Magazine article Marketing

Christmas Number 1

Magazine article Marketing

Christmas Number 1

Article excerpt

The X Factor's dominance of the top spot is wearing thin.

What do the following songs have in common: Jackie Wilson's Reet Petite, Rolf Harris' Two Little Boys, The Flying Pickets' Only You and Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall? Throw in a couple of extra clues - Rage Against The Machine's Killing in the Name and Mr Blobby - and, of course, we can only be talking about the Christmas number 1.

Whether or not you rate the acts that have taken the top spot, it is an accolade that has stood the test of time - if only for the fact that it still marks the biggest-selling single of the year.

Arguably, the number-one spot was never really about credibility (see below). Nonetheless, the public distaste for force-fed pop is growing.

After a string of pre-packaged X-Factor winners reached the top spot, the nation fought back last year, with Rage Against The Machine beating the talent show's victor, Joe McElderry, to number one by more than 50,000 copies.

It was the biggest chart battle since 1998 when South Park's Chef and his Chocolate Salty Balls came close to derailing the Spice Girls' attempts to emulate The Beatles by having three consecutive Christmas number ones.

However, with this year's X Factor looking likely to deliver the poptastic goods once again - despite Facebook efforts to push The Trashmen's Surfin' Bird (a 60s song made popular again by animated TV series Family Guy) - is it time to simply let go of our nostalgic view of the festive single charts and let the Simon Cowell machine churn away?

We asked former DJ Bruno Brookes, now the owner of in-store music provider Immedia, which has just launched Dreamstream, a service that matches music to individual brands, and Gaz Coombes, the former lead singer of 90s Britpop group Supergrass.


Year     Artist/song title
2009     Rage Against The Machine        Killing in the Name
2008     Alexandra Burke                 Hallelujah
2007     Leon Jackson                    When You Believe
2006     Leona Lewis                     A Moment Like This
2005     Shayne Ward                     That's My Goal
2004     Band Aid 20                     Do They Know It's Christmas?
2003     Michael Andrews & Gary Jules    Mad World
2002     Girls Aloud                     Sound of the Underground
2001     Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman Somethin' Stupid
2000     Bob The Builder                 Can We Fix It?
1999     Westlife                        I Have a Dream/
                                         Seasons in the Sun
1998     Spice Girls                     Goodbye
1997     Spice Girls                     Too Much
1996     Spice Girls                     2 Become 1
1995     Michael Jackson                 Earth Song
1994     East 17                         Stay Another Day
1993     Mr Blobby                       Mr Blobby
1992     Whitney Houston                 I Will Always Love You
1991     Queen Bohemian                  Rhapsody/
                                         These Are The Days of Our Lives
1990     Cliff Richard                   Saviour's Day
1989     Band Aid II                     Do They Know It's Christmas?
1988     Cliff Richard                   Mistletoe & Wine
1987     Pet Shop Boys                   Always On My Mind
1986     Jackie Wilson                   Reet Petite
1985     Shakin' Stevens                 Merry Christmas Everyone
1984     Band Aid                        Do They Know It's Christmas?
1983     The Flying Pickets              Only You
1982     Renee & Renato                  Save Your Love
1981     The Human League                Don't You Want Me
1980     St Winifred's School Choir      There's No One Quite Like
Source: The Official Charts Company

BRUNO BROOKES former DJ and chief executive, Immedia

The Christmas number 1 has never particularly been about credibility - just look at Mr Blobby. …

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