Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The World's All-Time Best-Selling Songs

First posted 12/29/2011; last updated 4/22/2020.

image from dreamstime.com

Songs:

The World’s All-Time Best Sellers

This list is a compiled from a variety of sources for sales figures (see complete source list here), but they are generally estimates since there is no official agency to track worldwide sales. As such, it is highly possible that some of these sales figures have been inflated by record companies or other vested parties, but this list does at least offer some idea of the world’s best-selling songs.

On top of that, these figures don’t always strictly represent sales. Especially in the 21st century, additional figures – such as the number of times songs were streamed via Spotify, YouTube or other services – have been factored into official certifications. That means a song certified for 10 million in sales may not have actually “sold” that many copies.

If you have your doubts about some of these songs belonging on this list, you’re not alone. I realize my knowledge of music beyond U.S. shores is limited, but if songs like Thelma Aoyama’s “Soba ni lur ne”, Utada Hikaru’s “Flavor of Life”, Kiseki’s “Greeeen”, Andre Brasseur’s “Early Bird”, and Machiko Soga’s “Oba-Q Ondo” are truly that monstrous in sales, shouldn’t I have at least heard of them? Oh well. I just report the lists. I don’t make these figures up (even if someone else does).

Note: in the event of ties, songs are ranked according to overall DMDB points.


The World’s All-Time Best-Selling Songs
(6 million +)


20+ million:

  1. Bing Crosby “White Christmas” (1942) 55 million
  2. Elton John “Candle in the Wind 1997 (Goodbye England’s Rose)” (1997) 37 m
  3. Black Eyed Peas “I Gotta Feeling” (2009) 31 m
  4. Bing Crosby “Silent Night” (1935) 30 m
  5. Mungo Jerry “In the Summertime” (1970) 30 m
  6. Lady Gaga “Poker Face” (2009) 28.5 m
  7. Black Eyed Peas “Boom Boom Pow” (2009) 27 m
  8. Bill Haley & His Comets “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock” (1954) 25 m
  9. The Harry Simeone Chorale “The Little Drummer Boy” (1958) 25 m
  10. Elvis Presley “It’s Now or Never” (1960) 22 m
  11. Jason Mraz “I’m Yours” (2008) 22 m
  12. Adele “Rolling in the Deep” (2010) 20.6 m
  13. Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You” (1992) 20 m
  14. U.S.A. for Africa “We Are the World” (1985) 20 m
  15. The Old Folks at Home (Swanee River)” (1851) 20 m *
  16. Listen to the Mocking Bird (aka “The Mocking Bird”)” (1891) 20 m *

    14 to 19 million:

  17. Coldplay “Viva La Vida” (2008) 19.5 m
  18. Lady Gaga with Colby O’Donis “Just Dance” (2008) 19 m
  19. Camila Cabello with Young Thug “Havana” (2017) 19 m
  20. The Ink Spots “If I Didn’t Care” (1939) 19 m
  21. LMFAO with Lauren Bennett & GoonRock “Party Rock Anthem” (2011) 18.87 m
  22. Celine Dion “My Heart Will Go On” (1997) 18 m
  23. Gene Autry “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1949) 18 m
  24. Carly Rae Jepsen “Call Me Maybe” (2011) 18 m
  25. Baccara “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” (1977) 18 m
  26. Mark Ronson with Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk!” (2014) 17.64 m
  27. Flo Rida with T-Pain “Low” (2007) 17.5 m
  28. Ed Sheeran “Shape of You” (2017) 17.03 m
  29. Maroon 5 with Christina Aguilera “Moves Like Jagger” (2011) 16.38 m
  30. Lil Nas X with Billy Ray Cyrus “Old Town Road” (2018) 16.21 m
  31. Taylor Swift “Love Story” (2008) 16.2 m
  32. Kenny Rogers “Lady” (1980) 16 m
  33. Mariah Carey “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (1994) 16 m
  34. Eminem with Rihanna “Love the Way You Lie” (2010) 15.87 m
  35. Luis Fonsi with Daddy Yankee & Justin Bieber “Despacito” (2017) 15.62 m
  36. Robin Thicke with T.I. & Pharrell Williams “Blurred Lines” (2013) 15.6 m
  37. The Chainsmokers with Halsey “Closer” (2016) 15.39 m
  38. Eminem “Lose Yourself” (2002) 15.38 m
  39. Drake “God’s Plan” (2018) 15.3 m
  40. Bryan Adams “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” (1991) 15 m
  41. Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta “You’re the One That I Want” (1978) 15 m
  42. Tony Bennett “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” (1962) 15 m
  43. The Scorpions “Wind of Change” (1991) 15 m
  44. Kaoma “Lambada” (1989) 15 m
  45. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with Wanz “Thrift Shop” (2012) 14.25 m
  46. Ke$ha “Tik Tok” (2009) 14.2 m
  47. Beyoncé “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” (2008) 14.11 m
  48. Gloria Gaynor “I Will Survive” (1978) 14 m

    11+ to 13.9 million:

  49. Pharrell Williams “Happy” (2013) 13.9 m
  50. Imagine Dragons “Radioactive” (2012) 13.75 m
  51. Bruno Mars “Just the Way You Are (Amazing)” (2010) 13.7 m
  52. Meghan Trainor “All About That Bass” (2014) 13.56 m
  53. Ed Sheeran with Beyoncé “Perfect” (2017) 13.5 m
  54. Justin Bieber “Sorry” (2015) 13.5 m
  55. Adele “Hello” (2015) 13.45 m
  56. Leona Lewis “Bleeding Love” (2007) 13.4 m
  57. Katy Perry “Firework” (2010) 13.31 m
  58. Lady Gaga “Bad Romance” (2009) 13.26 m
  59. Post Malone with 21 Savage “Rockstar” (2017) 13.26 m
  60. Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth “See You Again” (2015) 13.22 m
  61. Katy Perry with Juicy J “Dark Horse” (2013) 13.22 m
  62. Rihanna “Disturbia” (2008) 13.2 m
  63. Katy Perry “Roar” (2013) 13.08 m
  64. Gotye with Kimbra “Somebody That I Used to Know” (2012) 13 m
  65. Chic “Le Freak” (1978) 13 m
  66. John Legend “All of Me” (2013) 13 m
  67. Pink “So What” (2008) 13 m
  68. Kyu Sakamoto “Sukiyaki” (1963) 13 m
  69. Trio “Da Da Da” (1982) 13 m
  70. Prince Nico Mbarga “Sweet Mother” (1976) 13 m
  71. Katy Perry “I Kissed a Girl” (2008) 12.9 m
  72. Psy “Gangnam Style” (2012) 12.89 m
  73. Justin Bieber with Ludacris “Baby” (2010) 12.88 m
  74. Rihanna & Calvin Harris “We Found Love” (2011) 12.82 m
  75. Justin Timberlake “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” (2016) 12.77 m
  76. Drake “One Dance” (2016) 12.69 m
  77. One Republic “Counting Stars” (2013) 12.49 m
  78. Fun. & Janelle Monáe “We Are Young” (2012) 12.27 m
  79. Taylor Swift “Shake It Off” (2014) 12.14 m
  80. Avicii with Aloe Blacc “Wake Me Up!” (2012) 12.12 m
  81. The Beatles “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (1963) 12 m
  82. Village People “Y.M.C.A.” (1978) 12 m
  83. Andrea Bocelli with Sarah Brightman “Time to Say Goodbye” (1998) 12 m
  84. Eminem “Not Afraid” (2010) 11.94 m
  85. Katy Perry “Hot N Cold” (2008) 11.9 m
  86. Lorde “Royals” (2013) 11.86 m
  87. Sam Smith “Stay with Me” (2014) 11.76 m
  88. Justin Bieber “Love Yourself” (2015) 11.7 m
  89. Band Aid “Do They Know It’s Christmas” (1984) 11.7 m
  90. Kanye West with Daft Punk “Stronger” (2007) 11.7 m
  91. Taylor Swift “Blank Space” (2014) 11.68 m
  92. Terry Jacks “Seasons in the Sun” (1974) 11.5 m
  93. Post Malone with Quavo “Congratulations” (2016) 11.43 m
  94. Daft Punk with Pharrell Williams “Get Lucky” (2013) 11.34 m
  95. Ed Sheeran “Thinking Out Loud” (2014) 11.28 m
  96. Billie Eilish “Bad Guy” (2019) 11.26 m
  97. Idina Menzel “Let It Go” (2013) 11.25 m
  98. Pitbull with Ne-Yo, Afrojack, & Nayer “Give Me Everything” (2011) 11.2 m
  99. Florida Georgia Line with Nelly “Cruise” (2012) 11.16 m
  100. Sia with Sean Paul “Cheap Thrills” (2016) 11.1 m

    11 million:

  101. Los Del Rio “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” (1995)
  102. Mills Brothers “Paper Doll” (1943)
  103. Cher “Believe” (1998)
  104. Carl Douglas “Kung Fu Fighting” (1974)
  105. T.I. with Rihanna “Live Your Life” (2008)
  106. George McCrae “Rock Your Baby” (1974)
  107. Roger Whittaker “The Last Farewell” (1975)
  108. Patrick Hernandez “Born to Be Alive” (1979)

    10 + million:

  109. Rihanna with Jay-Z “Umbrella” (2007) 10.9 m
  110. Bruno Mars “Grenade” (2010) 10.9 m
  111. The Weeknd “The Hills” (2015) 10.9 m
  112. Tia Ray “Be Apart” (2018) 10.9 m
  113. Justin Bieber “What Do You Mean?” (2015) 10.81 m
  114. Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975) 10.8 m
  115. LMFAO “Sexy and I Know It” (2011) 10.77 m
  116. Rihanna with Drake “Work” (2016) 10.6 m
  117. Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah” (2006) 10.5
  118. Lukas Graham “7 Years” (2015) 10.4 m
  119. Lady Gaga with Bradley Cooper “Shallow” (2018) 10.2 m
  120. The Chainsmokers with Daya “Don’t Let Me Down” (2016) 10.2 m
  121. Twenty One Pilots “Stressed Out” (2015) 10.19 m
  122. Maroon 5 “Sugar” (2014) 10.02 m

    10 million:

  123. The Beatles “Hey Jude” (1968)
  124. Elvis Presley “Don’t Be Cruel” / “Hound Dog” (1956)
  125. Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven” (1971)
  126. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts “I Love Rock and Roll” (1981)
  127. Procol Harum “A Whiter Shade of Pale” (1967)
  128. Patti Page “Tennessee Waltz” (1950)
  129. George Harrison “My Sweet Lord” (1970)
  130. The Monkees “I’m a Believer” (1966)
  131. Britney Spears “Baby One More Time” (1998)
  132. Shakira with Wyclef Jean “Hips Don’t Lie” (2006)
  133. The Penguins “Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)” (1954)
  134. One Republic with Timbaland “Apologize” (2007)
  135. Toni Braxton “Un-Break My Heart” (1996)
  136. Paul Anka “Diana” (1957) 10 m
  137. The Chainsmokers with Coldplay “Something Just Like This” (2017)
  138. Roy Acuff & the Smoky Mountain Boys “Wabash Cannonball” (1938)
  139. Van McCoy “The Hustle” (1975)
  140. Mike Posner “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” (2015)
  141. Abba “Fernando” (1976)
  142. Middle of the Road “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep” (1971)
  143. Goombay Dance Band “Sun of Jamaica” (1982)
  144. Panjabi MC “Mundian To Bach Ke” (1998)

    9+ million:

  145. Lady Antebellum “Need You Now” (2009) 9.81 m
  146. Katy Perry with Kanye West “E.T.” (2010) 9.75 m
  147. Christina Perri “A Thousand Years” (2011) 9.7 m
  148. Cardi B “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” (2017) 9.68 m
  149. Marshmello with Anne-Marie “Friends” (2018) 9.6 m
  150. Taio Cruz “Dynamite” (2010) 9.59 m
  151. Katy Perry with Snoop Dogg “California Gurls” (2010) 9.52 m
  152. Michael Jackson “Billie Jean” (1983) 9.5 m
  153. Survivor “Eye of the Tiger” (1982) 9.4 m
  154. Adele “Someone Like You” (2011) 9.4 m
  155. Rihanna “Diamonds” (2012) 9.34 m
  156. Journey “Don’t Stop Believin’” (1981) 9.2 m
  157. Flo Rida with Ke$ha “Right Round” (2009) 9.2 m
  158. Bruno Mars “When I Was Your Man” (2012) 9.2 m
  159. Post Malone with Ty Dolla $ign “Psycho” (2018) 9.2 m
  160. Iggy Azalea with Charli XCX “Fancy” (2014) 9.1 m
  161. Maroon 5 with Wiz Khalifa “Payphone” (2012) 9.1 m
  162. Lil Wayne with Static Major “Lollipop” (2008) 9.1 m
  163. The Weeknd “Can’t Feel My Face” (2015) 9.09 m
  164. Taylor Swift “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” (2012) 9.07 m
  165. Maroon 5 with Cardi B “Girls Like You” (2017) 9.04 m

    9 million:

  166. Elvis Presley “Jailhouse Rock” (1957)
  167. Elvis Presley “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” (1960)
  168. Paul McCartney & Wings “Mull of Kintyre” (1977)
  169. Nick Straker Band “A Walk in the Park” (1980)

    8+ million:

  170. Bruno Mars “That’s What I Like” (2016) 8.86 m
  171. Post Malone with Swae Lee “Sunflower” (2018) 8.81
  172. Taylor Swift “I Knew You Were Trouble” (2012) 8.81 m
  173. Lady Gaga “Born This Way” (2011) 8.75 m
  174. Cee-Lo Green “Fuck You (aka “Forget You”)” (2010) 8.73 m
  175. Bebe Rexha with Florida Georgia Line “Meant to Be” (2017) 8.68 m
  176. Katy Perry “Teenage Dream” (2010) 8.66 m
  177. Bruno Mars “Locked Out of Heaven” (2012) 8.6 m
  178. Magic! “Rude” (2013) 8.6 m
  179. Kanye West with Jamie Foxx “Gold Digger” (2005) 8.54 m
  180. Kendrick Lamar “Humble” (2017) 8.51 m
  181. Ben Selvin “Dardanella” (1920) 8.5 m **
  182. Train “Hey, Soul Sister” (2009) 8.5 m
  183. Shakira “Whenever, Wherever” (2001) 8.5 m
  184. Cardi B with Bad Bunny & J. Balvin “I Like It” (2018) 8.43 m
  185. Nicki Minaj “Super Bass” (2011) 8.42 m
  186. Jennifer Lopez with Pitbull “On the Floor” (2011) 8.4 m
  187. Michael Jackson “Thriller” (1982) 8.31 m
  188. Owl City “Fireflies” (2009) 8.22 m
  189. Passenger “Let Her Go” (2012) 8.2 m
  190. Thelma Aoyama “Soba ni lur ne” (2009) 8.2 m
  191. Hozier “Take Me to Church” (2013) 8.16 m
  192. DJ Khaled with Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, and Lil Wayne “I’m the One” (2017) 8.05 m
  193. The Weeknd with Daft Punk “Starboy” (2016) 8.04 m
  194. Lewis Capaldi “Someone You Loved” (2018) 8.03 m

    8 million:

  195. Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)
  196. The Animals “The House of the Rising Sun” (1964)
  197. The Kingsmen “Louie Louie” (1963)
  198. Beyoncé with Jay-Z “Crazy in Love” (2003)
  199. Vernon Dalhart.. The Prisoner’s Song” (1925) **
  200. Puff Daddy, Faith Evans & 112 “I’ll Be Missing You” (1997)
  201. Whitney Houston “I Wanna Dance with Somebody Who Loves Me” (1987)
  202. Ricky Martin “Livin’ La Vida Loca” (1999)
  203. The Sugarhill Gang “Rapper’s Delight” (1979)
  204. Enrique Iglesias “Hero” (2001)
  205. Mahalia Jackson “Move on Up a Little Higher” (1948)
  206. Mary Hopkin “Those Were the Days” (1968)
  207. Shocking Blue “Venus” (1969)
  208. Black Eyed Peas “My Humps” (2005)
  209. Aqua “Barbie Girl” (1997)
  210. Paul Hardcastle “19” (1985)
  211. Rocco Granata “Marina” (1959)
  212. Georgie Fame “The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde” (1967)
  213. O-Zone “Dragostea din tei” (2003)
  214. Boney M “Ma Baker” (1978)
  215. Modern Talking “You’re My Heart, You’re My Soul” (1985)
  216. Freddy Quinn “Heimweh” (1956)
  217. Utada Hikaru “Flavor of Life” (2007)
  218. Richard Sanderson “Reality” (1980)

    7+ million:

  219. Bastille “Pompeii” (2013) 7.99 m
  220. Michael Jackson “Beat It” (1982) 7.95 m
  221. Twenty One Pilots “Heathens” (2016) 7.9 m
  222. Rihanna with Mikky Ekko “Stay” (2012) 7.88 m
  223. Rihanna “Only Girl in the World” (2010) 7.78 m
  224. Taylor Swift “You Belong with Me” (2008) 7.64 m
  225. Nicki Minaj “Starships” (2012) 7.62 m
  226. Nelly & Kelly Rowland “Dilemma” (2002) 7.6 m
  227. Miley Cyrus “Party in the U.S.A.” (2009) 7.5 m
  228. Travis Scott with Drake “Sicko Mode” (2018) 7.43 m
  229. XXXtentacion “Sad!” (2018) 7.43 m
  230. Lady Gaga with Beyoncé “Telephone” (2009) 7.4 m
  231. Fun. “Some Nights” (2012) 7.35 m
  232. Avril Lavigne “Girlfriend” (2007) 7.3 m
  233. Twenty One Pilots “Ride” (2015) 7.3 m
  234. Black Eyed Peas “The Time (Dirty Bit)” (2010) 7.3 m
  235. Shawn Mendes “Stitches” (2015) 7.29 m
  236. Bruno Mars “The Lazy Song” (2010) 7.28 m
  237. Ashanti with Ja Rule “Foolish” (2002) 7.2 m
  238. Katy Perry “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” (2010) 7.2 m
  239. Michel Telo “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” (2011) 7.2 m
  240. Eminem with Rihanna “The Monster” (2013) 7.11 m

    7 million:

  241. The Beatles “Let It Be” (1970)
  242. Roy Orbison “(Oh) Pretty Woman” (1964)
  243. Elvis Presley “Suspicious Minds” (1969)
  244. Elvis Presley “All Shook Up” (1957)
  245. Spice Girls “Wannabe” (1996)
  246. a-ha “Take on Me” (1985)
  247. Queen “Another One Bites the Dust” (1980)
  248. Green Day “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (2004)
  249. The Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1964)
  250. Drake “Hotline Bling” (2015)
  251. R. Kelly “I Believe I Can Fly” (1996)
  252. Bobby Goldsboro “Honey” (1968)
  253. Usher with will.i.am “OMG” (2010)
  254. Tony Orlando & Dawn “Knock Three Times” (1970)
  255. Christina Aguilera “Genie in a Bottle” (1999)
  256. David Seville & The Chipmunks “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” (1958)
  257. Fetty Wap “Trap Queen” (2014)
  258. Morris Albert “Feelings” (1975)
  259. Scott McKenzie “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” (1967)
  260. Alanis Morissette “Uninvited” (1998)
  261. Royal Scots Dragoon Guards “Amazing Grace” (1972)
  262. Charlie Gracie “Butterfly” (1957)
  263. The Band Perry “If I Die Young” (2010)
  264. Las Ketchup “Aserejé (The Ketchup Song) ” (2002)
  265. The Beatles “Do You Want to Know a Secret?” (1963)
  266. D.R.A.M. with Lil Yachty “Broccoli” (2016)
  267. The Black Crowes “Hard to Handle” (1990)
  268. Danyel Gerard “Butterfly” (1971)
  269. Julie Rogers “The Wedding (La Novia)” (1964)
  270. Pussycat “Mississippi” (1976)
  271. Khalid “Location” (2017)
  272. Ricky Valance “Tell Laura I Love Her” (1960)
  273. Exile “Lovers Again” (2007)
  274. Adamo “Tombe Le Neige” (1965)
  275. Andrea Bocelli “Con te Partiro” (1997)

    6+ million:

  276. B.o.B. with Hayley Williams “Airplanes” (2010) 6.91 m
  277. Jason Mraz “I Won’t Give Up” (2012) 6.91 m
  278. Rihanna with Drake “What’s My Name? ” (2010) 6.87 m
  279. Sia “Chandelier” (2014) 6.81 m
  280. Maroon 5 “One More Night” (2012) 6.75 m
  281. Beyoncé “Irreplaceable” (2006) 6.7 m
  282. A Great Big World with Christina Aguilera “Say Something” (2013) 6.67 m
  283. Flo Rida “Whistle” (2012) 6.6 m
  284. Sam Smith “I’m Not the Only One” (2014) 6.6 m
  285. The Weeknd “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey) ” (2014) 6.6 m
  286. DJ Snake with Lil Jon “Turn Down for What” (2013) 6.58 m
  287. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with Ray Dalton “Can’t Hold Us” (2011) 6.56 m
  288. Usher with Lil Jon & Ludacris “Yeah!” (2004) 6.55 m
  289. Rae Sremmurd with Gucci Mane “Black Beatles” (2016) 6.54 m
  290. Britney Spears “Toxic” (2004) 6.5 m
  291. Culture Club “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” (1982) 6.5 m
  292. Silentó “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” (2015) 6.5 m
  293. Britney Spears “Womanizer” (2008) 6.5 m
  294. Flo Rida with Sia “Wild Ones” (2011) 6.5 m
  295. Jay-Z with Alicia Keys “Empire State of Mind” (2009) 6.49 m
  296. Jay-Z with Kanye West “Niggas in Paris” (2011) 6.43 m
  297. Foster the People “Pumped Up Kicks” (2010) 6.42 m
  298. Snow Patrol “Chasing Cars” (2006) 6.41 m
  299. Ariana Grande with Iggy Azalea “Problem” (2014) 6.4 m
  300. Coolio with L.V “.Gangsta’s Paradise” (1995) 6.39 m
  301. Flo Rida “My House” (2015) 6.38 m
  302. James Blunt “You’re Beautiful”” (2005) 6.35 m
  303. Taylor Swift “Bad Blood” (2014) 6.34 m
  304. T.I. “Whatever You Like” (2008) 6.33 m
  305. Sam Hunt “Body Like a Back Road” (2017) 6.31 m
  306. Goo Goo Dolls “Iris” (1998) 6.29 m
  307. Justin Timberlake “Sexyback” (2006) 6.22 m
  308. Fall Out Boy “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up)” (2013) 6.2 m
  309. Kiseki “Greeeen” (2009) 6.2 m
  310. Jay Sean with Lil Wayne “Down” (2009) 6.14 m
  311. The Jackson 5 “I’ll Be There” (1970) 6.1 m
  312. Paramore “Crushcrushcrush” (2007) 6.1 m
  313. Jessie J with Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj “Bang Bang” (2014) 6.07 m
  314. Wiz Khalifa “Black and Yellow” (2010) 6.07 m
  315. Toto “Africa” (1982) 6.03 m
  316. The Lumineers “Ho Hey” (2012) 6.01 m

    6 million:

  317. Simon & Garfunkel “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (1970)
  318. Abba “Dancing Queen” (1976)
  319. Gene Austin “My Blue Heaven” (1927) **
  320. Peerless Quartet “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” (1911) *
  321. The Beatles “She Loves You” (1963)
  322. Debby Boone “You Light Up My Life” (1977)
  323. The Archies “Sugar, Sugar” (1969)
  324. George Michael “Careless Whisper” (1984)
  325. The Jackson 5 “I Want You Back” (1969)
  326. Tony Orlando & Dawn “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” (1973)
  327. Jerry Lee Lewis “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (1957)
  328. Down by the Old Mill Stream” (1911) *
  329. Madonna “Vogue” (1990)
  330. Bonnie Tyler “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (1983)
  331. The Champs “Tequila” (1958)
  332. The Tokens “The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)” (1961)
  333. Lou Bega “Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of…)” (1999)
  334. Pitbull with Ke$ha “Timber” (2013)
  335. Pussycat Dolls with Busta Rhymes “Don’t Cha” (2005)
  336. Jeannie C. Riley “Harper Valley P.T.A.” (1968)
  337. Britney Spears “Oops! I Did It Again” (2000)
  338. Beyoncé “Halo” (2008)
  339. SSgt Barry Sadler “The Ballad of the Green Berets” (1966)
  340. Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters “Jingle Bells” (1943)
  341. Elvis Presley “Surrender/Lonely Man” (1961)
  342. Abba “Waterloo” (1974)
  343. Drake with Majid Jordan “Hold on, We’re Going Home” (2013)
  344. Neil Diamond “Cracklin’ Rosie” (1970)
  345. The Brotherhood of Man “Save Your Kisses for Me” (1976)
  346. Bonnie Tyler “It’s a Heartache” (1977)
  347. French Montana with Swae Lee “Unforgettable” (2017)
  348. New Seekers “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” (1971)
  349. Janet Jackson “Together Again” (1997)
  350. Kanye West “Heartless” (2008)
  351. AWOL Nation “Sail” (2011)
  352. George Baker Selection “Una Paloma Blanca” (1975)
  353. Zac Brown Band “Chicken Fried” (2008)
  354. Drake with Kanye West, Lil Wayne, & Eminem “Forever” (2009)
  355. Khalid “Young, Dumb & Broke” (2017)
  356. Luke Bryan “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)” (2011)
  357. Tee Set “Ma Belle Amie” (1969)
  358. Chris Stapleton “Tennessee Whiskey” (2015)
  359. Andre Brasseur “Early Bird” (1965)
  360. Machiko Soga “Oba-Q Ondo” (1966)

* Sales exclusively from sheet music sales. No particular artist identified.
** Includes sheet music sales


Resources and Related Links:
  • Edward Foote Gardner (2000). Popular Songs of the Twentieth Century: Volume I – Chart Detail & Encyclopedia 1900-1949 St. Paul, MN: Paragon House

    This resource, also listed in the “Charts” section, is also included here because this and Whitburn’s Pop Memories 1890-1954, are the most dominant sources for sheet music sales figures.

  • Guardian.co.uk (11/4/2012). UK’s million-selling singles: the full list

    List of the 123 songs to achieve one million sales in the UK.

  • LivingEars.blogspot.com (7/27/2009). Top 50 Digital Singles of All Time

    This list, which obviously focuses on the 2000-2009 decade, offers an insight into more recent sales. It has been posted many times, but without indication of the original source.

  • MoneyInc.com (2019). “Top Selling iTunes Songs of All Time
  • PhilBrodieBand.com (date?) Top Selling Singles of All Time

    List of all-time best-selling songs (8 million+) globally. No indication of source or year of list. Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind” is the top seller with 37 million sold. Also includes 2005 list of UK’s “All-Time Best Selling Singles,” which is more detailed at UKcharts.20m.com.

  • UKcharts.20m.com (date?) The UK’s Best Selling Singles

    List of the top 100 selling singles in the U.K. with commentary on the top 10 by Theo Morgan-Gan. Includes sales figures from The Official Chart Company.

  • UKmix.org (date?) All-Time Best Selling Singles Worldwide

    Appears to be an older version of the same list posted at PhilBrodieBand.com. However, this one lists 24 songs topping 4 million in sales. “Candle in the Wind” tops the list with 26 million +. Appears to be a blog post with no original reference or date cited. Also includes a 2003 list of 100+ songs selling more than 5 million.

  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc.

    This resource, also listed in the “Charts” section, is listed here as well because this and Gardner’s Popular Songs of the Twentieth Century, Volume 1, noted above, are the most dominant sources for sheet music sales figures. A list on page 634 offers up the sheet music from 1890-1954 that sold in execess of 3 million.

  • Wikipedia (2/28/2020). List of Best-Selling Singles in the United States

    List of all songs in the U.S. to have been certified for physical sales of more than 4 million and digital sales of 6 million or more.

  • Wikipedia (5/30/2012). List of Best-Selling Singles Worldwide

    While there is no official tracking company to record global sales, data from multiple sources can be compiled to get a good idea of the all-time best-selling songs in the world. This lists all songs to have reportedly gained 5 million + in sales. Each song is referenced with an additional footnote for the source.

  • Wikipedia (12/24/2010). List of Best-Selling Singles by Year (UK)

    List of all songs in the U.K. which have sold over a million.

  • Wikipedia (12/24/2010). List of Million-Selling Singles in the United Kingdom

    Lists top selling song of each year from 1952-2010. Often includes sales figures.

  • Yahoo.com (5/12/2008). Singles That Have Sold Over 10 Million Copies by Robert the Radish

    Unfortunately, there are no references to confirm any of these, but some of the 21 songs on this list have been verified by other sources, including “White Christmas” selling at the 50 million mark and “Candle in the Wind 1997” at 37 million.

7 comments:

  1. This is wonderful.

    In this age of instant information, one rarely finds lists like these that were personally complied by someone instead of just copy-pasted off of Wikipedia or some other site.

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  2. To the compiler of this list,
    I recommend he or she visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_singles_worldwide, where I have added and continue to add songs.

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    1. The Wikipedia link was one of my sources (see the link in the first paragraph to go to all the sources), but I had last looked at it in 2010. As a result of your comment, though, I revisited the link and have updated this post. Thanks!

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  3. Great list. But...
    I've read somewhere that 'A perfect day' by Carrie Jacobs-Bond (1910) sold 25 million copies of sheet music, and i could imagine that a largish number of recordings have been sold during the subsequent hundred-odd years. What say you?

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    1. Hmm. Had to do some research on this. I found an NPR article (https://www.npr.org/2009/08/29/112348069/remembering-composer-carrie-jacobs-bond) that said all 200 songs by Carrie Jacobs-Bond sold a combined 20 million in sheet music. In my database I have "A Perfect Day" noted as selling 3 million in sheet music. The Wikipedia page for "A Perfect Day" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Perfect_Day_(song)) does say it sold 25 million in sheet music, but the link it cites is broken. Finally, a Britannica.com entry (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Carrie-Jacobs-Bond) says "A Perfect Day" had sold 5 million copies of sheet music by the early 1920s. I'm thinking the 5 million seems to be the most accurate figure, but trying to figure out sales for old songs is no easy task. Thanks for the question! - Dave

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    2. And thank you Dave for the reply. The figure I asked you about did seem excessive, and even five M is an amazing number. The market for sheet music must be quite a bit smaller now than in the olden days...

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