Celebrating the weird and the wonderful – Guinness World Records’ 60th birthday

Our pick of the most amazing world records from the past 60 years.

EDGAR staff February 16, 2015

Celebrating the pinnacle of human endeavour – and global bragging rights – the official Guinness World Records approval is still as sought-after today as it was when it first started 60 years ago. In honour of its landmark birthday, EDGAR picks out its favourite records.

Tallest building in the world: Burj Khalifa

Our home city of Dubai holds more than 100 Guinness World Records, but none are as coveted as the title of the World’s Tallest Building. Opened in 2009, the 829.8m tall Burj Khalifa, has not only become the symbol of the city, but it has become a global icon, gazed at enviously by other countries. So imposing is the structure, that it holds another 16 world records, takes three months for its exterior windows to be cleaned, and is more than 300m taller than its closest rival (Taipei 101). It is a true icon of human accomplishment.

Best-selling album of all time: Michael Jackson's Thriller

In what can only be described as a phenomenal work of art, Michael Jackson’s 1982 album Thriller, to this day holds the title of the World’s Best Selling Album – and by quite some margin. More than 65 million copies of the nine-track album were sold – 20 million more than second place’s Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd – with tracks such as Beat It, Billie Jean, Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, Thriller and the creation of ‘the Moonwalk’ and the Thriller music video representing, arguably, the most creative period in the late singer’s phenomenal career. The subsequent development of music downloading and online sharing today, means that Jacko’s records is unlikely to ever be bettered. World’s fastest man: Usain Bolt

Challenging someone to a running race is the most primitive type of competition that a human can do, which is why the title of World’s Fastest Man has long been one of mankind’s favourites. Officially monitored as the Fastest 100m Run, Jamaican sprinter (and friend of EDGAR) Usain Bolt currently holds the title following his jaw-dropping performance in the 2009 Athletic World Championships in Berlin, where he destroyed the competition – and his pervious record – with a time of 9.58 seconds. Ever the showman, Bolt claims that he can still run faster, and you’d be unwise to bet against him. Tallest Person in the world: Robert Wadlow

One of the most loved records in the history of Guinness’ cataloguing is the World Tallest Man. Still held by American Robert Wadlow, who in his short life grew to an unfathomable 8-foot 11-inches (2.47m), what makes the record so appealing is that it is so visible and that it is not one that can be cheated. You are either the tallest or not. With the global interconnectivity of the Internet, more and more people across the world are coming forward to challenge Wadlow’s record – such as Sultan Kosen (the current Tallest Living Man at 8ft 3in) – but so far he still has arguably one of the most admired titles in human history. First Trans-Atlantic Crossing in a Hot Air Balloon: Sir Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand

Before the Wright Brothers and Concord, the history of aviation started with hot air balloons. More than 230 years ago, humans started using balloons to get off the ground, but it wasn’t until 1987 when man’s greatest balloon challenge – crossing the 7,500km-wide Atlantic Ocean – was accomplished. “My crossing of the Atlantic with Per Lindstrand was the first, and will always be that way,” says Virgin boss, Sir Richard Branson. “The best thing about a World Record is doing one that can never be taken away from you!” With the furthest anyone had ever gone previously standing at just 1,000km, the phenomenal feat was hailed as one of the greatest challenges in 20th century aviation. Weirdest world records

From famed titles such as the world’s longest fingernails to the less notable ‘most people eating breakfast in bed’ and ‘largest gathering of people dressed as penguins’ – there seems to be a world record for just about anything these days. But one thing is clear regardless of how tenuous some records are, people will always aspire and be inspired by being the world’s first, best, tallest, shortest and quickest. Details: for more visit guinnessworldrecords.com