Last week, to celebrate reaching the 600th UK number one, I published a poll and opened the floor so everyone could vote for their best and worst chart-topping singles. I limited it to the 20 winners/losers from my regular recaps, allowed folks to cast as many votes as they wanted… And the results are interesting!
Interestingly, almost twice as many votes were cast for the ‘Best’ record than were cast for the ‘Worst’. Nice to see that so many people just want to stick with the positives! Those who did indulge their negative side gave us a Top 3 that looks like this…
Joint 3rd Place (10% of the vote each): ‘There’s No One Quite Like Grandma’, and ‘Wooden Heart’
A stinkingly saccharine Christmas #1 from 1980, and The King with one of his worst movie soundtrack hits (and there’s plenty of competition in that mini category!) from 1961. Yep, don’t disagree with either of those…
2nd Place (15% of the vote): ‘Star Trekkin”
Our most recent ‘Worst’ chart-topper, from May 1987, but one that instantly goes down as one of the most unforgiveable #1s, ever. Again, I’d have put it this high myself and so can only applaud our voters.
1st Place (20% of the vote): ‘No Charge’
But if I’d had to choose one song to finish above even ‘Star Trekkin”, it would have been this teeth grindingly, forehead smashingly, cloying, preaching, sanctimonious, spoken-word horror from 1976. Well done all! Democracy in action!
I was quite pleased with these results (though, I should really have been pleased with any winner, seeing as I hand-picked my twenty least favourite #1s). Interestingly, the least-worst #1s (those with no votes at all) were ‘Lily the Pink’, ‘Release Me’, and ‘Don’t Give Up on Us’.
So here we go. Officially, undebateably, 100% verified… The three best British chart-topping singles, ever. (Or, actually, the five best, as we have one three-way tie.) One from the ’60s, three from the ’70s, one from the ’80s…
3rd place (6.5% of the vote): ‘The Winner Takes It All’
Of course. You couldn’t have a Top 3 without this. Third place might be too low, to be honest, but at least it’s there. Timeless pop from the best pop group… ever?
Joint 2nd place (8% of the vote each): ‘She Loves You’, ‘I Feel Love’, and ‘Heart of Glass’
We’ve had ABBA. We couldn’t not have the Beatles…
Plus Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder, with what still sounds like the most futuristic number one – forty five years on!
And Blondie, with their first in what has to be one of the strongest chart-topping runs, between 1979 and 1980.
1st Place (13.5% of the vote): ‘Baby Jump’
Yes. It’s official. Mungo Jerry’s ‘Baby Jump’ is the best #1 single, of the 600 to make top spot between 1952 and 1987. Um… There’s a bit of a backstory to this. When I published my original post on ‘Baby Jump’ (a glowing post, because I really do love this rocking, drunken, leery stomper of a song) it was quickly re-posted on a Mungo Jerry fansite. (It even, apparently, came to the attention of Ray Dorset – Mungo Jerry’s lead-singer.) And it seems many of these Mungo fans have stayed on as regular readers, because they came out in their droves make the band’s 2nd and final #1 my poll winner. And who am I to argue? It’s one of the least likely sounding #1s, ever. It’s one of the most forgotten #1s, ever (I doubt it would have gone Top 10 without the preceding success of ‘In the Summertime’). But it’s our Very, Very Best.
A quick consolatory shout-out to the two ‘best’ records that got nil points: Bucks Fizz with ‘My Camera Never Lies’ (seems I am out on my own in naming that as one of the very best), and ‘Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White’ by Perez Prado (which presumably nobody has listened to for seventy-odd years… It is good though!)
These polls will remain open, and I guess it’ll be interesting to revisit every so often and see if anyone has stumbled across them and added a vote. For now, though, thanks to all who took part! Coming up, I’ll be celebrating a classic Christmas #2, then continuing with the regular countdown next week.