Music · Trivia

More pop trivia: UK #1s that feature places

The 2016 UK #1 “I took a pill in Ibiza” by Mike Posner is a recent addition to my repertoire. It was unfamiliar to me until last week. It reminds me of Joe South’s classic 1969 release “The games people play” (which peaked at #6) so I mix the two songs together. Ibiza is one of many place-names to appear in the titles of songs that reached the top of the UK charts. As far as I can see it is the only place-name to appear in two different chart-toppers (unless we include Xanadu). In addition to Mike Posner’s release there’s “We’re Going to Ibiza!” by the Vengaboys. The latter is essentially a cover of Typically Tropical’s 1975 single “Barbados”, which also made it to #1, and was played earlier today on Johnnie Walker’s “Sounds of the 70s” show on BBC Radio 2. The current UK #1 is “Take me back to London” by Ed Sheeran and Stormzy. It’s the first #1 to mention the UK’s capital city in its title. Northern Ireland’s main city has featured in a previous one (“Belfast child” by Simple Minds) but not London.

These song titles featuring geographical locations have prompted me to see how many more there are, and to create the lists that follow. Previous pieces on this Blog have looked at a range of linked #1 song titles, such as those that feature girls’ names, those that feature boys’ names and those that feature numbers. A full list of such pieces appears at the end of this one.

Country names

The names of three countries feature in UK #1s: Barbados, Argentina, America, as follows:

Month Artist Song
Aug 1975 Typically Tropical Barbados
Feb 1977 Julie Covington Don’t Cry For Me Argentina
Oct 2006 Razorlight America

Towns and cities

The following towns and cities all feature in UK #1s: Laramie (Wyoming), Paris (France), San Francisco (California), Woodstock (New York), Liverpool (UK), Belfast (UK), Mandalay (Myanmar / Burma), Amarillo (Texas), Detroit (Michigan), Havana (Cuba), London (UK). Here’s the full list:

Month Artist Song
Oct 1955 Jimmy Young The Man From Laramie
Apr 1956 Winifred Atwell Poor People Of Paris
Aug 1967 Scott McKenzie San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)
Oct 1970 Matthews’ Southern Comfort Woodstock
Dec 1972 Little Jimmy Osmond Long Haired Lover From Liverpool
Feb 1989 Simple Minds Belfast Child
Jul 2001 Robbie Williams The Road to Mandalay
Mar 2005 Tony Christie featuring Peter Kay (Is This The Way To) Amarillo
Nov 2006 Fedde Le Grand Put Your Hands Up For Detroit
Nov 2017 Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug Havana
Sep 2019 Ed Sheeran featuring Stormzy Take Me Back to London

Other places (regions, states, islands, rivers) mentioned in UK #1s

The following place-names and rivers also appear in UK #1s: Cumberland, Carolina, Massachusetts, Waterloo, Mississippi, Mull of Kintyre, Orinoco, Mersey, Ibiza, Barry Island, California.

Month Artist Song
Apr 1957 Lonnie Donegan Cumberland Gap
Sep 1958 Connie Francis Carolina Moon
Oct 1967 Bee Gees Massachusetts
May 1974 Abba Waterloo
Oct 1976 Pussycat Mississippi
Dec 1977 Wings Mull Of Kintyre
Oct 1988 Enya Orinoco Flow
May 1989 Christians, Holly Johnson, Paul McCartney, Gerry Marsden, Stock Aitken & Waterman Ferry ‘Cross The Mersey
Sep 1999 Vengaboys We’re Going To Ibiza!
Mar 2009 Vanesa Jenkins & Bryn West featuring Sir Tom Jones & Barry Gibb (Barry) Islands In The Stream
Jul 2010 Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg California Gurls
Mar 2016 Mike Posner I Took a Pill in Ibiza


According to Belinda Carlisle’s 1988 #1 “Heaven is a place on earth”. If that is true, then we can add the following 7 songs to our list:

Month Artist Song
31-Jan-53 Eddie Fisher Outside Of Heaven
25-Jun-60 Eddie Cochran Three Steps To Heaven
28-Jun-86 Wham! Edge Of Heaven
16-Jan-88 Belinda Carlisle Heaven Is A Place On Earth
29-Sep-90 Maria McKee Show Me Heaven
21-Dec-96 Dunblane Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
9-Nov-02 DJ Sammy & Yanou featuring Do Heaven

Mythical, Historical and Non-specific places

Babylon, Xanadu and the Garden of Eden all feature in UK #1s, as do the rather vague Land of Make Believe, La Isla Bonita, Yellow River and Down Under. All are included in the following list, in the interests of completeness:

Month Artist Song
Jan 1957 Frankie Vaughan The Garden of Eden
Mar 1968 Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich Legend of Xanadu
Jun 1970 Christie Yellow River
May 1978 Boney M Rivers of Babylon
Jul 1980 Olivia Newton-John & The Electric Light Orchestra Xanadu
Jan 1982 Bucks Fizz Land of Make Believe
Jan 1983 Men At Work Down Under
Apr 1987 Madonna La Isla Bonita

Previous pop trivia pieces about linked #1 song titles

UK #1 hit singles containing girls’ names

UK #1 hit singles containing boys’ names

UK #1 hit singles that include numbers

Titles of UK #1 hits contained within other #1s

Same artist and song name, same title different song

The titles run on (and on)




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