The Beatles: bigger than Ken Dodd – but only just

News in pictures
News in pictures
Arts & Ents blogs

Paws for thought: Why we’re still a nation of animal lovers

The phrase 'a nation of animal lovers' never rang truer as a trio of pet-related exhibitions open.

Video: Dragon Baby

If you ever wanted to know who would win in a fight between a baby and a dragon then wonder no more....

Video: Take the 70-second James Bond challenge

To celebrate the release of Skyfall, Coke Zero decided to test commuters with a 007-style assignment...


They called them the Swinging Sixties, so it comes as no surprise that there are four Beatles singles in the top five in a new compilation of the best-selling singles of the decade.

But what song is up there at No 3 with the Fab Four? Could it be "Not Fade Away", the first big hit for The Rolling Stones? Or "River Deep, Mountain High", which launched the fabulous career of Tina Turner? Or "Purple Haze", or "Whiter Shade of Pale", or "You'll Never walk Alone", by Gerry and the Pacemakers, which became the anthem of Liverpool FC? Or perhaps "Flowers in the Rain" by The Move, the first record to be played on Radio 1, by the DJ Tony Blackburn, when the station was launched in 1967.

Actually, none of the above even made the Top 20. In at No 3 is "Tears" by Ken Dodd, a comedian best remembered for his Diddy Men, his tickling stick, and his aversion to paying tax.

Because, in the 1960s, it was not only the young, the turned on, and the groovy who bought records. Mums and Dads – especially Mums – would treat themselves occasionally to a seven-inch piece of vinyl that they could put on the turntable, and set to 45rpm.

The first Beatles single not to top the charts, "Strawberry Fields Forever", in 1967, was beaten into second place by a song called "Release Me" by Engelbert Humperdinck, who was over 40, had a neat haircut, and was every mother's heart-throb.

"And the first hit ever to be No 1 in the UK and USA simultaneously was a soft instrumental number, "Stranger on the Shore" by the jazz clarinettist, Acker Bilk.

The list was compiled by the Official Charts Company, collating data from 1 January 1960 to 31 December 1969, for a Radio 2 programme yesterday, presented by Tony Blackburn.

He said: "This brings back many fantastic memories. It comes as no surprise to see the Fab Four at No 1, but other aspects of the chart are perhaps a little unexpected. For example Ken Dodd, The Seekers and Engelbert Humperdinck all attain higher chart positions than The Rolling Stones, Elvis and Cliff Richard."

The twenty best selling singles of the Sixties

1. She Loves You, by The Beatles

2. I Want To Hold Your Hand, The Beatles

3. Tears, Ken Dodd

4. Can't Buy Me Love, The Beatles

5. I Feel Fine, The Beatles

6. The Carnival Is Over, The Seekers

7. We Can Work It Out / Day Tripper, The Beatles

8. Release Me, Engelbert Humperdinck

9. It's Now Or Never, Elvis Presley

10. Green Green Grass Of Home, Tom Jones

11. The Last Waltz, Engelbert Humperdinck

12. Stranger On The Shore, Acker Bilk

13. I Remember You, Frank Ifield

14. The Young Ones, Cliff Richard

15. Sugar Sugar, The Archies

16. The Next Time / Bachelor Boy, Cliff Richard

17. Telstar, The Tornados

18. From Me To You, The Beatles

19. Two Little Boys, Rolf Harris

20. Hey Jude, The Beatles

Independent Comment
blog comments powered by Disqus
iJobs Job Widget

Day In a Page

Brian Eno: 'It's simply not my temperament to look back'

Brian Eno: 'I don't look back'

In a rare interview, Eno reveals why that long-awaited Roxy Music reunion tour is never going to happen.
Cult film 'Brand X' has been granted a surprising and timely second life

Second life for cult film 'Brand X'

The film from the heyday of hippiedom mysteriously disappeared.
Class act: The amateur-dramatics societies that could give the pros a run for their money

Class act: Amateur-dramatics societies

British community theatre companies put on 30,000 productions every year. Now they are finally getting the recognition they deserve.
New wave: What is life like for teenage cadets at Russia's Soviet-era naval academy?

In pictures: Russia's Soviet-era naval academy

The award-winning photographer Nelli Palomaki was granted exclusive access to the academy.
Northern soul: Bill Granger discovers what Scandinavian baking can teach us

Northern soul: Bill Granger's Scandinavian baking

Nordic cuisine's surge in popularity should extend to its baking with its liberal use of spices, nuts and fruits giving an earthy, homely feel.
Inside post-Castro Cuba: Can this complex country can ever be truly free?

Inside post-Castro Cuba

Capitalism is making small inroads, yet many Cubans still feel prisoners of the old regime.
The Blitz kids: How the New Romantics made London swing again

In pictures: The New Romantics

Late-Seventies Britain, and everything looked grim - until the New Romantics came along.
Sally Hawkins: 'You only do good work when you're taking risks'

Sally Hawkins: 'You have to take risks'

The actress Sally Hawkins doesn't find fame easy but is top of the wish list for directors such as Woody Allen and Mike Leigh.
The expat files: What is it really like to be a long-term stranger in a foreign land?

Expat files: Strangers in a foreign land

The number of Britons living abroad increases each year. But it's not all sun, sea and tax havens.
Views from the top deck: A photography project conducted on London buses reveals a fresh side to city life

Views from the top deck

A photography project conducted on London buses reveals a fresh side to city life
Core values: Mark Hix cooks with apples

Core values: Mark Hix cooks with apples

The bad weather didn't help the apple harvest, but there are still plenty of varieties with which you can make tempting late-autumn dishes.
Chinese President Hu Jintao: A parting Shot from the world’s most powerful man

A parting shot from world’s most powerful man

After hailing a ‘glorious decade’ in power, the outgoing Chinese President served a dire warning on his successors at Congress to tackle corruption and social unrest – or lose everything
A mammoth find in France provides evidence of a savage demise

A mammoth find in France provides evidence of a savage demise

Neanderthals may have dealt killer blow
Longchamp: A long way from pipes in Paris

Longchamp: A long way from pipes in Paris

Special report: The bag maker is trying to expand in China just as the luxury boom shows signs of flagging
Big thinkers unite to defend 'one of UK's greatest assets'

Big thinkers unite to defend 'one of UK's greatest assets'

New council aims to protect university values in the light of 'excessive and wasteful' reforms