March 17 is St. Patrick's Day! What better way to celebrate the snake-charming saint of the Emerald Isle than look back at the Republic of Ireland's stars who topped the Official Singles Chart in the UK?
Fifteen Irish acts have reached the summit, landing a total of 46 Number 1s. We've got four men, three women and eight groups to thank for that – but can you name them without looking?
The clean-cut quartet – who started out as a quintet, of course – have claimed an incredible 14 UK Number 1s, making them Ireland's most prolific chart-toppers. Starting with Swear it Again in May 1999, their first seven singles all hit the top, breaking the Spice Girls' record for consecutive Number 1s since debut, and they racked them up in just 18 months. Westlife's first five chart toppers all featured on their self-titled debut album, making it the studio album that includes the most Number 1 hits. See Westlife's Top 20 biggest songs on the UK's Official Chart
It took eight Top 40 hits before U2 finally scored their first Number 1 in 1988, with Desire, but they didn't waste any time collecting a few more! With an impressive seven UK Number 1 singles to their name, U2 are one of the biggest acts in UK chart history. You may know U2 as the godfathers of stadium rock, but they've flirted with dance music too — one of their most unusual Number 1s was Take Me to the Clouds Above with LMC in 2004, which sampled their 1987 hit With or Without You, with lyrics lifted from Whitney Houston's How Will I Know, over a banging beat.
B*Witched are the only girl group to go straight in at Number 1 with their first four singles – nope, not even the Spice Girls managed that one. That first Number 1, C'est La Vie, was a million-seller too, spending two weeks at the top in June 1998. B*Witched also made history in March 1999 when their fourth Number 1 Blame It On The Weatherman knocked Boyzone's When The Going Gets Tough off the top, marking the first time an Irish act had dethroned another. What are they like?!
This fact may leave you Breathless (sorry), but the family four-piece The Corrs scored just one Number 1 in the UK. Breathless, written with Shania Twain's then-husband, super-producer Mutt Lange, spent a week at the top in July 2000, only to be deposed by fellow countryman Ronan Keating.
The track was the first single from the In Blue album, the long awaited follow-up to Talk On Corners, which spent 10 weeks at Number 1 in the UK. See where all The Corrs' singles and albums charted in the UK.
Speaking of Ronan, he's had a hand in quite a few chart-toppers. As lead singer of Boyzone, he scored six of them, kicking off with Words, in 1996, and solo, he's done it three times. His first solo Number 1 When You Say Nothing At All was elbowed from the top by Westlife, so Ronan holds the honour of being involved in all three occurrences of Irish folk replacing each other at Number 1.
Incredibly, there hasn't been an Irish act at Number 1 since 2012! The last one to do it was The Script. who teamed up with will.i.am to score their only Number 1 to date Hall of Fame.
The complete list of Official UK Number 1 singles by Irish acts (bolded acts in collaborations are the Irish musicians):
|1970||ALL KINDS OF EVERYTHING||DANA|
|1978||RAT TRAP||THE BOOMTOWN RATS|
|1979||I DON'T LIKE MONDAYS||THE BOOMTOWN RATS|
|1980||WHAT'S ANOTHER YEAR||JOHNNY LOGAN|
|1986||LADY IN RED||CHRIS DE BURGH|
|1990||NOTHING COMPARES 2 U||SINEAD O'CONNOR|
|1996||A DIFFERENT BEAT||BOYZONE|
|1998||ALL THAT I NEED||BOYZONE|
|1998||C'EST LA VIE||B*WITCHED|
|1998||NO MATTER WHAT||BOYZONE|
|1998||TO YOU I BELONG||B*WITCHED|
|1999||WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH||BOYZONE|
|1999||BLAME IT ON THE WEATHERMAN||B*WITCHED|
|1999||SWEAR IT AGAIN||WESTLIFE|
|1999||YOU NEEDED ME||BOYZONE|
|1999||WHEN YOU SAY NOTHING AT ALL||RONAN KEATING|
|1999||IF IT LET YOU GO||WESTLIFE|
|1999||FLYING WITHOUT WINGS||WESTLIFE|
|1999||I HAVE A DREAM/SEASONS IN THE SUN||WESTLIFE|
|2000||LIFE IS A ROLLERCOASTER||RONAN KEATING|
|2000||AGAINST ALL ODDS||MARIAH CAREY FT. WESTLIFE|
|2001||QUEEN OF MY HEART||WESTLIFE|
|2002||WORLD OF MY OWN||WESTLIFE|
|2002||IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES||RONAN KEATING|
|2004||TAKE ME TO THE CLOUDS ABOVE||LMC VS U2|
|2004||I DON'T WANNA KNOW||MARIO WINANS FT. ENYA AND P.DIDDY|
|2004||REAL TO ME||BRIAN MCFADDEN|
|2005||SOMETIMES YOU CAN'T MAKE IT ON YOUR OWN||U2|
|2005||YOU RAISE ME UP||WESTLIFE|
|2012||HALL OF FAME||THE SCRIPT FT. WILL.I.AM|
©2020 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.
Like this list? Take a look at: Every Australian Number 1 ever, every Welsh act to score a UK chart topper, all the Canadians to hit the Official Singles Chart top spot, every Scottish act to bag a UK Number 1