Imagine there's no Beatles… it's actually pretty hard, isn't it, given their huge influence on pop?
New movie Yesterday does just that, though, telling the story of one man who has an accident and wakes up in a kind of alternate reality where the Beatles never existed, and only he can remember their songs.
The film has sparked new interest in the Beatles' colossal back catalogue, which takes in 38 Top 40 hits, of which 28 went Top 10, with 17 of those going to Number 1. Six of their songs are million-sellers, but when it comes to the digital age, how do those hits hold up? Look back at every Beatles hit single and album in their Official Chart archive
We looked at the Fab Four's most played songs on streaming services since streams began to be counted toward the chart in 2014 and, brilliantly, there's a HUGE shock at the top.
The most popular Beatles' song on streaming services is not your typical Fab Four track – Paul McCartney isn't on lead vocals, John Lennon doesn't appear on the track at all, neither of them wrote it, and it wasn't even a hit! The honour goes to the uplifting Here Comes The Sun, written and sung by George Harrison, and a staple of any summer playlist. It's amassed 50.8 million streams, and is way ahead of its nearest rival. Here Comes The Sun is an album track – featuring on Abbey Road – and was never an official single, but it did finally get to chart in 2010, when the Beatles' back catalogue was finally made available to download, peaking at 58.
In second on 30 million listens, it's the singalong classic Hey Jude, one of the band's later Number 1s, spending two weeks at the top in September 1968. It's the Beatles' sixth top selling single overall, with 1.15 million copies sold. Third is another Beatles song to miss the top, the much-covered Come Together, originally released as a double-A side with fellow Abbey Road track Something (16th place), which, like Here Comes the Sun, was penned by George Harrison. It peaked at Number 4 in November 1969, has 28.84 million plays and was followed by the fourth song on the list, the band's last single from their main period of success, Let it Be, on 28.1 million plays.
The big song itself, Yesterday, makes it into the Top 10, and when it comes to the band's million-sellers, other than hey Jude at 2, they land as follows: I Want to Hold Your hand is 11th; We Can Work it out is 25th, and its double-A partner Day Tripper is at 32; their best selling single She Loves You is 28th; Can't Buy Me Love is at 29; and I Feel Fine scrapes in at 39. See the bestselling singles of all time on the UK chart
Perhaps surprisingly, the band's first ever Number 1 – From Me To You – misses out, landing in 52nd place.
The Beatles' Official Top 40 most streamed songs:
|1||HERE COMES THE SUN||58||1969|
|4||LET IT BE||2||1970|
|5||TWIST AND SHOUT||48||1964|
|8||WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS||N/A||1968|
|9||IN MY LIFE||N/A||1965|
|11||I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND||1||1963|
|14||SGT PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND||63||1967|
|15||A DAY IN THE LIFE||N/A||1967|
|17||LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS||N/A||1967|
|19||ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE||1||1967|
|20||LOVE ME DO||1||1962|
|22||WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS||63||1967|
|23||A HARD DAYS NIGHT||1||1964|
|24||STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER||2||1967|
|25||WE CAN WORK IT OUT||1||1965|
|26||TICKET TO RIDE||1||1965|
|27||NORWEGIAN WOOD (THIS BIRD HAS FLOWN)||N/A||1965|
|28||SHE LOVES YOU||1||1963|
|29||CAN'T BUY ME LOVE||1||1964|
|33||DON'T LET ME DOWN||N/A||1969|
|34||EIGHT DAYS A WEEK||N/A||1964|
|35||I AM THE WALRUS||N/A||1967|
|36||I SAW HER STANDING THERE||N/A||1963|
|37||OB LA DI OB LA DA||N/A||1968|
|38||BACK IN THE USSR||N/A||1968|
|39||I FEEL FINE||1||1964|
|40||ACROSS THE UNIVERSE||N/A||1969|
©2019 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.
– Here Comes the Sun charted only once the Beatles' back catalogue was made available to download.
– Twist and Shout was originally released on an EP, then inadmissible for the Official Singles Chart – its Number 48 peak is upon the digital release of the Beatles back catalogue.
– Double A-sides and thus sharing a chart peak: Eleanor Rigby & Yellow Submarine; Penny Lane & Strawberry Fields Forever; Something & Come Together; We Can Work it Out & Day Tripper; Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band & With A Little Help From My Friends, issued and charting in 1978