Think fast: What have Rocket Man by Elton John, Last Christmas by Wham! and The Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony got in common?
Bzzt. Time’s up. The answer is, surprisingly, that none of those records ever made it to the top of the UK Singles Chart – they all stalled at #2. Close, but no cigar… or triumphant Top of the Pops performance, for that matter.
Why is this important? Well, BBC Radio 2 is currently inviting listeners to vote for the best #2 single of all time to mark 60 years of the Official Singles Chart. And the station’s shortlist of 100 classic #2 hits is really rather surprising.
From Adele’s Rolling in the Deep to John & Yoko’s Happy Xmas (War is Over), the list’s jam-packed with timeless classics that inexplicably failed to made the grade. But there’s chance for a reprieve for one of these overlooked gems in 2013, as the Official Charts Company has pledged to award the winner of Radio 2’s poll with an honourary number one.
The top 40 #2s from the BBC’s list will form the playlist of a special New Year’s Day Radio 2 show hosted by Tony Blackburn, in which he’ll count down the nation’s favourite singles that just didn’t quite make the cut.
Jeff Smith, Head of Music BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, said: “I think people will be quite surprised to see which massive hits didn’t actually make it to the top of the charts. This promises to be a great show and will give Radio 2 listeners the chance to hear some of their all-time favourite tracks.
“The programme will be a wonderful celebration of some of the greatest songs over the past 60 years. It’ll be really interesting to see which song actually makes it to number one.”