This Friday (21st) the 2018 Christmas Number One will be announced, every year the battle for the top spot gets more exciting with charity releases and unexpected singles being thrown into the mix. Over the last 65 years when the Christmas Number One tradition first began the likes of Band Aid, Spice Girls, Queen and The Beatles have all graced the top spot. We take you on a trip down memory lane of the Christmas number ones of the 21st century so far and reveal just who’s in the running for the top spot this year.
2001: Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman – Somethin’ Stupid
This cover of Frank and Nancy Sinatra’s 1967 hit saw Robbie and Nicole hitting the number one spot and staying there for 3 weeks. It ended up being the 30th bestselling song of 2001 and everyone loves it just as much today as they did back then!
2002: Girls Aloud – Sound Of The Underground
The Popstars: The Rivals winners released this as their first single, we remember the days of dancing round in our rooms trying to perfect their dance routine (we still remember it!). Spending four weeks at the top of the charts it gained worldwide success reaching as far as Australia and kicked started the careers of one of the best girl bands of the 21st century.
2003: Michael Andrews and Gary Jules – Mad World
Already it’s clear there’s no pattern in regards to what makes a good Christmas number one. Mad World was originally covered for the Donnie Darko film but fan power soon saw it released as a single spending; three weeks at the top of the charts.
2004: Band Aid 20 – Do They Know It’s Christmas?
Twenty years after the original recording the release hit the top spot again. Paul McCartney and Bono were the only artists who featured on the original and also the Band Aid 20 version. Becoming the fastest selling single of the year it spent four weeks at number one, just a week less than the original back in 1984.
2005: Shayne Ward – That’s My Goal
We do love a reality TV winner and it appears music fans do too as Shayne Ward started off a chain of X Factor number ones. Yet again the Christmas number one became the fastest selling song of the year, staying at the top for four weeks and the chart for five MONTHS. Some fun facts for you are that it’s the fastest selling winners single of all time and the third fastest selling song of all time in the UK.
2006: Leona Lewis – A Moment Like This
Leona took on the Kelly Clarkson classic as her winners single for The X Factor becoming the second best selling single of 2006 coming in behind Gnarls Barkley with Crazy. This record-breaking single was downloaded 50,000 times in the first half an hour of release then ended up being the most downloaded song of 2006.
2007: Leon Jackson – When You Believe
Staying at the top of the charts for three weeks, When You Believe is still one of our favourite winner’s tracks and Christmas number ones; we can’t stop ourselves singing along at the top of our lungs. Will you be adding this to your Christmas playlist?
2008: Alexandra Burke – Hallelujah
One of the greatest success stories of The X Factor has been Alexandra Burke, her cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah is the biggest selling X Factor winner’s single to date. The release started off a campaign to get Jeff Buckley’s version to the top spot instead of hers but luckily for Alexandra, her version became the fastest selling single released by a woman in the UK whilst Buckley’s version came in behind her at number two. Alexandra was the first ever British female artists to have a million-selling single in the UK, now that’s impressive!
2009: Rage Against The Machine – Killing In The Name
This year was a bit different as a fan campaign was started to prevent The X Factor from getting the top spot for the fifth year running and they succeeded! Raising over £70,000 for charity, annoying Simon Cowell and became the first download-only single to hit the top spot. However, in Ireland, Joe McElderry beat RATM to the top spot, showing varying degrees of success of the campaign but one which achieved the UK top spot none the less.
2010: Matt Cardle – When We Collide
Causing controversy by renaming the Biffy Clyro classic Many Of Horror as When We Collide, once again a rival campaign against The X Factor tried to get the original to the top spot but this time failed to do so. Becoming the second best selling song of 2010, following behind Love The Way You Lie by Eminem and Rihanna, it propelled Biffy Clyro to number 8 in the charts.
2011: Military Wives with Gareth Malone – Wherever You Are
Everyone loves a charity single and Wherever You Are was so popular it beat the rest of the Top 12 combined and got nominated for Best British Single at 2012 BRIT Awards. Proceeds from the single went to Royal British Legion and SSAFA Forces Help something which made supporting this single even more worthwhile. Little Mix were pipped to the post by this track, but that hasn’t stopped them going on to world domination.
2012: The Justice Collective – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
Supporting charities associated with the Hillsborough disaster the line-up included Andy Brown of Lawson, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Robbie Williams, Rebecca Ferguson and Paloma Faith to name a few. Originally released in 1969, it spent a week at the top of the charts after knocking James Arthur off the top spot!
2013: Sam Bailey – Skyscraper
The X Factor’s next short run of Christmas number ones begun with this cover of Demi Lovato’s Skyscraper. Supporting Great Ormond Street Hospital and Together for Short Lives, this track might have only spent a week at number one but still beat Pharrell Williams to the top spot by more than double the sales of Happy.
2014: Ben Haenow – Something I Need
Keeping The X Factor at the top of the charts, this single was supporting Together For Short Lives through the sales of the physical and download formats of the track. Becoming the second fastest selling single of 2014 just behind Band Aid ’30s Do They Know It’s Christmas? It even beat the ultimate feel-good hit, Uptown Funk!
2015: Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir – A Bridge Over You
This unique mash-up of Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water and Coldplay’s Fix You, this beautiful arrangement was a worthy winner of 2015’s Christmas number one. Supported by the public who wanted to show their appreciation for the fantastic service the NHS provide it even saw the government giving the VAT of single sales to charity making this an even more worthwhile cause to support.
2016: Clean Bandit ft. Sean Paul and Anne-Marie – Rockabye
Rockabye wasn’t released as a Christmas number one contender but broke Christmas number one records in the process. Being the first song in chart history to be a Christmas number one after already spending six weeks at the top, in total it spent nine weeks in the number one position.
2017: Ed Sheeran – Perfect
Ed Sheeran teamed up with Beyoncé to gain his fourth number one single and his first Christmas number one. Spending six weeks at the charts it’s a song suited to every time of the year thanks to its gorgeous serenading love lyrics which are impossible to not sing along to. Not yet heard their duet? Listen to it in our playlist below!
In previous years The X Factor final would fall the weekend before the number one was announced putting them firmly in the running for the top spot. But now with the change of schedule for this series, this isn’t the case as other artists including songs not specifically released for Christmas coming into the mix. This year’s contenders include Thank U, Next and Imagine by Ariana Grande, Dalton Harris ft. James Arthur and their cover of The Power Of Love, Ava Max with Sweet But Psycho and Mark Ronson Ft. Miley Cyrus’ track Nothing Breaks Like A Heart.
But it isn’t just the big music names involved as charity singles including YouTube star LadBaby who recorded We Built This City in support of The Trussell Trust; a food bank charity, The Fire Tones with Do They Know It’s Christmas? In aid of the Fire Fighters Charity and Band Aid Charity Trust, Flakefleet Primary School with original track Light Up supporting Alzheimers Society and The Celebs (Including Anne Hegerty, Dani Harmer, Lionel Blair and more) with their track Rock With Rudolph in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital. In honour of Buzzcocks member Pete Shelley’s passing earlier this month a fan campaign has been launched to get Ever Fallen In Love up the chart this festive season, having hit number 12 in 1978 who knows what people power can do this year!
Across the chart, Christmas songs are going to be making an appearance with favourites including Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas and Shakin’ Stevens Merry Christmas Everyone already sneaking their ways up the chart. We love this time of year as an influx of new releases appear, we’ve fallen in love with Rak-Su’s Holidays Are Coming with Coca-Cola, Miley Cyrus & Mark Ronson ft Sean Ono Lennon for Happy Xmas (War Is Over) and Claire Richards festive track My Heart Is Heading Home (This Christmas).
Anything could happen over the next few days in the run-up to the announcing of 2018’s Christmas number one making it hard to predict just who will make up the top spots in the charts. We’ve made a handy playlist of all the tracks mentioned in this article to allow you to hear what’s taken the top spot in the past and what could be getting the prestigious position this year!
Who are your predictions? Who would you like to see reach the number one spot? Tweet us @CelebMix to let us know.