Second chance singles: The songs that underperformed first time round

We look back at songs that needed the boost of re-release to be a bigger hit.

Getting into the charts isn't as easy as you think. While the Top 40 is counted down every week, there are a whole 60 other songs making up the Top 100, some of whom may never get to experience the joy of finding themselves in the top flight. And some do make it, but don't quite hit their full potential.

So if you don't succeed first time, what do you do? You try again, of course! Sometimes it works! We look at tunes that lived their best life second time around.

Radiohead – Creep

They're having Number 1 albums all over the place these days, but back in 1993, Radiohead's first single release Creep failed to make an impression, missing the Top 75 altogether. But it wasn't all over for the future classic – it had another go and reached Number 7. 

MORE: Radiohead's UK hit singles and albums

Peter Andre – Mysterious Girl

Everyone's favourite six-pack and celebrity parenting expert Peter Andre may have sold a million with this summery reggae smash, but it didn't find success first time round. Mysterious Girl originally limped into the chart at 53 upon first release in September 1995, but when it was pushed back out the following summer, the world was powerless to resist those abs, and it reached Number 2. Fast forward eight years and one appearance on I'm A Celebrity later, and our Pete's signature song was finally rewarded with chart-topping status.

Bros – I Owe You Nothing

Stiffing at Number 80 on original release in 1987, it took the band's second single, When Will I Be Famous, hitting the Top 10 to give I Owe You Nothing a boost. And boost it, it did – I Owe You Nothing became the band's first and only Number 1 in 1988.

Madonna – Borderline

It's hard to imagine Madonna having to stare single floppage in the face – well, in the '80s anyway – but Madge's third single Borderline tanked on release, stalling at 56 in 1984. It was to be her last flop for quite a while – her next 36 singles went Top 10, which is a chart record in the UK – and Madonna re-released Borderline in 1986, taking it to Number 2.

MORE: See Madonna's record-breaking chart history in her archive

Corrs – Runaway

Not exactly a runaway success on its first release (do you see what we did there?), it gave the Corrs their very first chart entry in 1996, but reached only 49. A re-release as a double-A side with Love To Love You fared even worse, stalling at 62. But the Corrs wouldn't give up, and after the remix of Dreams gave them their first Top 10, it was third time lucky for Runaway, which went to Number 2 in 1999, THREE years after its original release. On a scale of 1 to 10, how sick do you reckon they all were of playing it live by then? We're going for 11.

MORE: See all the Corrs' UK hit singles and albums

Tori Amos - Professional Widow

Tori said it herself: "It's gotta be big", and when released as a double-A side with Hey Jupiter, Tori's Professional Widow managed to get to Number 20 in 1996 – not quite big enough. But the main story was happening on the 12" of this release, where a remix by Armand van Helden was making clubs blow up all over the country. Putting a donk on it doesn't even cover it – it was pretty special. Sensing a phenomenon, a canny Tori released a single edit of the remix in early 1997 and only went and scored her first Number 1 single! Achievement unlocked.

Cardigans - Lovefool


FYI, the cover art really was this blurry, your screen isn't broken.

"Dear, I fear we're facing a problem" indeed, but Lovefool's original chart position of Number 21 in summer 1996 was a career high for the band – they weren't known for setting the Top 20 alight at that point, tbh. Fast forward a year and the song's appearance on the soundtrack of reimagined romantic classic Romeo + Juliet, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, meant a re-release took the track all the way to Number 2, beaten by…

Olive – You're Not Alone

Yep, another one. The original version of You're Not Alone had flopped first time round, reaching 42 in 1996. Fast forward a year, however, and you're going straight in at Number 1 and leaving the Cardigans very disappointed.

Michael Jackson – Man in the Mirror

OK, so the King of Pop didn't exactly flop with this classic ballad on first release in 1988, but it was the only single from mega-selling album Bad to miss the Top 20. It took 21 years, and a very sad event, for this wrong to be righted – following Michael's death in 2009, fans rediscovered their love for Man in the Mirror and it finally scored the Top 10 placing it deserved, hitting Number 2.

MORE: See all Michael Jackson's UK hit singles and albums in his archive 

Prince – 1999 and Little Red Corvette

The early '80s were a prime era for bunging out a single again if you thought it should have done a little better. When 1999 peaked at Number 25 and its follow-up, Little Red Corvette, stalled at 54 in 1983, Prince – or more likely his record company, let's be real – wasn't taking this lying down. After the Purple One scored a couple more Top 10s, it was decided 1985 would be a much more hospitable environment for the two tracks, so they came back out as a double-A side (ask your auntie) and stormed up the chart, peaking at Number 2. 💅

MORE: Relive all Prince's classic hits in his Official Charts archive

Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls

Would it be slightly cheating to include this one? The original version of this future chart-topper was a minor hit in the US and Canada, but only made it to the UK as a 12" import in 1984. Along came a major label deal, a totally rerecorded version and, hey buffalo, you've got yourself a Number 1! If you're a stickler for the rules, Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money) did get a full UK release in 1985 and flopped, missing the Top 100. After West End Girls did the biz, it was re-released and got to Number 11 in 1986.

Florence + the Machine – Dogs Days Are Over

Sometimes, you have to play the long game, and Florence certainly did with Dog Days Are Over, which scraped into the Top 100 in 2008. It took a year, and a nice new video, for the song to finally find Top 40 glory, becoming Florence's first hit in 2010.

Seal – Kiss From A Rose

Most artists would kill to get a Top 20, and Seal may well have been happy with the Number 20 peak Kiss From A Rose reached on original release in 1994. But you should never underestimate the power of a soundtrack. Featuring in blockbuster movie Batman Forever, Kiss From A Rose found a new audience, got another shot at the charts and went Top 5.


Here's Seal in the video, trespassing in what looks like Batman's air conditioning system (YouTube)

InXS – Need You Tonight

It was their signature song and the track that gave them their highest charting hit in the UK, but did you know this was not Need You Tonight's first time at the show? Yep, on first go-around, in 1987, Need You Tonight stalled at 58, but once they had a few hits under their belt, InXS gave Need You Tonight another chance to shine. Almost exactly a year later, it was at Number 2, held off the top by… Robin Beck's First Time, which was the theme to a Diet Coke commercial. That's showbiz.

MORE: Track all InXS' UK hit singles and albums