The Beatles have recently achieved a remarkable feat in the UK charts , reclaiming the top spot with their supposedly “final” song together, “Now and Then,” marking their 18th chart-topping single. Surpassing their own record, their 17th No. 1 was “The Ballad of John and Yoko” in 1969, establishing them as the artists with the lengthiest gap between No. 1 singles—54 years. This accomplishment surpasses Kate Bush’s record set last year with “Running Up That Hill,” 44 years after her No. 1 hit, “Wuthering Heights.”
It’s noteworthy that neither of the Beatles’ 1995 and 1996 releases, “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love,” secured the top spot. John Lennon wrote the midtempo ballad “Now and Then” in the late 1970s, and its recent success stems from a combination of factors: Lennon’s original demo recording, guitar lines recorded by the late George Harrison in 1994, and new contributions from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Reflecting on the song’s chart-topping achievement, McCartney expressed, “It’s mind-boggling. It’s blown my socks off. It’s also a very emotional moment for me. I love it!”
The Beatles dominance of the UK charts with “Now and Then” results, in part, from offering various physical editions such as CD, cassette, 12-inch vinyl, and four different colored 7-inch vinyl versions, with the three non-black variants priced at £17.99 each. Despite the high prices, fans eagerly queued at midnight, resulting in the song becoming the fastest-selling vinyl single of the century, with 19,400 copies sold. The total physical sales of 38,000 also marked the highest single week of physical sales since 2014, when X Factor winner Ben Haenow claimed Christmas No. 1 with “Something I Need.”
Streamed over 5 million times
Furthermore, “Now and Then” was streamed over 5 million times in the UK, establishing a record for the highest single-week figure for any Beatles song. Such was the anticipation for the Beatles’ return that “Now and Then” entered the charts at No. 42 after being on release for just 10 hours before the week’s cutoff.
In terms of the album chart, legendary artists made a resurgence. Cliff Richard secured his 48th Top 10 album with “Cliff With Strings – My Kinda Life” at No. 5, Johnny Marr achieved his fifth solo Top 10 album with the compilation “Spirit Power” at No. 7, and Van Morrison claimed his 44th Top 40 album with “Accentuate the Positive” at No. 39.
Contrary to the usual trend of new albums swiftly dropping down the charts, the Rolling Stones enjoyed a third week in the Top Five with “Hackney Diamonds.” Oasis made the highest new entry at No. 2 with a reissue of the B-sides compilation “The Masterplan,” preceding K-pop star Jung Kook at No. 3. Taylor Swift’s re-recorded version of “1989” held onto its No. 1 position for a second week but fell to No. 3 in the singles chart as the Beatles surpassed her, with their song “Is It Over Now.” The remix of D-Block Europe and Raye’s song “Ferrari Horses” by producer Cassö, created on his Swansea University laptop, held its ground in the Top 5 at No. 2 for a ninth week, while Tate McRae and Tyla both made a return to the Top 5.