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> OCC: Ed Sheeran's Top 20 Biggest Songs
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Liam.k.
post Jun 30 2021, 03:32 PM
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Ed Sheeran's Official Top 20 biggest songs on the Official UK Chart
30 June 2021 | By Jack White

There's no disputing that Ed Sheeran is one of the biggest recording artists on the planet, and he has the download and streaming numbers to back up such a claim.

To celebrate the release of Bad Habits - most likely the lead single from his fifth studio album - we're doing a deep dive into the Suffolk singer's discography, revealing his Official Top 20 biggest songs in the UK.

With 44 UK Top 40 singles under his belt, there are plenty of songs competing for a slot in his all-time Top 20, which comprises of his most popular hits with download and streaming sales combined. In total, the Top 20 have amassed a combined 3.9 billion streams and 8.3 million paid-for sales, making Ed's discography one of the most consumed in UK chart history.

So which songs make the cut? First, a closer look at the Top 3.

3. Thinking Out Loud
Ed Sheeran's artistic versatility has seen him appeal to younger and older music fans alike who listen to music in different ways, with his streams and downloads in equally huge numbers. Thinking Out Loud is the perfect example of this broad appeal, with the wedding playlist favourite racking up 283 million streams alongside 1.26 million downloads to make overall chart sales of 3.7 million. It means Thinking Out Loud is Ed's best-selling single, and was the first of his two million-selling songs.

Thinking Out Loud spent 19 weeks in the Top 40 before reaching Number 1, a record among non-Christmas songs for the longest climb to the top spot.

2. Perfect
The Ed Sheeran track with the most video streams is winter warmer Perfect, which has tallied a cool 60.7 million plays across its original visual and the Perfect Symphony version with Andrea Bocelli.

In total, Ed's 2017 Christmas Number 1 single has accumulated paid-for sales of 568,000 and a lofty 409 million streams to rank in his all-time runner-up slot with a combined 3.9 million chart sales. Expect those numbers to climb even further as Perfect continues to linger in the Top 100 some four years after its release.

1. Shape of You
The most streamed song in UK chart history, Shape of You tops the list of Ed Sheeran's biggest songs. The lead single from his ÷ album (released alongside Castle On The Hill) spent a mammoth 14 non-consecutive weeks at Number 1. Across its original version plus various remixes that featured Stormzy, Nyla & Kranium, Yxng Bane and Lennox & Zion, the song has been streamed a whopping 475 million times, and is approaching one million paid-for sales with 853,000 downloads. Shape of You's total combined sales stand at 5.09 million.

Further down the Top 10, Ed's most popular song not to peak at Number 1 Castle On The Hill ranks fourth (2.9m combined sales) while his debut single, second million-seller and best-seller on physical formats The A Team lands in fifth (2.5m). Despite not being an Official Singles Chart Top 10 hit, Photograph finishes in sixth (2.27m) followed by the Irish trad-inspired Galway Girl in seventh (2.25m).

Number 1 singles I Don't Care (2.19m) and Sing (1.8m) sit in eighth and ninth respectively, with Ed's fourth-most downloaded track Lego House rounding out the Top 10 (1.6m).

Ed Sheeran's Official Top 20 biggest songs on the Official UK Chart
POS TITLE ARTIST PEAK YEAR
1 SHAPE OF YOU ED SHEERAN 1 2017 5.09m
2 PERFECT ED SHEERAN 1 2017 3.9m
3 THINKING OUT LOUD ED SHEERAN 1 2014 3.7m
4 CASTLE ON THE HILL ED SHEERAN 2 2017 2.9m
5 THE A TEAM ED SHEERAN 3 2011 2.5m
6 PHOTOGRAPH ED SHEERAN 15 2014 2.27m
7 GALWAY GIRL ED SHEERAN 2 2017 2.25m
8 I DON'T CARE ED SHEERAN & JUSTIN BIEBER 1 2019 2.19m
9 SING ED SHEERAN 1 2014 1.8m
10 LEGO HOUSE ED SHEERAN 5 2011 1.6m
11 BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE ED SHEERAN FT KHALID 1 2019
12 OWN IT STORMZY/ED SHEERAN/BURNA BOY 1 2019
13 DON'T ED SHEERAN 8 2014
14 BLOODSTREAM ED SHEERAN 2 2014
15 TAKE ME BACK TO LONDON ED SHEERAN FT STORMZY 1 2019
16 HAPPIER ED SHEERAN 6 2017
17 RIVER EMINEM FT ED SHEERAN 1 2017
18 I SEE FIRE ED SHEERAN 13 2013
19 SUPERMARKET FLOWERS ED SHEERAN 8 2017
20 SOUTH OF THE BORDER ED SHEERAN/CABELLO/CARDI B 4 2019

©2021 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.
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Tawdry Hepburn
post Jun 30 2021, 03:34 PM
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God, those top 2 songs are truly abominable. sick2.gif
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Nick Jonas
post Jun 30 2021, 04:09 PM
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Wow, so Ed only has two actual million sellers? ohmy.gif
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Bré
post Jun 30 2021, 05:31 PM
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The majority of his career (and certainly the peak of it) has been deep enough into the streaming era that 'actual million sellers' have completely ceased to be a thing. I think the most recently released song that's passed 1 million pure sales was 'Uptown Funk' in late 2014? Then Adele's 'Hello' iirc is close enough that it might trickle across the mark one day in the distant future but that's about it.
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Ne Plus Ultra
post Jun 30 2021, 05:39 PM
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Is Shape Of You technically the most consumed song by units now?
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Smint
post Jun 30 2021, 05:48 PM
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I love "Photograph" best and the fact its outsold/streamed so many of the higher peaking tracks including 6 no.1s!
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sammy01
post Jun 30 2021, 06:28 PM
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Shape of you is most definitely the song of the 2010s.
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AcerBen
post Jun 30 2021, 06:54 PM
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QUOTE(Ne Plus Ultra @ Jun 30 2021, 06:39 PM) *
Is Shape Of You technically the most consumed song by units now?


Yep he must have passed Candle In The Wind now - that was at 4.95 million in 2017 with very few streams.

Bonkers.
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pippa
post Jun 30 2021, 07:03 PM
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QUOTE(AcerBen @ Jun 30 2021, 07:54 PM) *
Yep he must have passed Candle In The Wind now - that was at 4.95 million in 2017 with very few streams.

Bonkers.


It's incredible he has the biggest selling single ever but it in no way feels as huge as Candle in the Wind.
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Tawdry Hepburn
post Jun 30 2021, 07:08 PM
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QUOTE(pippa @ Jun 30 2021, 08:03 PM) *
It's incredible he has the biggest selling single ever but it in no way feels as huge as Candle in the Wind.


It isn't, it's in no way comparable.
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Bré
post Jun 30 2021, 07:13 PM
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'Candle In The Wind' was obviously a huge selling release because of the circumstances but was it really ever as inescapable / 'impactful' as a piece of music as 'Shape Of You'? (Genuine question, as I was like 1 year old when it was released).

The industry has changed so much over the years that it's essentially useless to try and compare between eras anyway though, especially comparing the streaming era to the pre-digital era.
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sammy01
post Jun 30 2021, 07:52 PM
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Candle in the wind has very little replay value now, I mean it holds such bad memories for most people that it's not exactly the sort of song you deliberately put on. So from that point of view it hadn't stood the test of time like Shape of you undoubtedly will.

However upon release Candle in the wind was on a scale no one has seen before or since. People buying 4 or 5 copies, it being snatched out of shelf stickers hands. I'm sure my mums copy is still in the attic.
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T Boy
post Jun 30 2021, 08:47 PM
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Candle In The Wind was well known long before Diana died but still, it’s not really comparable. Music popularity back then was measured by actual sales which were often boosted by big and unusual events, not listening habits. You cannot compare pre streaming or post streaming eras like for like.

And let’s not pretend that Shape Of You was some sort of musical phenomenon. The fact that it has ‘outsold’ songs like Bohemian Rhapsody is pretty laughable. We have no way of knowing how it would have sold in a sales only environment but I doubt it’s have been anywhere near.
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Bré
post Jun 30 2021, 08:51 PM
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It's the most streamed song ever on Spotify by a significant margin, I don't think it's deserving of this overly dismissive attitude. I agree that it feels a little wrong to put it in the same bracket as the likes of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' (mostly because of the vast difference in critical reception / 'credibility') but in terms of the pure numbers I think there's a fair argument to be made that it deserves its status of being somewhere near the top of the all-time list. It may be overtaken at some point by 'Blinding Lights' I guess? (Which I expect would be a bit less controversial to be accepted as one of the biggest hits of all time xx)
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dandy*
post Jun 30 2021, 09:07 PM
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There’s so many factors that you just can’t compare. For example, all the big hits from the physical days would have been damaged by the release of an album where as in the streaming days they are further boosted for potentially quite a long period. But then even in the physical only period things were heavily impacted by the sales climate of the year when a song was released so even then you couldn’t really compare fairly. I’ve often thought you may get a sense of how big a song really is by looking at its percentage of the overall sales for that year but obviously that’s a task that only gezza could turn into a thread! biggrin.gif

It’s impossible to know how things would or wouldn’t have done so I think it’s easier to just separate out the different eras. Elton was the biggest seller in the physical era, Shape of You is the biggest hit from the download/streaming era.


One thing I do find interesting is that some songs, like Wonderwall for example, have actually done incredibly well across both eras.
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Feel_The_Fever
post Jun 30 2021, 09:18 PM
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Shape of you clearly was a huge hit as hitting 5 million sales/units is huge and its probably comparable to a huge million selling plus single from back in the day. Its so hard to equally compare big hits from these days to big hits from years ago plus nowadays songs have a much longer shelf life and music is more affordable and accessible now much more than it was years ago. Singles years ago had a very short life as shops stopped stocking singles after a short few weeks.

Many of the songs that are huge sellers these days to me dont have the same resonance with people and i dont think they have the same legacy or maybe im wrong when i say that, i just feel that years back when a song was huge everyone knew the song and i dont think its the same these days, also many of these sales/units are made up of the same people listening to the same songs over and over again which may slightly distort a percentage of its real popularity.
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Smint
post Jun 30 2021, 09:34 PM
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I guess, and this will piss people off even more, 'Perfect' is closing the gap every week but is it at a rate that could challenge 'Shape of You' in a few years?

And wouldnt Mariah have a chance as biggest "consumed" track as people keep streaming Christmas songs every year in greater numbers and from an earlier date or is she way off?


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Mangř
post Jun 30 2021, 09:38 PM
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QUOTE(dandy* @ Jun 30 2021, 10:07 PM) *
There’s so many factors that you just can’t compare. For example, all the big hits from the physical days would have been damaged by the release of an album where as in the streaming days they are further boosted for potentially quite a long period. But then even in the physical only period things were heavily impacted by the sales climate of the year when a song was released so even then you couldn’t really compare fairly. I’ve often thought you may get a sense of how big a song really is by looking at its percentage of the overall sales for that year but obviously that’s a task that only gezza could turn into a thread! biggrin.gif

That same thought has actually occurred to me before! If you're reading this Gezza, it might be an idea for one of your future threads wink.gif
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dan::G
post Jun 30 2021, 09:53 PM
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QUOTE(Smint @ Jun 30 2021, 10:34 PM) *
I guess, and this will piss people off even more, 'Perfect' is closing the gap every week but is it at a rate that could challenge 'Shape of You' in a few years?

Unlikely given the million plus units gap between the two, not to mention that Shape of You is still a very steady seller (Bad Habits has even brought it back in the current midweek top 100)
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mick745
post Jul 1 2021, 09:32 AM
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Isnt streaming basically a count of how many times a song is listened to.

If you bought a 7 inch or 12 inch, cd or whatever, the number of times it was listened to was unknown, you could listen to it a million times, or once, made no difference, it was counted as one sale and one only, it wasnt an indicator of how many times it was consumed.
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