A definitive ranking of all of McFly’s singles.

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Whilst their arena tour that followed their well recieved comeback show at London’s O2 last November has – for obvious reasons – been put back, some good news came for McFly fans on Monday.

Chiefly, that for the first time in a decade, following their tempestuous on again/off again antics with their original label Universal Island, they are back under a major label deal. For their sixth studio album proper, they have signed with BMG, who of course have helped guide Kylie Minogue to a further two number one albums in recent years, as well as success for both Rick Astley and Emma Bunton.

‘Happiness’, a brand new single from said album (‘Young Dumb Thrills’, out 13th November) is due for release on Thursday, so we thought it a prime opportunity to – yep, you’ve guessed it – revisit all 28 of their previous singles and give you our definitive ranking. So buckle in, because we’re about to give you our rundown of Tom, Danny, Dougie and Harry’s finest – and some less so – moments on 45rpm to date…

28. PARTY GIRL

Released: 5th September 2010 / Highest UK chart position: #6

If you’re wanting hints as to why the lads’ return to their original record label was short lived, than here is your case in point. Launched in 2010, in conjunction with an amazing, fully interactive website for their fans called SuperCity (which crashed on its day of launch due to demand), their fifth studio album – and easily their most divisive one to this day – Above the Noise was a radical departure from anything that had come before.

We meet its two better singles later, but ‘Party Girl’ stuck out like a sore thumb for many reasons, and was obviously the result of a label headed compromise. Coming back to a chart landscape now dominated by the traditional boybands they’d initially sent packing, not even the production hand of Dallas Austin could guide this bloated, noisy, electro heavy clusterbomb of a single, that can’t decide if it wants to be Lady GaGa or an android version of themselves. It fails at doing either well. And let’s not get started on the weird softcore vampire porn video that accompanied it…

27. STAY WITH ME

Released: 23rd November 2008 / Highest UK chart position: #18

Now, two disclaimers we should make here. Not since Steps have one band loved a double-A-side single quite as much McFly did. Just under half the singles we revisit in this list are tied to such a release. Second disclaimer, but a worthy one: they are generous lads, having recorded three charity singles over the course of their 15 year long career.

We meet the other track of this single later on, but whilst this cover of a song originally a hit for Rod Stewart’s old band The Faces was raising money for the annual BBC Children in Need appeal, it lacked one crucial factor to make it worthwhile beyond that: a point. It was their first single to miss the UK top 10 as a result.

26. THE BALLAD OF PAUL K

Released: 12th December 2005 / Highest UK chart position: #9

Another ‘double A’ song next. Those who bought McFly’s chart topping second album, 2005’s Wonderland, were in for a shock when it was released. Gone were the cheeky chappies singing about hanging out at pizza places with surfer babes and losing girlfriends to someone in the Marines.

In its place stood a very emo-tastic looking band (Tom had briefly dyed his hair black around this time, for – we should point out – some quite sad reasons) singing songs about their alcoholic fathers (specifically Danny’s) hitting a midlife crisis. Released in the pre-Christmas rush, and baffling their fans who just wanted them to be fun again, this was for many years their lowest charting single.

25. YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND

Released: 7th March 2005 / Highest UK chart position: #1

We meet the far better remembered side of this double headed release for Comic Relief later on, but here’s the second, a pleasant if not exactly go-to cover of the classic Carole King / James Taylor number. It was also notably accompanied by a video of the boys’ trip to Uganda to see some of the projects in action supported by the charity, that this single ended up raising just shy of £500,000 in waived royalties for.

24. BABY’S COMING BACK

Released: 7th May 2007 / Highest UK chart position: #1

Late 80s US rock band Jellyfish were a huge influence on the band’s third studio album, 2006’s Motion in the Ocean. But with that album struggling to hit the same sales heights or longevity as the first two, this hastily recorded cover of one of the best known Jellyfish songs was bolted onto the single release of its far better and more loved double-A-side compatriot, leading to them awkwardly holding the record for several years as having the biggest fall from #1 the week after it topped the chart (to #20, to be precise).

23. DO YA

Released: 23rd November 2008 / Highest UK chart position: #18

The lead half of their 2008 single for Children In Need, and third to be lifted from the Radio:ACTIVE album, ‘Do Ya’ only had the misfortune of being ‘nth single off the album’ and being released in the middle of their then UK tour that affected both the promo and airplay it deserved and thus its chances. Under ordinary circumstances, this punchy power pop belter would have been another easy top 10 hit.

22/21. PLEASE, PLEASE / DON’T STOP ME NOW

Released: 17th July 2006 / Highest UK chart position: #1

Aah, that’s better. A double-A-side in concurrent positions with one another. Whilst there’s ‘Please, Please’, a not exactly subtle balls to the wall rocker, written by the lads largely as a mahoosive poke in the ribs at Harry’s brief fling with Lindsay Lohan, their co-star in US romcom Just My Luck (accompanied by a video that briefly earned them a reputation of being the band unable to keep their clothes on), the far stronger side of this single is their take on a Queen classic. Which they actually rather do justice to and we prefer to the original. There, we said it, shoot us Freddie Mercury stans. Raising money for Sport Relief, it was another easy chart topper.

20. THAT’S THE TRUTH

Released: 6th March 2011 / Highest UK chart position: #35

The third and final single off the Above the Noise album, wistful, R&B flecked power ballad ‘That’s The Truth’ was released when the band had hit crisis point and very nearly came close to finishing, with an underperforming album ringing in their ears, Tom seeking help for his mental health and Dougie checking into rehab for alcoholism. But this is one of their most sincere and subtly layered releases and is so much more than its abysmal chart placing suggests.

19. LIES

Released: 15th September 2008 / Highest UK chart position: #4

Free of a record label, and free of productive constraints, ‘Lies’ was an utterly bombastic beast of a single, replete with horn sections and sweeping miltary style beats and orchestral motifs, and some of the highest notes either Tom or Danny had hit on record. Accompanied by a bizarre Mad Max / Waterworld style promo video that was like a mini movie, its top 5 placing at least proved that they were still very much supported by their fans, whether they were self releasing or not.

18. FALLING IN LOVE

Released: 4th May 2009 / Highest UK chart position: #88

Really only strictly released as a single to promote a live DVD that came out the same week, ‘Falling In Love’ was a jangly, radio FM pop rocker that would have made Savage Garden spit with jealousy. It also played a notable role when the band cameoed as themselves on an episode of long running Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks that same year.

17. SORRY’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH

Released: 18th December 2006 / Highest UK chart position: #3

Released to contend for 2006’s Christmas number one, ‘Sorry’s Not Good Enough’ was written, we suspect, by Tom as a grovelling apology for being a crap boyfriend in pop song form to then girlfriend now wife Giovanna Fletcher – certainly if the video, where he tries to win back a jilted lover whilst the rest of the guys serenade her dressed as a Mariachi band – is anything to go by.

16. I WANNA HOLD YOU

Released: 17th October 2005 / Highest UK chart position: #3

Now this is an interesting one. The third single off their second album Wonderland was probably the lads’ most SRSFACE offering to that point. A dramatic, post-apocalyptic 60s pop rock thunderer (‘Say the magic words and I’ll destroy the world for you … It’s like a neutron bomb explosion tearing me apart’), it also came backed with a suitably dramatic video, inspired more than a little by Green Day’s similar promo for their ‘American Idiot’ single a year previously. Still, another top 3 hit it became.

15. LOVE IS ON THE RADIO

Released: 24th November 2013 / Highest UK chart position: #6

Aka the first single from their infamous ‘lost’ sixth album, that was unintentionally derailed by their fruitful but temporary merging with James Bourne and Matt Willis into McBusted on the week of its release and only bought out week by week last autumn as ‘The Lost Songs’. We still maintain to this day that ‘Love Is On The Radio’ sounds a bit like The Corrs, in the best way possible, but this is what McFly undoubtedly do best – punchy pop with a universal lyric that can’t help but raise a smile when you hear it.

14. THE HEART NEVER LIES

Released: 22nd October 2007 / Highest UK chart position: #3

The single that accompanied their first greatest hits before they broke away from their original deal with Universal Island, and released almost unnoticed in the same week as two of the biggest selling singles of that year (‘Bleeding Love’ by Leona Lewis and ‘Rule the World’ by Take That), ‘The Heart Never Lies’ was like a junior ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol, to the point that it threw their fans into thinking they were about to end it all on a sad ‘we’re splitting up’ type power ballad. But as the line in the song says, ‘Another year over / And we’re still together / It’s not always easy / But I’m here forever…’

13. FRIDAY NIGHT

Released: 18th December 2006 / Highest UK chart position: #3

The lesser starred of the double-A-side pairing with ‘Sorry’s Not Good Enough’, ‘Friday Night’ was a really fun, fiery party track, evocative of 80s era Beastie Boys, and quickly grew into a live favourite and more remembered than the song which accompanied it on the release. It was also the title theme from the Ben Stiller blockbuster A Night at the Mueseum, for which the boys recorded a hilarious accompanying video shot at the Natural History Museum in London.

12. THAT GIRL

Released: 6th September 2004 / Highest UK chart position: #3

Cruelly denied being their third consecutive chart topper off the bat (thanks but no thanks to you, Bri(y)an McFadden, ex of Westlife), ‘That Girl’ is a shining example of what made the lads’ debut album such a bright and breezy blast of fresh air in pop in 2004. Hand clappy, Beach Boys riffing choruses and harmonies and a rollicking set of guitar riffs that roll like surf waves, teamed with a memorable video of them playing mechanics where they all tried (and failed) to get ‘that girl’. A classic.

11. ULTRAVIOLET

Released: 12th December 2005 / Highest UK chart position: #9

Perhaps amusingly, when initial reviews of the Wonderland album came out, the pop press got up in arms and took ‘Ultraviolet’ to be the moment when McFly went all ‘Sgt Pepper‘ because of its use of psychedelic sounding sitars. It was nothing of the sort, but this fun, cool party rocker was definitely one of the album’s highlights, albeit released as a single with ‘The Ballad of Paul K’ in conjunction, and far too late into the campaign to make any of the commercial impact it truly deserved.

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10. ROOM ON THE 3RD FLOOR

Released: 15th November 2004 / Highest UK chart position: #5

The title track and final single released from their chart topping debut album (which had made them the youngest band since The Beatles to top the album listings), ‘Room on the 3rd Floor’, written when it was just Tom and Danny holed up in the InterContinental hotel overlooking Hyde Park in London, was the first sign that there was more to them musically than met the eye, coming across as a baby Blur on this driving pop rock anthem. Coupled with a memorable video of the band as Airfix models, it’s still a fan favourite to this day.

9. FIVE COLOURS IN HER HAIR

Released: 29th March 2004 / Highest UK chart position: #1

Do do do do do – DO! A technicolour bright, 60s shakeathon that launched them onto the world in the spring of 2004, ‘Five Colours In Her Hair’ does everything that you expect a good debut single from a major pop band to do, with an earworm chorus and guitar riff as memorable as the band themselves. Although probably date stamped a little by the fact it’s lyrically about Sooz, a character from oft-forgotten cult Channel 4 teen drama As If, it started McFly as they meant to go on.

8. LOVE IS EASY

Released: 11th November 2012 / Highest UK chart position: #10

Down but not out following their misfortunes on Above the Noise, McFly reconvened over the course of the next 18 months. And whilst Harry and Dougie glided to victory on the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom floor and the I’m A Celebrity jungle respectively in 2011, with a reactivated purpose, and boosted fanbase, they returned to doing what they did best on this ukelele flecked single which led off their appropriately titled ‘Memory Lane’ hits collection in November 2012. Another memorable video too – see if you can spot the trainspotter references to previous highlights of their career.

7. ONE FOR THE RADIO

Released: 14th July 2008 / Highest UK chart position: #2

Now there’s a temptation here to argue that ‘One for the Radio’ is to McFly what ‘I’d Rather Jack’ was to Stock Aitken Waterman’s one hit wonder The Reynolds Girls. That is to say, a big chorused, punchy ‘F-you’ to their critics and detractors who had written them off time and again for being a pop band. But that’s to do this single a disservice, for it sets out their stall, and saw them, perhaps for the first time since their debut, making and releasing exactly the kind of music they envisaged making back when they were starting out.

6. TRANSYLVANIA

Released: 7th May 2007 / Highest UK chart position: #1

Their seventh and to date final UK number one, and the last single from the Motion in the Ocean album, ‘Transylvania’ is utterly unlike not just any McFly song, but also like any other pop song in the 21st century we’ve heard. Part rock opera and part Halloween banger (although perhaps unseasonably so, given its early May release), Dougie took his first lead vocal on this utterly weird but totally brilliant single, that more than hams up and enjoys the spooky theme it entails.

5. STAR GIRL

Released: 23rd October 2006 / Highest UK chart position: #1

It’s safe to say that when ‘Star Girl’ was first premiered in the autumn of 2006, fans everywhere who’d been thrown off by the more serious stance of the Wonderland album were breathing a sigh of relief. Written by Tom about a dream he had of falling in love with an alien, and also being the song that christened the band’s name for their fans (‘Galaxy defenders, stay forever’), ‘Star Girl’ zipped along with energy and exuberance and rightly gave them a sixth number one hit. It also took on new popularity in the years that followed when Chris Moyles used it as his Friday song (or ‘McFly Day’ as he dubbed it) on his BBC Radio 1 breakfast show until he left in 2012.

4. I’LL BE OK

Released: 15th August 2005 / Highest UK chart position: #1

Released after a sejourn of almost four months, in which time they played the Japan leg of the Live8 gigs, filmed their part in Hollywood romcom Just My Luck and finished their second album, ‘I’ll Be OK’ was a wise choice of introductory single. Although taking some reference from their new found influences The Who (they even covered their ‘Pinball Wizard’ as the B-side for this release), it was still appealing enough to the fans who’d got behind them on the first album, and in becoming their fourth UK number one, proved they could go on without the Busted shaped stabilisers that had guided their early success.

3. SHINE A LIGHT (feat. TAIO CRUZ)

Released: 8th November 2010 / Highest UK chart position: #4

Now this, one suspects, is the reason why so much effort was drummed and expended into Above the Noise as an album. Teaming up with then hot R&B star of the moment Taio Cruz, ‘Shine a Light’ is where you can see why the prospect of working with Dallas Austin was such a thrilling one. It’s a shame not much else of the album matched the wistful majesty of this, or indeed the wide appeal that it had outside of their fanbase (it’s still to this day one of their biggest radio airplay hits), but 10 years on this proves that at least some diamonds came out of their musical rough patch.

2. ALL ABOUT YOU

Released: 7th March 2005 / Highest UK chart position: #1

Although universally synonymous now with THAT wedding speech of Tom’s, ‘All About You’ is perhaps the song that the band were most known for even before then, not least because of its use as the official single for Comic Relief that year, which had a whole host of its supporters – Davina McCall, Graham Norton, Ruby Wax and even Popworld’s acerbic host Simon Amstell in on the video action, filmed at the legendary Abbey Road where this single was mastered. Who knew that a belated Valentine’s present would go onto become such a huge hit as this – and indeed, their biggest seller to date?

1. OBVIOUSLY

Released: 21st June 2004 / Highest UK chart position: #1

It was Matt Helders, drummer with 00s indie types Arctic Monkeys who famously said that ‘Obviously’ was proof that ‘With McFly, you can tell it comes from the heart’. Of all their singles, this is the one that has remained their stone cold pop classic, so utterly uncomplicated in emotion, feeling, appeal and sunshine bright aesthetic, whilst hiding a more despairing lyrical tone – ‘Recently I’ve been / Hopelessly reaching / Out for this girl who’s out of this world, believe me’. It also proved, by topping the charts in the summer of 2004, that they were no one hit wonders, and were most definitely here to stay. Long live McFly!

McFly’s new single ‘Happiness’ is released on Thursday, and their new album ‘Young Dumb Thrills’ is out on 13th November, both via BMG. It will be available to pre-order from this Thursday on their website. Twitter: @mcflymusic

Are you a fan of McFly? Are you looking forward to their new single? Do you agree with our choices of ranking on their previous hits? Take a listen to our Spotify playlist below, and let us know if you agree by leaving your thoughts in the comments below or messaging us on Instagram.

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