Business News Labels & Publishers Media

BBC celebrates 70 years of singles chart by playing most streamed track released each year

By | Published on Thursday 3 November 2022

BBC Radio 2

The BBC is marking the 70th anniversary of the UK singles chart with a series of programmes under the banner Most Streamed Chart, which will look at what music released over the last 70 years has enjoyed the most streams since streaming became a thing.

And if you’re thinking Greatest Hits Radio recently did that, well, that was the 300 most streamed tracks that were released in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The BBC series is looking at the most streamed track for each year since 1952. So – of all the tracks released in 1952 – Gene Kelly’s ‘Singin In The Rain’ has been streamed the most in the UK. Get it? Good.

Radio 2 will air much of the series via its ‘Sounds Of’ shows on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 Nov – so that covers the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. There’ll be a special programme on Radio 2 on 12 Nov to cover the 50s, meanwhile Radio 1 will handle the 2000s and 2010s on 11 Nov and 18 Nov respectively.

The UK singles chart first began life as a feature in the NME in November 1952. A weekly chart with ‘official’ in its name was later launched by Music Week and the BBC in 1969, which then went through various subsequent changes before becoming the chart we all know and love and occasionally forget about, which is now lovingly crafted each week by the Official Charts Company.

But, you know, we went through all of this in an interview with OCC boss Martin Talbot ten years ago when the chart was 60 years old.

And he’s back here now with a quote about this special BBC series of programmes. “Official Charts are proud to team up with our long-standing partners at the BBC to compile this unique playlist of 70 incredible songs, marking 70 years of the beloved institution that is the UK’s Official Singles Chart”, says he. “As ever, the data doesn’t lie; this is a collection of indisputable classics spanning over seven decades of Official Chart history, as affirmed by the British public and their playlist selections”.

Meanwhile, Robert Gallacher, Commissioning Editor for BBC Radio Pop Networks, adds: “We’re delighted to mark the 70th anniversary of the Official Singles Chart – a record not just of our favourite tunes, but also our shared cultural history. With the release of this new chart it’s particularly fascinating to see which classic songs from the past are rated by today’s music consumers, and how that appeal can be driven by exposure on TV, adverts and social media. This chart is a true testament to the timelessness of brilliant pop music”.

If you can’t wait for these programmes to all air later this month you can actually listen to them now via BBC Sounds. Or, if you prefer reading charts to hearing them, here they are as lists…

Most Streamed Chart: 1950s 
1952 Gene Kelly – Singin In The Rain
1953 Dean Martin – That’s Amore
1954 Ray Charles – I’ve Got A Woman
1955 Little Richard – Tutti Frutti
1956 Johnny Cash – I Walk The Line
1957 Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock
1958 Chuck Berry – Johnny B Goode
1959 Paul Anka – Put Your Head On My Shoulder

Most Streamed Chart: 1960s 
1960 Etta James – At Last
1961 Ben E King – Stand By Me
1962 Solomon Burke – Cry To Me
1963 The Ronettes – Be My Baby
1964 The Temptations – My Girl
1965 The Four Tops – I Can’t Help Myself
1966 The Rolling Stones – Paint It Black
1967 Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
1968 Otis Redding – (Sittin On The) Dock Of The Bay
1969 The Beatles – Here Comes The Sun

Most Streamed Chart: 1970s 
1970 Elton John – Your Song
1971 John Denver – Take Me Home Country Roads
1972 Elton John – Tiny Dancer
1973 Dolly Parton – Jolene
1974 Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama
1975 Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
1976 Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way
1977 Fleetwood Mac – Dreams
1978 Earth Wind & Fire – September
1979 Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now

Most Streamed Chart: 1980s 
1980 Queen – Another One Bites The Dust
1981 Journey – Don’t Stop Believin
1982 Toto – Africa
1983 Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
1984 Wham – Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
1985 Bryan Adams – Summer Of 69
1986 Bon Jovi – Livin On A Prayer
1987 Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody
1988 Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere
1989 Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start The Fire

Most Streamed Chart: 1990s 
1990 AC/DC – Thunderstruck
1991 Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
1992 Radiohead – Creep
1993 Haddaway – What Is Love
1994 The Notorious BIG – Juicy
1995 Oasis – Wonderwall
1996 Blackstreet – No Diggity
1997 The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony
1998 Goo Goo Dolls – Iris
1999 TLC – No Scrubs

Most Streamed Chart: 2000s 
2000 Toploader – Dancing In The Moonlight
2001 Nickelback – How You Remind Me
2002 Eminem – Lose Yourself
2003 The Killers – Mr Brightside
2004 Mario – Let Me Love You
2005 Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
2006 The Kooks – Naïve
2007 Arctic Monkeys – Fluorescent Adolescent
2008 Jason Mraz – I’m Yours
2009 Miley Cyrus – Party In The USA
2010 Eminem & Rihanna – Love The Way You Lie

Most Streamed Chart: 2010s 
2011 Adele – Someone Like You
2012 Passenger – Let Her Go
2013 Vance Joy – Riptide
2014 Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
2015 Sia – Cheap Thrills
2016 James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go
2017 Ed Sheeran – Shape Of You
2018 Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved
2019 Tones & I – Dance Monkey
2020 Joel Corry & MNEK – Head & Heart
2021 Ed Sheeran – Bad Habits
2022 Harry Styles – As It Was

This story is discussed on this edition of our Setlist podcast.