EU referendum special: The biggest selling singles by European acts

We count down the top selling songs from our friends on the continent.

One of the biggest votes for a generation is happening right now in the UK – the EU referendum.

Leave or Remain? We couldn't possibly comment, but what we can do is go through the archive to bring you the top selling songs by European artists. Whether from over on the continent or closer to home in Ireland, we present the biggest Euro-smashes.

The Top 10

Out in front is Denmark's Aqua with their 1997 smash Barbie Girl. The novelty dance track, which has the catchiest chorus this side of the European Court of Human Rights, spent four weeks at Number 1 and has sold a whopping 1.83 million copies to be the 15th biggest selling single of all time in the UK. Proof that a banger is a banger no matter where it's from. Excellent songs need no passport.

 

Next up is Gotye, who, along with New Zealander Kimbra, had a monster hit in 2011 with Somebody That I Used To Know. "Hang on," we hear you cry, "isn't he Australian?" Born in Bruges in Belgium, though, babes. No Europe, no Gotye. 1.5 million of you have that one in your collection.

We're nipping over to Sweden to sample the smorgasbord of EDM next, for at Number 3, it's DJ Avicii, with Wake Me Up from 2013, and has sold 1.46 million copies. Yes, that's right: Sweden's top export is not Abba, or even Ikea, but Avicii. 

For the next two tracks, we're settling down with a chocolat chaud and a croissant and wearing our finest Breton stripes. Oui, mes amis, we are in France, thanks to Daft Punk's Get Lucky (4) and David Guetta's Titanium (5). Both of these songs benefitted massively, of course, from trade agreements with the US and Australia, thanks to featured artists Pharrell Williams and Sia respectively.

The highest female solo artist is next, another Danish export, Whigfield. Her 1994 holiday hit Saturday Night was the first ever debut single to go straight in at Number 1, and has sold 1.18 million!

They may not be on the European mainland, but they've got the Euro and that's what counts – we've Ireland next. Boyzone's No Matter What is seventh.

Italy and Sweden are our next destinations. Eiffel 65's unforgettable (for many reasons) Blue (Da Ba Dee) from 1999 comes in eighth with 1.12 million sales, while Abba classic Dancing Queen finally speeds round the corner in a shiny Volvo at 9, a few thousand copies behind.

Black Box's Ride On Time completes the Top 10. The 1989 Number 1 caused controversy when it emerged it featured an uncredited vocal that had been used without permission, so it was then rerecorded by Heather Small, who would go on to sing with M People! It spent six weeks at the top.

Heading for the top of the Eurozone

Just outside, Sweden get another shot at glory thanks to Swedish House Mafia and John Martin's Don't You Worry Child at 11.

Smouldering Spanish-born Enrique Iglesias can only settle for 12th place with his 2002 blubfest Hero, and Lou Bega's million-selling Mambo No.5 gives Germany its highest seller and comes in 13th.

Potential members we vetoed

There were a few tracks that we had to discount in the name of fairness. Boney M, for example, are considered by some to be German because they were formed in Germany by a German producer. However, the band's members were from Jamaica, Montserrat and Aruba, which aren't very European at all, really. If they had been included, Rivers of Babylon would've been Number 1 (!) and Mary's Boy Child in runner-up position. A controversial decision, perhaps, but rules are rules.

If we were including featured artists, we'd have to give props to Afrojack, who's Dutch and guests on Pitbull's Give Me Everything. He'd be 11th. It is, however, Mr Worldwide himself who's the lead act on that song, so we're afraid we had to leave it out.

Here's the full Top 10. Where would we be without some of these absolute bangers, eh?

  TITLE ARTIST COUNTRY
1 BARBIE GIRL AQUA DENMARK
2 SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW GOTYE BELGIUM
3 WAKE ME UP AVICII SWEDEN
4 GET LUCKY DAFT PUNK FRANCE
5 TITANIUM DAVID GUETTA FRANCE
6 SATURDAY NIGHT WHIGFIELD DENMARK
7 NO MATTER WHAT BOYZONE IRELAND
8 BLUE (DA BA DEE) EIFFEL 65 ITALY
9 DANCING QUEEN ABBA SWEDEN
10 RIDE ON TIME BLACK BOX ITALY

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