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The Richest Songs in the World (2012)

Mark Radcliffe presents a countdown of the ten biggest earning songs in music history and the stories behind each one.




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Complete credited cast:
Mark Radcliffe ...
Himself - Presenter
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Moses Avalon ...
Himself - Author, Confessions of a Record Producer / Artists' Rights Activist and Music Business Consultant
Himself - President & CEO of Broadcast Music Inc.
Himself - Guitarist
Linda Emmet ...
Herself - Daughter of Irving Berlin
Bert Fink ...
Himself - Spokesman, Irving Berlin Music Company
Simon Greenaway ...
Himself - Institute of Contemporary Performance, London / Director, Film & TV UK / Europe (ASCAP)
Tony Hall ...
Himself - Decca Promotions Manager, 1961-1967
Ann Harrison ...
Herself - Author, Music: The Business / Music Lawyer
Dave Hepworth ...
Himself - Writer & Broadcaster (as David Hepworth)
Barney Hoskyns ...
Himself - Editorial Director, Rock's Backpages
Himself - Co-writer, Stand By Me
Barry Mann ...
Himself - Co-writer, You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
Peter Mills ...
Himself - Author, Hymns to the Silence: Inside the Words and Music of Van Morrison (as Dr Peter Mills)
Jody Rosen ...
Himself - Journalist & Author, 'White Christmas: The Story of an American Song'


Mark Radcliffe presents a countdown of the ten biggest earning songs in music history and the stories behind each one.

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Documentary | Music





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28 December 2012 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


The Christmas Song
Written by Mel Tormé and Robert Wells
Performed by Nat 'King' Cole
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The Richest Songs in the World
3 January 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In the year 2012 there were many television and radio programmes celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Official Charts, including about the most popular number one and number two singles (voted for), but I think this was the first programme to focus on the written songs themselves, and it sounded interesting. Presented by Mark Radcliffe, this documentary programme, using the available information, counts down the ten most popular songs based on their origins, in other words, whoever first wrote the song in particular, and what money it has accumulated over the years from royalties, i.e. sales as a single and on albums and complications, radio plays, use of the song (whatever version) film and television, remakes and covers by other artists, and much more besides. The ten songs in the programme were: "The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)", written by Mel Tormé, famously performed by the Nat King Cole Trio (a favourite on Christmas compilations) he recorded it in 1946, 1953 and 1961, it has made £12.5 million; "Oh, Pretty Woman", written by Roy Orbison and Bill Dees, famously performed by Roy Orbison, famously featured in the film Pretty Woman (1990), recorded in 1964, it has made £13 million; "Every Breath You Take", written by Sting, famously performed by The Police with the music sampled by P Diddy/Puff Daddy for the song "I'll Be Missing You" (1997), it has made £13.5 million; "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie, famously performed by The Crystals and Bruce Springsteen, it has made £16.5 million; "Stand by Me", written and performed by Ben E. King, recorded 1960, famously featured in the film Stand by Me (1986), it has made £17.5 million; "Unchained Melody", written Alex North and Hy Zaret, famously performed by the Righteous Brothers and covered by Gareth Gates, it has made £18 million; "Yesterday", written by Sir Paul McCartney, famously recorded by The Beatles with over 3000 other versions, it has made £19.5 million; "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, famously recorded by Cilla Black and the Righteous Brothers, it has made £20.5 million; "White Christmas", written in 1940 by Irving Berlin, famously performed by Bing Crosby and covered Lady Gaga, it has made £24 million; and the richest song in the world is "Happy Birthday (to You)", written by Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill in 1893, though as a novelty song it is actually copyrighted, alternative version have been performed by Stevie Wonder and Altered Images, any time it is sung, used on television or radio or whatever it makes money, it has made £30 million. Other songs mentioned "Brown Eyed Girl" which has made over £12 million, "Beautiful" – Eminem, "Candle in the Wind" – Elton John (recognised mostly for the death of Princess Diana and "Rolling in the Deep" – Adele (2011). With contributions from Moses Avalon, Del Bryant, James Burton, Linda Emmet (daughter of Irving Berlin), Burt Fink, Simon Greenaway, Tony Hall, Ann Harrison, David Hepworth, Barney Hoskyns, Ben E. King, Barry Mann, Dr Peter Mills, Jody Rosen, Sting, Mike Stoller, Andy Summers, James Tormé, Cynthia Weil and Paul Williams. Good!

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