Do you know what the highest-selling single from a Coventry artist is?
Something from The Specials? You’d be wrong.
How about Band Aid II, created in part by the super-producer team of Stock Aitken Waterman, two-thirds of which were born in Coventry? Wrong again.
However, you’ll definitely know the song and it was by an artist who took to the stage at Godiva Festival earlier this year.
The answer is Mundian To Bach Ke by Punjabi MC, which is reportedly one of the best-selling physical singles of all time.
The single is reported to have sold more than 10,000,000 copies around the world since its initial release 1998.
These figures means it matches songs such as Macarena by Los del Rio, …Baby One More Time by Britney Spears and even Hound Dog by Elvis Presley in terms of physical sales.
However, the claim is disputed as it is not in the official records.
This is because, as reported by the Washington Post in an interview with Panjabi MC in 2003, much of the sale of bhangra music was a bootleg business.
In the article, its author Alona Wartofsky said: “Because so much of bhangra music sales is a bootleg business, it’s impossible to estimate how many copies of Mundian To Bach Ke have been sold in the past five years, but it’s very likely that the number after the number would be “million,” and a conservative estimate would be 10 million.”
Panjabi MC was born Rajinder Singh Rai and grew up in Foleshill.
He first released the famous track in 1998 on his album Legalised.
However, it wasn’t until its release as a single that it brought him fame.
The song reached number five in the UK, becoming the first bhangra song to crack the top 10 and even sat in the number one spot for three weeks in Italy.
A remix featuring Jay-Z titled Beware of the Boys was released which reached number 33 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 2003.
The song combined traditional bhangra instruments and hip hop, being based around a sample Busta Rhymes’ 1997 single Turn It Up (Remix)/Fire It Up, which in turn was created from a sample of the theme song of 1980s TV show Knight Rider.
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