List of UK Singles Chart Christmas number ones

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A cover of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" by a collection of celebrities, in aid of charities relating to the Hillsborough disaster, held the number-one spot on Christmas Day 2012

In the United Kingdom, Christmas number ones are singles that are top of the UK Singles Chart in the week in which Christmas Day falls. Novelty songs, charity songs or songs with a Christmas theme have regularly been at the top of Christmas charts. Traditionally the volume of record sales in the UK peaks at Christmas,[1] with the Christmas number one being considered especially prestigious, more so than any other time of year.[2][3][4] Many of the Christmas number ones were also the best-selling song of the year.

The official UK Singles Chart began in 1952 after appearing in the New Musical Express;[5] the positions of all songs are based on week end sale totals, from Sunday to Saturday,[6] but before 1987 they were released on a Tuesday due to the need for manual calculation.[7] The emergence of a serious contest for the Christmas number-one spot began in 1973 when the band Slade deliberately released "Merry Xmas Everybody" as an effort to reach the top of the charts on Christmas.[8][9]

The Beatles are the only act to have four Christmas number ones, three consecutively starting from 1963. On two occasions, 1963 and 1967, they had both the Christmas number one and the number two, the only act to have achieved this. As part of two acts, George Michael repeated the feat with Band Aid and Wham! in 1984. Paul McCartney has been top eight times with various acts. Cliff Richard has spent four Christmasses at number one; two as a solo act, one with The Shadows and one as part of Band Aid II. The Spice Girls later equalled the record of having three consecutive Christmas number ones, from 1996 to 1998. Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm achieved a fourth Christmas number one as a member of The Justice Collective in 2012, while Robbie Williams got his third Christmas number one as a member of the same group.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, which reached the number-one spot at Christmas 1975 and 1991, is the only record to have reached the top twice. "Mary's Boy Child" is the only song to be Christmas number one for two entirely unrelated artists (Harry Belafonte in 1957 and Boney M. in 1978), although "Do They Know It's Christmas?" has been Christmas number one for three generations of Band Aid.[10] The original version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" is the second best selling single in UK history.[11]

Since 2002 the Christmas number one has been dominated by reality television contests, with the winners often heading straight to number one in the week before Christmas. This trend began when Popstars: The Rivals contestants released the top three singles on the Christmas chart.[12][nb 1] From 2005 to 2010, the winners of The X Factor took the number-one spot on five occasions. In 2007, bookmakers started taking bets on which song would be the "Christmas Number Two" instead.[13] Rage Against the Machine's 1992 single "Killing in the Name" outsold Joe McElderry in 2009 following a successful Facebook campaign.[14] This made them the first group to get a Christmas number one with a download-only single, and resulted in the most download sales in a single week in UK chart history.[14] Similar campaigns in 2010 promoting acts such as Biffy Clyro, John Cage and The Trashmen were unsuccessful.[15] The following year, participants from reality television show The Choir took the accolade, outselling X Factor winners Little Mix and a host of social network campaigns for various novelty acts.[16][17] In 2012, a supergroup cover of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", supporting charities associated with the Hillsborough disaster, took the accolade ahead of The X Factor's James Arthur at number two.[18]

List[edit]

Al Martino, the first person to reach the Christmas top spot
The Beatles had four Christmas number ones during the 1960s, three of which were consecutive.
Bob Geldof, creator of charity supergroup Band Aid who were Christmas number one in three different incarnations
Cliff Richard, who reached the number one slot at Christmas four times
The Spice Girls had three consecutive Christmas number ones in the 1990s.
Rage Against The Machine, whose song "Killing in the Name" achieved the Christmas number one in 2009, 17 years after the song's original release
Year[19]ArtistSongWeeks at
No. 1[10][19][20]
1952Martino, AlAl Martino"Here in My Heart"9
1953Laine, FrankieFrankie Laine"Answer Me"8
1954Atwell, WinifredWinifred Atwell"Let's Have Another Party"5
1955Valentine, DickieDickie Valentine"Christmas Alphabet"3
1956Ray, JohnnieJohnnie Ray"Just Walkin' in the Rain"7
1957Belafonte, HarryHarry Belafonte"Mary's Boy Child"7
1958Twitty, ConwayConway Twitty"It's Only Make Believe"5
1959Ford, EmileEmile Ford & The Checkmates"What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?"6
1960Richard, CliffCliff Richard & The Shadows"I Love You"2
1961Williams, DannyDanny Williams"Moon River"2
1962Presley, ElvisElvis Presley"Return to Sender"3
1963Beatles, TheThe Beatles"I Want to Hold Your Hand"5
1964Beatles, TheThe Beatles"I Feel Fine"5
1965Beatles, TheThe Beatles"Day Tripper" / "We Can Work It Out"[nb 2]5
1966Jones, TomTom Jones"Green, Green Grass of Home"7
1967Beatles, TheThe Beatles"Hello, Goodbye"7
1968Scaffold, TheThe Scaffold"Lily the Pink"3
1969Harris, RolfRolf Harris"Two Little Boys"6
1970Edmunds, DaveDave Edmunds"I Hear You Knocking"6
1971Hill, BennyBenny Hill"Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)"4
1972Osmond, JimmyJimmy Osmond"Long Haired Lover from Liverpool"5
1973Slade"Merry Xmas Everybody"5
1974Mud"Lonely This Christmas"4
1975Queen"Bohemian Rhapsody"9
1976Mathis, JohnnyJohnny Mathis"When A Child Is Born (Soleado)"3
1977Wings"Mull of Kintyre" / "Girls' School"[nb 2]9
1978Boney M."Mary's Boy Child – Oh My Lord"4
1979Pink Floyd"Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)"5
1980St Winifred's School Choir"There's No One Quite Like Grandma"2
1981Human League, TheThe Human League"Don't You Want Me"5
1982Renée and Renato"Save Your Love"4
1983Flying Pickets, TheThe Flying Pickets"Only You"5
1984Band Aid"Do They Know It's Christmas?"5
1985Stevens, Shakin'Shakin' Stevens"Merry Christmas Everyone"2
1986Wilson, JackieJackie Wilson"Reet Petite"4
1987Pet Shop Boys"Always on My Mind"4
1988Richard, CliffCliff Richard"Mistletoe and Wine"[nb 3]4
1989Band Aid II"Do They Know It's Christmas?"3
1990Richard, CliffCliff Richard"Saviour's Day"1
1991Queen"Bohemian Rhapsody" / "These Are the Days of Our Lives"[nb 2]5
1992Houston, WhitneyWhitney Houston"I Will Always Love You"10
1993Mr Blobby"Mr Blobby"2
1994East 17"Stay Another Day"5
1995Jackson, MichaelMichael Jackson"Earth Song"6
1996Spice Girls"2 Become 1"3
1997Spice Girls"Too Much"2
1998Spice Girls"Goodbye"1
1999Westlife"I Have a Dream" / "Seasons in the Sun"[nb 2]4
2000Bob the Builder"Can We Fix It?"3
2001Williams, RobbieRobbie Williams & Nicole Kidman"Somethin' Stupid"3
2002Girls Aloud"Sound of the Underground"4
2003Andrews, MichaelMichael Andrews & Gary Jules"Mad World"3
2004Band Aid 20"Do They Know It's Christmas?"4
2005Ward, ShayneShayne Ward"That's My Goal"4
2006Lewis, LeonaLeona Lewis"A Moment Like This"4
2007Jackson, LeonLeon Jackson"When You Believe"3
2008Burke, AlexandraAlexandra Burke"Hallelujah"3
2009Rage Against the Machine"Killing in the Name"1
2010Cardle, MattMatt Cardle"When We Collide"3
2011Military Wives with Gareth Malone"Wherever You Are"1
2012Justice Collective, TheThe Justice Collective[nb 4]"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"[18]1
2013Sam Bailey"Skyscraper"[23]1

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In addition to the two groups that were the focus of the show (Girls Aloud and One True Voice), who charted at No. 1 and No. 2 respectively, the No. 3 on the chart was "Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)" by The Cheeky Girls, who had also been contestants on Popstars.[12]
  2. ^ a b c d Released as a double A-side.
  3. ^ "Mistletoe and Wine" by Cliff Richard was announced as the 1988 Christmas number one a day later than usual, on Monday 26 December.[21]
  4. ^ The Justice Collective was the name taken by a group of British musicians and football personalities who released the song in aid of various charities associated with the Hillsborough disaster.[22][18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Douglas, Jayne (23 December 2001). "Have a chart-topping Christmas". BBC News. Retrieved 7 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "Sound of silence vies to be Christmas number one". The Daily Telegraph. 16 October 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Hewett, Emily (12 December 2011). "X Factor's Little Mix eye Christmas No.1 as bookies tip Perrie to go solo". Metro. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Shhh! It could REALLY be a silent night this Christmas... if Facebook has anything to do with it". Daily Mail. 15 October 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "The story of the single". BBC News. 23 March 2001. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  6. ^ "FAQs". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  7. ^ "UK Singles Charts: History of the Charts". When We Were Kids. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  8. ^ Shennan, Paddy (13 December 2011). "Will Christmas Number One hopes 'The W Factor' (The Wombles) or 'MW Factor' (The Military Wives) beat The X Factor?". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  9. ^ Thrills, Adrian (18 December 2009). "Merry Xmas Everybody: The song that saved Slade". Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "All the Christmas number ones". Children's BBC. 16 December 2002. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  11. ^ "Record-Breakers and Trivia". EveryHit. Retrieved 19 April 2008. 
  12. ^ a b "Girls Aloud top festive chart". BBC News. 23 December 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  13. ^ Swash, Rosie (16 November 2007). "X Factor faces online Christmas chart challenge". The Guardian (London). ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  14. ^ a b "Rage Against the Machine beat X Factor winner in charts". BBC News. 20 December 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2009. 
  15. ^ "X Factor's Matt Cardle beats Biffy Clyro, Surfin' Bird and John Cage to UK Christmas Number One". NME. 19 December 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  16. ^ "Military Wives Choir capture Christmas number one". BBC News. 25 December 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2011. 
  17. ^ Sexton, Paul (23 December 2011). "Military Wives & Italian Donkey in Race for U.K.'s No. 1 Christmas Single". Billboard. Retrieved 25 December 2011. 
  18. ^ a b c "Hillsborough single is Christmas number one". BBC News. 24 December 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  19. ^ a b "Christmas Number Ones – Singles". EveryHit. Retrieved 19 April 2008. 
  20. ^ "Thirty years of Christmas No 1s". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 19 April 2008. 
  21. ^ Masterton, James (20 December 2004). "Christmas Commentary from James Masterton". London: LAUNCHcast. Archived from the original on 31 December 2004. Retrieved 6 June 2011. "... This actually did happen back in 1988 when Christmas Day fell on a Sunday (the usual chart day). This resulted in the chart show being broadcast a day late on Monday 26th and with the industry agreeing that the crowning of Cliff Richard as that years Christmas Number One would take place then. ..." 
  22. ^ "Paul McCartney guests on Hillsborough charity single with Robbie Williams". The Guardian. 23 November 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  23. ^ Davies, Serena (22 December 2013). "Sam Bailey gets Christmas number one with Skyscraper". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 December 2013.