The Beatles top singles chart 60 years after their first hit

The Beatles
The Beatles are the British act with the most number one singles in UK charts history

The Beatles have topped the charts with their single, Now and Then, making them the act with the longest gap between their first and last number ones.

Sixty years after From Me to You topped the charts, Sir Paul McCartney said: "It's blown my socks off!"

Now and Then is also this century's fastest-selling vinyl single, according to the Official Charts Company.

Its first bars were written by John Lennon in 1978, and it was finally completed last year.

Sir Paul said: "It's mind boggling. It's blown my socks off. It's also a very emotional moment for me. I love it!"

The Beatles last topped the charts with The Ballad of John and Yoko in 1969, and have overtaken Kate Bush's 44 years between Wuthering Heights (1978) and Running Up That Hill (2022).

They are also the oldest band ever to hit number one - Sir Paul McCartney is 82 and Sir Ringo Starr is 83.

They are also the second and third-oldest chart-topping artists, after Sir Captain Tom Moore, aged 99, whose cover of You'll Never Walk Alone was number one in 2020 with Michael Ball.

Now and Then debuted in the charts at number 42 after its release on 2 November, based on just 10 hours' worth of sales.

The Beatles pose for a portrait in circa 1964
The band are seen here in 1964, the year after their first number one hit

Since then it has jumped 41 places up the charts and is the 18th number one single for Sir Paul, Sir Ringo Starr and the late John Lennon and George Harrison.

The song has 78,200 combined UK chart units across sales and streaming, and the biggest one-week physical sales in almost a decade, with 38,000 - the most since X Factor 2014 winner Ben Haenow sold 47,000 copies of Something I Need.

The Beatles are the British act with the most number one singles in UK charts history - only US singer Elvis Presley has more, with 21 chart-topping singles.

Back in 1963, when From Me To You topped the charts, Harold Macmillan was the Conservative prime minister.

The single knocked Gerry & The Pacemakers' How Do You Do It? from the top spot, where it stayed for seven consecutive weeks.

The Beatles
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All four Beatles feature on Now and Then, the last credited to Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr. It was issued as a double A-side single with Love Me Do - their 1962 debut.

Lennon wrote Now and Then after the Beatles split up in 1970, and had circulated as a bootleg for years.

An apologetic love song, it is addressed to an old friend (or lover), to whom Lennon declares: "Now and then, I miss you / Now and then, I want you to return to me."

Sir Paul had wanted to complete the song ever since - and advancements in audio technology finally made that possible.

Martin Talbot, head of the Official Charts Company, said: "The return of John, Paul, George and Ringo with the last ever Beatles single has cemented their legend by breaking a catalogue of records - and in doing so underlined the extraordinary scope of their enduring appeal, across all the generations, with huge numbers of streams, downloads and vinyl singles."

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Elsewhere in the charts, BTS member Jung Kook managed to get his fourth solo top 10 single with Standing Next to You, while Casso, Raye and D-Block Europe's Prada rose one place to number two.

Last week's number one, Is It Over Now (Taylor's Version) by Taylor Swift, fell to number three, while Olivia Rodrigo's Can't Catch Me Now, from the soundtrack for the film The Hunger Games: The Ballads of Songbirds and Snakes, was at number 18.

In the album chart, Taylor Swift's new version of 1989 (Taylor's Version) topped the charts, beating new releases from Oasis, with The Masterplan, and Golden by Jung Kook.

Hackney Diamonds by The Rolling Stones was at number four, with Sir Cliff Richard at number five with Strings - My Kinda Life.