Official Top 40 best-selling songs of 1990

Hits by Madonna, Sinead O'Connor and Roxette are among the top sellers of 1990.

1990 saw a dramatic shift in pop, and an unexpected classic becoming the year's biggest single - Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers. 

The track spent seven weeks at Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart between May - July that year thanks to its inclusion in the hit film Ghost. Originally a modest Number 14 hit in 1965, the big ballad by the US duo sold just under 840,000 copies to finish as the UK's best-seller of 1990, according to Official Charts Company data. A re-issue of their 1965 UK breakthrough hit You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' was also a hit in December that year, peaking at Number 3.

The UK's second best-selling single of 1990 was Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares 2 U. The power ballad, famously written by Prince, held the top spot for four weeks in February (and topped charts across the world), selling 671,000 copies that year.

In third is Elton John's Sacrifice/Healing Hands double A-side (649k), the icon's first solo UK Number 1 and second overall, released to raise money for AIDS charities. Both songs had previously failed to reach the Top 40 when they were originally released in 1989, but a boost in airplay saw the reissued single take them to Number 1 for 5 weeks. 

Rounding out the Top 5 of 1990 are Vanilla Ice's debut single Ice Ice Baby (586k), and Killer by acid house DJ/producer Adamski featuring vocals from Seal (537k). 

Also in the end-of-year Top 10, Madonna's worldwide smash Vogue features at Number 8 (436k), followed by the England's 1990 World Cup single, New Order's World In Motion at 9 (429k).

MORE: Official Top 40 best-selling songs of 1989

In addition to Unchained Melody, three more Number 1s in 1990 came from films and feature in the year-end chart: Maria McKee's Show Me Heaven from Days Of Thunder (6), Partners In Kryme's Turtle Power from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (13), and Kylie Minogue's Tears On My Pillow from The Deliquents (34) - the latter being the final chart-topper for producers Stock Aiten Waterman. Kylie features again at 38 with her SAW-produced Number 2 hit Better The Devil You Know. 

Elsewhere, house music was on the rise in 1990, with big hits including The Power and Ooops Up by Snap!, Get Up by Belgian outfit Techtronic, and Tom's Diner by British dance act DNA featuring Suzanne Vega.

Finally, the 1990 Christmas Number 1, Saviour's Day by Cliff Richard, places at Number 21. The track followed his 1988 festive chart-topper Mistletoe And Wine to become his 13th UK Number 1.

Official Top 40 best-selling songs of 1990

  TITLE ARTIST PEAK
1 UNCHAINED MELODY THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS 1
2 NOTHING COMPARES 2 U SINEAD O’CONNOR 1
3 SACRIFICE/HEALING HANDS ELTON JOHN 1
4 ICE ICE BABY VANILLA ICE 1
5 KILLER ADAMSKI 1
6 SHOW ME HEAVEN MARIA MCKEE 1
7 DUB BE GOOD TO ME BEATS INTERNATIONAL 1
8 VOGUE MADONNA 1
9 WORLD IN MOTION ENGLAND/NEW ORDER 1
10 THE POWER SNAP! 1
11 NESSUN DORMA LUCIANO PAVAROTTI 2
12 A LITTLE TIME BEAUTIFUL SOUTH 1
13 TURTLE POWER PARTNERS IN KRYME 1
14 IT MUST HAVE BEEN LOVE ROXETTE 3
15 U CAN'T TOUCH THIS MC HAMMER 3
16 ITSY BITSY TEENY WEENY WELLOW POLKA DOT BIKINI BOMBALURINA 1
17 GET UP (BEFORE THE NIGHT IS OVER) TECHNOTRONIC FEAT YA KID K 2
18 BLACK VELVET ALANNAH MYLES 2
19 DIRTY CASH ADVENTURES OF STEVIE V 2
20 DON'T WORRY KIM APPLEBY 2
21 SAVIOUR'S DAY CLIFF RICHARD 1
22 MONA CRAIG MCLACHLAN & CHECK 1-2 2
23 LOVE SHACK B-52'S 2
24 THE JOKER STEVE MILLER BAND 1
25 OPPOSITES ATTRACT PAULA ABDUL WITH THE WILD PAIR 2
26 GROOVE IS IN THE HEART DEEE-LITE 2
27 BLUE VELVET BOBBY VINTON 2
28 HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LIVE WITHOUT YOU MICHAEL BOLTON 3
29 I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT YOU LONDONBEAT 2
30 UNBELIEVABLE EMF 3
31 NAKED IN THE RAIN BLUE PEARL 4
32 TOM'S DINER DNA FEAT SUZANNE VEGA 2
33 OOOPS UP SNAP! 5
34 TEARS ON MY PILLOW KYLIE MINGUE 1
35 KINGSTON TOWN UB40 4
36 THE ANNIVERSARY WALTZ - PART 1 STATUS QUO 2
37 TAKE MY BREATH AWAY BERLIN 3
38 BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW KYLIE MINGUE 2
39 TONIGHT NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK 3
40 I'M FREE SOUP DRAGONS FEAT JUNIOR READ 5

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