NOW #1s: Official Charts readers reveal their all-time favourite Number 1 singles
Brought to you by NOW That's What I Call Music.
As part of the celebrations to mark 70 years of the Official Singles Chart this month, Now That’s What I Call Music! are releasing a very special edition of their compilation series. NOW #1s is an expansive 5 CD collection featuring some of the greatest UK chart-toppers since the birth of the Official UK Charts in 1952.
The compilation kicks off with an undisputed classic, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody; a song so popular it managed to score the Official Christmas Number 1 spot twice.
The collection journeys through the greatest chart-toppers of all time, from '80s and '90s classics by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Blondie and Oasis to recent huge hits from Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Coldplay.
View the full 100-song Now #1s tracklisting here. Order your copy of Now #1s here.
A Number 1 single is a big part of what the Official Charts are about and, of course, a chart-topper isn’t possible without the fans. Everyone has their favourite; that one much-loved song that holds a personal meaning to them.
Below, Official Charts readers share their memories of their favourite chart-topping songs from the tracklist.
And since we're in the party spirit for Official Charts' 70th birthday, put your knowledge of chart-toppers to the test in the NOW #1s quiz.
Official Charts readers pick their favourite Number 1s
Favourite song on NOW #1s: Robbie Williams – Rock DJ
"Rock DJ is a childhood nostalgia classic. It's my second all-time favourite song. I have bought many physical copies of the single – the CD, cassette, VHS single, DVD single and the remixes CD single.
"It’s a song that gets me singing out loud, grooving and dancing away. I love the controversial music video. I have done all sorts of research about the song, including watching a documentary about the music video's production and filming from behind the scenes. I’ve watched interviews about the song's creation and how it came to be; such as the song being written in 15 minutes and sampling another well-known track. I even have the first ever broadcast of the music video on Top Of The Pops which was cut short due to its content towards the end."
Malte tom Woerden
Favourite song on NOW #1s: The Jam – Going Underground
"When I was in London the very first time aged 14 (way back in autumn 1979 a teenage boy from Germany being in the most exciting city on the planet at that time was more than a thrill), I visited a couple of record shops and one played The Eton Rifles. I was immediately hooked and spent most of the money I had with me on The Jam’s back catalogue.
"When I learned in March 1980 that The Jam were to release a new single, I rushed to the record shop the day it arrived in Germany. The riff pulled me right into that song, and Paul Weller’s magnificent voice and Bruce Foxton’s bass playing were the reason I played this single to death. I even started to learn bass because of that song. Going Underground reigns atop my all-time favourite songs - and no other track has ever come close. Yes, The Jam have had a lasting impact and are still relevant today."
Favourite song on NOW #1s: Spice Girls – Wannabe
"I first heard Wannabe when I was at the Sea Cadets and we were in ‘the mess’ (the chill-out area), and we were blasting out Wannabe which someone had brought in on cassette. I remember thinking, WOW, this is awesome! All of us were jumping and dancing around!
"The track just hits you straight away. When you hear the laugh and then the 'Yo!' you can’t help but sing along and dance around to it. The Spice Girls will always have a special place in my heart. This was the revolution of British pop music and it definitely paved the way for many more girl bands."
Favourite song on NOW #1s: Gerry & The Pacemakers – You’ll Never Walk Alone
"The song is the anthem for Celtic FC and Liverpool FC, sung by supporters of the club during matches. It’s also part of the music from the TV series Ted Lasso, although the rendition used on the show is sung by Marcus Mumford. My daughter, who lives in Nashville, recommended the show to me. I live in Michigan and work for a company based in the UK, and I felt the show helped us all connect on a deeper level, as we could only communicate via Zoom or Teams calls during lockdown. You’ll Never Walk Alone was the song we all needed to hear during the COVID lockdown. Although things at the time looked bleak, you truly "never walk alone" if you have friends and faith."
Favourite song on NOW #1s: Olivia Rodrigo – Drivers License
"I first discovered Olivia Rodrigo in 2020 when lockdown hit. I came across All I Want, one of the songs she did for the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series show she’s in on Disney+. When I heard this song at the start of 2021 I have to say I immediately loved it and haven’t stop listening to it since."
Favourite song on NOW #1s: Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas?
"It simply sums up my teenage years in one song. The fact that it was the first time so many huge stars of the time came together, put their egos aside and made history. Everyone who we loved and listened to were there, or sent a message on the B-side if they couldn't be there. Even now, almost 40 years later, the opening bars give me goosebumps."
Favourite song on NOW #1s: The Human League - Don’t You Want Me
"From the driving synth bass to the layers upon layers of keyboards this powerful song of want, loss and control is still the pinnacle of new wave electronica. A masterclass in song writing, production and performance, it is rightly regarded as a classic some 40 years later."
Favourite song on NOW #1s: Duran Duran – Is There Something I Should Know?
"I will never forget the anticipation building on the Sunday night Official Chart show when this track was expected to enter the Top 40. I’m a massive fan of Duran Duran and have seen them live some 14 times over the years. At the time this was a brand-new track and wasn't available on any album and when it entered at Number 1 it was long overdue. They had come so close with the amazing Save A Prayer, my favourite song of all time, that new material from Birmingham's finest was sure to set the charts on fire.
"Another thing I remember vividly was when I received Now That's What I Call Music Volume 1 on double vinyl as a Christmas Present that year in 1983. It was the first time that Is There Something I Should Know? had been available on any album. Duran Duran are still going strong forty years later. Amazing!"
Now you've been inspired, put your chart smarts to the test in our NOW #1s quiz? Get your chart head on, make your choices and see if you can make it all the way to the top...