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Biggest Singles 1981

The UK's Top 40 best-performing singles in 1981 are listed below. They are ordered by their Chart Measured Performance (CHAMP) scores. A single's peak position and the month it peaked are also provided. John Lennon heads the chart - his posthumous re-release of Imagine beats the year's biggest selling single by The Human League into second place. Vienna - the single infamously denied the official No. 1 spot by a dreadful novelty record - is the fifth biggest chart single of the year. Adam And The Ants have three singles inside the Top 20. Ant Music's 16-week run in the Top 40 - the longest of any single this year - helps it secure the No. 3 spot. Adam Ant will be back in 1982.

– ➈ NME peak position (if different from official chart)

Peak Month Peak CHAMP
1 IMAGINEJohn Lennon January1 1 1,898
2 DON'T YOU WANT ME The Human League December 1 1,515
3 ANTMUSICAdam & The Ants January 2 1,452
4 TAINTED LOVESoft Cell September 1 1,425
5 VIENNAUltravox February 2 1,412
6 THIS OLE HOUSEShakin' Stevens March 1 1,410
7 GHOST TOWNThe Specials July 1 1,403
8 STAND AND DELIVERAdam & The Ants May 1 1,387
9 HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER)John And Yoko And The Plastic Ono Band January2 2 1,384
10 THE BIRDIE SONG (BIRDIE DANCE)The Tweets October 2 1,325
11 ONE DAY IN YOUR LIFEMichael Jackson June 1 1,310
12 PRINCE CHARMINGAdam & The Ants September 1 1,300
13 MAKING YOUR MIND UPBucks Fizz April 1 1,249
14 DADDY'S HOMECliff Richard December 2 1,239
15 BEING WITH YOUSmokey Robinson June 1 1,218
16 BEGIN THE BEGUINE (VOLVER A EMPEZAR)Julio Iglesias December 1 1,166
17 IT'S MY PARTYDave Stewart With Barbara Gaskin October 1 1,165
18 GREEN DOORShakin' Stevens August 1 1,146
19 YOU DRIVE ME CRAZYShakin' Stevens May 2 1,135
20 STARS ON 45Star Sound May 2 1,126
21 WOMANJohn Lennon February 1 1,123
22 JEALOUS GUYRoxy Music March 1 1,063
23 SHADDUP YOU FACEJoe Dolce Music Theatre February 1 1,055
24 CHI MAIEnnio Morricone April 2 1,041
25 HOOKED ON CLASSICSRoyal Philharmonic Orchestra August 2 1,027
26 LATELYStevie Wonder April 3 1,021
27 UNDER PRESSUREQueen And David Bowie November 1 1,020
28 CAN CANBad Manners July 3 1,008
29 KIDS IN AMERICAKim Wilde March 2 1,005
30 LOVE ACTION (I BELIEVE IN LOVE)The Human League August 3 999
31 JAPANESE BOYAneka August 1 989
32 HANDS UP (GIVE ME YOUR HEART)Ottawan September 3 986
33 ONE OF USAbba December 3 982
34 HAPPY BIRTHDAYAltered Images October 2 969
35 HOLD ON TIGHTElectric Light Orchestra September 4 966
36 IN THE AIR TONIGHTPhil Collins February 2 941
37 WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVEDiana Ross December 4 929
38 HAPPY BIRTHDAYStevie Wonder August 2 919
39 LET'S GROOVEEarth Wind And Fire November 3 918
40 BODY TALKImagination July 4 897

Chart © Wow Vinyl 2021

– ➈ NME peak position (if different from official chart)

Part of the chart run was in 1980 or 1982, which has been included in calculating the CHAMP score

1 CHAMP score includes chart run in November 1975

2 CHAMP score includes chart run in December 1972

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