5 of the longest-running number 1 hits ever

15 September 2021, 15:43

Whitney Houston in the 1992 video for 'I Will Always Love You', and Queen in their 1975 video for rock epic 'Bohemian Rhapsody'
Whitney Houston in the 1992 video for 'I Will Always Love You', and Queen in their 1975 video for rock epic 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. Picture: Arista/Getty

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

It takes a particularly special kind of song to capture people's imagination, especially for an extended period of time.

These days, there's so much music in the world (which isn't a bad thing, of course) it has to be a truly iconic track to rise above the parapet.

Over the years, however, we've heard earworms and anthems of gargantuan proportions that have dominated charts across the world. It takes some doing to reign supreme at the summit of UK charts, especially.

Read more: QUIZ: Guess the next lyric in these '80s number one hits

But there are an elite few tracks that have had a sustained period of chart success, remaining at the top for over ten consecutive weeks or more.

That said, let's put a spotlight on five of the longest-running number 1s ever:

1. Whitney Houston - 'I Will Always Love You' (10 weeks)

Dolly Parton's tear-jerking country ballad was given a new lease of life by Whitney Houston when she covered the song for her 1992 film debut The Bodyguard, which to this day remains the biggest-selling movie soundtrack of all time.

Read more: How Dolly Parton was inspired by Whitney Houston when she spent ‘I Will Always Love You’ royalties

Whitney's imperious vocal performance kept the song at the top of the UK charts for a total of ten weeks at the tail end of 1992, seeing out the year on top before it was knocked off by 2 Unlimited's dance-pop track 'No Limit'.

One thing's for sure, we will always love this song.

2. Queen - 'Bohemian Rhapsody' (14 weeks)

You'd be fibbing if you hadn't belting this operatic rock masterpiece out at the top of your lungs at some point in your life, either in a crowd, with friends, or at least at home whilst nobody's watching.

Read more: The Story of... 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen

Queen's first ever UK number one single was so audacious and so catchy, it made household names out of Freddie Mercury and co.

'Bohemian Rhapsody' spent a total of 14 weeks at the top of the UK charts, firstly in 1975 for nine weeks then in 1991 after Freddie tragically passed away.

A legendary song fit for a legendary band.

3. Wet Wet Wet - 'Love Is All Around' (15 weeks)

Wet Wet Wet's most instantly recognisable song, and soundtrack for 1994 rom-com Four Weddings And A Funeral, is forever synonymous with Hugh Grant's floppy hairdo and unassuming charm.

Read more: The Story of... 'Love Is All Around' by Wet Wet Wet

The film's director Richard Curtis approached the band's frontman Marti Pellow about covering a song for the soundtrack, and he chose 'Love Is All Around' (originally by 60s rock band The Troggs of 'Wild Thing' fame) as he knew he could make it his own.

And he certainly did, seeing the song reach number one in the UK charts and remain there for 15 weeks.

4. Bryan Adams - 'Everything I Do (I Do It For You)' (16 weeks)

Canadian singer-songwriter Bryan Adams was arguably more renowned for fist-pumping anthems like 'Run To You' and 'Summer of 69' that embodied the reckless abandon of young love.

Read more: The Story of... 'Everything I Do (I Do it For You)' by Bryan Adams

That was until he wrote epic ballad 'Everything I Do (I Do It For You)' in 1991 which reigned over global airwaves and sat atop the UK charts for a consecutive 16 weeks, a record that's yet to be beaten.

It became the soundtrack for another Kevin Costner movie in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, becoming a box office hit for a box office film.

5. Frankie Laine - 'I Believe' (18 weeks)

A stirring song that conjures the same kind of emotion even today, Italian-American crooner Frankie Laine's mammoth song 'I Believe' holds the record of most weeks at UK number one.

Read more: QUIZ: Can you guess the '90s number one from just the intro?

As 1953's biggest selling single, Frankie Laine reclaimed the number one spot despite being knocked off twice, hitting the number one spot on three occasions despite being knocked off twice.

Spending a total of 18 weeks at the summit of the charts, no single has ever beaten this record held by one of the all-time great singers. It'll take some doing!