It’s A Record

It’s A Record BLOG  28th April 2018


 The Beatles released 18 of the best-selling songs of the 1960s.

Recently, when comedian Ken Dodd died, I was astounded to read that his single “Tears” was the third bestselling single of the 1960s. This led me to research further the bestselling list of singles of the 1960s. Here are my findings.

On 31 May 2011, a retrospective record chart was broadcast on BBC Radio 2 that listed the 60 biggest-selling singles in the UK during the 1960s. The chart was compiled by the OCC, and was based on sales of singles from 1 January 1960 to 31 December 1969.

The most represented act in the chart is The Beatles, who feature on the list with 18 releases, seven of which are in the top twenty. Similarly, the most represented record label is Parlophone, who released music from The Beatles between 1962 and 1968 in the UK. The highest-placed solo female artist on the list is Cilla Black at number 27, with her 1964 single “Anyone Who Had a Heart”, which was also distributed by Parlophone. Of the 60 discs in the chart, more than half (44) are by British acts.

During the 1960s, sales of singles in the UK were monitored by several magazines, including New Musical Express (NME), Record Retailer, Melody Maker and Disc. Before 1969, no officially recognised singles chart was published in the UK. Until 10 March 1960, chart compilers used the weekly chart listed by NME, after which they moved to the singles list published by Record Retailer, despite NME having the wider circulation and higher readership. During the start of the decade, Record Retailer was sampling roughly 30 stores; NME and Melody Maker had a sample size of more than one hundred.

On 15 February 1969, Record Retailer and the BBC jointly commissioned the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB) to record sales of singles in what officially became the UK Singles Chart. The BMRB compiled the chart by using hand-written and post-submitted data from approximately 250 record stores.

Between 1960 and 1969, fourteen singles sold more than one million copies in the UK, of which the biggest-selling was “She Loves You” by The Beatles.

Released on 23 August 1963, the single spent six non-consecutive weeks at number one and sold more than 1.89 million copies, approximately 140,000 more than its nearest rival, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, also by The Beatles.

The biggest-selling record not to top the UK Singles Chart was Acker Bilk’s 1961 instrumental “Stranger on the Shore” – it sold more than 1.13 million copies and peaked at number two, being kept off the top by “The Young Ones” by Cliff Richard and The Shadows, another million-seller.

Best-selling singles of the 1960s in the UK

No.          Single                                                                     Artist                                      Record label         Year

1              “She Loves You”                                                 Beatles                   Parlophone           1963

2              “I Want to Hold Your Hand”                            Beatles,                  Parlophone           1963

3              “Tears”                                                                   Ken Dodd              Columbia              1965

4              “Can’t Buy Me Love”                                         Beatles                   Parlophone           1964

5              “I Feel Fine”                                                          Beatles                   Parlophone           1964

6              “Carnival Is Over,                                                Seekers                  Columbia              1965

7              “We Can Work It Out” / “Day Tripper”           Beatles,                  Parlophone           1965

8              “Release Me”                                                        Engelbert Humperdinck     Decca     1967

9              “It’s Now or Never”                                              Elvis Presley          RCA                       1960

10           “Green, Green Grass of Home”                         Tom Jones            Decca                     1966

11           “Last Waltz”                                                         Engelbert Humperdinck   Decca     1967

12           “Stranger on the Shore”                                      Acker Bilk             Columbia              1961

13           “I Remember You”                                             Frank Ifield           Columbia              1962

14           “Young Ones”                                                      Cliff Richard and The Shadows       Columbia / 1962

15           “Sugar, Sugar”                                                      Archies                   RCA                       1969

16           ” TheThe Next Time” / “Bachelor Boy”          Cliff Richard and The Shadows Columbia    / 1962

17           “Telstar”                                                                                Tornados               Decca                     1962

18           “From Me to You”                                               Beatles                   Parlophone           1963

19           “Two Little Boys”                                                Rolf Harris            Columbia              1969

20           “Hey Jude”                                                            Beatles                   Apple                     1968

21           “Hello, Goodbye”                                                Beatles                   Parlophone           1967

22           “There Goes My Everything”                            Engelbert Humperdinck     Decca     1967

23           “Help!”                                                                   Beatles                   Parlophone           1965

24           “Cathy’s Clown”                                                  Everly Brothers    Warner Bros.        1960

25           “Glad All Over”                                                    Dave Clark Five   Columbia              1963

26           “Needles and Pins”                                              Searchers               Pye                         1964

27           “Anyone Who Had a Heart”                             Cilla Black            Parlophone           1964       1

28           “Apache”                                                               Shadows                Columbia              1960

29           “Lovesick Blues”                                                 Frank Ifield           Columbia              1962

30           “My Way”                                                             Frank Sinatra       Reprise                   1969

31           “Distant Drums”                                                   Jim Reeves            RCA                       1966

32           “You’ll Never Walk Alone”                                Gerry & the Pacemakers    Columbia /1963

33           “Get Back”                                                            Beatles & Billy Preston       Apple     1969

34           “All You Need Is Love”                                      Beatles                   Parlophone           1967

35           “Strangers in the Night”                                      Frank Sinatra       Reprise                   1966

36           “Last Time, TheThe Last Time”                       Rolling Stones      Decca                     1965

37           “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”                         Elvis Presley          RCA                       1961

38           “I’ll Never Find Another You”                           Seekers                  Columbia              1965

39           “Are You Sure?”                                                   Allisons                  Fontana                 1961

40           “Yellow Submarine” / “Eleanor Rigby”           Beatles                   Parlophone           1966

41           “I’m a Believer”                                                    Monkees               RCA                       1967

42           “Paperback Writer”                                             Beatles                   Parlophone           1966

43           “I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction !”                        Rolling Stones      Decca                     1965

44           “Ticket to Ride”                                                   Beatles                   Parlophone           1965

45           “Those Were the Days”                                      Mary Hopkin       Apple                     1968

46           “Magical Mystery Tour”                                    Beatles                   Parlophone           1967

47           “Wooden Heart”                                                  Elvis Presley          RCA                       1961

48           “19th Nervous Breakdown”                              Rolling Stones      Decca                     1966

49           “It’s Not Unusual”                                                Tom Jones            Decca                     1965

50           “Honky Tonk Women”                                      Rolling Stones      Decca                     1969

51           “Penny Lane” / “Strawberry Fields Forever”   Beatles                   Parlophone           1967

52           “Hard Day’s Night”                                              Beatles                   Parlophone           1964

53           “I Love You Because”                                        Jim Reeves            RCA                       1964

54           “Summer Holiday”                                              Cliff Richard and The Shadows Columbia    1963

55           “Oh, Pretty Woman”                                           Roy Orbison         London                  1964

56           “I Won’t Forget You”                                          Jim Reeves            RCA                       1964

57           “Lady Madonna”                                                                Beatles                   Parlophone           1968

58           “Surrender”                                                           Elvis Presley          RCA                       1961

59           “Delilah”                                                                Tom Jones            Decca                     1968

60           “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”                                           Rolling Stones      Decca                     1968




The darkest nights produce the brightest stars


Happiness is…playing top selling vinyl singles from the 1960s on a pristine audio deck


Q: What do you get when you crossbreed a refrigerator and a guitar?  A: Some really cool music.


Love is…what makes everything right with your world


She Loves You – The Beatles

Highest Chart Position: No.1 12th September 1963 for 4 weeks