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UNCONVENTIONAL AND CONTROVERSIAL CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONES

December 7th, 2016

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Every year there’s intense speculation about who’ll secure the coveted Christmas Number One spot, usually leading on to a furious debate about whether our Christmas Number One should be a ‘Christmas Song’ or any old song that happens to be released at Christmas. With the ubiquity of X Factor winners dominating the Christmas charts in recent years, a trend has emerged of UK music buyers joining forces to get ANY song to number one besides yet another emptily jubilant X Factor winner’s song straight off the production line.

The intention of the UK’s Christmas Number One, is to join the whole nation together, in song, on Christmas Day. We want it to be a good’un!!!

In the past, a wide variety of songs have reached the pinnacle of the festive charts, from traditional songs to brand new fresh music. As much as we love the classics during the holidays, we would really love something new to remind us of this Christmas; a song that ranks alongside Christmas classics of the past, an anthem that makes us think, “That was the Christmas Number One in 2016″!

However, we have also experienced some strange number ones over Christmas, which just so happened to be in the right place at the right time and as a result, have gone down in history!

We’ve got our fingers crossed for this year’s hit to be legendary, but as in the meantime, let’s have a look back over some of the most unconventional Christmas Number Ones of the last 50 years.

1966 – Tom Jones – Green, Green Grass of Home

Not what you could call a Christmas song, but this Christmas Number One, the story of a man returning to his childhood home, was a real family favourite. It has a happy, collective spirit to it, which is probably the reason the nation loved our favourite Welsh singers’ version of the song.


1968 – The Scaffold – Lily The Pink

This jokey parody was a modernised version of an old folk song. A rather strange song, Lily The Pink was released and went straight to number one for four weeks, which just so happened to be over the Christmas holidays!


1975 – Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

A mishmash of an introductory piano solo, an operatic passage and a hard rock section, this six-minute song is one known and loved by the nation. With no defined chorus, it’s hard to pin point what the song is exactly about, but it involves murder, the devil and some fancy Latin dance moves, which pretty much sums up Christmas. This is the only song to appear at Christmas Number One twice, released by the same artist. In 1991 Bohemian Rhapsody reached number one again when it was rereleased following the death of Freddie Mercury.


1981 – The Human League – Don’t You Want Me

Not a mention of Christmas in sight! Released on the 27th of November, this song stormed up the Charts to number one for five weeks, and was later voted the nation’s 7th favourite 1980s Number One!


1987 – Pet Shop Boys – Always On My Mind

The most successful duo in UK Music history, Pet Shop Boys released this romantic anthem during November in 1987 and crept to Xmas Number One! The unconventional song doesn’t sound Christmassy at all, but nevertheless, we can’t help but sing-a-long!


1992 – Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You

From the soundtrack of The Bodyguard, a romantic melodrama best left consigned to the annals of history, emerged this powerful cover of Dolly Parton’s original. Released in late November, this timeless ballad was a certainty for Christmas Number One. The track also re-entered the charts in 2012 as tribute to the most awarded female of all time.


1993 – Mr Blobby

Now… no one saw this one coming! This is probably a number one we just accept and forget it happened! But nevertheless, Mr Blobby stole the top spot in Christmas 1993 from Take That… Sorry Gary!


1995 – Michael Jackson – Earth Song

This is definitely not a happy and joyful Christmas song. But what better time to spread awareness of animal welfare and environment protection, than at Christmas when everyone was listening to the charts? This song was the last song ever performed by the legendary MJ. It also provided one of music’s most cringe-worthy moments when Jarvis Cocker invaded the stage during a performance of Earth Song at the Brit Awards


1996 – Spice Girls – 2 Become 1

A song that focuses on two lovers bonding as well as addressing the importance of protection… another slightly strange ‘Christmas song’. However, this song was number one for three weeks in total in the UK. The Spice Girls followed this success with two more consecutive Christmas Number Ones.


2000 – Bob The Builder – Can We Fix it?

Can we get Bob The Builder to number one? YES WE CAN! We love our children’s TV theme tunes. So much so that it knocked Westlife off the Christmas top spot in the millennium year!


2005 – Shayne Ward – That’s My Goal

The year The X Factor started to take over the Christmas Charts. Shayne Ward was the second winner of the UK TV Series, The X Factor, and his single went straight to number one! A feel-good song for the nation to listen to at Christmas, so no complaints this year!


2006 – Leona Lewis – A Moment Like This

Leona Lewis was the sweetheart from 2006’s X Factor. Again, not a Christmas song, but a beautifully sung ballad. A pattern was forming with these number ones…


2007- Leon Jackson – When You Believe

Another popular cover song from the talented winner of the fourth X Factor winner! All the X Factor songs have been slower ballads which suit the Christmas theme, and include elements of encouragement and happiness, also themes associated with Christmas.


2008 – Alexandra Burke – Hallelujah

The closest The X Factor has ever got to a Christmas song! The exceptionally talented Alexandra Burke smashed number one in 2008 with Hallelujah. This Christmas spirited song is remembered as one of the best covers of Leonard Cohen’s original song from 1984. Jeff Buckley’s version of the song – the undisputed best cover of Hallelujah – reached number two in a campaign against X Factor reaching number one.


2009 – Rage Against The Machine – Killing In The Name

The break of the streak! English DJ Jon Morter and his wife created a campaign to encourage the British public to purchase this song, in order to prevent the winner of X Factor achieving Christmas Number One for the 5th year running. The campaign was called, “Rage against X Factor”. As well as this, the couple encouraged supporters to donate to a JustGiving page for a homeless charity called Shelter. At least one member of the Entertainment Nation team took part and bought the song…


2010 – Matt Cardle – When We Collide

Back to X Factor, the battle continues. A popular non-Christmas song from the new winner. The year everyone had had enough of the Christmas top spot battle.


2011 – Military Wives Choir – Wherever You Are

Bringing the whole nation together, this Christmas Number One was recorded by military wives, partners and widows. The choir’s choice of song and execution touched the whole of the UK. It was destined to be number one.


2012 – The Justice Collective – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

This song was another to over throw the X Factor tradition of Christmas Number One! The Justice Collective included various famous artists, including Mel C, Robbie Williams, Paloma Faith and Paul McCartney. The previous week James Arthur, X Factor winner, was at number one, so only just missed out!


2013 – Sam Bailey – Skyscraper

Back to routine. Bailey’s single reached the top of the charts for Christmas, even though the song was completely the opposite of festive! She’s barely troubled the charts since.


2014 – Ben Haenow – Something I Need

The X Factor continued to hold the top spot in 2014. Winner Ben Haenow was a talented thirty-year-old who released a slightly altered version of One Republic’s song from their existing album.


2015 – The Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir – A Bridge Over You

There’s nothing like a choir at Christmas! Another choir Christmas anthem, sung by junior doctors and other NHS staff. Originally released in 2013, the song achieved number one after a campaign to spread the word for NHS workers and the service they provide the public.


2016 – To be revealed…


And so, we have learnt that the Christmas charts which started off so innocently, eventually turned into a battle between the British public and Mr Simon Cowell’s X Factor empire.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the journey down memory lane and had a bit of a sing song! We apologise if we’ve left you infected with a chronic earworm, but come one, it’s Christmas, it was going to happen at some point. If you’re interested in booking a last-minute musician or band for Christmas or if you’re planning ahead for next Christmas, then have a look through our vast selection of Christmas Party Bands!

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