Even in a world of downloads and global promotional sales, the likes of Drake, Adele and Billie Eilish, there is one band that stands out as key chart dominators. While for some time the throne was occupied by The King, it’s fair to say The Beatles are still the big draw in showbusiness.
Simply put, The Beatles are the best selling musical artists of all time. Although certified units sold favour more recent artists like Rihanna and Drake, the estimated units for the Fab Four blow all other artists out of the water. With estimations topping out at around 600 million, The Beatles are unlikely to be caught by any artists, especially as they continue to sell monumental amounts of albums and physical records as the music industry continues to evolve in the streaming era.
When it comes to singles, The Beatles continue to dominate the conversation. The group still hold the records for most number one songs in America with 20 and most singles sold in the UK with nearly 22 million confirmed sales. But of all these singles, which one sits atop them all as The Beatles’ most successful single?
It’s a question that has plagued countless Beatles aficionados over decades of fervent fandom.
How many singles did The Beatles release?
The Beatles have hundreds of songs to their name and were as prolific as any pop group during their early days. However, as time passed, they started to slow down their promotional procession and focused on feature-length projects instead. They did still deliver a fair number of singles.
The Fab Four released 63 single sin total across their remarkably brief time as a band. Despite releasing their first single in 1962 with ‘My Bonnie’ they would put out tens more songs before their final single as a band ‘The Long and Winding Road’. Later, the band would put out several singles for special editions including the unfinished John Lennon composition ‘Free as a Bird’.
What is the highest-selling Beatles single in the UK?
In the UK, the answer is simple: according to the Official Charts Company, which has been used to tabulate UK singles for over 50 years, ‘She Loves You’ is the band’s biggest-selling single in their home country. Back in 2015, the company calculated that ‘She Loves You’ had sold approximately 1.92 million copies.
With seven years of additional sales, it’s a good guess to say that the song has now crossed the 2 million sales mark.
What is the highest-selling Beatles single in the US?
In the US, ‘She Loves You’ actually failed to chart on its initial release, only selling about 1,000 copies on its first American pressing in 1963. Beatlemania was still a few months away, but when the group landed stateside in February of 1964, ‘She Loves You’ began climbing the charts once again. In March, the song replaced the group’s first US chart-topper, ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’, at number one.
Actual physical sales of ‘She Loves You’ in America don’t appear to be available. Billboard, the official chart source in the US, hasn’t released the statistical roundups the same way that the Official Charts Company has for the UK. But ‘She Loves You’ was not The Beatles’ longest-charting song America.
What was The Beatles longest-charting single?
That distinction belongs to ‘Hey Jude’, which stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 for a then-record 19 weeks in 1968. For nine of those 19 weeks, the song was number one, the longest-reigning number one run at the time. By this metric, it might be accurate to call ‘Hey Jude’ the biggest-selling single from The Beatles in America, but until the official counts are released, the title of certifiable high-selling Beatles single still belongs to ‘She Loves You’.