The songs that spent the longest at Number 1
Have you noticed a recent trend at the top of the Official Singles Chart? If you look back over recent times, it's clear to see that the one-week Number 1 is becoming rarer.
Acts like Justin Bieber and Camila Cabello have proven that a lengthy residency at Number 1 is totally achievable.
But as impressive as most of those artists' chart-topping stints are, they've still a way to go before they match the mammoth reigns of these massive hits. We take a look at the tracks to have spent ten weeks or more at the top.
Frankie Laine – I Believe (18 weeks)
American crooner Frankie scored his first ever UK Number 1 in April 1953, just after his 40th birthday and seemed reluctant to let go. Not content with notching up nine weeks at the summit, after a week at Number 2, he went back up to spend a further six at the top. But it wasn't over yet. Famous composer Mantovani then claimed the Number 1 spot, before Frankie gave him a nudge and racked up an additional three weeks. Only five songs in history have scored three separate stints at the top!
Those of you with a calculator handy will have worked out that adds up to a whopping 18 weeks. That's like, over four months. The song went to Number 1 again in 1995, but this time for Robson & Jerome, and sold over a million. Frankie's is the longest reign – although it's not consecutive of course. That honour goes to…
Bryan Adams – (Everything I Do) I Do It For You (16 weeks)
1991. The weather was pretty dull for much of the year, and if you weren't a fan of Bryan Adams' massive Number 1, listening to the radio wasn't likely to brighten your day. Thanks to the success of then-box office darling Kevin Costner's innovative Hollywood retelling of Robin Hood (complete with soft-metal blow-dry and Californian accent) this ballad was inescapable.
Their eyes met over the heated rollers – hair icons Robin Hood and Maid Marian on the single cover
Taking its pew at Number 1 in July and sitting tight until the end of October, Bryan's love theme from the movie notched up an incredible 16 straight weeks at the summit. As the UK frantically tried to find out who was still buying the song and working out how to stop them, along came U2 to save the day – you don't often hear that these days, do you? The Fly replaced Bryan at number 1 and order was restored.
Wet Wet Wet – Love Is All Around (15 weeks)
Another theme from a romantic movie, the Scottish quartet scored a third Number 1 with this cover of a Troggs hit from the Sixties. Taken from Four Weddings and a Funeral, even the band themselves were sick of hearing it during summer 1994.
After 15 consecutive weeks, the Wets decided to pour cold water on the song's soaring success and DELETED it (in the old days, you could halt production of a single – it was totally normal to do this to encourage people to buy the album it was taken from).
Drake – One Dance (15 weeks)
It's been a long time since we had a mammoth run at Number 1, isn't it? But here's Drake with a whopping fifteen weeks at the top with One Dance featuring Wizkid and Kyla. Drake's extended reign means he scored the longest running Number 1 of the digital age, since 2004, when legal download services launched in the UK. However, after 15 weeks of supremacy, Drizzy was ousted by Major Lazer, Justin Bieber and MØ and tumbled to Number 5.
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (14 weeks)
Queen's signature hit has quite a few chart feats under its belt. Not only is it the only song to be Christmas Number 1 twice, but it's a million-seller to boot. On its original run, the single spent nine weeks lolling about at Number 1. It was, interestingly, knocked off by another song containing the lyric "mamma mia" – Abba's classic, erm, Mamma Mia.
Legendary Freddie Mercury finds a particularly sour cola bottle in his bag of Tangfastics.
After lead singer Freddie Mercury's death in 1991, there was a frenzy for anything Queen-related, and the main benefactor was Bohemian Rhapsody, which was rereleased and hit the top for five weeks. That gives the song a grand total of 14 weeks at Number 1. Bismillah, no! It would not let it go!
Ed Sheeran – Shape Of You (14 weeks)
Bringing things right up to date, the lead single from Ed's sales powerhouse third album ÷ has notched up 14 weeks at the top of the Official Singles Chart. His biggest rival for most of his run was himself – Castle on the Hill, How Would You Feel (Paean) and Galway Girl all battled to nudge Shape Of You off Number 1. Eventually, Harry Styles' Sign Of The Times *just* squeezed Ed off of his throne, ending his consecutive run of 13 weeks BUT he returned the following week, and clocked up a 14th.
Slim Whitman – Rose Marie (11 weeks)
This song's origins date from before the Official Singles Chart even started, way back in 1924, but when American country singer Slim got his hands on it in 1955, it was a solid-gold smash.
Topping the chart for 11 weeks, the song's record reign was unbroken until Bryan Adams and Robin Hood came along and, well, we all know how that one went.
Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber - Despacito (11 weeks)
Like the longest reigning Number 1 single of all-time, Despacito spent three different stints at Number 1 in the UK. The foreign language track to spent the longest at the top too, Despacito hung around for 11 non-consecutive weeks.
Tones and I – Dance Monkey (11 weeks)
The Australian singer-songwriter's viral hit certainly took its time getting to the top spot, with an eight-week climb. Once there, however, Tones and I made herself at home, notching up her eleventh week at Number 1 in December 2019, leapfrogging Rihanna and Whitney for longest running Number 1 song by a female lead artist. Not bad for a tune that took her half an hour to write!
Ed Sheeran - Bad Habits (11 weeks)
This impressive 2021 stint means Ed became the first artist to log two singles that have topped the Official Singles Chart for 10 weeks or more. Bad Habits is that song, with synth-pop sonics that make it a marked departure from his earlier material.
Dave & Central Cee - Sprinter (10 weeks)
The long-awaited team-up from two of the UK's most talented MCs was a moment worth waiting for. Trading bars like they're playing a top trumps of who can get the funniest line, Santan and Cench's smash has become the longest-running UK rap Number 1 single in the history of the Official Chart.
Not only that, it reached this milestone as the first UK rap tune to spend 10 weeks at Number 1 on the 50th anniversary of the birth of hip-hop as a genre. Call that destiny.
Miley Cyrus - Flowers (10 weeks)
The disco-tinged lead single from Miley's eighth studio album Endless Summer Vacation, Flowers racked up an impressive ten weeks at the top in 2023. Prior to that, Miley had enjoyed a Number 1 single with 2014's Wrecking Ball; though that stayed at the summit for just one week.
What's more, Flowers also saw Miley do the Official Chart Double for the second time in her career; with its parent LP simultaneously reigning atop the Official Albums Chart.
Harry Styles - As It Was (10 weeks)
Harry's cheerful return to music in 2022 - and lead single from chart-topping album Harry's House - is his second Number 1 in the UK and the latest track to land in this rather exclusive list, so far racking up ten consecutive weeks at the top.
David Whitfield – Cara Mia (10 weeks)
Hull-born David had already scored a Number 1 with Answer Me in 1953 before he really struck gold with Cara Mia, ably assisted by composer Mantovani and his orchestra. 10 weeks at the top for this one in 1954 until Kitty Kallen's Little Things Mean A Lot bumped it off.
Here's David looking very handsome on the cover of his Greatest Hits
Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You (10 weeks)
And I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I will never forget this song in a hurry – thanks in part to its 10-week tenure at Number 1 at the tail-end of 1992 and into 1993. Taken from another Kevin Costner movie The Bodyguard – hint to popstars: if you want a million-seller and to spend ages at Number 1, get yourself on a soundtrack – this song started out in very different form as a country and western ballad written and performed by queen Dolly Parton herself.
Dolly said she loved Whitney's million-selling version – let's hope she treated herself and bought something nice with the money.
Rihanna ft. Jay-Z – Umbrella (10 weeks)
Another summer, another long stretch at Number 1. Brits are famed for their sense of humour, and we're sure it's no coincidence that RiRi scored her first Number 1, a tribute to all things waterproof, during one of the grimmest, wettest summers the UK has ever seen.
The song certainly made a splash – 10 of 2007's chart weeks saw Rihanna giving us all some shelter at the top, until she was finally dried off by Timbaland's The Way I Are.
Oh, and if you're interested, and we're sure you are, here are the songs that have racked up nine weeks at Number 1:
Al Martino – Here In My Heart (1952) – was also the first ever Number 1 single!
Eddie Calvert – Oh Mein Papa (1954)
Doris Day – Secret Love (1954)
Paul Anka – Diana (1957)
Wings – Mull Of Kintyre / Girls' School (1977)
John Travolta & Olivia Newton John – You're The One That I Want (1978)
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes (1984)
Gnarls Barkley – Crazy (2006)
Clean Bandit - Rockabye (2016)
Drake - God's Plan (2018)
Olivia Rodrigo - Drivers License (2021)