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While the music charts seem to have a lesser importance to the UK public, we still have an irrational fascination with the speculation and discovery of the Number One selling song at Christmas.

When did this fascination begin?

The very first Christmas number one was a song called ‘Here in my Heart’ by Al Martino in 1952. It was also the very first UK number one. Since then, we have had the standard song, novelty song, Christmas themed song, and the TV talent show winners ‘cashing in for Christmas’ song.

In the 1960’s, all the Christmas number ones could not be described as ‘Christmassy’, with tunes from The Beatles, Cliff, Elvis and Tom Jones to name but a few.

The contest to be ‘top of the pops’ at Christmas, became a thing in 1973, when Slade and Wizard both released festive songs, with the clear intention of being the best seller on Christmas Day. Slade won the day with ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ beating Wizard’s ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday.’

Since then, No. 1 incumbents have included, Benny Hill, Mr Blobby, Bob the Builder, Little Jimmy Osmond, and The Spice Girls, who topped the Christmas Charts for three consecutive years in the nineties; all which proves that talent as a musician is no bar to a festive success.

Between 2005 and 2014, the winners of The X Factor took the number-one spot on seven occasions, but in 2005, after four consecutive years of the predictable X Factor success, a backlash campaign, initially on Facebook, was launched by Jon Morter, a part time rock DJ from Chelmsford, who decided to encourage support for a song that was diametrically opposed to the spirit and style of the X Factor winners’ debut single.

That song was ‘Killing In The Name’ by Rage Against the Machine, containing lyrics that would never be found in a Cliff Richard (Christmas) song.

This was also the first time that a song had reached the pinnacle of the Christmas charts on the sale of downloads only. A figure of 500,000 (the proceeds of which were donated to charity), which was 50,000 more than ‘The Climb’ –  a ballad by Joe McElderry.

Mark and Roxanne Hoyle AKA Ladbaby, with their profile of more than 1m subscribers on YouTube, have released the number one Christmas single every year since 2018 to raise money for food bank charity The Trussell Trust. In total, they raised £1.3m for the charity songs were cover versions of classic rock anthems, with lyrics re-worked to focus primarily on sausage rolls.

Ladbaby have announced that there will be no release to vie for the 2023 top-spot, but who are releasing songs to capture the coveted Christmas Number one?

Sooty has released ‘I’m in the mood for Christmas’ a variation on the Nolans hit ‘I’m in the mood for dancing.’

I don’t want to speak out of turn, but I didn’t think that Sooty could talk, let alone sing. The word on the street is that the vocals are by Sue! The Sleaford Mods have released ‘West End Girls’ a cover of the Pet Shop Boys classic, with proceeds going to the Shelter charity.

The big favourite this year, is The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl  ‘Fairytale of New York’ following the sad news that The Pogues singer Shane MacGowan recently died aged 65,

It would be a fitting tribute to MacGowan, and MacColl, who herself died in tragic circumstances in 2000.


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