In the news · Music · Trivia

Stuck at 2: now Wham! rewrite chart history

Happy New Year to you.

Last month, in this piece, I wrote about Mariah Carey rewriting UK chart history when her seasonal hit “All I Want For Christmas Is You”  reached #1, 26 years after its original release. It had previously reached #2 on four separate occasions, a unique feat for any song. As noted in that earlier piece, “Stuck at 2” (“the songs and artists that made it to #2 in the UK chart but didn’t make it to #1”) has been a regular theme on this Blog, and I will now have to go back and amend my previous lists and pieces about the subject in the light of Mariah Carey’s latest success. (Links to these earlier lists and posts can be found on this page.)

I also decided, appropriately as it turned out, that I would wait before making any changes to those earlier pieces: “Maybe Wham! or The Pogues & Kirsty McColl will reach #1 after being ‘Stuck at 2’ in previous Christmas charts”. The latest UK chart, the first listing of 2021, was announced earlier this evening and it shows that Wham! have indeed made it to #1 with their 1984 release “Last Christmas”. In addition to causing me a bit more work, amending lists of songs that were “Stuck at 2” in previous decades, this has changed two chart records in particular. First of all, it’s the longest climb to #1 of any record,  beating the 33 years that it took “Is This The Way To Amarillo” by Tony Christie (from November 1971 to March 2005). Secondly, “Last Christmas” is no longer the best-selling song never to top the UK charts. Wham! had four UK #1s between June 1984 and July 1986 but “Last Christmas” sold more than any of them, and had sold more than any other release that was “Stuck at 2”.

So what has replaced it as the best-selling song not to top the UK chart? If you’re into your chart trivia you might want to have a think about it, in which case don’t read on just yet. The answer appears in the next paragraph.

According to this piece from The Official Chart Company earlier today the answer is “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera (“1.55m pure sales”). It spent 7 weeks at #2 in the autumn of 2011, kept off #1 by 6 different chart-toppers. You can find out what they were by clicking here (“Stuck at 2: the 2010s”). The information for September and October 2011 is still accurate, but I need to go through and amend the entries for December 2017, December 2018 and December 2019. Wham! have done exactly what Mariah Carey did last month: they’ve changed everything.

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