Entertainment & Arts

Elton John Diana tribute tops best-selling single chart

Sir Elton John
Image caption Sir Elton John features just once on the list of million-selling UK singles

Sir Elton John's Candle in the Wind tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales has topped a chart of the biggest-selling UK singles of the last 60 years.

The 1997 release sold 4.9 million copies - more than a million more than the second placed track, Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas?

The Official Charts Company rundown features 123 records that have sold more than one million copies in the UK.

Seven of the records included sold more than two million copies.

Elton John's double A-side - Something About The Way You Look Tonight/Candle in the Wind 97 - was released in the aftermath of Diana's death in August 1997.

The 1990s feature heavily in the list, with Aqua hit Barbie Girl and Bryan Adams' (Everything I Do) I Do It For You among the Top 20 biggest sellers.

The Beatles have six million-selling singles in the countdown, with She Loves You ranked highest in eighth place.

At the bottom of the chart, just scraping past the million mark, is When We Collide by 2010 X-Factor winner Matt Cardle.

1955 was the first year to see a single crack the one million mark, when Bill Haley & His Comets sold 1.42m copies of (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock.

According to Martin Talbot, managing director of the Official Charts Company, the release of the countdown and the anniversary it celebrates coincides with a period of "unprecedented demand" for the single.

"This year [is] set to be the biggest year on record for sales of the format," he said. "This truly is the era of the super hit."

In 2002, the 50th anniversary of the UK singles chart, 76 singles had sold in excess of one million copies.

Since then, the Official Charts Company has recorded a 62% rise in the number of singles to have sold a million or more.

The single's current success can be attributed to the rise in digital downloads, with 5.7m singles downloaded in the last week of 2011 alone.

Figures collated by the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) show that in 2011, 177.9m singles were sold in the UK with more than 99% sold as digital tracks.

It is forecasted that there will be a further rise in singles sales in 2012, with 10 tracks having already sold more than one million copies this year.

They include Adele's Someone Like You and Somebody That I Used To Know, by Gotye featuring Kimbra.

Should momentum continue for the next seven years, the current decade is on track to eclipse the 1970s and 1990s as the most successful ever.

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