytime in 2004, and Britney looked pleased as punch to be back where she belonged. All eyes really were on her.
ChartFact: When it comes to streaming, Scream & Shout is Britney’s most listened to track since we started counting streams toward the chart in summer 2014.
3: Oops…! I Did It Again (2000)
She really did do it again, scoring her third Number 1 single in just over a year and finally bringing the bootcut trouser trend the PVC extension it had always been lacking.
One of the very few singles to cause havoc down your local danceteria and actually stop dead in the middle for what seemed like a really long talky bit, Oops…! I Did It Again was Number 1 for just one week before Madison Avenue came along with Don't Call Me Baby and sent Britney back to Mars.
ChartFact: Britney didn’t have another Number 1 for four years. Sadface.
4: Sometimes (1999)
The follow-up to …Baby One More Time saw Britney slow things down a little. Britney had to have a knee operation just before the shoot for the video, which featured Britney dressed in a shade of white we like to call “Unbelievably 1999”. Luckily, Britney healed super quickly and was able to throw a few shapes on the pier with her mates and show off her extremely strong flip-flop game.
ChartFact: This is Britney’s biggest selling non-Number 1 single. Only three more Britney singles would peak at Number 3: My Prerogative (2004), Gimme More (2007) and Womanizer from 2008. Speaking of which…
5: Womanizer (2008)
This started off what you could call Britney’s full-on comeback – after her brief one the previous year with the brilliant Blackout album. Womanizer saw her go all-out dance with production team The Outsyders. This was Britney back on form, spending seven weeks in the Top 10, eventually peaking at Number 3.
ChartFact: A performance on The X Factor helped the track reach its peak position, but who beat her to Number 1 that week? It was none other than X Factor star Leona Lewis with her cover of Snow Patrol’s Run.
Britney Fact: Brit’s X Factor association was in no way done – she ended up on the show herself, as a judge on the US version for one series.
Other notable hits
Toxic, Britney’s first Number 1 in four years when it hit the top in 2004, comes in sixth, selling 436,200 copies.
Circus is Britney’s bestselling single never to make the Top 10 – it reached Number 13 in 2008 and, spookily, is her 13th biggest seller, with 227,400 sold.
Britney's 2011 Number 21 hit Till The World Ends has, interestingly, sold more than eight of Britney's Top 10 hits (177, 400 sales).
Britney Spears official Top 30 biggest selling singles in the UK are...
|1||BABY ONE MORE TIME||1||1999|
|2||SCREAM & SHOUT (WITH WILL.I.AM)||1||2012|
|3||OOPS I DID IT AGAIN||1||2000|
|8||BORN TO MAKE YOU HAPPY||1||2000|
|9||YOU DRIVE ME CRAZY||5||1999|
|10||PIECE OF ME||2||2007|
|15||I'M A SLAVE 4 U||4||2001|
|17||TILL THE WORLD ENDS||21||2011|
|18||HOLD IT AGAINST ME||6||2011|
|19||I'M NOT A GIRL NOT YET A WOMAN||2||2002|
|21||ME AGAINST THE MUSIC||2||2003|
|23||IF YOU SEEK AMY||20||2009|
|24||BREAK THE ICE||15||2008|
|27||I LOVE ROCK 'N' ROLL||13||2002|
|29||DON'T LET ME BE THE LAST TO KNOW||12||2001|
©2015 Official Charts Company . All rights reserved.
Props to Radar sneaking in at Number 30. It's the only song of Brit's on the list that hasn't made the UK Top 40, despite appearing on two of her albums - 2007's Blackout and again 2008's Circus, where it was released as a single. Why? Because Britney can, and it gave her an excuse to film a music video featuring this horse:
That's not all – we still have the albums to get through...
Now we’ve got the hits out of the way, let’s look at her Top 5 albums…
1: …Baby One More Time (1999)
It’s a double-whammy for “Oh baby baby” fans – the parent album for her top selling single also takes pole position in the Official Albums Chart record books. It spent seven weeks in the Top 10, but never reached the summit.
It took 47 weeks before the album peaked at Number 2, and the album spent 66 consecutive weeks in the Top 40.
Sales: 1.2 million
ChartFact: …Baby One More Time was the first of four Britney albums to peak at Number 2 – she has, amazingly, never had a Number 1 album in the UK.
2: Greatest Hits – My Prerogative (2004)
What do you do when you’re a tabloid favourite and causing controversy with surprise marriages and motherhood? Well, you chuck out a greatest hits, of course!
Britney was everywhere when she released her first hits retrospective in 2004, led by a cover of Bobby Brown’s 1988 hit My Prerogative. She actually out-peaked him – Bobby reached Number 6 while Britney went Top 3! It's also just become her second million-selling album in the UK, having just tipped over the mark this month.
Sales: 1 million
ChartFact: Britney’s Greatest Hits was kept from the Number 1 spot by another new entry on 14 November 2004 – Eminem, with Encore. Even though Britney sold 115,000 copies in that first week, Eminem outpaced her by 7,000 sales.
3: Oops…! I Did It Again (2000)
Britney’s sophomore effort didn’t fall foul of the “difficult second album” curse at all. It spent 35 consecutive weeks on the Top 40, peaking at Number 2 (again!). And if you’re going to be beaten to Number 1 by anyone, it might as well be Whitney Houston. Yes, the late great legend won the Whitney-Britney standoff with her greatest hits collection.
ChartFact: Whitney beat Britney to Number 1 by a mere 1,200 copies… So close, Brit!
4: In The Zone (2003)
Despite being Britney’s first album to miss the Top 10 altogether, In The Zone comes in fourth. Spawning two massive Number 1 singles Toxic and Everytime, Britney’s transition from teen pop sensation to polished pop performer was complete.
On the week of release in November 2003, competition was fierce, with new entries from Michael Jackson, Busted, Kylie Minogue and the Beatles meaning there was no room in the Top 10 for Britney. She entered at Number 14.
Maybe if the set had been released after she went to Number 1 with Toxic, things could have been different…
5: Britney (2001)
Britney’s third album saw her experiment with her sound and take a noticeably more R&B direction on lead single I’m A Slave 4 U, working with Pharrell Williams. It was the first time a Britney long-player didn’t yield any Number 1 singles, but you can’t argue with four Top 10s.
ChartFact: Boys, the fourth official single from Britney, was the first time the star shared artist credits on a song. The special guest on this single remix was none other than Pharrell Williams. Her next Top 10 over a year later would also have a featured artist. It was, of course, Madonna on Me Against The Music.
Click through all of Britney Spears' UK single and album artwork below...
Article image: Rex