Counting down The Killers' ten best-selling singles in the UK!
September 2018 sees the 15th anniversary of The Killers’ signature song ‘Mr Brightside’, unquestionably one of the most distinctive anthems of the 2000s. In honour of their illustrious career and a decade and a half of huge hit singles, we count down the Las Vegas band’s ten best-selling hits.
10. Bones (2006)
Boasting a brilliant stop-motion animated video from the legendary Tim Burton, ‘Bones’ was the second single from The Killers’ Springstonian sophomore album Sam’s Town and a bit of an uneven rollercoaster. Brandon Flowers gives a terrifically unhinged vocal performance as the whole song threatens to go off the rails mid-track, before everything rights itself. Oh, and it was a massive hit in Brazil, apparently, where it sold over half a million copies!
9. Runaways (2012)
The lead single from the group’s cinematic Battle Born album, ‘Runaways’ became The Killers’ tenth UK Top 20 hit. Beginning from bare-bones piano chords and gathering pace into a galloping desert-rocker, it was a U2-esque epic and is one of the staples of the band’s live set now.
8. Spaceman (2008)
Directly following the gigantic hit ‘Human’, it was a bit of a surprise to all to see Day & Age’s second cut do a comparative belly-flop in terms of chart positions, faltering at a lowly no.40 in the UK Singles Chart. However, subsequent streaming has seen the neon-splattered ‘Spaceman’ become an enduring part of The Killers’ canon.
7. Smile Like You Mean It (2005)
Originally serving as the B-side to the original issue of ‘Mr Brightside’, the restrained and majestic new-wave of ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ was upgraded to a full single release in May 2005 as the final single from The Killers’ wildly successful debut album Hot Fuss. While it fell just outside the Top Ten, the all-encompassing cultural ubiquity of Hot Fuss meant it became a big-seller.
6. Read My Mind (2007)
One of the calmer and less bombastic moments from Sam’s Town, ‘Read My Mind’ may have been low-key but resonated with the public when released as the album’s third single in early 2007. Marrying the synth-pop of Duran Duran to the small-town escape fantasies of classic Springsteen, ‘Read My Mind’ also lent itself to a number of excellent dance remixes, from the likes of Pet Shop Boys among others.
5. All These Things That I’ve Done (2004)
An immortal karaoke classic with deliciously nonsensical lyrical hook – “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” – ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ runs ‘Mr Brightside’ a very close second in the sing-along stakes. Although it only hit a peak of no.18 when released in the late summer of 2004, it’s been covered by huge artists subsequently, such as U2, Coldplay and Imagine Dragons, and used on countless adverts and TV segments.
4. When You Were Young (2006)
A stadium-rock dust-storm of a hit single, ‘When You Were Young’ was the lead single from the highly anticipated Sam’s Town. Taking cues from American influences rather than English ones, it immediately signalled to the world that The Killers weren’t about to reprise the glories of Hot Fuss. Hitting no.2, it’s the highest-charting single the band have ever had in the UK, and wound up as one of the biggest 50 singles of 2006.
3. Somebody Told Me (2005)
It’s only when you count down a list such as this that you realise how many hits The Killers have had. ‘Somebody Told Me’ was originally a no.28 hit in early 2004 when released the first time, but in slightly remixed form became a huge no.3 hit in January the following year, eventually going platinum and selling more than 600,000 copies. It was at this point that the wider public began seriously paying attention to The Killers, and the rest was history.
2. Human (2008)
Described by lead singer Brandon Flowers as “Johnny Cash meets Pet Shop Boys”, ‘Human’ is The Killers’ other calling card. Actually created with producer Stuart Price during the assembly of B-sides album Sawdust a year or so before, the band decided to hold on to ‘Human’ for their next studio album Day & Age, which was a masterstroke. With the chorus’s lyrics (“are we human / or are we dancer?”) stirring up much debate, it was an enormous success and proved that The Killers could still knock out synth-pop immortal classics.
1. Mr Brightside (2004)
Well, there was no competition really, was there? It might come as a slight surprise given that it’s one of the most distinctive tracks of the 21st century, and one that hardly anybody won’t realise when its iconic opening riff strikes up, but it took a couple of goes for ‘Mr Brightside’ to actually become a hit. Landing well outside the Top 40 in September 2003, it only actually hit no.10 when it fired properly in mid-2004. However, its tale of sexual jealousy, delivered by a brilliantly paranoid vocal performance from Brandon Flowers, ensured it was a sleeper hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
But beyond its initial chart performance, the advent of streaming and downloads meant that ‘Mr Brightside’ has enjoyed a phenomenally long life, and has sold just under two million units in the UK to date. Incredibly, it’s also spent more time in the UK Top 100 than any other song in British chart history.