adam-selby
28th November 2012

The race for Christmas Number One

We take a look at the history of a festive national institution – the battle for Christmas number one
The race for Christmas Number One

As the tinsel begins to come out and the first doors on advent calendars across the country are opened – not forgetting that list of forgotten family friends who you still write a card to, despite not seeing them for years – it can only mean one thing; Christmas is well and truly on its way. And with the festive season comes the annual race to see who can take the coveted Christmas Number 1 spot in the singles charts. But is it still the serious contest that it once was, or do we really care who tops the charts this Yuletide?

Plenty has changed in terms of the race for the number one spot, as compared to the past. Firstly, if you turn the clocks back thirty years or so, the build up, the waiting and the anticipation for which song would make it to the top put this announcement on a par with the Queen’s speech, in terms of importance on Christmas Day. Artists rallied hard on limited resources to promote their song and push it to number one purely for the prestige and honour of being the nation’s favourite song, not solely for the money and publicity it would provide them, as is the case with many artists in this day and age.

However, 2012 proves significant in the context of the battle to chart success at Christmas, marking the end of a decade which has seen a reality television revolution, led by the grinch himself, Mr. Simon Cowell. Since 2002, six out of the last ten Christmas number ones have been held by the winner of Cowell’s competitions (seven if you count Little Mix’s attempt in 2011 until they were replaced, later on Christmas Day, by The Military Wives). It was a period of musical ennui that continued unbroken until 2009 saw the successful Facebook campaign that placed the decidedly-unfestive Rage Against the Machine top of the heap. Yet even before the days of The X Factor and Pop Idol, there was an ongoing change in trend as to what the Great British public went out and bought during the eighties and nineties. We seemed to wave goodbye to any future possibility of a festive number one, and in the process we glorified the highly dubious likes of  Mr Blobby, Bob The Builder and Brian Harvey’s four piece East 17.

Early rumours have suggested that The X Factor are set to bow out of the traditional battle for the Christmas number one, after what has been a disappointing series for Cowell and co. The Hillsborough justice campaign’s charity effort and Girls Aloud’s comeback track are both contenders, but the odds-on favourite this year hints at a long-sought return to tradition – the twenty-fifth anniversary re-release of The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’. If the evergreen Irish rockers can pull it off, it’d make for a refreshing move away from charity songs and reality show releases, and back towards a bit of festive convention – it can only be a good thing.

 


More Coverage

Andy Burnham announces new bus fares to combat cost of living crisis

Andy Burnham announces new bus fares to combat cost of living crisis

Bunrham announces that from September 2022 the bus fares will be capped at £2 for adults and £5 for day passes across all operators in Greater Manchester.
Manchester set for travel nightmare this weekend due to busy music weekend

Manchester set for travel nightmare this weekend due to busy music weekend

‘Plan ahead now’ is the warning from Manchester Council for those going
UoM to give students more choice over remote study in provisional flexible learning plan

UoM to give students more choice over remote study in provisional flexible learning plan

UoM has proposed a new flexible learning plan which includes part-time and digital study
Teenager murders 19 children in Texas School Shooting

Teenager murders 19 children in Texas School Shooting

On Robb Elemetary’s last day before summer break, a teenage gunman entered the school, murdering 14 children and one teacher.

Copyright © The Mancunion
Powered By Spotlight Studios

0161 275 2930  University of Manchester’s Students’ Union, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PR

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap