Above is a May 2021 citation (unverified for accuracy) for the most played songs in radio history, placing Every Breath You Take at #1 with 15,000,000 plays.
For comparisons sake, in 1999, BMI announced You Lost That Loving Feeling as the #1 all-time played song with 8 million plays (10 million in the more recent list above).
So, this goes to number of plays. How many listeners? Hell if I know.
But I found this PDF from Nielson, the ratings company:
- 244 million Americans listen to radio at least once a month
- 20% of them are listening to radio at any one time (specifically, any one quarter-hour period)
- And 6.1% of those are listening to classic rock
That comes to 2,976,800 people listening to classic rock radio at any one quarter-hour. With 589 classic rock stations, that’s just 5k people listening… on average… every time More Than a Feeling takes a spin. Or Yesterday.