It’s Christmas – Volume 2

On closer inspection, looking through the list of official Christmas number ones again over the weekend, it’s easy to see several rough patterns since 1960 – none of which seem to revolve around festive themes, good taste or indeed, memorable holiday songs. No, the songs that reach the summit invariably have to meet at least one of the following criteria, if not all of them:

  1. Feature the word Christmas in the title (but not Santa)
  2. Have links to a talent contest or TV show
  3. Raise money for charity
  4. Be released during artist’s peak period of fame and fanbase*
  5. Offer a novelty element (topic or artist)
  6. Be recorded by Cliff Richard

* Or, ‘that amazingly long 5 minutes’ in the case of Leon Jackon.

Based on that indicative list, heaven help us should The X-Factor announce Cliff Richard as a new celebrity judge for 2012 and he manages the category with a novelty act included, with the show’s winners releasing a charity single about Christmas. If that happens, we’re heading down the bookies straight away.

  

Having said all that, the one thing that every Christmas number one has in common, is that they have all in their own way managed to motivate and mobilise fans to go out and buy, play, request and download in their droves. Whether that is purely down to the support of hardcore fans, protest voters, charitable causes, gift purchases, TV mogul media manipulation or – very occasionally – the fact that it’s a good song, is up for eternal debate.

As a final note, we conducted a quick poll around the office to find our top 5 Christmas Number Ones since 1960, or in some cases, the 5 least likely to induce convulsions and Scrooge tendencies. So here is our list, which notably has older records and not any from recent years, despite the wide age range and tastes of participants. Perhaps that itself suggests the need for the chart to reconnect with people in a more festive and less obvious manner. Merry Christmas Mr Cowell.

Christmas Number Ones Since 1960 – Space Top 5

1 Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (1975/1991)
= Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas (1984)
= Human League – Don’t You Want Me (1981)
4 Slade – Merry Xmas Everybody (1973)
5 The Beatles – We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper (1965)
= Jackie Wilson – Reet Petit (1986)
= Johnny Mathis – When A Child Is Born (1976)
= Shakin’ Stevens – Merry Christmas Everyone (1985)

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