Every UK number one single from the year 2001, ranked from worst to best
The fact that Nicole Kidman has a number one is iconic
Do you know what’s an absolute jumble sale of quality? The batch of songs that have made it to number one on the UK Singles Chart. It’s truly a chaotic mix, of both artists and standard. The highs are life changing, the lows are life destroying. So what better way to reflect nostalgically on the songs that managed the feat of hitting number one than traipsing year by year through memory lane and ranking them based on how hard they slap. Here’s all 30 UK number ones from the year 2001, ranked from worst to best.
30. It’s Raining Men by Geri Halliwell
A completely vapid and unnecessary cover of The Weather Girls’ classic by Tory Spice who, after those pictures with Nadine Dorries and Liz Truss, should be rotting at the bottom of everyone’s 2001 UK number ones.
29. Queen of my Heart by Westlife
One of the most boring and sluggish songs I’ve ever had the misfortune to sit through.
28. Mambo No 5 by Bob the Builder
Look, it’s a novelty cover song where children’s TV fave Bob the Builder is singing along to manual labour adapted lyrics. So instead of all the women Lou Bega wants to bang being listed in the chorus, we swap a little bit of Sandra in the sun for a little bit of timber and a saw.
27. Uptown Girl by Westlife
Westlife have only ever released naff covers or boring ballads.
26. Somethin’ Stupid by Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman
This was the Christmas number one in 2001 for some reason. No clue why this exists. Nessa and Bryn did it better.
25. Eternity by Robbie Williams
I’d never heard this before writing this ranking. I do not want ballads from Robbie Williams. I certainly do not want ballads from Robbie Williams that are written about his friendship with G*ri H*lliwell. Avoid.
24. The Way To Your Love by Hear’Say
The lowest selling of all the 2001 UK number ones, and one listen to this dross makes it easy to see why. So bland.
23. Too Close by Blue
The 00s were obsessed with forcing bands to release cover versions of big songs. Here’s Blue covering Too Close by Next for some unbeknownst reason! Just put the original on, it’s literally already by a boyband!
22. Have You Ever by S Club 7
Not one of S Club 7’s finest ballads – Have You Ever has always sounded to me like Never Had a Dream Come True’s stale cousin. Jo’s vocals sound consistently gorgeous but the production is uninspired and it’s Cathy Dennis songwriting-by-numbers.
21. Hey Baby (Uhh Ahh) by DJ Otzi
Another cover, but one that changed school dicsos forever. A bit of a chant along toe tapper that got your nan up on the dance floor at Butlins. Who the bloody hell is DJ Otzi may I ask? You’ve never seen him and Paul Hollywood in the same room.
20. Rollin’ by Limp Bizkit
Crucify me for this if you want, but all I can hear from these rap verses is when Darienne Lake did her “Big girl walking down the sturdy street” bit on Drag Race. Does rap and nu-metal sound good together? Maybe it’s my ears – but no it fucking doesn’t. I’m trying to be objective because I’m sure people love this, and if you do I’m made up for ya honestly.
19. If You Come Back by Blue
A fun little 00s boyband romp down memory lane. The production could truly only have come from 2001 and vocally all four of the Blue boys kind of kill it. Classic Blue chorus.
18. Because I Got High by Afroman
Simple, outrageously catchy, daft and one of the first viral songs ever. Quite charming, let’s face it.
17. Touch Me by Rui Da Silva and Cassandra
Really solid housey dance track that has an infectious beat over the top of trancey production and a lovely vocal from Cassandra. If this came on in the club I’d literally ascend. Early 00s dance is chef’s kiss.
16. Eternal Flame by Atomic Kitten
I’ve been harsh on the covers when ranking the UK number ones of 2001, but I’m giving a kindly pass to Atomic Kitten’s cover of Eternal Flame because it was five year old me’s first ever exposure to any variation of this classic song. How can I stay mad at it? It’s one of the best pop songs ever. Even a cover version featuring Jenny Frost on vocals isn’t going to be THAT bad. Natasha “My dad doesn’t shout at me” Hamilton has pipes.
15. What Took You So Long by Emma Bunton
Despite Emma’s truly paper thin vocals, What Took You So Long succeeds on that perfectly delicious early 00s pop rock level because the melody and instrumentation are irresistible. It’s giving Sheryl Crow. Madonna would have loved this on Music.
14. Let’s Dance by Five
I’d never heard Let’s Dance before Five before I started ranking UK number ones from 2001, and I was braced for a naff cover of Bowie. Pleasantly surprised by this funky banger that was penned and produced by the iconic Biff Stannard. The production gives me Basement Jaxx vibes in the best way – the vocal production is autotune bliss. Love it.
13. Angel by Shaggy and Rayvon
The vibes are absolutely unmatched. Shaggy’s reggae verses and Rayvon interpolating the melody of Angel of the Morning? My serotonin is skyrocketing.
12. Pure & Simple by Hear’Say
Myleene Klass and Michelle from Corrie singing a song that sounds like a half baked rip off of Never Ever by All Saints? Instant classic. The choreography is so funny to me. Just little bops of the leg. If you want an early 00s British bop you don’t get one more distinctly sounding than this.
11. 21 Seconds by So Solid Crew
UK garage hive RISE UP! This is a 00s British classic, end of. No other country could go off like this. It’s absolutely killer – and even more delicious that so much of the press have had to do retrospective reviews acknowledging its excellence in hindsight. Chorus is so catchy it should be illegal, beat is not just a call to the dance floor it is a demand.
10. It Wasn’t Me by Shaggy
I used to get driven to primary school by one of the neighbours whose son was a few years older than me. When I was in year one, he year six. His mum had a convertible with leather seats. Two songs I remember vividly playing on loop out of them convertible speakers: Who Let The Dog’s Out and It Wasn’t Me. I think It Wasn’t Me actually taught me what sex was. The instrumental is perfection.
9. Do You Really Like It by DJ Pied Piper and the Master of Ceremonies
Do you really like it? Is it (is it) wicked? Yes and yes, to be quite honest. The golden and glorious heyday of UK garage – slapping my tits to this absolute banger. I want to blow the speakers out of a Ford KA driving to Maccies with this blaring. They don’t make them like this anymore, but perhaps they should start.
8. Love Don’t Cost a Thing by Jennifer Lopez
Textbook JLo. Great Lopez songbook. The verses are so fucking cool.
7. Don’t Stop Movin by S Club 7
Truly one of the greatest pop songs of the early 00s. This is the pinnacle of S Club 7 – and they play to their strengths the whole damn time. Jo and Bradley take lead vocals and they don’t just kill it, they annihilate it. This could be released right now by any artist chasing the disco trend and be a hit. S Club were in their Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer bag here. Beyoncé should have interpolated it on Renaissance.
6. Another Chance by Roger Sanchez
Quite simply one of the greatest pieces of dance music ever created. That’s not hyperbole, that is just a fact. End of.
5. Survivor by Destiny’s Child
A critically acclaimed, Grammy winning masterpiece and one of the top-tier girl group tracks in history. I was obsessed with the music video as a child. Beyoncé is such a force to be reckoned with. The dramatic strings and the vocals make it 1000/10.
4. Gotta Get Thru This by Daniel Bedingfield
The fact that Danny B recorded this on his PC with a microphone with 2001 technology and it came out this much of a masterpiece is nothing short of a feat. What a debut single. A garage CLASSIC. One of my favourite beats in all of music and I am not joking. It goes so hard.
3. Can’t Get You Out of my Head by Kylie Minogue
All songs built around “la, la, la” melodies go off – just ask Becky Hill, who has spent the last few years fashioning a career on them. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, written and produced by Cathy Dennis, is a detached, robotic, android banger that feels like it’s sent from the year 3001 to destroy us all. Never gets old. Beyond iconic. Kylie femmebot edition is PERFECTION.
2. Lady Marmalade by Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, Pink and Mya
Nothing but respect for my Mount Rushmore. My Avengers officially assembled. The visuals are cinema, the lyrics are scripture. Put Lil Kim’s verse in the greatest of all time history books. Christina sings everyone under the table.
1. Whole Again by Atomic Kitten
The best thing about the Euros last year was the resurgence of Whole Again by Atomic Kitten – the best of all the UK number ones of 2001 and one of the best songs, well, ever. Whole Again is so special, so warm. The vocals are rich, the key change euphoric, the vibes immaculate. I think it stands as the best number one over the others for me because of how 2001 it is. Whilst others on this list have a more urgent freshness, or an ahead of their time sensibility in their production, Whole Again is so unapologetically early 00s.
But what excels Whole Again above songs that tread similar boards here like Pure & Simple is that the songwriting is genuinely great. All four writers on this track were nominated for an Ivor Novello songwriting award and that makes me smile (if only for a while!). Sorry, had to.
Whole Again slaps whether you’ve got Kerry Katona on the mic or Jenny Frost. It’s essential.
Listen to the full ranked playlist of 2001 UK number ones here.