The 10 Shortest Songs to Hit Number 1 on Radio Charts

We all have our favorite epic anthems, from “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen to Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well” and “Jesus of Suburbia” by Green Day.

But a fantastic song doesn’t necessarily have to exceed five minutes to earn plenty of commercial attention.

Shorter songs can be just as popular, as evidenced by Lil Nas X’s record-breaking and chart-topping hit, “Old Time Road.”

While most of the tunes you’ll likely hear on the radio generally fall into the standard three-minute mark, not every song follows the same pattern.

Perhaps the shortest song ever created, “You Suffer” by Napalm Death, was only 1.316 seconds long.

Unfortunately, this tune didn’t become a chart leader.

Today, we will look at the shortest songs ever commercially released to successfully earn the number 1 spot on the radio.

Let’s dive in.

What Is the Shortest Song to Hit #1?

Artists have released many fast-paced songs over the years, often lasting only two minutes or less.

It’s not just songs in ultra-niche segments, either.

The Beatles song “Her Majesty” was only 23 seconds long, and the same UK supergroup also released another micro banger with “I Will,” lasting just 1 minute and 46 seconds.

Bob Dylon’s “Oxford Town” was only 1 minute and 50 seconds, and the Smashing Pumpkins released a hit called “17” in their album Adore, lasting only 17 seconds.

However, while many of these tunes were successful with fans, they weren’t chart-toppers.

The list of short songs that made it to number 1 in the official radio charts is much smaller, particularly if you focus on regions like the UK and the US.

Here are the number 1 micro hits you should know.

1. “Stay” (Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs)

Length: 1 minute, 36 seconds

First recorded in 1960, “Stay” by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs probably aligns with most people’s definition of the ultimate golden oldie. Most people became familiar with this song after it emerged on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

By the 1990s, it had sold more than 8 million copies.

The doo-wop song inspired several commercially successful variations from other artists, including The Four Seasons, The Hollies, and Jackson Browne.

This song is officially the shortest tune to ever peak at number 1 on the American Record charts.

Unfortunately, Elvis Presley quickly removed it from the top spot with “Are You Lonesome Tonight” a week later.

Notably, it also earned relatively good positions on the charts in other regions worldwide, ranking at number 4 in New Zealand and number 3 in the US R&B charts.

2. “What Do You Want?” (Adam Faith)

Length: 1 minute, 38 seconds

Adam’s Faith released “What Do You Want” in 1959, quickly earning a position on the UK Single charts.

The tune was written by Les Vandyke and produced by John Burgess. It first appeared on the UK Singles chart in November 1959.

Although the tune didn’t get much recognition elsewhere in the world, it spent significant time in the charts throughout the UK.

The song stayed in the rankings for 19 weeks and maintained the number 1 position for three weeks.

However, in its final week at number 1, the piece shared the top spot with Emile Ford & The Checkmates and “What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For.”

This was the last time two tunes shared the number-one spot simultaneously in the UK.

3. “Buy Me a Pony” (Spiderbait)

Length: 1 minute, 41 seconds

This tune might not have achieved massive commercial success on the conventional radio charts. However, it still earned a number 1 spot.

The song “Buy Me a Pony” by alternative rock band Spiderbait was released in 1996 and peaked at number 45 on the official Australian charts.

However, it was positioned at number 1 on the Triple J list for the annual hottest 100 songs.

This was the first song on that list by an Australian artist to top the charts.

The song might not appeal to everyone, as its lyrics satirize the enthusiasm labels have for bands.

However, it’s still one of the most popular Australian songs ever released.

4. “Own True Self” (Johnny O’Keefe)

Length: 1 minute, 44 seconds

Another hit from the early years of radio, Johnny O’Keefe’s “Own True Self” was released in 1959.

After earning a deal with Festival Records in 1957, O’Keefe became one of the era’s most successful Australian music acts.

After honing his talents by supporting musicians like Buddy Holly, O’Keefe brought several top singles to the Australian charts.

The song “Own True Self” was the shortest release ever to peak at number 1 in the Australian charts, and it’s still a relatively popular song today.

Interestingly, the tune skyrocketed to fame during a difficult time in Johnny’s life. He released it on the airwaves just after a near-fatal car accident caused him to undergo drastic reconstructive surgery.

5. “Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear” (Elvis Presley)

Length: 1 minute, 46 seconds

Elvis had plenty of number-one hits as the prince of rock and roll. Though his tunes usually lasted a little over two minutes, a few much shorter pieces ranked on the charts, too.

The shortest of all was “Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear.”

This popular tune was recorded in 1957 for the motion picture Loving You. It was a number-one hit for the US during the summer of 1957 and stayed at number 1 for seven weeks.

It also hit number 1 on the R&B Best Sellers List and the Country Charts.

Interestingly, Elvis had four number 1 hits on the US charts in the same year, confirming just how popular the artist was.

6. “Surrender” (Elvis Presley)

Length: 1 minute, 52 seconds

Elvis appears on this list several times, thanks to his passion for creating quick and catchy songs during the ’50s and early ’60s.

“Surrender” was released in 1961 and hit number 1 in the US and UK charts before becoming one of Elvis’s best-selling singles.

The tune also helped Presley to hold the record for the most consecutive number 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 before 1966, when The Beatles took over.

The record was later broken by Whitney Houston, who now tops the charts with seven consecutive number 1 pieces.

The tune “Surrender” has now been recorded by various other artists, including The Residents and Michael Bublé.

7. “Old Town Road” (Lil Nas X)

Length: 1 minute, 53 seconds

The most modern song on this list, “Old Town Road” by American rapper Lil Nas X, was first released in 2018 before being remixed with Billy Ray Cyrus in 2019.

The tune gained massive popularity on TikTok and entered the Billboard Charts in 2019.

It reached number 19 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart before it was disqualified from the genre.

However, it peaked on the general Billboard Hot 100 for a record-breaking 19 consecutive weeks.

The song became the shortest number 1 single to top the official Billboard charts in the US since 1965, proving that tunes don’t have to be long to be powerful.

8. “From Me to You” (The Beatles)

Length: 1 minute, 56 seconds

Just slightly longer than the Elvis hit mentioned previously, “From Me to You” was a short but successful song released by the Beatles in 1963.

It was the band’s third single ever commercially released and the first to become a number 1 hit on the UK official singles chart.

Although the song failed to impact the US market at its release, it eventually appeared in the US in January 1964.

However, it only peaked at number 41 on the charts. A cover version by Del Shannon was more popular among American listeners.

Fortunately, The Beatles continued to celebrate massive success in the UK, with follow-up songs “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” also reaching number 1 in 1963.

9. “All Shook Up” (Elvis Presley)

Length: 1 minute, 57 seconds

Heading back to Elvis again, “All Shook Up” was one of the most popular songs ever created by the musician despite its relatively short length.

The song topped the US Billboard Top 100 charts in 1957 and stayed there for an impressive nine weeks.

It also reached number 1 on the R&B chart published by Billboard, staying there for four weeks and becoming Presley’s second single to earn this accolade.

The American Recording Industry Association now certifies the song twice platinum. It’s also among the Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, according to Rolling Stone.

Notably, “All Shook Up” also made an impression on UK audiences, becoming the first number 1 hit on the UK Singles Chart.

10. “Don’t Be Cruel” (Elvis Presley)

Length: 2 minutes, 4 seconds

Finally, we have one last song from the legendary Elvis Presley.

“Don’t Be Cruel” was released in 1959 and was the first song Presley’s publishers brought him to record. The tune took the number 1 spot on all three main charts for pop, country, and R&B.

Between these charts, the tune maintained a number 1 position for 11 weeks, tying with songs from Anton Karas and Johnnie Ray for the longest stay at number 1 by a single record from 1950 until 1992.

By the end of 1956, the song had sold more than four million copies, and Billboard ranked it as the number 2 song of the year for 1956.

The song also received critical acclaim elsewhere. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002 and was included in the Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list by Rolling Stone.

The Shortest Number 1 Hits of All Time

This list of number 1 hits above shows that size isn’t everything regarding musical success. Countless other micro tunes have also appeared in the top 10 and top 50 listings for charts worldwide over the years.

How many of these short pieces have you heard before?

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