Hitting Number 1 on the Official Chart isn't easy. In the countdown's 66-year history, over 1,000 songs have been left out in the cold in the runner-up slot - and some acts have a nasty habit of missing out a lot...
Not only does Madonna have more UK Number 1 singles than any other female (13), she also has more Number 2s than any act in history (excluding reissues). 12 of the Queen of Pop's tracks have a case of 'almost-but-not-quite', starting with 1985's Crazy For You, ending with her 2003 feature on Britney Spears' Me Against The Music.
|CRAZY FOR YOU||1985|
|LIVE TO TELL||1986|
|JUSTIFY MY LOVE||1990|
|CRAZY FOR YOU (REMIX)||1991|
|RAY OF LIGHT||1998|
|ME AGAINST THE MUSIC (WITH BRITNEY SPEARS)||2003|
Cliff Richard (11)
Including his solo singles and his work credited with The Shadows and The Drifters, Cliff has notched up a staggering 11 near-miss singles, the most for among male artists, and British acts. Ironically, Move It is Cliff's first and last Number 2; the song was Cliff & The Drifters' debut single back in 1958, and was then re-recorded as part of a double a-side in 2006, packaged with 21st Century Christmas.
|MOVE IT [CLIFF RICHARD & THE DRIFTERS]||1958|
|VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS [CLIFF RICHARD & THE SHADOWS]||1960|
|FALL IN LOVE WITH YOU [CLIFF RICHARD & THE SHADOWS]||1960|
|I'M LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW/DO YOU WANT TO DANCE||1962|
|IT'LL BE ME||1962|
|IT'S ALL IN THE GAME||1963|
|DON'T TALK TO HIM||1963|
|WIND ME UP (LET ME GO)||1965|
|THE BEST OF ME||1989|
|21ST CENTURY CHRISTMAS/MOVE IT||2006|
Kylie Minogue (11)
In an alternate universe, Kylie Minogue actually has 18 UK Number 1 singles, one more than The Beatles. However in this dark, dark timeline, Kylie has 7 chart toppers and a whopping 11 songs that stopped short of the mountain top.
|GOT TO BE CERTAIN||1988|
|JE NE SAIS PAS POURQUOI||1988|
|WOULDN'T CHANGE A THING||1989|
|BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW||1990|
|GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME||1992|
|CONFIDE IN ME||1994|
|ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS||2000|
|KIDS [WITH ROBBIE WILLIAMS]||2000|
|LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT||2002|
|I BELIEVE IN YOU||2004|
Elvis Presley (9)*
Elvis being, you know, the King, he'll feature in every trivia list we will ever produce, and he rears his very talented head in this rundown too, with nine Number 2s to his name.
|HARD HEADED WOMAN||1958|
|A MESS OF BLUES||1960|
|IN THE GHETTO||1969|
*Including Elvis' series of singles reissues from the 2000s, Elvis has 17 Number 2 hits, as nine of his previous Number 1s re-entered the chart at Number 2.
Barbadian bad gal Rihanna has been killing it on the Official Singles Chart for over a decade, racking up nine chart toppers. She also has the same number of second place hits, her first being her debut smash Pon De Replay, with her most recent being Calvin Harris hook-up This Is What You Came For. Rihanna can even claim to have the best-selling song of 2010 with Love The Way You Lie, despite it going no higher than Number 2. Not so bad after all, right?
|PON DE REPLAY||2005|
|LIVE YOUR LIFE [WITH T.I]||2008|
|LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE [WITH EMINEM]||2010|
|WORK [FT. DRAKE]||2016|
|THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR [WITH CALVIN HARRIS]||2016|
Michael Jackson (8)
Michael Jackson actually has more Number 2s than Number 1s on the UK's Official Chart, with eight. He also has eight Number 3s, but we'll get to that another time. MJ's most recent song to sit in the shadow of the top spot is 2018's Don't Matter To Me with Drake.
|SAY SAY SAY [WITH PAUL MCCARTNEY]||1983|
|LEAVE ME ALONE||1989|
|HEAL THE WORLD||1992|
|GIVE IN TO ME||1993|
|WHY [WITH 3T]||1996|
|YOU ROCK MY WORLD||2001|
|MAN IN THE MIRROR*||2009|
|DON'T MATTER TO ME [WITH DRAKE]||2018|
*Man In The Mirror originally peaked at Number 21 in 1988 before reaching Number 2 following Michael's death in 2009.
Justin Timberlake (7)
Many of Justin Timberlake's songs feel like they'd have Number 1 written all over them, but seven of them have narrowly missed out on chart topping glory. JT's first three singles Like I Love You, Cry Me A River and Rock Your Body all peaked at Number 2, as did his feel-good 2016 hit Can't Stop The Feeling, which was stuck behind Drake's One Dance for four weeks.
|LIKE I LOVE YOU||2002|
|CRY ME A RIVER||2003|
|ROCK YOUR BODY||2003|
|SIGNS [WITH SNOOP DOGG AND CHARLIE WILSON]||2005|
|MY LOVE [FT. T.I.]||2006|
|AYO TECHNOLOGY [WITH 50 CENT AND TIMBALAND]||2007|
|CAN’T STOP THE FEELING||2016|
Calvin Harris (7)
Calvin Harris knows a thing or two about hits. In addition to his 10 massive chart topping hits, Calvin has seven Number 2s under his belt. The first was 2011's Bounce with Kelis while the latest is 2019's Giant with Rag'n'Bone Man.
|FEELS SO CLOSE||2011|
|WE'LL BE COMING BACK||2012|
|HOW DEEP IS YOUR LOVE||2015|
|THIS IS WHAT YOU'VE CAME FOR||2016|
6 Number 2s:
Queen, Boyzone, Oasis, Robbie Williams, Justin Bieber.
5 Number 2s:
The Beatles, Tom Jones, The Sweet, U2, George Michael, Sash!, Steps, S Club, Girls Aloud.