Flops from yesteryear are topping the streaming charts thanks to the digital revolution

Flops from yesteryear are topping the streaming charts thanks to the digital revolution

Don’t Click Back In Anger: Flops from yesteryear are topping the streaming charts thanks to the digital revolution introducing them to a new audience

  • Official Charts Company created a list featuring most-streamed song each year 
  • Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing and Bryan Adams’s Summer of ’69 are the top streams for the year of their release despite not making the top 40 at the time
  • The Beatles’s Here Comes The Sun is the band’s only track to feature on the list
  • Some classic tunes such as Everything I Do (I Do It For You) failed to take top spot

Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing, The Beatles‘ Here Comes the Sun and Bryan Adams’s Summer of ’69 are just some of the flops of yesteryear that have found a new audience thanks to the streaming revolution. 

American rock band Journey must have been following their own advice, because after 41 years of not stopping believing their 1981 hit has finally been revealed as the most streamed song of that year, despite peaking at Number 62 in the UK at the time.

Meanwhile Here Comes the Sun from the Beatles’ 1969 album Abbey Road – which was never even released as a single – is now the band’s only track to feature on the list of the biggest streaming successes by year, compiled by the Official Charts. 

And Summer of ’69, which reached a peak position of 42 on its release in 1985, is now the most streamed song from 1985.

Moving into the 21st century, Miley Cyrus’s Party in the USA failed to reach the top 10 in 2009 but is not the most streamed song for that year.

Here Comes the Sun from the Beatles’ 1969 album Abbey Road (pictured) – which was never even released as a single – is now the band’s only track to feature on the list of the biggest streaming successes by year, compiled by the Official Charts

To mark its 70th anniversary, the Official Charts Company has created a list featuring the most-streamed song of each year since its inception in 1952. 

Robert Gallacher, commissioning editor of BBC Radio Pop Networks, said the list is particularly interesting in showing ‘which classic songs from the past are rated by today’s music consumers, and how that appeal can be driven by exposure on TV, adverts and social media’.

Ray Charles’s I Got A Woman was given a boost after being sampled in Kanye West’s Gold Digger and is now the most-played hit of 1954.

But other songs have have failed to move with the times and have taken a hit with the digital revolutionl.

Bryan Adams’s Everything I Do (I Do It For You) was an enormous chart success, shooting to the number one position in at least nineteen countries. But the 1991 single has failed to appeal to the younger streaming audience and is pipped to the top spot by Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana.

The most streamed song released in 1952 was Singin’ In The Rain by Gene Kelly, while 1954 went to I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash and 1957 to Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley. 

Brian Adams's Summer of '69, which reached a peak position of 42 on its release in 1985, is now the most streamed song from 1985. Pictured: Adams in concert in 2018

Brian Adams’s Summer of ’69, which reached a peak position of 42 on its release in 1985, is now the most streamed song from 1985. Pictured: Adams in concert in 2018

Rolling Stones’ classic track Paint It Black was the most streamed song in 1966, while Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell took the top spot the following year.

Sir Elton John, Fleetwood Mac and Queen all had two years each in the 1970s where their track was the most streamed. 

Veteran musician Sir Elton took 1970 with Your Song and 1972 for Tiny Dancer, while Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way was most streamed in 1976 and Dreams in 1977. 

Queen takes the title in 1975 with Bohemian Rhapsody, in 1979 for Don’t Stop Me Now and again in 1980 with Another One Bites The Dust. 

Later in the decade, Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi was the most streamed in 1986 and I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston claimed 1987. 

The early 1990s sees rock bands dominate with Thunderstruck by AC/DC as the most streamed song in 1990, Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana in 1991 and Creep by Radiohead in 1992. 

Bryan Adams's Everything I Do (I Do It For You) was an enormous chart success, shooting to the number one position in at least nineteen countries. But the 1991 single has failed to appeal to the younger streaming audience and is pipped to the top spot by Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (pictured in 1993)

Bryan Adams’s Everything I Do (I Do It For You) was an enormous chart success, shooting to the number one position in at least nineteen countries. But the 1991 single has failed to appeal to the younger streaming audience and is pipped to the top spot by Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (pictured in 1993)

Meanwhile, Iris by Goo Goo Dolls claims the title in 1998 and No Scrubs by TLC in 1999. 

The dawn of a new century in 2000 was marked with Dancing In The Moonlight by Toploader as the most streamed song with Mr Brightside by The Killers topping the list in 2003 and 2005 going to I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor by the Arctic Monkeys, the lead single off their debut album. 

In more recent years, Someone Like You by Adele was the most streamed song in 2011, 2017 went to Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You and Harry Styles closes out the list in 2022 with his smash hit As It Was. 

To mark the anniversary, Radio 2 will broadcast each of the most streamed songs from 1960-1999 during their Sounds Of The 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s shows on November 11 and 12. 

A one-off programme on BBC Sounds presented by Ricky Wilson, titled Most Streamed Songs of the 50s, will showcase the songs from 1952-1959. 

BBC Radio 1 will also broadcast the most streamed songs released from 2000-2022, with 2000-2010 presented by Vick Hope and Katie Thistleton, and 2011-2022 presented by Jack Saunders. 

Ray Charles's I Got A Woman was given a boost after being sampled in Kanye West's Gold Digger and is now the most-played hit of 1954. Pictured: Charles in 1992

Ray Charles’s I Got A Woman was given a boost after being sampled in Kanye West’s Gold Digger and is now the most-played hit of 1954. Pictured: Charles in 1992

Robert Gallacher, commissioning editor of BBC Radio Pop Networks, said: ‘We’re delighted to mark the 70th anniversary of the Official Singles Chart – a record not just of our favourite tunes, but also our shared cultural history. 

With the release of this new chart it’s particularly fascinating to see which classic songs from the past are rated by today’s music consumers, and how that appeal can be driven by exposure on TV, adverts and social media. 

‘This chart is a true testament to the timelessness of brilliant pop music.’

Martin Talbot, chief executive of the Official Charts Company, added: ‘Official Charts are proud to team up with our long-standing partners at the BBC to compile this unique playlist of 70 incredible songs marking 70 years of the beloved institution that is the UK’s Official Singles Chart. 

‘As ever, the data doesn’t lie; this is a collection of indisputable classics spanning over seven decades of Official Chart history, as affirmed by the British public and their playlist selections.’ 

This chart does not include the hit Christmas singles from each of the decades but a show of the most streamed Christmas number ones will be broadcast on Radio 2 and BBC Sounds over the festive season, the BBC has said. 

The full chart will launch on BBC Sounds from November 3 as a Back to Back Sounds collection. 

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Rachel Muir

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