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BBC Radio 2 reveals UK TV and radio’s most played songs of the last decade

By | Published on Tuesday 14 April 2020

Pharrell Williams

BBC Radio 2 yesterday revealed the top 40 most played songs on British TV and radio over the last decade. Topped by Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’, the list highlights once again the lack of female voices at the upper end of the pop spectrum, with Adele the only solo female in the top ten. Is that the fault of chauvinistic radio programmers, sexist record labels or the bloody minded pop consuming public? It’s one of them, so pick which! Or maybe it’s all three.

But for fuck’s sake, why do you always have to put such a negative spin on everything? As Scott Mills – who presented Radio 2’s rundown – says, “every single tune [on the list] is an absolute banger that you’ll have known and loved then learnt every word to over the past ten years”. And isn’t that the most important thing? Even if two of those songs are by Maroon 5.

The list was compiled for the BBC by the UK record industry’s collecting society PPL, whose CEO Peter Leathem adds: “The top 40 most played songs are the sounds that radio producers and broadcasters have consistently played throughout the last decade and will evoke many memories for all of us. Congratulations and thank you to all those who feature in our Most Played Songs Of The 2010s Chart”.

What about some stats though? Who appears the most? Well, that would be Adele, who has three songs in the top 40. Bruno Mars also appears three times, but once with Mark Ronson, which means that placing in the chart only counts for half a point at most according to the official rules I just made up halfway through writing this sentence.

Eighteen of the songs are credited to American artists (or thirteen artists if your remove those with multiple songs in the chart), with British performers trailing at fourteen (dropping to twelve once you take Adele into account). Fourteen of the songs are performed by women, compared to 22 by men (the remaining four feature both men and women).

And 34 of the top 40 songs were released in the last decade, five were released earlier in the 21st century, and just one (Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’) was released in the olden days.

Most importantly, we can now say that 2011 was definitely the best year for music, it accounting for eight songs in the chart. It is closely followed by 2013, with seven songs, while 2010 scored a handsome six.

However, 2018 and 2019 were officially dogshit, with no good music coming out in either of those years and therefore no songs from either appearing in the chart. Sure, try to argue that this has something to do with accumulation of plays over time, but we all know the truth.

Anyway, here’s the top ten:

1. Pharrell Williams – Happy
2. Adele – Rolling In The Deep
3. Maroon 5 – Moves Like Jagger (feat Christina Aguilera)
4. Daft Punk – Get Lucky (feat Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers)
5. Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop The Feeling
6. Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling
7. Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk (feat Bruno Mars)
8. OneRepublic – Counting Stars
9. Cee Lo Green – Forget You
10. Kings Of Leon – Sex On Fire

See the full top 40 here. And listen to Scott Mills doing the full rundown here.