George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’ is revealed as Apple Records’ most played track this century

PPL has produced a Top 20 chart of the most played tracks in the 21st century released by Apple Records to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the record company founded by The Beatles.

Apple Records released its first ever single in the UK, The Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’ on 30 August 1968. 

George Harrison’s 1970 Official UK Singles Chart Number One, ‘My Sweet Lord’, takes the top spot, receiving more airplay than any of The Beatles’ tracks released on Apple Records including the hit singles ‘Hey Jude’ (Number Three), ‘Let It Be’ (Number Four) and ‘Get Back’ (Number Six).  ‘My Sweet Lord’ also reached Number One in the Official UK Singles Chart in 2002 following Harrison’s untimely death the year before. 

Elsewhere in the chart, John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ also charts above any Beatles material, coming in at Number Two.  There are two other Lennon solo releases in the chart; ‘Jealous Guy’ (Number 15), later covered by Roxy Music and ‘Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)’ (Number 17).  Similarly, Paul McCartney and Wings also have three entries inside the Top 20; ‘Band on the Run’ (Number Five), ‘Live and Let Die’ (Number Nine) and ‘Jet’ (Number 10). 

The two only non-Beatles artists to feature in the Top 20 are Mary Hopkin with her Paul McCartney-produced 1968 Official UK Singles Chart Number One single ‘Those Were The Days’ (Number 19) and Badfinger who complete the chart with ‘No Matter What’ at Number 20.  The record company releases a diverse range of music and other artists on its roster includes The Modern Jazz Quartet, Billy Preston, The Radha KRSNA Temple, Ravi Shankar, The Sundown Playboys, James Tavener, James Taylor and Doris Troy.

Apple Records have generated a total of 140 million seconds of UK radio and TV airplay this century – the equivalent of nearly four and a half years.  The chart includes six Official UK Singles Chart Number One singles, alongside three album tracks (‘Here Comes The Sun’, ‘Back in the U.S.S.R.’ and ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’) and a ‘B’ side (‘Revolution’). 

Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer at PPL said: “Apple Records has released some of the most popular recordings of the past 50 years across such an eclectic range of music. It’s not just the pop-orientated material in its catalogue - the label’s releases also include Indian classical music, soundtracks, modern jazz, electronic avant-garde, brass band and even French language Cajun music.

The fact that Beatles tracks make up over half of the top twenty - one of which, ‘Revolution’ was a B-side and three of which are originally album tracks - is testament to the sheer quantity of The Beatles’ repertoire and also their ongoing popularity.  It is also a timely reminder, with National Album Week approaching, of the power of the album.”

The most played Apple Records tracks of the 21st century

1.)  ‘My Sweet Lord’ – George Harrison

2.)  ‘Imagine’ – John Lennon

3.)  ‘Hey Jude’ – The Beatles

4.)  ‘Let It Be’ – The Beatles

5.)  ‘Band on the Run’ – Paul McCartney and Wings

6.)  ‘Get Back’ – The Beatles

7.)  ‘Here Comes The Sun’ – The Beatles

8.)  ‘Something’ – The Beatles

9.)  ‘Live and Let Die’ – Paul McCartney and Wings

10.)  ‘Jet’ – Paul McCartney and Wings

11.)  ‘The Long and Winding Road’ – The Beatles

12.)  ‘Back in the U.S.S.R.’ – The Beatles

13.)  ‘Come Together’ – The Beatles

14.)  ‘Revolution’ – The Beatles

15.)  ‘Jealous Guy’ – John Lennon

16.)  ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’ – The Beatles

17.)  ‘Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)’ – John Lennon

18.)  ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ – The Beatles

19.)  ‘Those Were The Days’ – Mary Hopkin

20.)  ‘No Matter What’ – Badfinger

PPL licenses music when it is broadcast or played in public in the UK and then seeks to ensure that the performers and record companies involved get paid fairly as a result.  PPL’s public performance licensing is now carried out on PPL’s behalf by PPL PRS Ltd, the new joint venture between PPL and PRS for MusicThe most played Apple Records artist chart is based on PPL data from UK radio and TV broadcasters covering the period from 2000 to 2017 and focuses on tracks released by Apple Records.  Both the number of plays and total played duration are used to rank the tracks in the chart.


For further information or interviews, please contact:

Clive Drew, PR Manager, PPL 0207 534 1262 / clive.drew@ppluk.com