The longest gap between number one’s on the UK singles chart…
…is 31 years! The record belongs to George Harrison with his song “My Sweet Lord”, which went to number one in January 1971. It returned there in January 2002, just a month after Harrison died at the age of 58.
The artist with the longest spell before having a number one (with a different song) is Leo Sayer (b.1948), who topped the chart in February 1977 with “When I Need You” and returned to the top spot in February 2006 with the remix of his 1977 single “Thunder In My Heart Again”, a gap of 29 years!
Excluding remixes, the longest gap between original songs belongs to Blondie, who hit the top in November 1980 with “The Tide Is High” and didn’t get another UK number one till February 1999 with “Maria”, 18 years and three months later.
We must mention Stevie Winwood through. He reached number one in April 1966 with The Spencer Davis Group’s “Someone Help Me” and returned there of his own accord in September 2004 when Eric Prydz’s sampled his 1982 hit “Valerie” for his chart topper “Call On Me”. This represents a gap of 38 years! Phew!