How old do you have to be to get one of the best selling songs of all time?

09:26



It's my 25th birthday today. I've spent the past week writing a blog post called "25 Things Popstars Had Already Done By The Time They Were 25". It was in a word, bleak. 

I decided that I was approaching this the wrong way. Why not look at the 25 most successful songs in the UK EVER and see how old you had to be to achieve those? Surely that would be reassuring? Right?


25. Don't You Want Me - The Human League

How old were the members of the Human League when this song was released?
Philip Oakley - 26
Joanne Catherall - 19
Susan Ann Sulley - 18

Is this reassuring?
No.

How good is the song though?
10/10.


24. Two Tribes - Frankie Goes To Hollywood

How old were the members of Frankie Goes To Hollywood when this song was released?
Holly Johnson - 24
Paul Rutherford - 24
Peter Gill - 20
Mark O'Toole - 20
Brian Nash - 21

Is this reassuring?
No.

How good is the song though?
I had never heard this song until today. This seems odd given as I literally write a blog about chart music and it's literally the 24th best selling song of all time. However, it is a fact. I didn't care for it much on first listen, but it feels unfair to judge it against the many years of experience I have with all of the others. 


23. I'll Be Missing You - Puff Daddy ft Faith Evans

How old were Puff Daddy and Faith Evans when this song was released?
Puff Daddy - 27
Faith Evans - 24

Is this reassuring?
Slightly.

How good is the song though?
This is literally the worst number one single of all time. 


22. Summer Nights - John Travolta and Olivia Newton John

How old were John Travolta and Olivia Newton John when this song was released?
John Travolta - 24
Olivia Newton-John - 30

Is this reassuring?
Yes, particularly given the fact the song is intended to be sung by two people who could pass for 17.

How good is the song though?
It's good in the context of Songs from Musicals, but doesn't have the crossover factor to set it apart as a great song in its' own right. 

21. Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke, TI and Pharrell Williams

How old were Robin Thicke, TI and Pharrell Williams when this song was relesed?
Robin Thicke - 36
TI - 29
Pharrell Williams - 40

Is this reassuring?
Yes. 

How good is the song though?
Sadly, whatever musical merit this song may have will never be divorced in my mind from the memories of a thousand creepy men harassing me since the day I hit puberty.
One day I would like to write a novel in which a modestly successful R&B artist makes a deal with the devil for the biggest selling song of 2013.

20. Imagine - John Lennon

How old was John Lennon when this song was released?
35.

Is this reassuring?
Yes.

How good is the song though?
Not very.

19. Last Christmas - Wham!

How old were the members of Wham when this song was released?
George Michael - 21. (George Michael is to this day still only 52!)
Andrew Ridgeley- 21.

Is this reassuring?
No.

How good is the song though?
Quintessential Christmas classic. The whispered 'Merry Christmas' is the best moment of Christmas pop music, although it is arguably done better here:

Stunning.


18. (Everything I Do) I Do It For You - Bryan Adams

How old was Bryan Adams when this song came out?
33.

Is this reassuring?
Yes.

How good is the song though?
I know it's not very cool to like this song but I don't care I THINK IT'S LOVELY.

17. Believe - Cher

How old was Cher when this song came out?
52.

Is this reassuring?
Very.

How good is the song though?
I listen to this song on a weekly basis. The fact it was released at such a core time for my cognitive development has probably made me the person I am today.

16. Evergreen - Will Young

How old was Will Young when this song came out?
23.

Is this reassuring?
Not really.

How good is the song though?
This is one of the best winners' singles ever.


15. I Want To Hold Your Hand - The Beatles

How old were the Beatles when this song came out?
Paul McCartney - 21.
John Lennon - 23.
Ringo Starr - 23.
George Harrison - 20.

Is this reassuring?
Slightly. I would have thought they were younger than that. Dougie Poynter was 15 when 5 Colours in Her Hair came out!

How good is the song though?
I know some people love the Beatles and some people hate the Beatles but I think they're just about Alright. I don't like this song much as I think it is a bit simple and basic, and my favourite Beatles songs tend to be the ones that are a bit different, but then is that fair of me to say? Perhaps the reason this Beatles song is a bit simple and basic is because it was written in 1963 and here I am writing a blog about it in 2015 having heard over 50 years of other songs that are just a little bit influenced by the basic Beatles stuff.*

*NB The Beatles will never be as good as the Backstreet Boys.


14. Barbie Girl - Aqua

How old were the members of Aqua when this song came out?
Lene - 24.
Rene Dif - 29.
Soren Rasted - 28.
Claus Norreen - 27.

Is this reassuring?
Definitely yes.

How good is the song though?
I will never forgive this song for the fact I performed it in a Butlins talent show and only came second. Oh, how I cried.


13. Happy - Pharrell Williams

How old was Pharrell Williams when this song came out?
40.

Is this reassuring?
Yes.

How good is the song though?
This song is a total victim of its' own success. Personally, I think it's a bit of a jam. I watched Despicable Me 2 for the first time the other day, and hearing the song in its' intended natural context made me feel like I was hearing it again all for the first time. On a related note, I just want to state publicly that I don't care how uncool everyone thinks Minions are, I LOVE them and think they are HILARIOUS.

12. I Just Called To Say I Love You - Stevie Wonder

How old was Stevie Wonder when this song came out?
34.

Is this reassuring? 
Yes

How good is the song though?
In my childhood I once heard a radio DJ say that this music video looked like bits of toast flying through the air. I have never ever been able to hear this song or indeed the name "Stevie Wonder" ever since without thinking about that.

11. Unchained Melody - Robson & Jerome

How old were Robson and Jerome when this song was released?
Robson - 31
Jerome - 32 (Jerome is now literally in Game of Thrones. This is the SAME PERSON. I know you all probably already knew that, but it is interesting to think about where life can take you after getting the 11th biggest selling song of all time.)

Is this reassuring?
Yes, both in terms of age and the fact you don't really need to be any kind of popstar to have an incredibly successful number one hit. (A scheme is forming).

How good is the song though?
I am a Ghost loyalist so to me it's Righteous Brothers or GTFO. This is obviously, however, better than Gareth Gates and his white suit.

10. Mary's Boy Child - Boney M

How old were the members of Boney M when this song was released?
Liz Mitchell - 26.
Marcia Barrett - 30.
Maizie Williams - 27.
Bobby Farrell - 29.

Is this reassuring?
Sort of.

How good is the song though?
I have never been able to differentiate this song from Rivers of Babylon, and cannot sing one without segueing into the other. It's also one of those songs which is so. hideously. catchy that you end up stuck with two lines looping in your head for three hours as you try to sleep but you don't know any other words so it is LITERALLY INFINITE. 

9. Love Is All Around - Wet Wet Wet

How old were the members of Wet Wet Wet when this song was released?
Marti Pellow - 29
Tommy Cunningham - 29
Graeme Clark - 29
Neil Mitchell - 28

Is this reassuring?
Yes.

How good is the song though?
This song is completely terrible.

8. She Loves You - The Beatles

How old were the Beatles when this song was released?
Paul McCartney - 21
John Lennon - 22
Ringo Starr - 22
George Harrison - 20

Is this reassuring?
No.

How good is the song though?
It's in the upper half of Beatles songs for me, but still ain't no I Am The Walrus.


7. Rivers Of Babylon - Boney M

How old were the members of Boney M when this song was released?
Liz Mitchell - 25
Marcia Barrett - 29
Maizie Williams - 27
Bobby Farrell - 28

Is this reassuring?
Mildly.

How good is the song though?
As mentioned above, this song is indistinguishable from Mary's Boy Child, so my opinions still stand.

6. Relax - Frankie Goes To Hollywood

How old were the members of Frankie Goes To Hollywood when this song was released?
Holly Johnson - 23
Paul Rutherford - 24
Peter Gill - 19
Mark O'Toole - 20
Brian Nash - 20

Is this reassuring?
No.

How good is the song though?
Absolutely brilliant.

5. You're The One That I Want - John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John


How old were John Travolta and Olivia Newton John when this song was released?
John Travolta - 24
Olivia Newton-John - 30

Is this reassuring?
Incredibly.

How good is the song though?
I. LOVE. this. song. I think it might be one of the very best Songs From Musicals ever.

4. Mull of Kintyre - Wings

How old were the members of Wings when this song was released?
Paul McCartney - 35
Linda McCartney - 36
Denny Laine - 33

Is this reassuring?
Yes. This is also the best selling song ever that has never had any proceeds go to charity, fact fans.

How good is the song though?
For a song apparently so massive I don't think it's that overplayed, but it's a nice enough tune I guess.


3. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen

How old were the members of Queen when this song was released?
Freddie Mercury - 29
Brian May - 28
Roger Taylor - 26
John Deacon - 24

Is this reassuring?
Not really.

How good is the song though?
I COMPLETELY LOATHE this song. If I could pay someone £30 right now to guarantee never hearing this song ever again I would. (£30's the limit though I'm not made of money)


2. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid

How old were Bob Geldof and Midge Ure when they sorted out Band Aid?*
*NB I know a true statistician would go through every single person that was on Band Aid, but we all have lives to lead.
Bob Geldof - 33
Midge Ure - 31

Is this reassuring?
A bit.

How good is the song though?
I quite like Band Aid but Band Aid 20, featuring the most ridiculous rap of all time ("spare a thought this Yuletide for the deprived"), is obviously better.

1. Candle in the Wind 1997 - Elton John

How old was Elton John when Candle in the Wind 1997 was released?
50, although he was only 26 when he did the Marilyn version.

Is this reassuring?
Not particularly given above Marilyn caveat.

How good is the song though?
I quite like it, although it is very sad so I do not care to listen to it.


**CONCLUSION**

I am probably not 'past it' at the age of 25, which is as a cheery thought for a Thursday morning as any.


Image: Billboard

You Might Also Like

0 comments