On March 21st 2014, BBC Radio 1 revealed The Official Charts Company’s compilation of the UK’s top 100 most downloaded tracks of all time. While some of these incredibly catchy tracks will be remembered as classics, or will be recognised as having established the careers of some of the 21st Century’s most popular artists, others will be remembered as one hit wonders, or will only go so far as to resonate in the ears of the next generation of kids and teenagers, but will not go down in music history. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure… these are all iconic tunes of our time.
1. Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke/TI/Pharrell (Play this video in Creation 5)
Released in May 2013, “Blurred Lines” has sold 1.54 million copies and was nominated for two Grammys at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. The single was written and completed by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in an hour, and was inspired by Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up”. The similarities in “feel” and “sound” between the two songs led to a series of lawsuits and counter-suits between Sony/ATV and Marvin Gaye’s estate, regarding copyright infringement allegations. Finally, the two parties arrived at an undisclosed settlement. The song’s controversial subject matter and music video nudity content was designed to attract attention and make the video go viral. Thrilled with the success of his song, Mr Thicke said: “I’m so honoured, the success of “Blurred Lines” is a dream come true”. The growing success of “Blurred Lines” is an amazing achievement for Thicke, who had never had a radio hit before the release of “Blurred Lines”.
2. Someone Like You – Adele (Play this video in Creation 5)
“Someone Like You” was co-written by American songwriter-producer, Dan Wilson, and by the beautiful and incredibly talented British singer-songwriter, Adele, for her second studio album 21. The song talks about Adele parting ways with her first love and finding out that he’s settled down with someone else. It is simple and raw, heart breaking and gorgeous to the core – no wonder it’s sold 1.53 million copies to date! After having opened her heart up to the world and given a downright honest and outstanding live performance at the 54th Grammy Awards (2012), the girl with the voice of an angel won a much deserved Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance for “Someone Like You”.
3. Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera (Play this video in Creation 5)
Since its release in 2011, the dance-pop/electro-pop song has sold over 14 million copies worldwide. While Adam Levine (lead vocalist of Maroon 5) has referred to the song as a “risk” and a “bold statement”, Mick Jagger (frontman of The Rolling Stones) has referred to the song as “very flattering”. It’s funky, danceable and catchy as hell!
4. Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye ft. Kimbra (Play this video in Creation 5)
Written and recorded by Belgian-Australian singer-songwriter Gotye and featuring New-Zealand singer Kimbra, the indie-pop song has sold over 13 million copies worldwide. It was the biggest selling song of 2012 and won awards for Best Pop/Duo Performance and Record of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards. The song’s popularity increased after Pentatonix released their remarkable a cappella cover of the song, which went viral on YouTube.
5. I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas (Play this video in Creation 5)
Co-written and produced by all the members of the Black Eyed Peas and the famous David Guetta, “I Gotta Feeling” was the soundtrack to summer 2010. The song was nominated for Record of the Year at the 52nd Grammy Awards, and the Black Eyed Peas took home a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. It was also nominated for Song of the Year at the 2009 World Music Awards. Does this song take you back to those crazy hot summer days or what?
6. Get Lucky – Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams (Play this video in Creation 5)
Let’s crank up the volume! – This magical electro tune always gets the party started and never fails to get you in the mood to get up and dance. Co-Written by French house music duo Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rogers, the song won Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 56th Grammy Awards. Since it’s release in 2013, the song has sold an excess of 1 million copies in the UK. This “formidable” and “old school disco-jam”, as stated by Will Hermes (Rolling Stone), is a true gem in the electronic music world, and an absolute breath of pure delight.
7. We Found Love – Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris (Play this video in Creation 5)
“We Found Love”, written and produced by DJ Calvin Harris and recorded by Rihanna, has sold more than 8 millions copies across the world. According to Harris, the release of the song “changed absolutely everything” for him. “Career-wise, it was the best thing that could ever have happened.” (Calvin Harris – MTV UK).
8. Wake Me Up – Avicii (Play this video in Creation 5)
Swedish DJ Avicii refers to the track as a “fun experiment”. He and soulful American singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc wrote the lyrics in a couple of hours and released what was to become 2013’s summer anthem. Released in June 2013, “Wake Me Up” sold over 1 million copies by October that year, in the UK alone.
9. Happy – Pharrell Williams (Play this video in Creation 5)
Soundtrack to the sequel of the popular animated movie Despicable Me, the song has sold over 1.3 million copies in the UK. Not only is Pharrell’s neo-soul, feel-good, cheerful and uplifting song incredibly catchy, he’s the first to have released a 24 hour music video. The music video’s concept has become a world event, and has been copied by people in different cities around the world. More than 1,500 videos of people dancing to “Happy” have been released on YouTube. During a recent interview with Oprah, Pharrell got emotional and cried tears of joy for having influenced the world in such an extraordinary way.
10. Sex On Fire – Kings Of Leon (Play this video in Creation 5)
With over 82 million views on YouTube, the Kings of Leon’s 2008 hit single “Sex on Fire” from their fourth studio album “Only By The Night”, won them their first ever Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. While the lyrics originally sang “Set Us On Fire”, the Rock track probably wouldn’t have been quite so memorable without its sexual reference. There were some attempts at using the words “socks on fire” and “cock on fire” but KOL decided to go with “Sex On Fire”, due to a running joke between the band members.
11. Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
12. Just The Way You Are (Amazing) – Bruno Mars
13. Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO/Lauren Bennett/Goonrock
14. Gangnam Style – PSY
15. Price Tag – Jessie J ft. Bob
16. Love The Way You Lie – Eminem ft. Rihanna
17. Titanium – David Guetta ft. Sia
18. Poker Face – Lady Gaga
19. Let Her Go – Passenger
20. Only Girl (In The World) – Rihanna
Link to Top 100: Official Charts Company
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