Music News

Pet Shop Boys' 1986 number-one hit named "Greatest-Ever UK Number-One Single"


In a surprising move, the song “West End Girls” by the Pet Shop Boys has been named the U.K.’s “Greatest-Ever Number-One Single” by the music critics of the respected British paper The Guardian.

For six weeks, the paper has been ranking the “greatest” 100 songs that have ever topped the British singles chart since it started in 1952, and “West End Girls,” which was a huge hit in late 1985 and early 1986, has been revealed as the one that’s topped the list.

Why?  The paper writes that the half-sung/half-rapped track by the electro-pop duo is “a heady rush of lust, naivety, disco and opaque references to Lenin,” and notes that it’s based on “the sumptuous pleasure of being right where you ought to be and the paranoia that everyone knows you don’t belong there at all.”

But if “West End Girls” was number one, what’s on the rest of the list?  A combination of worldwide global smashes and songs that are beloved in the U.K., but aren’t that well known elsewhere — like the number-two song on the list: “Ghost Town,” by the ska band The Specials.

Here are the rest of the top 10 greatest U.K. number-one hits, according to The Guardian‘s critics:

2. “Ghost Town” — The Specials
3. “She Loves You” — The Beatles
4. “I Feel Love” — Donna Summer
5. “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” — Dead or Alive
6. “Billie Jean” — Michael Jackson
7. “Don’t You Want Me” — The Human League
8. “Fire Starter” — The Prodigy
9. “Dancing Queen” — ABBA
10. “Heard It Through the Grapevine” — Marvin Gaye

Some other songs that were highly ranked on the list include “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X, “Crazy In Love” by Beyoncé, “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor, “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys, and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”

Incidentally, #100 is 1955’s “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and His Comets, the song that introduced rock and roll to the mainstream in the U.K.

By Andrea Dresdale
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