Nothing quite beats the majesty of a Number One single. NOTHING EXCEPT A NUMBER ONE SINGLE AT CHRISTMAS. Even in 2018, when the current stupid chart rules mean that Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You, the UK's most popular song, isn't actually Number One and has to make do with being Number Four.
But Christmas is a time for celebration! Not for demanding that the Official Charts are nationalised!!! Although, if not now, then when?
Anyway here is a playlist with the best-ever UK Christmas Number One at the top, and the worst-ever Christmas Number One at the bottom, and songs of increasing awfulness in between.
Facts that are not open up for debate:
- Pet Shop Boys' Always On My Mind is quite clearly the best-ever Christmas Number One. It 'topped' the 'festive hit parade' back in 1987, ie precisely one million years ago. Sadly its success meant that The Pogues' Fairytale Of New York was not a Number One single which is quite interesting but let's not get into that again.
- Forget what you've heard about Christmas: the greatest story ever told is actually the one about everyone thinking the girlband out of Popstars: The Rivals would come out with some dreadful sub-Atomic Kitten tosh, only for Girls Aloud to explode onto the 'pop' 'scene' with Sound Of The Underground. (As covered in Popjustice's guide to the last 18 years in pop, Sound Of The Underground invented both drums and bass.)
- The Human League's Don't You Want Me still bangs really hard.
- After those three songs it goes like this: the fourth, the fifth, a moon-based song, a major hit, the baffled King Of Pop, then Hallelujah.
- Do They Know It's Christmas? 1984 version: banger.
- Do They Know It's Christmas? 2004 version: clanger.
- Crib for a babe: manger.
- 2 Become 1 still contains the best safe sex message of any Christmas Number One, although it's hard to say how that all works 'vis-a-vis' the whole virgin birth thing.
- The Beatles had some good songs didn't they? Not that many of them were Christmas Number Ones, and even their best Christmas Number One isn't as good as Sam Bailey's version of Skyscraper.
- Boney M were sort of like the Clean Bandit of their day: totally ridiculous but enjoyably brilliant.
- Rolf Harris' Two Little Boys has… Not aged well. Still, good narrative. Coming to think of it Mary's Boy Child has a pretty great story too.
- Bob The Builder's contribution probably isn't actually better than Bohemian Rhapsody, but which would you rather hear again ever in your life?
- The most sadmazing song on the list is East 17's. Head over to Danny L Harle's HUGE CHRISTMAS PLAYLIST for various versions of Stay Another Day but be warned, the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra's version goes off in a VERY big way.
- The further down the list you go, the more you think: music-listeners go a bit weird at Christmas, don't they?
And let's finish with a prediction: the tempo of 2019's Christmas Number One will be 126bpm.