22 Hit Singles That Fell Just Short Of No.1

Rounding up the most surprising almost-made-it tracks in chart history to celebrate Twosday

This Twosday marks a once-in-a-lifetime event as we see a date that won’t come around for another 200 years. A perfect palindrome and an ambigram, the date 22.2.22 has encouraged all sorts of discussions about the number two including songs that charted at that number.

Check out the full list of songs that you won’t believe never made it to the No.1 spot in the charts (but are still quality bangers) below.

1. ‘Don’t Start Now’ – Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa - Don't Start Now (Official Music Video)

In 2019, it was near impossible to listen to any radio station, look at any TV show or scroll through any social media newsfeed without hearing Dua Lipa’s ‘Don’t Start Now’. Shockingly, despite the persistent airplay, the song never made it to the No.1 spot in the UK as Tones and I’s ‘Dance Monkey’ dominated with a record-breaking run in the top spot.

2. ‘Bad Guy’ – Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish - bad guy (Official Music Video)

Winning Song of the Year at the 2020 Grammy Awards, Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’ was the best-performing global single of 2019 but never actually made it to No.1 on the UK charts. Somehow, we don’t think it keeps Eilish up at night.

3. ‘Woman Like Me’ – Little Mix ft. Nicki Minaj

Little Mix - Woman Like Me (Official Video) ft. Nicki Minaj

The first single of the girl group’s fifth album, ‘Woman Like Me’ had all the makings of a chart-topping single; writing credits from Ed Sheeran and Jess Glynne, production from Steve Mac and a verse from Nicki Minaj. However, even though the pop anthem only made it to the No.2 spot, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a winner for us.

4. ‘Paradise’ – George Ezra

George Ezra - Paradise (Official Video)

Charting in the Top 10 around the world, while George Ezra’s ‘Paradise’ was a No.1 single in the Scottish charts, the second song off of the singer’s second album didn’t quite hold that title in the UK-wide ranking.

5. ‘Starboy’ – The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk

The Weeknd - Starboy ft. Daft Punk (Official Video)

The Weeknd managed to land Daft Punk their first and only chart-topper with ‘Starboy’ but only in the US. Despite the song being hugely popular in the UK and spending 15 consecutive weeks in the top 10, it never quite reached the highs it did in the US.

6. ‘Shine’ – Years & Years

Years & Years - Shine (Official Video)

Annie Mac dubbed this the “Hottest Record in the World” in 2015 when it was released and she wasn’t the only one. Landing in the top 10 in numerous countries around the world, snatching the No.1 spot in Scotland but just falling short in the UK charts.

7. ‘Pompeii’ – Bastille

Bastille - Pompeii (Official Music Video)

Bastille’s big breakthrough 2013 hit ‘Pompeii’ was the fourth single from their debut album and remains the band’s most successful single to date. With top ten ranking in 15 countries, the hit song climbed all the way to the No.2 spot in the UK nearly ten years ago but is still a firm fixture in the tour setlist.

8. ‘Skyfall’ – Adele

Adele - Skyfall (Official Lyric Video)

We had to double check this one to be sure but despite the waves Adele’s 2012 hit and Bond theme made, it never manages to secure to No.1 spot in the charts. Winning Grammy, Oscar, Golden Globe and BRIT Awards, Adele still looks at this track as one of her proudest moments in the industry… and that’s without a No.1 UK chart ranking.

9. ‘Ain’t No Other Man’ – Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera - Ain't No Other Man (Official Video)

A turning point in the career of Christina Aguilera, ‘Ain’t No Other Man’ ushered in a new chapter for the singer who totally revamped her style ahead of the release of her fifth studio album, Back To Basics.

10. ‘What About Now’ – Westlife

Westlife - What About Now (Official Video)

No strangers to the Top 10 charts both in their home country of Ireland and in the UK, Westlife’s cover of this Daughtry track went on to become their tenth most streamed song and was seen as a turning point for the group, opening doors to new fans after nine studio albums.

11. ‘Richard III’ – Supergrass

Supergrass - Richard III (Official HD Video)

The second single from the band’s sophomore album, ‘Richard III’ peaked at No.2 in the charts and became the group’s highest placing single since ‘Alright’/’Time’ was released two years earlier.

12. ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ – Simply Red

Simply Red - If You Don't Know Me By Now (Official Video)

Far from the only recording of the song but Simply Red’s release was certainly the most notable thanks to a No.1 ranking on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1989 and in countries like Australia and New Zealand. Climbing to No.2 in the UK, the song was the band’s second top 10 hit after they re-issued ‘Holding Back the Years’ in 1986.

13. ‘A View To A Kill’ – Duran Duran

Duran Duran - A View To A Kill

Another Bond theme and another No.2 single that we’ll now have on repeat this Twosday. Released in 1985, ‘A View to a Kill’ became one of the band’s biggest hits and while it may not have secured the UK No.1, it did become the first 007 theme song to reach No.1 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

14. ‘Wings Of A Dove’ – Madness

Madness - Wings of a Dove (Official HD Video)

Spending ten weeks in the UK charts in 1983, this Madness track peaked at No.2 in the UK but just cinched the top spot in the Irish charts. Over 15 years later, the song had a resurgence of popularity thanks to a feature in the cult classic movie, 10 Things I Hate About You.

15. ‘Dreaming’ – Blondie

Blondie - Dreaming (Official Music Video)

Inspired by ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’, Blondie released this 1979 track as the lead single from the Eat to the Beat album. Despite the band being disappointed with the No.2 chart position, the song was one of the band’s highest charting singles at that point.

16. ‘The Killing of Georgie’ – Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart - The Killing Of Georgie (Part I & II) (Official Video)

Many have said Rod Stewart was ahead of his time with the release of ‘The Killing of Georgie’ which tells the story of a gay man who was killed in New York. Spending ten weeks on the UK chart, the 1976 track peaked at No.2.

17. ‘A Design For Life’ – Manic Street Preachers

Manic Street Preachers - A Design For Life

Debuting and holding steady at No.2 in the charts, the Manic Street Preachers song went on to be named one of NME’s ’50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever’ in 2007, some ten years after its initial release.

18. ‘Delilah’ – Tom Jones

Still sung at every wedding worth its salt, we’re still double-checking that Tom Jones didn’t nab the top spot on the charts for the 1967 hit ‘Delilah’. The song earned writers Barry Mason and Les Reed the Ivor Novello award the following year for the Best Song Musically and Lyrically.

19. ‘Chiquitita’ – ABBA

Abba - Chiquitita (Official Music Video)

One of our personal favourite ABBA tunes, ‘Chiquitita’ was the first single from the group’s seventh album, Voulez-Vous. Though the song went on to be one of the group’s biggest hits, it just fell short of that top spot in the charts. Still a verified banger though.

20. ‘Heartbreaker’ – Dionne Warwick

Dionne Warwick - Heartbreaker

Written by Bee Gees and Gibb brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice, Dionne Warwick released this pop, R&B track in 1982. Featuring backing vocals from Barry Gibb, the song charted well around the world and still stands as one of Warwick’s biggest singles of her career.

21. ‘Sit Down’ – James

Originally released in 1989, the song was a homage to author Doris Lessing and singer Patti Smith. The song only managed to reach No.77 in the UK charts that year however, in 1991 with the release of a new version, James landed the No.2 spot with the new and improved version.

22. ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ – Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Murder On The Dancefloor (as featured in Saltburn)

An anthem of the early 00s, Sophie Ellis-Bextor might have had us all dancing to her 2001 track ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ but she wasn’t celebrating a No.1 chart position. We don’t think she minds much anymore as the song remains one of the singer’s most beloved tunes and continues to fill dance floors over 20 years later.