The race is on, even as we speak, to discover who will be the identity of this year’s Christmas number one single in the UK. Regular readers may remember that back in 2017 I did a blog recounting my favourite Yuletide chart toppers of yore.
But of course, this being the UK, for every ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’, ‘2 Become 1’ and ‘Sound of the Underground’, there is, alas, a ‘Killing In The Name’, ‘There’s No One Quite Like Grandma’ or – Jesu – ‘Mr Blobby’.
So to rectify matters, I’ve done a little blog to bring together five songs that, in my eyes, would have been worthy toppers of the Christmas pop tree in their respective years with an accompanying Spotify playlist for good measure too…
- 1987: THE POGUES & KIRSTY MACCOLL – Fairytale of New York
More so my all time favourite Christmas song from this last week just gone, after saying so in an online competition won me a £50 record token, The Pogues’ timeless tale of a brawling couple in a New York drunk tank at Christmas with the late great Kirsty MacColl, was the soundtrack of virtually all my festive childhoods growing up (part Celtic household and all that), and that it returns to the top 10 almost every year since the dawn of the digital age in 2005 is a sure sign that it’s appeal remains the same for many others over 30 years on from release.
- 2000: SUGABABES – New Year
With the heart melting harmonies of their original lineup (Keisha Buchanan, Mutya Buena and Siobhan Donaghy) on this early hit from their debut album One Touch, Sugababes sing with a maturity for their tender years, reflecting and moving on from a breakup that ended when their old beau ‘went away, a year ago / at Christmas’. Sadly lesser remembered over their Love Actually soundtrack effort ‘Too Lost In You’, which we feel needs rectifying sharpish.
- 2003: THE DARKNESS – Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)
With their Spinal Tap meets Queen approach to shock rock, The Darkness’ brief but brightly burning stretch of success in 2003 was capped off with a Christmas single that should by all rights now be Justin Hawkins’ pension plan. And in fact it did lead the way for much of the time it was in the race to be that year’s festive chart topper, ultimately overcome at the death by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules’ slightly haunting take on Tears for Fears’ ‘Mad World’. We still love it anyway.
- 2009: PET SHOP BOYS – It Doesn’t Often Snow at Christmas
A discotastic if understated number about setting realistic expectations over the festive period (and boy do we need to do that all of a sudden given current events), Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe’s only notable Christmas song to date started life as a fan club only exclusive in 1997 before reappearing in a new version remixed by Marius de Vries (Madonna, Melanie C) for their ‘Christmas’ EP during the tour for their Yes album.
- 2010: COLDPLAY – Christmas Lights
If any of the songs on this list have the potential to become a future classic to rival Wizzard and Chris Rea, then we dare say it’s this standalone single, a magical, wistful winter wonder by Chris Martin and co, which just this month has finally recieved a physical release on blue 7″ vinyl to mark its 10th anniversary since original release. It seems like these Christmas lights will keep shining on for some time yet.
Do you agree with our choices? Which previous Christmas songs do you wish had been festive chart toppers? Let us know using the comments below or message us on Instagram!