List of UK Singles Chart Christmas number ones

List of UK Singles Chart Christmas number ones
Matt Cardle got the most recent Christmas number one with his Biffy Clyro cover "When We Collide".

In the United Kingdom, Christmas number one singles are those that are at the top of the UK Singles Chart on the week before Christmas Day. Novelty songs, charity songs or songs with a Christmas theme have often been at the top of Christmas charts. Musicians and pressure groups view having a Christmas number one as being especially prestigious, more so than any other time of year. Many of the Christmas number ones were also the best-selling song of the year. The official UK Singles Chart began in 1952, after appearing in the New Musical Express.[1] The positions of all songs are based on week end sale totals, from Sunday to Saturday,[2] but prior to 1987 they were released on a Tuesday due to the need for manual calculation.[3]

The Beatles are the only artist to have four number ones, three consecutively starting from 1963. On two occasions, 1963 and 1967, they had both the Christmas number one and the number two, the only act to have achieved this (although George Michael appeared on both the number one track, "Do They Know It's Christmas?," and the number two, Last Christmas, in 1984, albeit with different acts). Cliff Richard also spent four Christmases at the top; two with his own songs, one with The Shadows and one as a part of Band Aid 2. Paul McCartney has been top seven times; four times with The Beatles, and once each with Wings, Band Aid and Band Aid 20. The Spice Girls equalled the record of having three consecutive Christmas number ones, from 1996 to 1998. "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, which reached the number one spot at Christmas 1975 and 1991, is the only record to have reached the top twice.

"Mary's Boy Child" is the only song to be Christmas number one for two entirely unrelated artists (Harry Belafonte in 1957 and Boney M in 1978), although "Do They Know It's Christmas?" has been Christmas number one for three generations of Band Aid.[4] The (original) Band Aid version of this song is the second best selling single in UK history.[5]

In recent years the Christmas number one has been dominated by reality television contests, with the winners of said contests heading straight to number one in the week before Christmas. This trend began in 2002, when Popstars: The Rivals contestants released the top three singles on the Christmas chart.[6][7] From 2005 to 2010, the winners of The X Factor took the number one spot on five occasions. In 2007, bookmakers started taking bets on who "Christmas Number Two" would be instead.[8] In 2009, a campaign on social networking website Facebook to get Rage Against the Machine's 1992 single "Killing in the Name" to number one was successful.[9] The anti-corporate campaign made them the first group to get a Christmas number one with a download-only single, and resulted in the most download sales in a single week ever in UK chart history.[9] Numerous similar campaigns in 2010 promoting acts such as Biffy Clyro, John Cage and The Trashmen, were unsuccessful;[10] 2011 has seen a coalescing around "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana (which celebrated its 20th anniversary that year) as the challenger to the X Factor single.[11]



Al Martino, who was the first ever person to reach the Christmas top spot
The Beatles had four Christmas number ones during the 60's, three of which were consecutive.
Queen reached Christmas number one in 1975 and 1991 with "Bohemian Rhapsody".
Bob Geldof, creator of supergroup Band Aid who were Christmas number one in three different incarnations
Cliff Richard, who reached the number one slot at Christmas four times
Mr Blobby, who had a novelty number one in Christmas 1993, and was the first non-human to attain this
The Spice Girls followed in The Beatles' footsteps with three consecutive Christmas number ones in the 1990s.
Rage Against The Machine, whose song "Killing in the Name" achieved the Christmas number one in 2009, 17 years after the song's original release.
Year Artist Song Weeks at
1952 Martino, AlAl Martino "Here in My Heart" 9
1953 Laine, FrankieFrankie Laine "Answer Me" 8
1954 Atwell, WinifredWinifred Atwell "Let's Have Another Party" 5
1955 Valentine, DickieDickie Valentine "Christmas Alphabet" 3
1956 Ray, JohnnieJohnnie Ray "Just Walkin' in the Rain" 7
1957 Belafonte, HarryHarry Belafonte "Mary's Boy Child" 7
1958 Twitty, ConwayConway Twitty "It's Only Make Believe" 5
1959 Ford, EmileEmile Ford & The Checkmates "What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?" 6
1960 Richard, CliffCliff Richard & The Shadows "I Love You" 2
1961 Williams, DannyDanny Williams "Moon River" 2
1962 Presley, ElvisElvis Presley "Return to Sender" 3
1963 Beatles, TheThe Beatles "I Want to Hold Your Hand" 5
1964 Beatles, TheThe Beatles "I Feel Fine" 5
1965 Beatles, TheThe Beatles "Day Tripper" / "We Can Work It Out"[nb 1] 5
1966 Jones, TomTom Jones "Green, Green Grass of Home" 7
1967 Beatles, TheThe Beatles "Hello, Goodbye" 7
1968 Scaffold, TheThe Scaffold "Lily the Pink" 3
1969 Harris, RolfRolf Harris "Two Little Boys" 6
1970 Edmunds, DaveDave Edmunds "I Hear You Knocking" 6
1971 Hill, BennyBenny Hill "Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)" 4
1972 Osmond, JimmyJimmy Osmond "Long Haired Lover From Liverpool" 5
1973 Slade "Merry Xmas Everybody" 5
1974 Mud "Lonely This Christmas" 4
1975 Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody" 9
1976 Mathis, JohnnyJohnny Mathis "When A Child Is Born (Soleado)" 3
1977 Wings "Mull of Kintyre" 9
1978 Boney M "Mary's Boy Child" / "Oh My Lord"[nb 1] 4
1979 Pink Floyd "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" 5
1980 St Winifred's School Choir "There's No-one Quite Like Grandma" 2
1981 Human League, TheThe Human League "Don't You Want Me" 5
1982 Renée and Renato "Save Your Love" 4
1983 Flying Pickets, TheThe Flying Pickets "Only You" 5
1984 Band Aid "Do They Know It's Christmas?" 5
1985 Stevens, Shakin'Shakin' Stevens "Merry Christmas Everyone" 2
1986 Wilson, JackieJackie Wilson "Reet Petite" 4
1987 Pet Shop Boys "Always on My Mind" 4
1988 Cliff Richard "Mistletoe and Wine"[nb 2] 4
1989 Band Aid II "Do They Know It's Christmas?" 3
1990 Richard, CliffCliff Richard "Saviour's Day" 1
1991 Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody" / "These Are the Days of Our Lives"[nb 1] 5
1992 Houston, WhitneyWhitney Houston "I Will Always Love You" 10
1993 Mr Blobby "Mr Blobby" 2
1994 East 17 "Stay Another Day" 5
1995 Jackson, MichaelMichael Jackson "Earth Song" 6
1996 Spice Girls "2 Become 1" 3
1997 Spice Girls "Too Much" 2
1998 Spice Girls "Goodbye" 1
1999 Westlife "I Have A Dream" / "Seasons in the Sun"[nb 1] 4
2000 Bob The Builder "Can We Fix It?" 3
2001 Williams, RobbieRobbie Williams & Nicole Kidman "Somethin' Stupid" 3
2002 Girls Aloud "Sound of the Underground" 4
2003 Andrews, MichaelMichael Andrews & Gary Jules "Mad World" 3
2004 Band Aid 20 "Do They Know It's Christmas?" 4
2005 Ward, ShayneShayne Ward "That's My Goal" 4
2006 Lewis, LeonaLeona Lewis "A Moment Like This" 4
2007 Jackson, LeonLeon Jackson "When You Believe" 3
2008 Burke, AlexandraAlexandra Burke "Hallelujah" 3
2009 Rage Against the Machine "Killing in the Name" 1
2010 Matt Cardle "When We Collide" 3

See also

  • List of Christmas hit singles (UK)
  • List of Christmas number one singles (Ireland)
  • List of UK Albums Chart Christmas number ones
  • List of UK Official Download Chart Christmas number ones
  • Most weeks on UK Singles Chart


  1. ^ a b c d Released as a double A-side.
  2. ^ "Mistletoe and Wine" by Cliff Richard was announced as the 1988 Christmas number one a day later than usual, on Monday 26 December.[14]


  1. ^ "The story of the single". BBC. 23 March 2001. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  2. ^ "FAQs". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  3. ^ "UK Singles Charts: History of the Charts". When We Were Kids. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "All the Christmas number ones". CBBC. 16 December 2002. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  5. ^ "Record-Breakers and Trivia". EveryHit. Retrieved 19 April 2008. 
  6. ^ "Girls Aloud top festive chart". BBC News (London: BBC). 23 December 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  7. ^ In addition to the two groups that were the focus of the show (Girls Aloud and One True Voice), both of whom charted #1 and #2 respectively, the #3 on the chart was Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum), a semi-novelty song by rejected Popstars contestants The Cheeky Girls.
  8. ^ X Factor has taken shine off seasonal number one – Opinion – News – Belfast Telegraph
  9. ^ a b "Rage Against the Machine beat X Factor winner in charts". BBC News. 20 December 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2009. 
  10. ^ "X Factor's Matt Cardle beats Biffy Clyro, Surfin' Bird and John Cage to UK Christmas Number One". NME. 19 December 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  11. ^ Percival, Ashley (October 21, 2011). Nirvana to take on X Factor for Xmas number one. AOL. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  12. ^ "Christmas Number Ones : Singles". EveryHit. Retrieved 19 April 2008. 
  13. ^ "Thirty years of Christmas No 1s". London: The Guardian.,,864869,00.html. Retrieved 19 April 2008. 
  14. ^ Masterton, James (20 December 2004). "Christmas Commentary from James Masterton". London: LAUNCH. Archived from the original on 31 December 2004. Retrieved 6 June 2011. "... This actually did happen back in 1988 when Christmas Day fell on a Sunday (the usual chart day). This resulted in the chart show being broadcast a day late on Monday 26th and with the industry agreeing that the crowning of Cliff Richard as that years Christmas Number One would take place then. ..." 

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