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Sunday, April 19, 2015

The World's All-Time Best-Selling Songs

This list was originally posted 12/29/2011. Revised 4/19/2015.

image from dreamstime.com

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.

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.

20+ million:

  • Bing Crosby…White Christmas (1942) 56 million
  • Elton John…Candle in the Wind 1997 (Goodbye England’s Rose) (1997) 37 m
  • Bing Crosby…Silent Night (1935) 30 m
  • Bill Haley & His Comets…We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock (1954) 25 m
  • The Harry Simeone Chorale…The Little Drummer Boy (1958) 25 m
  • Elvis Presley…It’s Now or Never (1960) 22 m
  • Whitney Houston…I Will Always Love You (1992) 20 m
  • U.S.A. for Africa…We Are the World (1985) 20 m
  • Paul Anka…Diana (1957) 20 m
  • The Old Folks at Home (Swanee River) (1892) 20 m *
  • Listen to the Mocking Bird (aka “The Mocking Bird”) (1891) 20 m *

    14 to 19 million:

  • The Ink Spots…If I Didn’t Care (1939) 19 m
  • Gene Autry…Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1949) 18 m
  • Kenny Rogers…Lady (1980) 16 m
  • Baccara…Yes Sir, I Can Boogie (1977) 16 m
  • Carly Rae Jepsen…Call Me Maybe (2012) 15.45 m
  • Celine Dion…My Heart Will Go On (1997) 15 m
  • Black Eyed Peas…I Gotta Feeling (2009) 15 m
  • Ke$ha…Tik Tok (2009) 14.2 m
  • Gloria Gaynor…I Will Survive (1978) 14 m
  • Adele…Rolling in the Deep (2010) 14 m
  • Lady Gaga…Poker Face (2009) 14 m
  • LMFAO with Lauren Bennett & GoonRock…Party Rock Anthem (2011) 14 m
  • The Scorpions…Wind of Change (1991) 14 m
  • Mariah Carey…All I Want for Christmas Is You (1994) 14 m

    11+ to 13.9 million:

  • Maroon 5 with Christina Aguilera…Moves Like Jagger (2011) 13.9 m
  • Bruno Mars…Just the Way You Are (Amazing) (2010) 13.2 m
  • Gotye with Kimbra…Somebody That I Used to Know (2012) 13 m
  • Kyu Sakamoto…Sukiyaki (1963) 13 m
  • Trio…Da Da Da (1982) 13 m
  • Eminem with Rihanna…Love the Way You Lie (2010) 12.78 m
  • Justin Bieber with Ludacris…Baby (2010) 12.58 m
  • Jason Mraz…I’m Yours (2008) 12.2 m
  • The Beatles…I Want to Hold Your Hand (1963) 12 m
  • Village People…Y.M.C.A. (1978) 12 m
  • Flo Rida with T-Pain…Low (2007) 12 m
  • Pharrell Williams…Happy (2013) 12 m
  • Andrea Bocelli with Sarah Brightman…Time to Say Goodbye (1998) 12 m
  • Psy…Gangnam Style (2012) 11.75 m
  • Band Aid…Do They Know It’s Christmas (1984) 11.7 m
  • Terry Jacks…Seasons in the Sun (1974) 11.5 m
  • Lady Gaga…Bad Romance (2009) 11.2 m

    11 million:

  • Mills Brothers…Paper Doll (1943)
  • Cher…Believe (1998)
  • Los Del Rio…Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix) (1995)
  • Katy Perry…Firework (2010)
  • George McCrae…Rock Your Baby (1974)
  • Carl Douglas…Kung Fu Fighting (1974)
  • Patrick Hernandez…Born to Be Alive (1979)
  • Roger Whittaker…The Last Farewell (1975)

    10 + million:

  • Black Eyed Peas…Boom Boom Pow (2009) 10.8 m
  • John Legend…All of Me (2013) 10.8 m
  • Bruno Mars…Grenade (2010) 10.6 m
  • Robin Thicke with T.I. & Pharrell Williams…Blurred Lines (2013) 10.24 m
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with Wanz…Thrift Shop (2012) 10.18 m
  • Lady Gaga with Colby O’Donis…Just Dance (2008) 10.1 m
  • The Beatles…Hey Jude (1968) 10 m
  • Led Zeppelin…Stairway to Heaven (1971) 10 m
  • Elvis Presley…Don’t Be Cruel/Hound Dog (1956) 10 m
  • Procol Harum…A Whiter Shade of Pale (1967) 10 m
  • Bryan Adams…(Everything I Do) I Do It for You (1991) 10 m
  • Joan Jett & the Blackhearts…I Love Rock and Roll (1981) 10 m
  • The Monkees…I’m a Believer (1966) 10 m
  • Britney Spears…Baby One More Time (1998) 10 m
  • Roy Acuff & the Smoky Mountain Boys…Wabash Cannonball (1938) 10 m
  • Shakira with Wyclef Jean…Hips Don’t Lie (2006) 10 m
  • One Republic with Timbaland…Apologize (2007) 10 m
  • Van McCoy…The Hustle (1975) 10 m
  • Abba…Fernando (1976) 10 m
  • The Brotherhood of Man…Save Your Kisses for Me (1976) 10 m
  • Middle of the Road…Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep (1971) 10 m
  • Goombay Dance Band…Sun of Jamaica (1982) 10 m
  • Panjabi MC…Mundian To Bach Ke (1998) 10 m

    9 + million:

  • Imagine Dragons…Radioactive (2012) 9.86 m
  • Fun. & Janelle Monáe…We Are Young (2012) 9.6 m
  • Survivor…Eye of the Tiger (1982) 9.4 m
  • Adele…Someone Like You (2011) 9.4 m
  • Lil Wayne with Static Major…Lollipop (2008) 9.1 m
  • Maroon 5 with Wiz Khalifa…Payphone (2012) 9.1 m
  • Elvis Presley…Jailhouse Rock (1957) 9 m
  • Elvis Presley…Are You Lonesome Tonight? (1960) 9 m
  • Rihanna with Jay-Z…Umbrella (2007) 9 m
  • Madonna…Hung Up (2005) 9 m
  • Shakira…Whenever, Wherever (2001) 9 m
  • Nick Straker Band…A Walk in the Park (1980) 9 m

    8+ million:

  • LMFAO…Sexy and I Know It (2011) 8.77 m
  • Rihanna & Calvin Harris…We Found Love (2011) 8.71 m
  • Lady Gaga…Born This Way (2011) 8.7 m
  • Lorde…Royals (2013) 8.53 m
  • Ben Selvin…Dardanella (1920) 8.5 m **
  • Train…Hey, Soul Sister (2009) 8.5 m
  • Katy Perry…I Kissed a Girl (2008) 8.4 m
  • Jennifer Lopez with Pitbull…On the Floor (2011) 8.4 m
  • Taio Cruz…Dynamite (2010) 8.3 m
  • Journey…Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981) 8.27 m
  • Pitbull with Ne-Yo, Afrojack, & Nayer…Give Me Everything (2011) 8.2 m
  • Thelma Aoyama…Soba ni lur ne (2009) 8.2 m

    8 million:

  • Nirvana…Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)
  • The Animals…The House of the Rising Sun (1964)
  • The Kingsmen…Louie Louie (1963)
  • Vernon Dalhart.. The Prisoner’s Song (1925) **
  • Beyonce with Jay-Z…Crazy in Love (2003)
  • The Sugarhill Gang…Rapper’s Delight (1979)
  • Mahalia Jackson…Move on Up a Little Higher (1948)
  • Enrique Iglesias…Hero (2001)
  • Taylor Swift…Love Story (2008)
  • Ricky Martin…Livin’ La Vida Loca (1999)
  • Mary Hopkin…Those Were the Days (1968)
  • Shocking Blue…Venus (1969)
  • Black Eyed Peas…My Humps (2005)
  • Aqua…Barbie Girl (1997)
  • Paul Hardcastle…19 (1985)
  • Georgie Fame…The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
  • Freddy Quinn…Heimweh (1956)
  • Rocco Granata…Marina (1959)
  • Modern Talking…You’re My Heart, You’re My Soul (1985)
  • O-Zone…Dragostea din tei (2003)
  • Boney M…Ma Baker (1978)
  • Richard Sanderson…Reality (1980)
  • Utada Hikaru…Flavor of Life (2007)

    7+ million:

  • Mark Ronson with Bruno Mars…Uptown Funk! (2014) 7.97 m
  • Pink…So What (2008) 7.8 m
  • Beyonce…Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) (2008) 7.7 m
  • Leona Lewis…Bleeding Love (2007) 7.7 m
  • Katy Perry with Snoop Dogg…California Gurls (2010) 7.7 m
  • Eminem…Lose Yourself (2002) 7.6 m
  • Rihanna…Diamonds (2012) 7.5 m
  • Cee-Lo Green…Fuck You (2010) 7.41 m
  • Lady Gaga with Beyonce…Telephone (2009) 7.4 m
  • Avril Lavigne…Girlfriend (2007) 7.3 m
  • Black Eyed Peas…The Time (Dirty Bit) (2010) 7.3 m
  • Katy Perry with Juicy J…Dark Horse (2013) 7.28 m
  • Puff Daddy, Faith Evans & 112…I’ll Be Missing You (1997) 7.2 m
  • Katy Perry…Roar (2013) 7.2 m
  • Ashanti with Ja Rule…Foolish (2002) 7.2 m
  • Nicki Minaj…Starships (2012) 7.2 m
  • Michel Telo…Ai Se Eu Te Pego (2011) 7.2 m
  • Taylor Swift…Shake It Off (2014) 7.19 m

    7 million:

  • Roy Orbison…(Oh) Pretty Woman (1964)
  • The Beatles…Let It Be (1970)
  • Elvis Presley…Suspicious Minds (1969)
  • Elvis Presley…All Shook Up (1957)
  • Chic…Le Freak (1978)
  • Spice Girls…Wannabe (1996)
  • Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta…You’re the One That I Want (1978)
  • The Beatles…Can’t Buy Me Love (1964)
  • Queen…Another One Bites the Dust (1980)
  • Green Day…Boulevard of Broken Dreams (2004)
  • R. Kelly…I Believe I Can Fly (1996)
  • a-ha…Take on Me (1985)
  • Bobby Goldsboro…Honey (1968)
  • Tony Orlando & Dawn…Knock Three Times (1970)
  • Iggy Azalea with Charli XCX…Fancy (2014)
  • Morris Albert…Feelings (1975)
  • David Seville & The Chipmunks…The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) (1958)
  • Scott McKenzie…San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) (1967)
  • Royal Scots Dragoon Guards…Amazing Grace (1972)
  • Usher with will.i.am…OMG (2010)
  • Christina Aguilera…Genie in a Bottle (1999)
  • The Beatles…Do You Want to Know a Secret? (1963)
  • Charlie Gracie…Butterfly (1957)
  • Las Ketchup…Aserejé (The Ketchup Song) (2002)
  • Julie Rogers…The Wedding (La Novia) (1964)
  • Pussycat…Mississippi (1976)
  • Ricky Valance…Tell Laura I Love Her (1960)
  • Danyel Gerard…Butterfly (1971)
  • Adama…Tombe Le Neige (1965)
  • Andrea Bocelli…Con te Partiro (1997)
  • Exile…Lovers Again (2007)

    6+ million:

  • Florida Georgia Line…Cruise (2012) 6.92 m
  • Coldplay…Viva La Vida (2008) 6.91 m
  • Maroon 5…One More Night (2012) 6.9 m
  • Queen…Bohemian Rhapsody (1975) 6.72 m
  • Beyonce…Irreplaceable (2006) 6.7 m
  • Meghan Trainor…All About That Bass (2014) 6.62 m
  • Flo Rida…Whistle (2012) 6.6 m
  • OneRepublic…Counting Stars (2013) 6.55 m
  • Culture Club…Do You Really Want to Hurt Me (1982) 6.5 m
  • Britney Spears…Toxic (2004) 6.5 m
  • Bruno Mars…The Lazy Song (2010) 6.5 m
  • Flo Rida with Sia…Wild Ones (2011) 6.5 m
  • Britney Spears…Womanizer (2008) 6.5 m
  • Katy Perry with Kanye West…E.T. (2010) 6.48 m
  • Lady Antebellum…Need You Now (2009) 6.48 m
  • Flo Rida with Ke$ha…Right Round (2009) 6.46 m
  • Michael Jackson…Billie Jean (1983) 6.43 m
  • Jay-Z with Alicia Keys…Empire State of Mind (2009) 6.42 m
  • T.I….Whatever You Like (2008) 6.33 m
  • Michael Jackson…Thriller (1982) 6.3 m
  • Katy Perry…Hot N Cold (2008) 6.26 m
  • Foster the People…Pumped Up Kicks (2010) 6.21 m
  • Rihanna…Only Girl in the World (2010) 6.2 m
  • Kiseki…Greeeen (2009) 6.2 m
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with Ray Dalton…Can’t Hold Us (2011) 6.17 m
  • Avicii with Aloe Blacc…Wake Me Up! (2012) 6.12 m
  • The Jackson 5…I’ll Be There (1970) 6.1 m
  • Paramore…Crushcrushcrush (2007) 6.1 m

    6 million:

  • Simon & Garfunkel…Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
  • Gene Austin…My Blue Heaven (1927) **
  • Peerless Quartet…Let Me Call You Sweetheart (1911) *
  • Patti Page…Tennessee Waltz (1950)
  • Abba…Dancing Queen (1976)
  • The Beatles…She Loves You (1963)
  • Debby Boone…You Light Up My Life (1977)
  • Jerry Lee Lewis…Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On (1957)
  • The Archies…Sugar, Sugar (1969)
  • The Jackson 5…I Want You Back (1969)
  • George Michael…Careless Whisper (1984)
  • Harry MacDonough…Down by the Old Mill Stream (1911) *
  • Tony Orlando & Dawn…Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree (1973)
  • Madonna…Vogue (1990)
  • The Champs…Tequila (1958)
  • The Tokens…The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh) (1961)
  • Bonnie Tyler…Total Eclipse of the Heart (1983)
  • Jeannie C. Riley…Harper Valley P.T.A. (1968)
  • Pussycat Dolls with Busta Rhymes…Don’t Cha (2005)
  • Lou Bega…Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of…) (1999)
  • The Pussycat Dolls with Busta Rhymes…Don’t Cha (2005)
  • Paul McCartney & Wings…Mull of Kintyre (1977)
  • Mungo Jerry…In the Summertime (1970)
  • Beyonce…Halo (2008)
  • Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters…Jingle Bells (1943)
  • SSgt Barry Sadler…The Ballad of the Green Berets (1966)
  • Neil Diamond…Cracklin’ Rosie (1970)
  • Rihanna…Disturbia (2008)
  • Elvis Presley…Surrender/Lonely Man (1961)
  • Miley Cyrus…Party in the U.S.A. (2009)
  • Britney Spears…Oops! I Did It Again (2000)
  • Jay Sean with Lil Wayne…Down (2009)
  • Bonnie Tyler…It’s a Heartache (1977)
  • New Seekers…I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (1971)
  • George Baker Selection…Una Paloma Blanca (1975)
  • Janet Jackson…Together Again (1997)
  • Andre Brasseur…Early Bird (1965)
  • Machiko Soga…Oba-Q Ondo (1966)
  • Tee Set…Ma Belle Amie (1969)

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


    Resources and Related Links:
  • 5 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.

      ReplyDelete
    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.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      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!

        Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      ReplyDelete