The Brits are here, queer and releasing music by the millions…
From Sam Smith to Elton, Freddie Mercury to Will Young but which are the biggest sellers? We collated this list from available sales figures available online. Actual sales figures may be higher or lower than printed here.
Joe McElderry <1 million
X Factor’s Joe’s debut single, a version of Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” went on to sell over 800,000 copies in the UK. Like another constituent of this list, Joe’s sexuality was unknown during his time on the talent show which made him famous.
Pet Shop Boys 1 million (at least)
“Always On My Mind” ending up selling over 1 million records for LGBT+ identifying duo Pet Shop Boys. It’s the biggest selling single of their career.
Callum Scott 1.363 million
Relatively unknown and newcomer Callum Scott managed to secure a million-selling single with “Dancing On My Own”. Released in 2017.
Will Young 1.7 million
When Will won the first ever Pop Idol nobody actually knew he was gay, until the very next day when there was a huge splash across the tabloids. His debut single, “Evergreen” / “Anything Is Possible” went on to sell a huge 1.7 million records
Boy George / Culture Club 5 million
Culture Club, fronted by Boy George sold a whopping 5 million records globally with their song “Karma Chameleon”. The song was released in 1983 and became a huge disco hit for the group.
George Michael 6 million
George’s biggest selling record to date is “Careless Whisper”, which he released after splitting from WHAM! The song was a huge world-wide hit for the singer. It went to number 1 in 25 countries selling over 6 million singles. His most charted song is “Last Christmas” (2 million copies and counting) which reenters the top 10 almost every Christmas. It’s the biggest selling song to never get to number 1.
Freddie Mercury / Queen 8 million
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of the biggest selling singles (and apparently the most expensive ever made) of all time and it was written by Freddie Mercury. During his life, Freddie admitted his sexuality fears to his ex-girlfriend, apparently, that he didn’t know whether he was gay or straight.
Sam Smith 8 million
Sam Smith’s is the second newest artist on our list after Calum Scott, but he’s already racked up 6 number ones, including, incredible the only number 1 song for a Bond film. The song “Stay With Me” has sold over 8 million copies (digital).
David Bowie 10 million
It’s impossible to know how exactly how many copies of “Let’s Dance” David Bowie sold, but the album with the same name sold 10 million copies when it was released in 1983, making it his best selling album and single of all time. Note: David Bowie never identified as gay, but his sexuality was often considered to be bisexual.
Elton John 33 million
The granddaddy of music, Elton John has sold millions and millions of records. His biggest-ever seller single was the 1997 tribute to Diana Princess Of Wales, “Candle In The Wind”. It apparently sold over 33 million singles. It has a double A-side – the other song was “The Way You Look Tonight”.
** UPDATE: A previous version incorrectly labelled David Bowie’s track “Let’s Dance”, “Just Dance” and has been corrected.
The editor and chief of THEGAYUK. All in a previous life wrote and produced songs on multi-platinum records.