3.7bn singles sold in chart history

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof's Do They Know It's Christmas? was the biggest selling single of the 80s Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof's Do They Know It's Christmas? was the biggest selling single of the 80s

Music fans have bought 3.7 billion singles since the first UK chart was launched 60 years ago.

That is enough seven-inches to stretch around the earth 16 times according to a survey of UK singles sales stretching back to 1952.

The data from the Official Charts Company found sales peaked in the pre-digital era in the 1980s when 640 million singles were sold. The biggest selling single that decade was Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas?, released in 1984.

But that was bettered in the decade from 2000, when digital sales really took off, which saw 683 million singles sold.

The company's managing director Martin Talbot said: "Working on historic statistics from so long ago to create data reflecting sales to consumers has required diligent research and attention to detail.

"And, while it is unlikely to ever be possible to arrive at exact totals for those early years due to the nature of the data available, we are confident that these figures give us the clearest picture yet published of the development of singles sales across the six decade history of the Official Singles Chart."

There have been more than 1,200 number ones since the first chart was published in the NME in 1952.

Take That frontman Gary Barlow, who has topped the chart 14 times in his career, said: "Number Ones are incredible and I don't care how many you've had in the past it still feels amazing to have a Number One, in some cases even better if it's your 12th or 15th or whatever it is. It's a brilliant feeling."

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