Longest #1 runs

At around about this time back in 1955, Bill Haley and His Comets (and kiss-curl) topped the US singles chart with ‘(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock’, staying there for eight weeks and becoming one of the biggest selling singles ever.

It was the first Rock and Roll record to top the charts.

It was also the first record that David bought; David’s being one of “at least 25 million” – and possibly as many as 43 million – copies sold worldwide, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

What was your first record and (or, if you don’t want to admit that it was probably something embarrassingly naff by Adam and the Ants or some other bizarre New Romantic setup) which other top spot-hogging singles have you liked and disliked down the years? A few from each decade – and any chart – would be good.

Allow me to direct you to some data concerning the US and UK charts.

In the UK, the record for longest consecutive spell at #1 is held by Bryan Adams, who spent 16 tedious weeks there with ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’ in 1991.

Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men spent the same length of time atop the US equivalent with ‘One Sweet Day’ in 1995/6.

Frankie Laine holds the UK record for most non-consecutive weeks at the top of the singles chart. In 1953, ‘I Believe’ enjoyed spells of nine, six and three weeks there after twice being knocked off the top – a record in itself (to this day it remains the only song in history to twice return to the top of the charts).

Interestingly, in the UK, ‘(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock’ only made it to #17 on its first release (in January 1955). It re-entered the charts, and climbed to the highest height, that November. After a three-week break, it returned for three more (in January 1956). It re-entered the charts again in September 1956, breaking into the Top Five. Re-issues in 1968 and 1974 each made the Top 20.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

58 thoughts on “Longest #1 runs”

  1. I can’t remember my first, my brothers and sister started buying so I listened to them all.

    It would probably be Selling England By The Pound since I had to buy something worthwhile, and continued with PF to follow my brother’s copies of Ummagumma, Meddle and DSOTM. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. The very first record I ever bought by myself, with my own money, was a George Carlin record.

    Shortly after that I bought a compilation of all the popular singles that year (1976, I think). Barry Manilow’s “Mandy” was on that record, as was “I’m Not in Love”by 10CC. But within a few months I had progressed and was buying records by the likes of Pink Floyd and Yes. Music I still listen to today.

  3. My first 45 record was “Help” by the BEATles. I think it was given to me.

    I think one I disliked most that was a top hogging single was Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life”. It’s not that it was bad, just that I had had enough already at a week.

    Pink Floyd, Rush, Metallica, The Who, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and Styx ruined me in that they were the the bands I listened to (and Black Sabbath/Ozzie) and those were the types of bands that made the choice to do longer, more artsy/rock/hard rock plays while maintaining their popularity and LP sales.

    What Pink Floyd has taught me through their documentaries within the VHS/DVD videos is that they made a decision in the beginning to do long plays and they did it better than any other band.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed all the Pink Floyd videos I’ve purchased that has mini-documentaries within the footage. “Live in Pompeii” is one I watch regularly and I think I’ve purchased three (?) different “Making of the Dark Side of the Moon” DVDs. I’ve watched “Live in Pompeii” so much I think I hear an audible, “there “HE” is again!” in the song “Echoes”. I was so glad to see on cable, “Which One’s Pink?” that I tried to watch it again the next day only to find a tribute to a fallen pop star on, instead.

  4. I like that Bill Haley song and video. People seemed to be less complicated and stressed in the ’50s than now. They simply enjoyed themselves with simple things, music was expressing that joy of life.

    Just my opinion, maybe I’m totally wrong.

    I wish you all a nice weekend.

    I will be away for a while. A complete no-internet week, isn’t it wonderful? (From time to time, of course.)

    I’m sorry I won’t celebrate our ‘Bastille Day’ on 14th. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Anyway, viva…


  5. Hi Ho FEd,

    Proudly, my first album was Kiss “Dressed to Kill”, and outside Pink Floyd (and solos stuff) it is still in my top 3.

    My first single was Another Brick in the Wall Pt. II, which from memory made quite an impression on the charts around the world. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Including Pink Floyd, this too is still in my top 3. In fact a little higher. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I could go on about all sorts of songs, but instead, I shall tell of my fave Rock Around the Clock story.

    My In-laws had the pleasure of seeing Bill Hailey and the Comets in Brisbane (Australia) in the Fifties. The show went for half an hour, and in that time they played Rock Around the Clock three times. They opened the set, played a few songs, played it again, played a few songs, then played it again to close. And the crowd, including my In-laws, loved it.

    The thought of how strange that is however is always nullified by the thought that they also got to see Chuck Berry around the same time… lucky buggers.

    I’m also quite fond of The Sex Pistols’ version of Rock Around the Clock; what a hoot!


  6. Even though it’s very embarassing, I will tell you the truth.

    My first record was Madonna’s “True Blue”. When it was released I was only 10 years old, so I’m excused. :))

    In my defence, I have to say that, after that, my music tastes have improved quickly enough.

    My following records were, in order: Michael Jackson’s “Bad”, Tracy Chapman’s “Crossroads”, Sinead O’ Connor’s “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got” and, finally, Pink Floyd’s “A Collection of Great Dance Songs”.

    My music teacher brought it to school one day, I don’t know why, and I fell in love with “Sheep”. It was my first Pink Floyd record, because I didn’t know about the existence of “Animals”, yet.

    1. :)) You’re definitely excused, Alessandra.

      If it makes you feel any better, one of mine was Paula Abdul’s ‘Opposites Attract’…

    2. Opposites Attract and not Straight Up? Didn’t Opposites Attract have that video that was part live and part animation?

      Anyway, Paula certainly knows how to dance.



    3. Didnโ€™t Opposites Attract have that video that was part live and part animation?

      That’s the one. The animated cat was called MC Skat Kat.

      I didn’t buy his 1991 hip-hop album, ‘The Adventures of MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob’, though.

  7. Watching the video of Rock Around the Clock, there are several things I noticed.

    One, it’s very no-frills, just a band playing a song, no cuts away to a spewing volcano or anything else, which is so typical of clips I’ve seen from the 70s. This was kind of refreshing for that reason.

    Second, that there are instruments you clearly hear in the song and instruments that you don’t. I can’t hear that accordion, never knew the Comets used one. There is a sound that I’ve always wondered if it were a slide guitar; now I know that it is.

    And the third thing I noticed was how different this is from what later became typical rock and roll. The standup bass, the accordion, the slide guitar… This band could have also played Zydeco or Blues numbers that bands with only drums, guitars and bass could not.

  8. I can always remember being in Brisbane for some reason or another and on my wanderings around the shops I bought Uriah Heap’s ‘Salisbury’ and Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’.

    Great albums and I’ve still got them plus many more.

  9. Hey Fed,

    My very first record (which I still have) was the 45 of The Beatles Hard Day’s Night issued on Parlophone. I received it as a bon voyage present in 1964 by my Aunt and Uncle in England. My Parents and I were moving back to Canada after living in England.

    It still plays as well. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Cheers, Howard

  10. The devil music that ruined the world’s youth. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Thank goodness the elders of the day did not succeed in suppressing the spread of rock and roll.

    I didn’t actually buy any singles. My family was lucky enough to be given singles by a relative who had a jukebox in a cafe. My parents were into Al Martino (Spanish Eyes was one of my favourites), Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Elvis. In the early sixties there was the Beatles, and we got all their singles, followed by an explosion of lots of groups trying to do similar things and all seemed to be influenced by rock and roll and blues music. It was a very exciting time, when you look back, because modern music was growing at an exponential rate almost. THAT is what was so great about the sixties I think, it was all so exciting and new. I think maybe it all seemed new to me. Maybe David would talk of the new music he heard in the fifties in a similar way.

    I wish I’d taken more notice of it all. I certainly took it all for granted and thought music had always been this good.

    I loved the Beatles. I also really really loved the Stones. They were bad, bad boys. So loud and raw. How can you not see a difference between my parents’ taste and the Beatles and Stones? Amazing times for music.

    By the time I started to have money of my own, I had realised that it was better value to buy an album instead since a lot of artists released a lot of tracks from an album as singles (it was probably mostly the Beatles actually).

    ash X

  11. Will try to answer the actual question put and name a few singles I really liked. It was a long time ago.

    Thank you for the links Fed, very useful as a memory jogger.

    ash X

    1. Will try to answer the actual question put and name a few singles I really liked.

      I should do the same. Trouble is, you start looking at all the songs, both loved and loathed, and suddenly realise that two hours has passed you by (and that you could still spit blood at the very mention of ‘Grease’).

  12. Hi FEd and bloggers,

    It happened a lot of time ago, mates… I don’t remember exactly what year it was, but I remember a summer, a big store, and three “single disks” (for Italy – 45 giri): Paint It Black, A Whiter Shade of Pale and We Can Work It Out.

    Young people were very involved in the “new” music from UK, in Carnaby Street style and shops as “Granny Takes a Trip” that in Rome were places like “Molayem” or “Babilonia” full of op-art, miniskirts and every kind of Indian shirts and “matters”… really a very exciting period… with many (sweet) memories.


  13. Mine was in 4th grade. We were visiting a game farm and I had eaten an egg salad sandwich that had been left out on a picnic table in 90 degree heat for more than an hour…

  14. Happy TGIF FEd,

    I’m happy to admit that the first LP that I bought was The Wall. It took me about 3 or 4 months to save up enough money to buy it as my allowance was only 25 cents per week back then. I think I must have subsidized my allowance by doing extra work around the house. I still have the album and must admit that I sometimes brag just a little bit that it was my first Album purchase…

    As for some 45s in my collection – there are some real “gems” ๐Ÿ˜› (at least I stopped at the 45s…)

    My first 45 was probably Donny Osmond’s Puppy Love (yes, I was young).

    Kajagoogoo – Too Shy
    Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come on Eileen
    Flock of Seagulls – I Ran

    I think I’ll stop there – I should probably pull them all out of storage and see what’s really there. I’m sure my kids would get a BIG kick out of listening to some of that crap…

    Anyway, hope that everyone (especially David) has a GREAT weekend. I think we might get our 2nd nice weekend of the summer over here… I think I hear a beer calling my name…

  15. The first single record that I bought myself was ‘Puppy Love’ by Donny Osmond – I loved that boy when I was 8, planned on marrying him when I grew up and everything.

    Sadly it was not to be.

    Most annoying would be Whitney Houston with ‘I Will Always Love You’. It would have been Celine Dion with that one from Titanic but Whitney wins on points for being #1 for 10 l-o-n-g weeks.

    1. I have to say, I did prefer Whitney’s song (well, Dolly’s song).

      Although I know it would be wrong to admit that, after so much horrendous over-exposure to all things ‘Titanic’, I started hoping that Celine Dion would miraculously defy the video tape and fall overboard in the promo video, I started hoping that Celine Dion would miraculously defy the video tape and fall overboard in the promo video.

      She could never be as wet as that song, though.

  16. After doing some memory searching (8|), I think that the first single that I purchased on my own was Little Stevie Wonder’s ‘Fingertips, Pt. 1 & Pt.2’.

    Having a sibling nine years older than me, I had every single from The Coasters, Buddy Holly, Bill Haley & The Comets, Fats Domino, Little Richard, etc., at my fingertips! She wasn’t much of a friend but at least I was able to form a lifelong love of all the musical artists from the ’50s who made such a positive impression on my early years.

    The first album that I bought would have been ‘Joan Baez, Vol. 2’ followed closely by ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’ and then ‘Introducing The Beatles’.

    I can’t say I like, in fact I mostly loathe, many of the Longest #1 Runs! Mariah Carey… blech! :))


  17. Hi, what a fun topic that is, and a reminder how time is flying. Music is really the best for bringing back the fondest memories.

    If I recall correctly my first LP was from Gary Glitter, and I have to admit that I still like his song: Leader of the Gang. Too sad what became of him.

    My first single was Seasons of Sun from Terry Jacks, and I still love that song too. I have to admit that I loved “The Sweet” too, but I never ever liked the Bay City Rollers, as most all teenies did then.

    Actually my musical taste matured in 1980, when I became a PF fan thanks to a friend.

  18. My first album (age 5) was the Live Album by Grand Funk Railroad. I am most definitely not a Grand Funk fan in my middling years. However, quite by chance I happened to listen to a few tracks from this album again recently, and I must say, it rocks hard.

    I’m going to fine tune the remainder of your question to #1 singles that I ended up purchasing (the album) because I liked them so well. A tip of the hat to my parents for purchasing much of my music through early years either by indulging my interest or by giving me an allowance.

    A sampling:

    My Sweet Lord – George Harrison
    Brown Sugar – Rolling Stones
    I’m Not In Love – 10 CC
    Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
    50 Ways to Leave Your Lover – Paul Simon
    (Just Like) Starting Over – John Lennon
    Another Brick – The Boys ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. A cousin gave me my first singles:

    Man of Mystery by The Shadows and Don’t You Rock Me Daddio by Lonnie Donegan (this one was actually a 78 rpm).

    The first 45 I bought with hard earned pocket money was Do Wah Diddy Diddy by Manfred Mann.

  20. LPs:

    First one I had was Sgt Pepper’s. This was given to me by my brother.

    First one I bought was Music in a Doll’s House by Family.

  21. :)) The first record I ever bought was World Without Love by Peter & Gordon…

  22. Europe’s “The Final Countdown”, how could I forget them?

    If I’m not wrong, I bought this record immediately after “True Blue”, so my age was still 10.

    Is it also excusable, FEd? :))

    1. After spending yet more time looking through the UK Number Ones, I noticed that Europe replaced Berlin and ‘Take My Breath Away’ at the top of the charts (in December 1986).

      I always loved that song, did you?

    2. Yes, it’s a nice song and it was in the soundtrack of “Top Gun”. It was a very successful movie, too.

      I read in your link the producer was Giorgio Moroder.

      He was also famous, at least in Italy, because a few years before, he had written the soundtrack of “The Neverending Story”, another record I should have somewhere at home, even though I didn’t bought it by myself this time. ๐Ÿ˜€

  23. My first single was Paperback Writer. I loved it then and still do.

    My first album was Sounds of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel), also still much loved.

    As for the long-running #1s, a lot of them were trendy sorts of things, not really great music. (Didn’t that Macarena song make to the top of the charts?)

    The one that is really painful for me to hear is At This Moment by Billy Vera and the Beaters.

  24. I think the first one I owned was a John Denver… maybe a Xmas present. I still love him.

    I remember asking for ‘The Hustle’ when I was very young (yeah, I know) then it was all Van Halen and Led Zeppelin. I think those bands are the first albums that I bought with my own money.

    First concert was definitely Van Halen with David Lee Roth in Mobile Alabama. It rocked HARD! Lots of marijuana smoke all over… I do miss those days when concerts were a little more ‘liberal’. They are so strict now…

    I saw Fleetwood Mac here a few weeks ago (without Christine McVie… which actually made me happy – more Stevie and Lindsey). It was sooooo good. See it if you have the chance. Lindsey rocked really hard.

    Blake in Nashville

  25. I just wanted to write about a wonderful thing that happened this morning…

    I took myself out to breakfast this morning at a nearby fast-food joint. The piped-in music included the usual mix from the likes of Bread and Celine Dion, which is okay because nobody ever really listens to the piped-in music in such places… And then a few chords that got my attention. It was David’s song “On An Island.”

    I nearly dropped my sandwich! What a treat.

    When I got home, I had to go listen to the album.

  26. I never bought singles as a kid – always seemed like a waste of money to me and who wants to get up and change the darned things every 3-4 minutes anyway?

    First album would have been when I was about 11, I guess – soon after my parents bought a small record player especially for “the kids room”… and I’m sure you will be amused to know that it was an ABBA greatest hits album (the first I dare say as that would be c. 1976)… well, I was a late developer.

    In one of the most rapid transitions possible, my second purchase was Deep Purple “Made in Japan” and my path was set – although I would still like to have heard them cover Dancing Queen as an encore…

  27. So you’ve had Kajagoogo, Donny Osmond and so on. How does Chas N’ Dave (with the 1987 Tottenham Hotspur first team) rank alongside those titans? Woeful, I trust.

    Yes, it was my first single – but commendably it was also my last. So scarred was I by the experience that it took eight further years to pluck up the courage to buy my first album – some bloody great lump of cardboard and paper with a blinky light on the side…

  28. This topic brings back so many memories!

    My first album (LP) purchased with my own money was David Cassidy’s “Cherish,” and I seem to remember it was $2.50 US. The following year, having been given a relative’s old stereo, I purchased my first single (45) record — “Pinball Wizard/See Me, Feel Me,” by The New Seekers. Which got me into reading up on “Tommy” and that other group… The Who.

  29. My first LP was Outlandos d’ Amour by Police. While Sting’s voice was quite impressive, I was amazed by Andy Summer’s guitar…

    (I only realized much later that all guitar players I liked most used Strats or Teles…)


  30. Unfortunately, I think mine was Hanson and Mmm Bop!

    Thankfully my taste has changed!!!

  31. Hi Fed and all.

    I’m getting great comfort at this time with this wonderful blog.

    I honestly can say the first music I ever bought was Animals and Wish You Were Here 1977, I was working on an ice cream stall on the golden mile Blackpool with my older brother. I had just got paid my first weeks wage. I was 13 years old.


  32. The first CD I bought myself was that Beatles’ #1 album that I believe is simply called “One”.

    I must have listened to that thing 70 times within the first week I had it.

    After that I began buying their albums. I wasn’t very old then, maybe ten or eleven, but looking back on that now I’m extremely glad I did that. My dad noticed my interest in classic rock, and then introduced me to Pink Floyd. I think that started when he let me borrow his copy of Dark Side of the Moon.

    I believe it’s still sitting on my shelf right in the middle of my CD collection. ๐Ÿ˜€

    But I have to admit the first song I knew every word to was The Monkees’ theme song, unfortunately.

  33. 8) Hi David! You are def. one of my “guitar heroes”.

    I think my 1st personal album was, believe it or not, “UmmaGumma” by Pink Floyd. Yeah, and I think you (and another guitarist) greatly inspired my playing style.

    Enjoy your “Comfortably Numb” the best.


    Tony “DLivahh”

  34. My first 45 single that I purchased was Elton John’s Crocodile Rock. That’s not too embarrassing is it? I liked the flip side song too, Elderberry Wine. Yep, I was one of the few that listened to both sides of the 45.

    As for albums, the first album I bought new was probably The Eagles’ Hotel California. I believe that was the first but I know at the time I also purchased Steve Miller Band’s Book of Dreams and Kiss Destroyer. But I think the Eagles was first.

    I wonder how many people bought an album, tried to listen to the whole thing but then realized that only the one song that got radio airplay was any good. That is why sometimes a Greatest Hits collection was the way to go.



  35. Davidโ€™s being one of โ€œat least 25 millionโ€ – and possibly as many as 43 million – copies sold worldwide

    Isn’t it odd that an exact number can’t be established of how many were sold? That is a huge disparity.



  36. Well, I never bought singles ‘cos I thought they were a waste of money. Plus we must have been one of the few households in the country that did not have a record player, until I scrounged an old deck which I sat on top of an orange box. I wired the pick-ups directly into the amplifier part of a big valve radio I had which actually had a great sound.

    So the first record I ever bought, and I am sorry to be boring and this is not a wind up, was “Piper at the Gates of Dawn”! ๐Ÿ˜€

  37. Hi one and all.

    When I was 7 or 8, I got bought a red fidelity record player for Christmas and my nan “kindly” bought me Father Abraham and the Smurfs album. I was also bought a handful of singles, Summer Nights and the Barron Knights A Taste Of Aggro.

    This probably didn’t do wonders for my health even at that age…

    When I got a paper round, roughly 13ish, There was a second hand record shop close by. I bought Jacko’s PYT single brand new and some old 12″ and albums. One was Tubular Bells, another was Gary Bird and the GB experience, “The Crown” with Stevie Wonder on harmonica.

    Floyd wise, I remember one night, gotta be around 85-86, Alan Freeman’s rock show on the old Capital playing Shine On. Picked up Wish You Were Here for around ยฃ1.50! Considering I’d only heard Another Brick on single, I thought it was a great purchase! Still my fav album today.

    We’ll skip by the singles my nan bought for a bit. Black Lace’s Agadoo, Russ Abbot’s Atmosphere and Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give you Up!

    My daughter’s nearly 6 now and I’m trying to get her in to some odd stuff without the pain I went through, haha! Although she likes the Wiggles (damn that Fruit Salad), she listens to some chart stuff but has an affinity to Bob Marley, Paul Simon’s Mother And Child Reunion, QOTSA-No One Knows, and some stuff by Colin Hay. And the theme tune to Scrubs (Lazlo Bane), she knows off by heart!!!!

    1. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Not Rick Astley.

      I never forgave him for knocking Michael Jackson’s ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’ off the top spot.

      See, it still hurts.

  38. When I was 8 I had a pink 45 record player. My first two records were Rick Dees’ “Disco Duck” and Donna Summer “I Feel Love.” I played them over and over while dancing around in my room. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Christine,

      I admit that I had Disco Duck in my 45 collection as well but I did not have any Donna Summer. To make up for that I did have Walter Murphy’s A Fifth of Beethoven as well as Bobby Boris Picket & the Cryptkickers Monster Mash.

      O, and I did not have a pink 45 record player either, it was some portable red, white and blue one.



  39. My first record I bought at age 6 in 1966. It was the Monkees’ “Last Train to Clarksville”.

    Later as I grew older I became a huge Pink Floyd fan, and grew a strong appreciation for music like Pink Floyd with its lush sound and understated guitar work.

    It is sad to see this week as a similar band like PF from the 80s “The Church” wraps up a US tour for a new album, that is rated high by all of the critics, that they can’t get but a few hundred for each show. Some critics called their album “like a long lost Pink Floyd album”.

    Very sad for the type of music David pioneered.

    The lead singer of “The Church” sounds like he is ready to call it over.

    If only David could help them out with their next album. It would be a great way for him to preserve the Pink Floyd sound. ๐Ÿ™

  40. The first records I ever bought were Penny Lane by The Beatles and I’m a Believer by The Monkees in 1967. They cost 6/3d each.

    My first albums a few years later in the early 70s were progressive rock ones, including lots of Pink Floyd, starting with Dark Side of the Moon.

    My favourite album is Animals. I used my auto change record player and a plug-in time switch as an alarm clock. For months I had Animals, side one, on repeat until I got out of bed and it used to drive my mother mad, bless her. She ended up loving it herself though and was her introduction to Pink Floyd. She used to love listening to Dark Side of the Moon.

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