The closest battles for Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart

The moments when chart history could have been altered by just a handful of sales.

This week, Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding reclaimed Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart with trance banger Miracle by holding off rising American singer David Kushner and his recent hit Daylight - with just 267 chart units between the two tracks.

It's an incredibly close result, but certainly not first time in the Official Chart's 68-year history that the race for the top spot has gone down to a photo finish. Since 1994 - where weekly charts and sales figures have been logged digitally and most comprehensively (capturing 99.9% of singles consumed in the UK) - there have been some seriously close races for the top spot...

All Saints – Never Ever Vs. Bamboo – Bamboogie (1998)

Sales difference: 557 copies

After a nine-week hike up the Top 10 to claim their first Number 1 single, All Saints were very nearly pipped to the post on its victory week, finishing a nail-biting 557 sales ahead of a seriously popular new entry by short-lived British house act Bamboo. See the full Top 100 Official Singles Chart from this week here.

Timbaland – The Way I Are  Vs. Kate Nash – Foundations (2007)

Sales difference: 16 copies

After a frustrating few weeks stuck behind Rihanna's Umbrella and Timbaland's The Way I Are, Kate Nash's closest shot at the top came in its sixth week on the chart, when it finished just sixteen sales behind Timbaland. Let's hope she's not bit-tuh about it. View the full Top 100 from this week here.

Boyzone - You Needed Me Vs. Geri Halliwell - Look At Me (1999)

Sales difference: 748 copies

Never underestimate the power of a boyband. Despite all signs pointing Geri heading for her first Number 1 as a solo artist with Look At Me, she just missed out, with 142,153 sales to Boyzone's 142,901. See what else was in the chart that week here.

Nelly Furtado - Maneater Vs. Sandi Thom - I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (2006)

Sales difference: 186 copies

Sandi Thom's runaway debut single was knocked off the summit after one week, but only just, toppled by Nelly's stompathon Maneater by only 186 copies. Read more about Maneater's rise to Number 1 here.

Mike Posner - I Took A Pill In Ibiza Vs. Lukas Graham - 7 Years (2016)

Sales difference: 261 combined sales

Danish soul-pop band Lukas Graham didn't give up their chart crown easily in March 2016. After five weeks at Number 1, the top spot was taken from them by Mike Posner by only 216 combined sales. 

Eminem - Like Toy Soldiers Vs. Elvis Presley - Are You Lonesome Tonight? (2005)

Sales difference: 969 copies

Remember when all of Elvis's Number 1 singles (18, to be exact) were reissued once a week every week from the start of 2005? Many artists struggled to compete with the King's chart power as they all landed in the Top 5, but one artist who (just) managed to beat him to the top was Eminem with his Matika-sampling Like Toy Soldiers. 

Example - Stay Awake Vs. Maroon 5 - Moves Like Jagger (2011)

Sales difference: 266 copies

UK rapper/singer Example landed his second chart-topper in September 2011, denying Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera's Moves Like Jagger the Number 1 by just a handful of sales, kick-starting the group's record seven-week stint at Number 2. See the full chart here.

Orson - No Tomorrow Vs. Chico - It's Chico Time Vs. Black Eyed Peas - Pump It (2006)

Sales difference: 334 copies between the Top 3

Music sales were down significantly in 2006 as the age of downloading was yet to take hold, but this Top 3 is still eye-wateringly close. US pop-rock band Orson snagged the Number 1 with their debut single No Tomorrow, just 329 copies ahead of Chico, while Black Eyed Peas were perched behind him by just five sales. See the full Top 100 Official Singles Chart from that week here.

Drake - God's Plan Vs. Rudimental - These Days (2018)

Sales difference: 937 chart sales

Rudimental spent seven consecutive weeks playing second fiddle to Drake through February and March 2018, before finally taking the top spot at the very end of that month. The week in which their sales were closest, just 937 chart sales separated the two tracks.

Saint Jhn - Roses Vs. The Weeknd - Blinding Lights (2020)

Sales difference: 210 chart sales

The tussle for Number 1 between Saint Jhn's Roses and The Weeknd's Blinding Lights went down to the wire in March 2020, with just 210 chart sales separating the two. After 11 weeks of climbing (two of which were spent behind Blinding Lights at Number 2) Roses - boosted by a viral remix by Imanbek - finally clinched the top spot.

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Nu No


I remember that both Madonna songs "Ray of Light" 98 and "Beautiful Stranger" 99 lost the #01 spot for less than 500 copies as well.


Johnny Mac


Wasn't there a mega close run during One Dance's 15-week stint at the top as well?


Dave Robinson


Didn't Steve Miller and Deee-Lite come closer than any of these back in 1990? That's supposed be either a dead tie or The Joker by eight copies, depending on which rule fudge they finally officially used...


David Laing


I thought that but then realised that was before it was digitalised in 1994


Rob Parkinson


Ruling used was that Steve Miller Band climber the furthest to get to no.1 so was hailed as increasing more, debatable especially as the weeks after it was selling more, should have let Dee-Lite have their deserved no.1 for a week




what about sonique - it feels so good & s club 7's reach ? ... reach peaked #2 but reached platinum status before "it feels so good" ? wondering their sales


Thomas Sales


I can't believe this article has failed to omit Groove is in the Heart. That sold exactly as many as The Joker in 1991. Very controversial. I can forgive them omitting the four ties in the fifties.


Richard M. White


It does say "after 1994" - and actually the incident you mention occurred in 1990. As Alan Jones' Record Mirror explained at the time, the chart sales panel figure were both rounded up to 2 decimal places which they shouldn't have been & The Joker actually sold eight more copies. As for the tied positions in the 50s, charts then weren't based actual sales, they averaged out positions of all the lists of best selling singles they received from the various shops (hence the ties). This was done because it was felt the accumulation of actual figures was too time consuming but this changed when BMRB took over compiling the charts in Feb 1969




It's difficult for them to talk about before 1994, because most of the people who write these articles don't seem to have been born back then.


Johnny McVey


I thought there were only 14 sales separating Foundations and The Way I Are?




I remember it being 9?