In the music industry, getting a number one single is of course a great thing, but what matters most is long term sales. You could get a number one that, in the long run, sells considerably fewer copies than a number two, for example. Many artists have thrived without reaching the top of the UK Singles Chart and here are 11 of them.
Though she of course topped the album chart and spent many, many weeks there, Amy Winehouse never had a number one single in the UK. The closest she came was with the song ‘Valerie’, a cover of the song by The Zutons she did with Mark Ronson, providing the vocals for it. The song reached number two in 2007 and went on to become that year’s ninth biggest selling single.
2. Dolly Parton
Though Dolly Parton’s well known in the UK as the queen of country music, she’s never topped the singles chart. Though her Glastonbury 2014 show was a huge success, it wasn’t quite enough to land the singer a number one single.
3. Bob Marley
Though his compilation album Legends is the UK’s sixteenth biggest selling album of all time, Bob Marley has never topped the UK Singles Chart.
4. Green Day
Green Day have had three albums top the UK Albums Chart, but the closest they’ve ever come to topping the UK Singles Chart was with ‘The Saints Are Coming’, a song with U2 that reached a peak of number two.
5. Lana Del Rey
Even though her debut album Born To Die sold over a million copies in the UK, Lana Del Rey hasn’t managed to top the UK Singles Chart. The closest she came was when a remix of ‘Summertime Sadness’ by Cedric Gervais reached number four in 2013.
6. Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys topped the UK Albums Chart in 2009 with The Element of Freedom, though she hasn’t yet managed to top the UK Singles Chart. She came very close in 2009, featuring on Jay Z’s ‘Empire State of Mind’, which reached number two.
7. Cyndi Lauper
You might be surprised to learn that her most iconic hit ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ only reached number two in the UK.
8. Bruce Springsteen
Though Bruce Springsteen has released 18 studio albums across 40 years, topping the UK Singles Chart is something he’s yet to achieve, though he did reach number two with ‘Streets of Philadelphia’ in 1994.
Björk’s most memorable hit ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ reached number four in 1995, but she’s yet to reach a higher position with a single release.
10. Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan made headlines in 2016 when it was announced he’d received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his songwriting, though he’s yet to claim a UK number one single.
Rounding off the list is American heavy metal band Metallica, who have had two singles reach number five (‘Enter Sandman’ in 1991 and ‘Until it Sleeps’ in 1996), but haven’t yet had one reach number one.