In America, we tend to make a fuss about 20-year-old birthdays, so this is really something: Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her 70th birthday on the throne. Elizabeth ascended the throne on February 6, 1952, following the death of her father, King George VI. She was only 25 years old.
Harry Truman was then President of the United States. Remarkably, Elizabeth has served as queen during the administrations of 14 US presidents. She was on the throne even before the birth of one of these presidents – Barack Obama.
As Billboard previously reported, pop stars are giving her a royal salute on June 4. Sir Elton John, Sir Rod Stewart, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, Queen (the band), Diana Ross, Duran Duran, Alicia Keys and more perform for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Concert, dubbed “Platinum Party at the Palace” .
While we often lazily refer to Queen Elizabeth II as the Queen of England, she is much more than that. She is the Queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms. The United Kingdom includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The other 14 Commonwealth realms include Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Jamaica.
His kingdom is larger than you would have imagined. Now you know why even the biggest pop stars get carried away and stand tall when they meet the Queen.
To mark Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne, we’ve put together a list of the 70 greatest hits by British acts in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. We could have included acts from Australia, Canada and New Zealand, but we wanted to keep the spotlight on the Queen’s home territory. (We’ve included the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency, because how do you exclude the Bee Gees?)
Elton John and Paul McCartney (apart from The Beatles) each have five songs on the list. Elton’s tally includes a collaboration with Kiki Dee and a record on which he shared artist credit with his band. McCartney’s tally includes collaborations with Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson and three hits with his second band, Wings.
Adele, the Beatles and Ed Sheeran each have four songs on the list. Adele has more songs on the list than any other female artist. The Beatles have more than any other band. (Alas, their tally doesn’t include “Penny Lane,” with its line “And in his pocket is a portrait of the Queen.”)
Bee Gees, Phil Collins, Andy Gibb, George Michael and Rod Stewart each have three. Michael’s tally includes a Wham! hit in which he received featured billing.
Foreigner, Olivia Newton-John, Queen and the Rolling Stones each have two.
The oldest song on the list is M. Acker Bilk’s instrumental “Stranger on the Shore”, which was the first song by an English band to top the Hot 100. It reached No. 1 in May 1962, three months after Elizabeth turned 10. on the throne.
Two songs on that list — Glass Animals’ “Heat Waves” and Sheeran’s “Bad Habits” — are still on the Billboard Hot 100 and may therefore eventually move up.
Newton-John’s “Physical” is the highest-ranking song on the list by a female solo artist. The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” is the highest-charting song by an established band or duo.
The Fine Print: We counted songs where a UK artist was the lead or co-lead artist, but not a featured artist. We have counted bands made up mainly of British musicians
In case you forgot your high school geography, Ireland is not part of the UK, so Sinéad O’Connor and Gilbert O’Sullivan didn’t make the list.
Here are the 70 greatest hits by British actors in Hot 100 history (dated August 4, 1958). All acts were born in England unless otherwise stated.
Billboard’s Biggest Hot 100 Hits by British Artists ranking is based on weekly Hot 100 performances (up to chart dated May 28, 2022). The chart includes songs by artists in UK-born lead roles and bands named by UK-born members. Songs are ranked on a reverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the most value and weeks at the lowest places earning the least. Due to changes in charting methodology over the years, epochs are weighted differently to account for chart turnover rates over various time periods.