December 19th


Every year, in the UK, there’s a battle – for Christmas number 1 single. In the most recent years it’s been monopolised by The X Factor, but when I was a kid I remember always listening to the Radio One top 40 with anticipation to find out what it was.

From the grid below (starting from the year I was born) you’ll see that it was around 2005 that the X Factor began to dominate that title, but before then there was quite a mix!

Year[19] Artist Song Weeks at
No. 1[10][19][20]
1983 The Flying Pickets Only You 5
1984 Band Aid Do They Know It’s Christmas? 5
1985 Shakin’ Stevens Merry Christmas Everyone 2
1986 Jackie Wilson Reet Petite 4
1987 Pet Shop Boys Always on My Mind 4
1988 Cliff Richard Mistletoe and Wine[nb 3] 4
1989 Band Aid II Do They Know It’s Christmas? 3
1990 Cliff Richard Saviour’s Day 1
1991 Queen Bohemian Rhapsody” / “These Are the Days of Our Lives[nb 2] 5
1992 Whitney Houston I Will Always Love You 10
1993 Mr Blobby Mr Blobby 2
1994 East 17 Stay Another Day 5
1995 Michael Jackson Earth Song 6
1996 Spice Girls 2 Become 1 3
1997 Spice Girls Too Much 2
1998 Spice Girls Goodbye 1
1999 Westlife I Have a Dream” / “Seasons in the Sun[nb 2] 4
2000 Bob the Builder Can We Fix It? 3
2001 Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman Somethin’ Stupid 3
2002 Girls Aloud Sound of the Underground 4
2003 Michael Andrews & Gary Jules Mad World 3
2004 Band Aid 20 Do They Know It’s Christmas? 4
2005 Shayne Ward That’s My Goal 4
2006 Leona Lewis A Moment Like This 4
2007 Leon Jackson When You Believe 3
2008 Alexandra Burke Hallelujah 3
2009 Rage Against the Machine Killing in the Name 1
2010 Matt Cardle When We Collide 3
2011 Military Wives with Gareth Malone Wherever You Are 1
2012 The Justice Collective[nb 4] He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother[18] 1

I think the first year I really remember the importance of the Christmas number 1 was the year Mr Blobby hit the chart, because I hated it so much! Before then I just remember Christmas songs hitting the spot, and not really understanding what it meant. That year we had a little disco in my classroom at school and Mr Blobby was played – ick! It’s nice to see a lot of the more recent songs are charity based, and in the last few years campaigns have been put in place to boycott the X Factor single winning. In 2008 Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah very nearly toppled the X Factor version due to mp3 downloads counting as sales in the chart, and the following year Rage Against the Machine won their campaign and hit number one with Killing in the Name – very festive!

I’m a fan of a festive number one. Cliff Richard, Band Aid, call me old fashioned but if you’re not singing about Christmas it doesn’t really work! This year’s contenders are The X Factor winner’s single, Highway To Hell by AC/DC (another Facebook campaign to boycott X Factor), Leona Lewis’ Christmas single ‘One More Sleep’ and Somewhere Only We Know sung by Lily Allen (for the John Lewis advert) amongst the standard popular singles.

Who will it be? We’ll know in only a few days! I hope it’s something festive 😀

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