Kelly Clarkson interview: Since U Been Gone is 10 years old

We talk to the original American Idol about the hit that made her a star, plus count down her best selling singles in the UK.

“Here’s the thing. We started out friends.”

There are some songs you can’t imagine anyone else singing, but it’s often the caseyour favourite tune was originally supposed to be sung by someone else.

So the story goes with Since U Been Gone, Kelly Clarkson’s first UK Top 5 hit, which entered the Official Singles Chart TEN years ago this week.

MORE: Official Singles Chart Top 100 for this week in 2005 

Kelly was no stranger to the Top 10 – her ballsy, rocky R&B track Miss Independent had peaked at Number 6 two years earlier – but Since U Been Gone felt like a launch track. And yet it very nearly wasn’t hers at all.

Originally penned by pop supremo Max Martin with Pink in mind, who said no, the track then went on its merry way to Hilary Duff, who didn’t think it was quite her. And so it fell to Kelly Clarkson, who was looking for the song that would prove to the world that she was more than just an American Idol.

On record, Kelly sounded effortless and electric, but behind the scenes, getting Since U Been Gone off the ground was no walk in the park, as she revealed when OfficialCharts.com caught up with her for a natter.

“I definitely have a different relationship with Since U Been Gone these days,” says Kelly.

“Recording that song was a very – how can I say it – trying experience, just because people around me had very set ideas of how they wanted it to sound.”

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Kelly knew that this song was the big one. In a world where most talent contest stars usually experience only short-lived success, Kelly had a lot to prove and a sound to make all her own.

“It was very hard to get it with a lot of guitars and get that jump on the octave for the chorus,” she explains. “I had to put up a big fight for it.”

“In everyone’s defence, we were a new team and none of us knew each other, and people were told different things about the direction we were going… suffice to say it all got a bit confusing.”

And now, a decade on, does she still flinch at the memory of her studio struggles or, unlike many popstars you might meet, has she learned to love the back catalogue? Spoiler: she loves it.

“It’s genuinely one of my favourites to do on tour because it’s such big moment for the fans,” says Kelly.

“It’s got that nostalgia thing attached to it for people now – fans are always coming up to me and telling me their story around their memories of the song. It’s also really fun to sing live – it’s a little punk but it’s pop, and it’s just fun!”

So Kelly still loves it, but how popular is it with the British public? We had a little nosey through Kelly’s chart archive and whipped up a list of her biggest selling singles. Since U Been Gone came in fourth… but can Kel guess the rest of her Top 5? We asked her if she could name the songs that sold more. And you know what? She aced it!

“Is it behind Stronger, My Life Would Suck Without You and Because Of You?”

Gobsmacked. Surely she had a sneaky look at our chart while we weren’t looking, right? She claims not.

“I’ll tell you how I know Because Of You is so high, because everyone I worked with hated that song and told me it wouldn’t go anywhere because it didn’t rhyme,” explains Kelly.  “I was like, are you serious?!”

“And then when it blew up, they took all the credit for it, which is fine, because all I cared about was having it on my record. But I worked damn hard for that song!”

MORE: Kelly Clarkson’s chart archive  

Too right! We reveal Kelly’s Top 10 biggest selling songs below, but before we do, we had to ask Clarko about her personal favourite. Since U Been Gone? Stronger? Her only Number 1 My Life Would Sick Without You? Nope!

“My favourite probably forever will be Miss Independent. Not just because it’s my first single and it really catapulted me into the industry when a lot of people were doubting me after American Idol, but it’s just so much fun to sing live. I love it so much – In fact, I’d love to make an album of songs like that next!”

You heard it here first: we’re getting an album of 12 Miss Independents next. Amazing.

Kelly Clarkson’s biggest selling songs

She’s scored 15 Top 40s, including 9 Top 10s, and has a Number 1 single under her belt. But which is the biggest of them all?

Out in front is not her chart-topper, My Life Would Suck Without You, believe it or not. It has to settle for second place behind Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).

Although it peaked at Number 8, slow and steady downloading and a 16-week stay in the charts gave Stronger sales of over 485,000.

Kelly’s top selling single in the UK, the track hovered between 8 and 13 for seven weeks, peaking at Number 8 three times before beginning its descent.

So it’s a silver for My Life Would Suck Without You, which spent a week at Number 1 in March 2009, kicking Lily Allen’s The Fear into touch after a month at the top.

ChartFact My Life Would Suck Without You stopped Taylor Swift’s Love Story getting to Number 1, and has sold 398,000 copies.

MORE: The Official Singles Chart Top 100 the week Kelly was Number 1

Up in third it’s Because Of You, which only reached Number 7 but has outsold Clarko hits that charted higher. Over 375,000 have been swaying along gently in your bedroom to that one.

Fourth biggest seller is the song we’re here to celebrate – Since U Been Gone spent seven weeks in the Top 10, at either numbers 5, 6, or 7, and has sold 343,000 copies. It's such a big song it even featured in the movie Pitch Perfect.

ChartFact: Since U Been Gone spent 40 consecutive weeks in the Top 100 – Kelly’s longest chart run. 

And rounding off the Top 5 is another empowering anthem Mr Know It All, which peaked at Number 4 and shifted 305,000 copies.

Here’s the Top 10 in full:

  TITLE PEAK YEAR
1 STRONGER (WHAT DOESN'T KILL YOU) 8 2012
2 MY LIFE WOULD SUCK WITHOUT YOU 1 2009
3 BECAUSE OF YOU 7 2005
4 SINCE U BEEN GONE 5 2005
5 MR KNOW IT ALL 4 2011
6 HEARTBEAT SONG 7 2015
7 BEHIND THESE HAZEL EYES 9 2005
8 BREAKAWAY 22 2006
9 MISS INDEPENDENT 6 2003
10 I DO NOT HOOK UP 36 2009

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