Top 10 Best-selling Songs of All Time

Songs are the ultimate product of making music. They are a product of art, but at the end of the day also big business. The most famous songs are known all over the world. Not only are they constantly played on the radio, hummed under the shower, or sung in karaoke bars, they are or were also being bought millions upon millions of times.

The following ranks the Top 10 songs by the number of records sold worldwide. The ranking of the Top 10 songs includes both physical as well as digital record sales.

The Top 10 Best-Selling Songs of All Time

1. “White Christmas”

best top 10 song - best-selling song of all time

“White Christmas”, sung by American singer Bing Crosby (real name Harry Crosby), is the best-selling song in history. Crosby, who died in 1977, has sold around 52 million copies of the song to date. The song was written by Russian-born American composer Irving Berlin (real name Israel Beilin). Even though Berlin was Jewish, he wrote the song in 1940 as a homage to the snowy Christmases he knew while growing up in New York City. Berlin at the time spent Christmas in warm California, reminiscing about the white Christmases he was used to in New York.

The song was subsequently used by Bing Crosby for his NBC radio show’s Christmas Day special in the following year. Crosby performed the song in front of a live audience and received much praise for it. Some months later he, therefore, decided to turn the song into a single and the rest is history.

For Bing Crosby, the release of White Christmas also marked the beginning of Crosby’s legendary status as the world’s most successful Christmas songs performer. Crosby’s version of “Silent Night”, an old Austrian Christmas carol from the 19th Century, is also among the best-selling Top 10 songs of all time (see #6).

2. “Shape of You”

best top 10 song by digital copies sold

“Shape of You” by British singer Ed Sheeran is the second best-selling song of all time. The song sold around 42 million times. At the same time, the song also set a new record for most digital copies sold. Sheeran wrote the song alongside his fellow British songwriters Steve Mac and Johnny McDaid. The song was released in January 2017 and immediately became a hit. At the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, the song won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance.

3. “Despacito”

despacito - third of the top 10 songs

The third best-selling top song in history was also released in January 2017. “Despacito” (Spanish for “slowly” or “softly”) first became popular in Latin America, before subsequently taking over the world in the summer of 2017. The song sold around 38 million copies worldwide. The song was written by Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi (real name Luis Rodriguez), Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee (real name Ramon Ayala) and Panamanian singer Erika Ender. Recorded and released by the first two, the song quickly became the greatest, most successful Latin Pop song in history.

4. “Candle in the Wind”

Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind” is the fourth best-selling song of all time. The song was originally written in 1973 by the British singer himself alongside his fellow British lyricist Bernie Taupin. It was originally a homage to American actress and singer Marlyn Monroe. The original song was already popular back then.

However, in 1997 John and Taupin rewrote and re-recorded the song and Elton John used the new version of the song at the funeral of Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales. This new homage for the beloved princess became a global phenomenon and sold around 33 million copies worldwide. In some countries, the single also included the song “Something About the Way You Look Tonight” as a double A-side.

For Elton John, who is also the fourth best-selling solo music artist in history, “Candle in the Wind” still is the most successful single in his illustrious half-century-long career.

5. “In the Summertime”

Bildergebnis für in the summertime"

“In the Summertime” is the fifth most sold song in music history. The song was released by British rock band Mungo Jerry in 1970 and written by the band’s frontman Raymond Dorset. The skiffle song was sold around 31 million times around the world. According to Dorset, it took him only around 10 minutes to write the entire song. Not a bad time for a Top 5 song.

6. “Silent Night”

7. “Rock Around the Clock”

8. “I Will Always Love You”

9. “Something Just Like This”

10. “Perfect”

The Top 10 Best-Selling Songs of All Time
(at a glance)

(as of January 2020)

Top 10 Best-Selling Songs of All Time:
by Bing Crosby
~ 52 million copies sold
by Ed Sheeran
~ 42 million copies sold
by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee
~ 38 million copies sold
by Elton John
~ 33 million copies sold
by Mungo Jerry (band)
~ 31 million copies sold
by Bing Crosby
~ 30 million copies sold
by Bill Haley & His Comets (band)
~ 25 million copies sold
by Whitney Houston
~ 24 million copies sold
by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay (bands)
~ 23 million copies sold
by Ed Sheeran
~ 22 million copies sold

The 10 Best-Selling Songs in history based on worldwide sales.

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