The music industry has changed beyond recognition since Britain’s singles chart first took shape in 1952, but some of its traditions are immoveable. Like the anticipation that now greets each year’s John Lewis Christmas advert, the race for the UK Christmas No.1 spot is an annual event that almost gets music fans as excited as the big day itself. Here, then, is a rundown of all the official UK Christmas No.1s since chart records began.
Some entries won’t surprise you. The Beatles still hold the record for the most Christmas No.1s – with four to their name – while Spice Girls managed an impressive three consecutive seasonal chart-toppers in the mid-90s. Cliff Richard also has a hat trick of successes, though Band Aid’s charity single, Do They Know It’s Christmas?, enjoys the distinction of being the only song to have topped the charts on 25 December on three occasions.
Elsewhere, it’s amazing to discover that some of the best Christmas songs, including The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York and Wham!’s Last Christmas, never made it to the top spot – unlike toe-curling novelty one-offs by Benny Hill, Mr Blobby and Bob The Builder. Still, it’s the season of goodwill, so let’s pull some crackers with a roll call of all the UK Christmas No.1s.
Al Martino: Here In My Heart (1952)
Al Martino’s stirring, orchestral ballad made history twice. Prior to scooping the UK’s first ever Christmas No.1 slot, Here In My Heart became the UK’s first official No.1 single. Topping the chart on 14 November 1952, it remained there for nine consecutive weeks.