What Does It Take to Achieve a Christmas Number 1?


The time of year has arrived when the frontrunners for Christmas number 1 are appearing on the radio and across streaming sites like Spotify desperate for your ears to listen to land them the top spot. The Christmas number 1 is coveted and can epitomize an artist for years to come. But what does it take to snatch the Christmas number 1 crown?

SOURCE: @closeronline via Twitter

Contrary to popular belief, a Christmas number 1 doesn’t necessarily have to be about Christmas – and the benefit of angling a song into the charts that isn’t about Christmas means that it can stay there once the tinsel has been packed away. A strong example of this is 2017’s winner, Ed Sheeran’s Perfect. While the song played into the festive atmosphere, the song itself is timeless and lasted six weeks at number 1. Choosing a slower song as a Christmas contender has worked out in the past as Clean Bandit’s Rockabye, Gary Jules’s Mad World, and the Spice Girls’ 2 Become 1 attest to.

Christmas is famously a time for giving, so choosing a song that might have charitable appeal is also a strong strategy. 2015 saw A Bridge Over You by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir, while the Justice Collective covered He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother for 2012 and choirmaster Gareth Malone took the Military Wives to the top spot with Wherever You Are in 2011. As Betway shows, Band Aid have been successful in hitting the top spot (in 1984, 1989, and 2004) with charitable releases of Do They Know Its Christmas?, which merges the charitable theme with the Christmas topic. Indeed, charity songs have topped the charts six times.

SOURCE: @shane_blues_1

There is another strategy to get to Christmas number 1 – win The X Factor. 2005 – 2010, with a break in 2009 for Rage Against the Machine’s anti-X Factor bid for the top spot, saw consecutive X Factor winners landing the Christmas number 1. 2013 and 2014 continued this tradition with Sam Bailey and Ben Haenow. The chances of current X Factor winner, Dalton Harris, landing the coveted spot are reasonable with his cover of The Power of Love.

While the official Christmas number 1 isn’t revealed until December 21, speculation will no doubt continue until then. Nothing is ever set in stone and surprises have happened before – such as when Bob the Builder won in 2000 with Can We Fix It?


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