Music · Trivia

Stuck at 2: Songs that peaked at #2 for one act and reached #1 for a different act

At the end of this piece is a list of songs that were “Stuck at 2” in the UK for one act but made it to #1 for at least one different act. First, a few notes.

In many cases, the original version only got as far as #2 but a later (and, you might argue, weaker) recording made it to #1. Fans of UK boy band A1 might believe that the group’s version of “Take On Me” improves on A-Ha’s original, but others might disagree. Either way, A1’s recording reached #1 in 2000. A-Ha’s version was kept at #2 by Jennifer Rush (“The Power of Love”) 15 years earlier. Similarly, 911 (another UK boy band) reached #1 with a version of “A Little Bit More” in 1999. Dr Hook’s recording was “Stuck at 2” for 5 weeks in the summer of 1976 while Elton John and Kiki Dee topped the chart with “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”. A third and final example: Madonna made it to #1 with “American Pie” in 2000; Don McLean’s version was kept at #2 by Chicory Tip (“Son of my Father”) for 1 week and Nilsson (“Without You”) for 2 weeks, in 1972.

There are examples of songs that made it to #1 for multiple acts and were “Stuck at 2” for another. In 2002 “Unchained Melody” became the first song to top the UK chart by four different acts, but back in 1955 the recording by Al Hibbler was kept off the top for 2 weeks by Eddie Calvert (“Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White”) and for a further 2 weeks by Jimmy Young’s recording. This feat, where two different version of the same song occupied the top two positions in the UK chart, was repeated in 2008: Jeff Buckley’s version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” was kept at #2 by Alexandra Burke’s recording. “I Believe” was a UK #1 for Frankie Laine in the 1950s and for Robson and Jerome in the 1990s. Another version, by the Bachelors, reached #2 in the 1960s.

There are also songs that reached #1 on one release and #2 in a different release by the same artist, but they are not included in the list below. Examples include “Mysterious Girl” by Peter Andre (#2 in 1996, #1 when re-released in 2004) and “Albatross” by Fleetwood Mac (#1 in 1969 and #2 when re-released in 1973). In 2005, each of Elvis Presley’s #1 records from the previous 50 years was re-released, one per week: 3 of them reached #1 and 8 of them reached #2, including the double A side “A Fool Such As I” / “I Need Your Love Tonight”.

The debut hit by Jedward (also featuring Vanilla Ice) was the 2010 release “Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby)”, a medley of two previous #1s. It peaked at #2, kept off the top for a single week by Owl City (“Fireflies”).

There are songs that have been “Stuck at 2” in multiple versions such as “Hole In My Shoe” (Traffic, 1967 and Neil, 1984) and “The Loco-Motion” (Little Eva, 1962 and Kylie Minogue, 1988). There are also recordings that have reached #2 on multiple occasions, such as “Move It” (Cliff Richard), “Last Christmas” (Wham!) and “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (Mariah Carey). However, for any songs that have reached #2 for one act and #1 for at least one different act, there is only one version that was “Stuck at 2”. The two lists below are ordered as follows: first, by date of the version that peaked at #2; second, alphabetically by song.

1 Date Order (according to the date of the version of that peaked at #2)

Song Month it reached #2 Act that reached #2 Acts(s) that reached #1 (Month-year) Month it first reached #1
Unchained Melody Jun-55 Al Hibbler Jimmy Young (Jun-55) / Righteous Brothers (Nov-90) / Robson & Jerome (May-95) / Gareth Gates (Mar-02) Jun-55
Green Door Dec-56 Frankie Vaughan Shakin’ Stevens (Aug-81) Aug-81
Hey! Baby Apr-62 Bruce Channel DJ Otzi (Sep-01) Sep-01
It’s All In The Game Sep-63 Cliff Richard & The Shadows Tommy Edwards (Nov-58) Nov-58
I Believe May-64 Bachelors Frankie Laine (Apr-53) / Robson & Jerome (Nov-95) Apr-53
You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ Jan-65 Cilla Black Righteous Brothers (Feb-65) Feb-65
A Groovy Kind Of Love Mar-66 Mindbenders Phil Collins (Sep-88) Sep-88
Suspicious Minds Jan-70 Elvis Presley Gareth Gates (Oct-02) Oct-02
Let It Be Mar-70 Beatles Ferry Aid (Apr-87) Apr-87
American Pie Mar-72 Don McLean Madonna (Mar-00) Mar-00
Three Steps To Heaven Jun-75 Showaddywaddy Eddie Cochrane (Jun-60) Jun-60
A Little Bit More Jul-76 Dr Hook 911 (Jan-99) Jan-99
I Have A Dream Dec-79 Abba Westlife (Dec-99) Dec-99
Only You May-82 Yazoo Flying Pickets (Dec-83) Dec-83
It’s Raining Men Mar-84 Weather Girls Geri Halliwell (May-01) May-01
Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) Apr-84 Phil Collins Mariah Carey & Westlife (Sep-00) / Steve Brookstein (Jan-05) Sep-00
Axel F Jul-85 Harold Faltermeyer Crazy Frog (Jun-05) Jun-05
Take On Me Oct-85 A-Ha A1 (Sep-00) Sep-00
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door May-92 Guns ‘N’ Roses Dunblane (Dec-96) Dec-96
Love Me For A Reason Jan-95 Boyzone Osmonds (Aug-74) Aug-74
Chain Reaction Oct-01 Steps Diana Ross (Mar-86) Mar-86
I’m Your Man Dec-03 Shane Richie Wham (Nov-85) Nov-85
Any Dream Will Do Jun-07 Lee Mead Jason Donovan (Jun-91) Jun-91
Hallelujah Jan-09 Jeff Buckley Alexandra Burke (Dec-08) Dec-08
Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby) Feb-10 Jedward featuring Vanilla Ice Queen & David Bowie (Nov-81) / [Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice reached #1 in Dec-90] Nov-81

 

2 Alphabetically by song

Song Month it reached #2 Act that reached #2 Acts(s) that reached #1 (Month-year) Month it first reached #1
A Groovy Kind Of Love Mar-66 Mindbenders Phil Collins (Jan-83) Sep-88
A Little Bit More Jul-76 Dr Hook 911 (Jan-99) Jan-99
Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) Apr-84 Phil Collins Mariah Carey & Westlife (Sep-00) / Steve Brookstein (Jan-05) Sep-00
American Pie Mar-72 Don McLean Madonna (Mar-00) Mar-00
Any Dream Will Do Jun-07 Lee Mead Jason Donovan (Jun-91) Jun-91
Axel F Jul-85 Harold Faltermeyer Crazy Frog (Jun-05) Jun-05
Chain Reaction Oct-01 Steps Diana Ross (Mar-86) Mar-86
Green Door Dec-56 Frankie Vaughan Shakin’ Stevens (Aug-81) Aug-81
Hallelujah Jan-09 Jeff Buckley Alexandra Burke (Dec-08) Dec-08
Hey! Baby Apr-62 Bruce Channel DJ Otzi (Sep-01) Sep-01
I Believe May-64 Bachelors Frankie Laine (Apr-53) / Robson & Jerome (Nov-95) Apr-53
I Have A Dream Dec-79 Abba Westlife (Dec-99) Dec-99
I’m Your Man Dec-03 Shane Richie Wham (Nov-85) Nov-85
It’s All In The Game Sep-63 Cliff Richard & The Shadows Tommy Edwards (Nov-58) Nov-58
It’s Raining Men Mar-84 Weather Girls Geri Halliwell (May-01) May-01
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door May-92 Guns ‘N’ Roses Dunblane (Dec-96) Dec-96
Let It Be Mar-70 Beatles Ferry Aid (Apr-87) Apr-87
Love Me For A Reason Jan-95 Boyzone Osmonds (Aug-74) Aug-74
Only You May-82 Yazoo Flying Pickets (Dec-83) Dec-83
Suspicious Minds Jan-70 Elvis Presley Gareth Gates (Oct-02) Oct-02
Take On Me Oct-85 A-Ha A1 (Sep-00) Sep-00
Three Steps To Heaven Jun-75 Showaddywaddy Eddie Cochrane (Jun-60) Jun-60
Unchained Melody Jun-55 Al Hibbler Jimmy Young (Jun-55) / Righteous Brothers (Nov-90) / Robson & Jerome (May-95) / Gareth Gates (Mar-02) Jun-55
Under Pressure (ice Ice Baby) Feb-10 Jedward featuring Vanilla Ice Queen & David Bowie (Nov-81) / [Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice reached #1 in Dec-90] Nov-81
You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ Jan-65 Cilla Black Righteous Brothers (Feb-65) Feb-65

 

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