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Christmas Number 1s - What's Your Favourite?

Published: 9 Dec 13, 02:05pm  |  Author: DG Music

Here is our round up of Christmas Number 1s from the beginning of the charts to today. Which is your favourite seasonal ditty?

The Charts have been going since 1952, when Percy Dickins, who co-founded the New Musical Express, began telephoning 20 or so shops every week asking for a list of their top 10 best-selling records. He published his first set of results in the NME as a Top 12 chart on 14th November 1952, and you can view the full list of Christmas Number Ones at the bottom of this article!

Al Martino's "Here in My Heart" was awarded the number-one slot in this first chart and so became the first-ever Christmas Number One. It sold more than 1 million copies. Other notable 1950s Christmas hits were “Christmas Alphabet” by Dicky Valentine in 1955 and 1957’s Harry Belafonte song, “Mary’s Boy Child”.

In the 1960s, the Beatles had an unprecedented and amazing run, topping the seasonal chart in 1963, 1964 and 1965 with “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “I Feel Fine” and “Day Tripper / We Can Work It Out”, songs which DG Music bands still play regularly - but not necessarily always at this time of the year.

But if you’re looking for true Christmas gold, you can’t beat the astonishing run of number one tunes in the 1970s. Between 1973 and the end of the decade, songs which now dominate the supermarket, shopping centre and radio playlists from about mid October - at least that’s how it seems - had their first outing.

Take a look at this list:

1973: Merry Xmas Everybody – Slade
1974: Lonely This Christmas – Mud
1975: Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
1976: When A Child Is Born - Johnny Mathis
1977: Mull Of Kintyre / Girls' School – Wings
1978: Mary's Boy Child / Oh My Lord - Boney M
1979: Another Brick In The Wall ( Part 2 ) - Pink Floyd

With the possible exception of Another Brick in the Wall and Bohemian Rhapsody, each one of these songs will be played to death this month, until we reach that curious never-never time after Boxing Day, when these tunes which have dominated the airwaves suddenly feel completely out of place as we recover from our over-indulgence and start counting the cost.

1984 saw the start of a trend which continues today, when “Do They Know It's Christmas?” became the first charity single targeted at the Christmas market. (It topped the chart again at Christmas in 1989 and 2004). This was followed in 1985 by Shakin’ Stevens’ “Merry Christmas Everyone” and eventually by 1988’s dreadful Cliff Richard effort "Mistletoe And Wine” - not my top Christmas menu - and isn’t mistletoe poisonous anyway? Get drunk and die. Very Christmassy.

Cliff Richard did it again with “Saviour’s Day” in 1990, which at least wasn’t totally deadly. And slipping quickly past the truly awful “Mr. Blobby” in 1993, we come to The Spice Girls, who did a Beatles by topping the Christmas chart 3 years on the run from 1996.

The 2000s saw “Do They Know It's Christmas?”  succeeding again in 2004; while a popular uprising in 2009 ensured that Rage against the Machine’s “Killing In The Name” took the coveted Christmas Number One spot, after an Internet campaign was staged to stop the fifth X Factor winner in a row securing the Christmas number one for Simon Cowell. “Killing in the Name" was downloaded more than half-a-million times in the week before Christmas, roundly beating the X Factor song which sold only 450,000 copies combined by download and in the shops.

Which brings us up to date. 

The 2010s have so far been dominated by charity songs at Christmas. The Military Wives’, “Wherever You Are” was the 2011 hit, the 60th Official Christmas Number One. It sold 556,000 copies in the last week, more than the rest of the Top 12 combined. And in 2012 the number one was “He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother” by The Justice Collective - a group of musical stars performing together to raise money for charities associated with the Hillsborough disaster.

And what about 2013?

Well, it looks like a rerun of 2009, because a Facebook campaign has been organised to keep the X Factor winner (or Susan Boyle) off the top of the Christmas chart.  Beneficiaries of this year’s popular campaign are Antipodean rockers AC/DC, who are celebrating the band’s 40th anniversary.  Fans want to see a reissue of their 1979 single “Highway To Hell” claiming its rightful place on the top of the Christmas musical world and thereby ending the band’s UK chart drought – they’ve never had a top ten hit in the UK.  Sounds like a good cause.  Get on the Internet right now and buy that single!

Here is the full list of UK Christmas Number 1s…

1952 - Al Martino - "Here in My Heart"
1953 - Frankie Laine - "Answer Me"
1954 - Winifred Atwell - "Let's Have Another Party"
1955 - Dickie Valentine - "Christmas Alphabet"
1956 - Johnnie Ray - "Just Walkin' in the Rain"
1957 - Harry Belafonte - "Mary's Boy Child"
1958 - Conway Twitty - "It's Only Make Believe"
1959 - Emile Ford & The Checkmates - "What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?"
1960 - Cliff Richard & The Shadows - "I Love You"
1961 - Danny Williams - "Moon River"
1962 - Elvis Presley - "Return to Sender"
1963 - The Beatles - "I Want to Hold Your Hand"
1964 - The Beatles - "I Feel Fine"
1965 - The Beatles - "Day Tripper" / "We Can Work It Out"
1966 - Tom Jones - "Green, Green Grass of Home"
1967 - The Beatles - "Hello, Goodbye"
1968 - The Scaffold - "Lily the Pink"
1969 - Rolf Harris - "Two Little Boys"
1970 - Dave Edmunds - "I Hear You Knocking"
1971 - Benny Hill - "Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)"
1972 - Jimmy Osmond - "Long Haired Lover from Liverpool"
1973 - Slade - "Merry Xmas Everybody"
1974 - Mud - "Lonely This Christmas"
1975 - Queen - "Bohemian Rhapsody"
1976 - Johnny Mathis - "When A Child Is Born (Soleado)"
1977 - Wings - "Mull of Kintyre" / "Girls' School"
1978 - Boney M. - "Mary's Boy Child – Oh My Lord"
1979 - Pink Floyd - "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)"
1980 - St Winifred's School Choir - "There's No One Quite Like Grandma"
1981 - The Human League - "Don't You Want Me"
1982 - Renée and Renato - "Save Your Love"
1983 - The Flying Pickets - "Only You"
1984 - Band Aid - "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
1985 - Shakin' Stevens - "Merry Christmas Everyone"
1986 - Jackie Wilson - "Reet Petite"
1987 - Pet Shop Boys - "Always on My Mind"
1988 - Cliff Richard - "Mistletoe and Wine"
1989 - Band Aid II - "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
1990 - Cliff Richard - "Saviour's Day"
1991 - Queen - "Bohemian Rhapsody" / "These Are the Days of Our Lives"
1992 - Whitney Houston - "I Will Always Love You"
1993 - Mr Blobby - "Mr Blobby"
1994 - East 17 - "Stay Another Day"
1995 - Michael Jackson - "Earth Song"
1996 - Spice Girls - "2 Become 1"
1997 - Spice Girls - "Too Much"
1998 - Spice Girls - "Goodbye"
1999 - Westlife - "I Have a Dream" / "Seasons in the Sun"
2000 - Bob the Builder - "Can We Fix It?
2001 - Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman - "Somethin' Stupid"
2002 - Girls Aloud - "Sound of the Underground"
2003 - Michael Andrews & Gary Jules - "Mad World"
2004 - Band Aid 20 - "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
2005 - Shayne Ward - "That's My Goal"
2006 - Leona Lewis - "A Moment Like This"
2007 - Leon Jackson - "When You Believe"
2008 - Alexandra Burke - "Hallelujah"
2009 - Rage Against the Machine - "Killing in the Name" -
2010 - Matt Cardle - "When We Collide"
2011 - Military Wives with Gareth Malone - "Wherever You Are"
2012 - The Justice Collective[nb 4] - "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"

Source - Wikipedia

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