The Killers – Mr Brightside

10th May 2024 · 2000s, 2004, Music

The Killers’ debut single Mr Brightside has spent a record seven and a half years hanging around the UK singles chart since 2004 – but never got to the top.

I’m surprised to learn that this is the biggest-selling song not to reach No.1 in the entirety of UK chart history.

I’m not sure what I would have guessed but it certainly wouldn’t have been The Killers’ virtual remake of Underworld’s Born Slippy – a resemblance so strong that there are mash-ups all over the internet.

In fact, if pushed, I would have guessed that Born Slippy – which peaked at No.2 in the summer of 1996 – might top this new chart of Not-Quite-No.1 singles but it doesn’t seem to appear anywhere in the Top 100.

The Killers only reached No.10 when Mr Brightside was released in 2004 but the song – their debut release – did set them on the path to stadium-filling stardom with their catchy (if not entirely original) tunes, glamorous looks and a video based on Baz Luhrmann’s film Moulin Rouge.

For all the uplifting euphoria of the music, this feelgood anthem is lyrically a melancholy tale of infidelity, paranoia and jealousy written after Brandon Flowers found out his girlfriend had been cheating on him by walking into a Vegas bar and seeing her with another man.

I rather like the description of the song in one review, which called it “a power ballad on speed.”

Unlike the trajectory of most hit singles these days, which peak high and disappear rapidly, Mr Brightside set a longevity record by hanging around in the UK singles chart for more than 400 weeks – that’s seven and a half years.