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Mr Brightside becomes biggest-selling UK top 100 song that never made number one



Brandon Flowers, who wrote the track with bandmate Dave Keuning, said he no longer feels like he is part of the song after its monumental success.

“It’s funny. I don’t feel so much of it anymore. It just exists in the world,” Flowers said.

“It’s amazing that I had something to do with it but I almost feel a little bit removed from it because it’s so big,” he told the Official Charts Company.

The enduring track, a favourite for wedding party guests, is still being streamed 1.8 million times per week by Britons.

It shows no sign of slowing either, with last year representing the track’s biggest year of streams, with 79.97 million plays.

In 2024, Mr Brightside is accelerating further still with average combined weekly sales and streams up 23 per cent year-on-year.

Dr Stephen Graham, the head of Arts and Humanities at Goldsmiths University, believes the song’s popularity is mainly down to its lyrics and loud music being a “perfect fit” for Britain’s “boisterous” nightlife culture.

“UK nightlife culture was a perfect fit for Mr Brightside. Loud, boisterous nights out are de rigueur in that culture and uncomplicated songs that can be sung without much skill or concentration and that carry you along like a massive, joyous crowd have always been a hit here,” he said.

“Mr Brightside has all of those qualities, almost to a Platonic ideal, and so really lends itself to settings where groups of people, many of them drunk, are looking for a sonic excuse to join together in collective joy.”

He added that the lyrics also “suggest nights out, or at least the kinds of interpersonal stuff you’d be thinking about on a night out (she’s calling a cab, he’s having a smoke, my stomach is sick etc)”.

The song’s biggest week to date in the UK was July 2019, when it clocked up 17,700 chart units following the band’s headline Glastonbury set.

Mr Brightside’s biggest year of pure sales was 2012 when it was bought and downloaded 125,200 times.

Flower’s first indication of the song’s impact was ahead of their 2004 Glastonbury performance. “We played that song [and] something had obviously happened… Something shifted in the way that the audience physically responded and it set us off on this path to become the live band that we are now.”

Flowers told Spin back in 2015 that he is proud that Mr Brightside has “stood the test of time”.

“I never get bored of singing it,” he said.

Martin Talbot, the chief executive of Official Charts, commented: “The success of Mr Brightside is a triumph of extraordinary longevity, it is a song which has lived with so many of us throughout the recent decades of our lives – and, for some, an entire lifetime.

“Ed Sheeran is absolutely right to describe it as the UK’s alternative national anthem. And for this reason, among many others, it is a huge honour for us to have been able to present Brandon Flowers with one of our brand-new Top 10 Awards in tribute to its legacy and impact.

“Twenty years on from its first Official Singles Chart appearance, it is now the Top 10 hit that all other Top 10s can only aspire to be.”

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