With the end of the decade in sight, many have been perusing their most-played songs of the decade – but which song was the best-selling of the 660s? The 1440s? The 2650s BC?
The truth is the charts don’t quite work like that, but comedians – and history enthusiasts – Archie Henderson, 25 and Adrian Gray, 26, thought they’d have a go with a Twitter thread that blurs truth and reality.
Starting the thread by announcing “I am a music historian, and with @AdrianRMG I have researched the best-selling single of every decade all the way back to 14,000BC,” Archie listed Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You as the best-selling single of the 2010s, before James Blunt, Lou Bega and Cher followed.
As the posts go back through the 20th century however, it becomes clear that “songs” such as “She’s My Baby” by “Chunky Finchman & The Interrupters” and “Dirty Anklez” by “Phillip Jameson” are fictional hits.
“We’re both really into music and mild-to-moderate history nerds so really it was inevitable,” Archie told the PA news agency.
“We had a bunch of musical parody bits from various sketch shows we’ve done in the past, and we thought it would be nice to see an (extremely vague) story running through them.
“Mainly we just wanted to see if we could pull off tricking people into thinking the first 10 were real.”
By 1900, the jig is surely up, before Archie and Adrian launch into a string of fictional tunes stretching back to 14,000 BC including a look back through Mambos one to four.
“We tend to sit in Archie’s bedroom at a computer and scream into a microphone with the hope of vaguely hitting the right notes,” said Archie of the hits.
“It’s just us, though Archie’s flatmates have contributed support and his neighbours have contributed banging on the wall.”
The pair met while auditioning for the Cambridge Footlights in 2013 – at the time Adrian was delivering “deadpan one-liners” while Archie performed songs with a guitar about Vaseline.
“In a way this Twitter thread was the lovechild of those two things,” said Archie.
The thread has been retweeted by tens of thousands of social media users, while the tunes themselves have been listened to millions of times.
And while the pair initially worried the humour wouldn’t land, the “variety of jokes” combined with the long-awaited prequels to Lou Bega’s Mambo No.5 meant this thread was always destined for greatness.
“We really didn’t expect the amazing response we’ve had, in fact we were worried the whole thing was going to bomb!” said Archie.
“Everyone seems to have a different favourite track, so maybe the variety of jokes is what has allowed it to resonate with so many people.
“Also, since Mambo No.5 came out, pretty much everyone has been wondering what happened to the first four, so we’ve finally been able to answer that question.”