Five songs have made the UK top 40 prior to being released commercially!
When a very popular single is on sale elsewhere in the world but is unavailable in the UK, astute distribution companies will sometimes import copies to partially fulfil customer demand. Record shops are more than happy to sell these prior to the official UK release. The single may sell in sufficient quantities to enter the chart on import sales alone.
On six occasions, so far, in the history of the chart, the British public have been so eager to own a particular title that they have been prepared to pay the inflated import price and propel the single into the Top 40 without its official UK release. They are:
Cliff Richard and the Shadows – “Gee Whiz It’s You” (No.4 in 1961 – the single was exported in large quantities. Record retailers imported copies back into UK to satisfy frustrated Cliff fans)
The Jam – “That’s Entertainment” (made No.21 on import in 1981. It subsequently went to No.60 and No.57 on two domestic releases in 1983 and 1991 respectively)
Lou Bega – “Mambo No 5” (No.31 on import; No.1 when released domestically – both in 1999)
Eiffel 65 – “Blue (Da Be Dee)” (No.39 on import; No.1 when released domestically – both in 1999)
Shaggy featuring Rikrok – “It Wasn’t Me” (No.31 on import; No.1 when released domestically – both in 2001)
MC Jig – “Cha Cha Slide” (No.37 on import; No.33 when domestically released – both in 2004)