Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday UK Blog - A Schmaltzy Ballad or is Punk Back?

To be the number one single in the UK charts has for Christmas has always been something very special. Christmas number one singles are those that are at the top of the UK Singles Chart on the week before Christmas Day. The official UK Singles Chart began in 1952, after appearing in the New Musical Express. The positions of all songs are based on week end sale totals, from Sunday to Saturday,but pre-1987 they were released on a Tuesday due to the need for manual calculation.

Having the UK Christmas number one is very prestigious and leads to a lot of media coverage. Since people are buying gifts for the Christmas period, single sales are extremely high in the week before Christmas, and since the Christmas number one is the single with the highest sales, record companies can make sizable profit from trying to get their single to Number One. Many members of the public place bets with a bookmaker' on who will be Christmas number one.

This general excitement about being number one over Christmas seems to go back to the early 1970's when when there was a huge battle between "Slades - Merry Xmas Everybody" and "Wizards - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" battled to the number one slot (Slade eventually one the battle).

Two years later Queen was number one over the holiday period with "Bohemian Rhapsody", a record actually released in November with no Christmas theme, yet was number one over Christmas. It became a number all over again in 19991, Also as a matter of interest the first record video to appear on UK TV.

Over the years as well as many now classic records there have been a fair sprinkling of novelty number ones. Songs like "Two Little Boys - Ralph Harris, Ernie the fastest milkman in the west - Bennie Hill, Lilly the Pink - Scaffold, and even "Bob the Builder had a number one Christmas hit with "Can We Fix It".

So what for 2009?

Over the last few years TV "talent" programs such as have affected the TV ratings, with the finals set to lead up to the holiday period and of course the winner bringing out their single in time to make it to number one for the period. This year the favorite for Christmas number one was expected to be X Factor winner Joe McElderry with his single "The Climb".

Suddenly out of the west to battle for the number one spot has come Los Angeles rock band Rage Against The Machine's single "Killing In The Name" Like any good throw back to the punk age, the band has already had their record faded and almost banned on the BBC when band singer Zack de la Rocha swore four times during their live performance of their song. (Shades of Johnny Rotten).

A Facebook group aiming to get Rage Against The Machine to number one has attracted hundreds of thousands of members. The groups guitarist Tom Morello said the internet campaign "tapped into the silent majority of the people in the UK who are tired of being spoon-fed one schmaltzy ballad after another".

So who will be the Christmas number one in the UK this year and join so many classic songs? The "schmaltzy, TV show winner ballad" or some good old fashioned Punk Rock?


1952 Al Martino "Here in My Heart"
1953 Frankie Laine "Answer Me"
1954 Winifred Atwell "Let's Have Another Party"
1955 Dickie Valentine "Christmas Alphabet"
1956 Johnnie Ray "Just Walkin' in the Rain"
1957 Harry Belafonte "Mary's Boy Child"
1958 Conway Twitty "It's Only Make Believe"
1959 Emile Ford & The Checkmates "What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?"
1960 Cliff Richard & The Shadows "I Love You"
1961 Danny Williams "Moon River"
1962 Elvis Presley "Return to Sender"
1963 The Beatles "I Want to Hold Your Hand"
1964 The Beatles "I Feel Fine"
1965 The Beatles "Day Tripper" / "We Can Work It Out"
1966 Tom Jones "Green Green Grass of Home"
1967 The Beatles "Hello, Goodbye"
1968 The Scaffold "Lily the Pink"
1969 Rolf Harris "Two Little Boys"
1970 Dave Edmunds "I Hear You Knocking"
1971 Benny Hill "Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)"
1972 Little Jimmy Osmond "Long Haired Lover From Liverpool"
1973 Slade "Merry Xmas Everybody"
1974 Mud "Lonely This Christmas"
1975 Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody"
1976 Johnny Mathis "When A Child Is Born (Soleado)"
1977 Wings "Mull of Kintyre" / "Girls' School"
1978 Boney M "Mary's Boy Child" / "Oh My Lord"
1979 Pink Floyd "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)"
1980 St Winifred's School Choir "There's No-one Quite Like Grandma"
1981 The Human League "Don't You Want Me"
1982 Renée and Renato "Save Your Love"
1983 The Flying Pickets "Only You"
1984 Band Aid "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
1985 Shakin' Stevens "Merry Christmas Everyone"
1986 Jackie Wilson "Reet Petite"
1987 Pet Shop Boys "Always on My Mind"
1988 Cliff Richard "Mistletoe and Wine"
1989 Band Aid II "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
1990 Cliff Richard "Saviour's Day"
1991 Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody""
1992 Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You"
1993 Mr Blobby "Mr Blobby"
1994 East 17 "Stay Another Day"
1995 Michael Jackson "Earth Song"
1996 Spice Girls "2 Become 1"
1997 Spice Girls "Too Much"
1998 Spice Girls "Goodbye"
1999 Westlife "I Have A Dream" / "Seasons in the Sun"
2000 Bob The Builder "Can We Fix It?"
2001 Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman "Somethin' Stupid"
2002 Girls Aloud "Sound of the Underground"
2003 Michael Andrews & Gary Jules "Mad World"
2004 Band Aid 20 "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
2005 Shayne Ward "That's My Goal"
2006 Leona Lewis "A Moment Like This"
2007 Leon Jackson "When You Believe"
2008 Alexandra Burke "Hallelujah"

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

1 comment:

  1. I'm familiar with 12 of them, but some of them sure make for interesting Christmas chart toppers.