Christmas Number 1 2015: The contenders revealed

Who will take this year's Christmas chart-topper crown? Feast your ears on this year’s contenders...

It’s that most wonderful time of the year…again. The Official Christmas Number 1 race is about to begin!

To give you a good spot from the sidelines (because there’s a whole bunch of festive-loving balladeers vying for your attention as usual), we’ve lovingly compiled our annual list of contenders.

Unsurprisingly, the line-up is as varied and delightful as a tin of Crawford’s Family Circle biscuits, with the popular one, the underdog, the one that probably only your gran will like - and the John Lewis ad.

Will the soundtrack to an epic space opera franchise hit the sales high it needs to win the race? Maybe you’ll be moved to support one of this year’s Christmas charity singles?

Then there are offerings from Kylie, Carly and Shirley, and more. Is a new star about to be born or is there no more room at the inn?

You can find out on Friday, December 25, after the Official Charts Company have totted up your sales and audio streams and Greg James unveils the victor on BBC Radio 1’s Official Chart show. Make sure you tune in – we all know Christmas wouldn’t be the same without this beloved musical institution. Feast your ears on this year’s Christmas singles banquet…

Song: Forever Young
Artist: Louisa Johnson
Released: December 13

It’s now an annual tradition (an unfortunate one to some) that the X Factor winner’s single is a strong contender for Christmas Number 1. Though given the song - a cover of Bob Dylan’s Forever Young - will be released the week prior to race week, it’s by no means a shoo-in for the festive top spot this year.

It’s currently the bookies’ favourite to claim the Number 1, but history dictates that when X Factor releases the week prior to the Christmas Number 1 race week, someone else usually sneaks in and nabs it. Little Mix lost out to Military Wives in 2011, and James Arthur was knocked off the Xmas top spot by The Justice Collective in 2012. Could we see another X Factor-less Christmas chart-topper this year?  

Last year saw X Factor champ Ben Haenow crowned Christmas Number 1 with his cover of OneRepublic’s Something I Need. Watch him celebrate below:

 

Song: Star Wars theme
Artist: John Williams
Released: December 18 

We’re not sure whether they celebrate Christmas on Alderaan, Endor, or Kashyyyk, but if they did we imagine it would be pretty epic. There’s been a Facebook campaign to get the newly re-scored theme song to Number 1 brewing for a few weeks now, and it’s already amassed nearly half a million likes. So with Star Wars fever currently at an all-time high – it is one of the most anticipated films of the year, after all - there’s no reason why this tune can’t obliterate its enemies and win the race. And Facebook campaigns do have a good track history, it must be said…

 

Song: A Bridge Over You
Artist: The Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir
Released: December 18 

Another online campaign off to a very strong start for this year’s Christmas Number 1 is the NHS Choir, who are hoping to take 'Bridge Over You' - an arrangement of Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water and Coldplay’s Fix You - to Number 1 this year. The song was originally released in 2013 and the choir formed by Gareth Malone as part of the 65th anniversary celebrations of the NHS.

In the face of recent budget cuts by the government, junior doctor Harriet Nerva launched a Facebook campaign to raise awareness and get the song to Number 1. With over 162,0000 followers and growing, if all those supporters converted into downloads in race week and streams, then consider this a serious contender for the Christmas top spot. Click here to read our interview with those behind the campaign.   

Song: Shut Up
Artist: Stormzy
Released: Out now

It would be an amazing feat for grime lovers if MC Stormzy topped the Christmas chart this year. The announcement that he was making a bid for the 2015 crown came pretty late on in the race - he decided to enter Shut Up after performing the track before the Anthony Joshua boxing fight on Saturday December 12 - but with a fervent fanbase backing him, he's certainly in with a good chance of winning.


Song:
Echoes Of Merry Christmas Everyone
Artist: Shakin’ Stevens
Released: Out now

Would you believe it’s been thirty years since Welsh rock ‘n’ roll institution Shakin’ Stevens -‘Shaky’ to his fans – released his definitive yuletide classic, Merry Christmas Everyone? Well, he’s back for round 2 and this time he’s reworked his stomping family favourite into a folky bluegrass number – complete with banjo - called Echoes Of Merry Xmas Everyone, with all the profits going to The Salvation Army, a charity close to Shaky’s heart.

Does it stand a chance at winning the coveted spot? Back in 1985, Merry Christmas Everyone did top the charts, but then who can resist those wavy synths? This new version is accompanied by the kind of warm and fuzzy Christmassy spirit which will tug on your heartstrings, but will people buy into the song’s stripped back acoustic feel?


Song:
Half The World Away
Artist: Aurora
Released: Out now

If you’re one of the three people in the UK who haven’t yet seen the John Lewis ad (probably
because you haven’t got a telly or you’ve been living in an internet black hole) then here’s the soundtrack in all its simplistic, Scandi, wintery glory. If the song sounds familiar that’s because it is actually a beautiful, fragile revision of Oasis’ 1994 b-side, Half The World Away, sung by 19-year-old Norwegian Aurora.

If the British public gush over the song as much as they did over the ad, then we reckon this
could just emerge triumphant as a winner. Or, you may in fact agree with former Oasis manager Alan McGee that it’s just "rubbish."

Song: Every Day's Like Christmas
Artist: Kylie (Stock, Aitken and Waterman remix)
Released: Out now

OK so this is pretty much the Christmas song to end all Christmas songs; a massive sugar rush of classic, candy-coated late 80s pop wrapped up in a big shiny red bow. Oh, and did we mention Kylie's singing on it? It's the first time she has worked with the legendary Stock, Aitken and Waterman in 25 years and judging on their past collaborations - does I Should Be So Lucky ring a bell? - it's no wonder this latest offering is so good, because they've clearly got chemistry. We can't get enough of this and we reckon you'll feel the same...

Song: Christmas Without A Prayer
Artist: Sparks
Released: Out now

We’ve got an inkling these glam-pop pioneers aren’t too taken with the whole Christmas thing – the last time Sparks released a festive-themed song (in 1974) they called it Thank God It’s Not Christmas and it wasn’t so much of a celebration but more of a lament for The Most Hated Time Of The year. Fast forward 41 years and their anti-populist sentiments haven’t petered out (“no one to buy me things I don’t want / an album by Wings) but they’ve added a good dose of tongue-in-cheek humour to the proceedings. This slow-moving pseudo ballad comes with a shaky, low-budget video which is filmed largely in black and white until it perks up momentarily with a gospel flourish and perky piano refrain; a nice touch, we must say.

Everyone loves a laugh at Christmas, but what if the wit is heavily laced with sarcasm? We’re not sure how well the song’s cynical sentiments will go down with out-and-proud Christmas lovers but as gritty kitchen sink realism goes, Sparks have certainly cornered the festive market. This may be one for all the grinches...

Song: The Christmas Song
Artist: Blake and Shirley Bassey
Released: December 18

If a vocal harmony group and a national treasure sounds like the perfect recipe for a festive hit, that’s because it is. This year, Dame Shirley Bassey has recorded a version of The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) with male trio Blake in aid of Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice, and the results are as warming as a cinnamon spiced hot chocolate with a generous dash of amaretto thrown in. Will it be a truly traditional affair at the top of this year’s Official Christmas Chart?

 

Song: Winter Wonderland
Artist: Courteeners
Released: Out now

Who would have thought those perennial indie lads, Courteeners, had a softer side? They’ve
certainly let it all out for this sincere, soaring attempt at a bona fide
Christmas charity single. With all profits from sales donated to Shelter, the
song was actually recorded on Norah Jones’ piano in New York, and we can definitely
detect a whiff of the old Jones magic in the twinkling of the keys. The track was also performed live for the first time after Liam was invited by the late Lou Reed to perform at a night he had curated in NYC..

This could be a contender for the top spot, because, let’s face it, everyone loves a charity
single (especially when all the money goes to charity). What’s particularly worth pointing out here is how the band have managed to veer away from being too schmaltzy. And, love them or hate them, Courteeners know a thing or two about crowd-pleasers...

MORE: Read our Courteeners Christmas Number 1 interview here


Song:
You’re My World
Artist: Cilla Black
Released: December 18 

In memory of her death in August this year, fans have started an online campaign (which has 12.5k backers and growing) to get Our Cilla’s 1964 chart-topper You’re My World to Number 1 this Christmas. The song re-entered the Official Singles Chart at 91 the week after her death, so there’s a chance the momentum behind this song may have petered out, but if there’s one thing we’ve learnt at Official Charts, it’s not to underestimate the British public’s love for a departed star... 

Full details on the campaign can be found here.

 

Song: Christmas In The Air (Tonight)
Artist: Scouting For Girls
Released: Out now

Scouting For Girls paint a traditional-yet-modern picture postcard scene of late–night
shopping and mugs of hot chocolate in the snow, and drinking down the local. It’s
an acoustic pop song (laced with a classy string section and church bells) all about
loving someone at Christmas and loving Christmas. In fact, there’s so much love
here, we’re worried our hearts may burst.

It may just appeal to all the normal things people like to do at Christmas, like having a
pint in the pub, and it may make you want to grab your nearest loved one and take them for a pint. But then, it may make you want to stay in and cry because you’re lonely…


Song: Last Christmas
Artist: Carly Rae Jepsen
Released: Out now 

Christmas music aficionados will either love or hate CRJ’s take on Wham!’s Christmas-Number-1-that-never-was. It’s about as emotional (and ‘80s) as the original, and the addition of a sax feels very faithful to George Michael, but can she really out-pip the original by sending this all the way to Number 1?

Song: I Am Santa
Artist: The Darkness
Released:
Out now

What with the shameless display of lycra and those hair metal guitars, this retro-looking entry from The Darkness harks back to the golden age of power ballads. It's their first festive offering in a decade and Justin Hawkins is "hungry for you", but are you hungry for this song? 

Artist: St Paul's Cathedral Choir
Song: Carol of the Bells
Released: Out now

Whether they choose to admit it or not. everybody loves a bit of good old fashioned choral mastery at Christmas time. This impressive offering by St Paul's Cathedral Choir is a total classic in-the-making - one to turn even the most Scrooge-like of tinsel haters into full-on Christmas jumper wearers. They've even plugged into pop culture; you may indeed recognise the tune from that little-known filmic festive favourite, Home Alone... Amen!

Song: Her Majesty The Queen (A Tribute)
Artist: Four Sopranos
Released: Out now

Can the Queen herself take the Christmas Number 1 crown this year? A brand new song called Her Majesty The Queen (A Tribute) has been recorded by the Four Sopranos (Eleanor Sanderson-Nash, Helena Raeburn, Chloe Morgan and Lucy Prendergast) and is released on December 11, with half the proceeds going to the Coming Home charity. Celebrating her 63-year reign - the longest serving female monarch in the world - the track will even feature Queen Liz herself; a sample of her 1957 Christmas message. Will she have it all sewn up in time for her 2015 speech on the big day?

Song: Fairytale of New York
Artist: The Pogues & Kirsty McColl
Released: December 18

It's pretty hard to believe this song has never actually made it to Number 1 -  it's as synonymous with Christmas as eggnog and dodgy jumpers - but maybe it's time is now? The troops are rallying the cause for Fairytale of New York to win this year, with a Facebook campaign steadily gathering pace, but with so many contenders in line for the throne, will social media backing be enough?

Song: 500 Miles
Artist: Military Wives Choir
Released: Out now

They've done it before but can they do it again? 2011's winners Military Wives Choir have covered The Proclaimers' 500 Miles for their 2015 entry into the Christmas Number 1 race, with all proceeds from single sales going to Walking With The Wounded and The Military Wives Choirs Foundation.

 

Other Christmas songs out this month...

Summer Camp - I Don't Wanna Wait Til Christmas

The Killers ft. Ryan Pardey & Richard Dreyfuss - Dirt Sledding

Need a reminder of every Official Christmas Number 1? Click through our gallery below:

View Image Gallery
Clean Bandit Rockabye 2016

Who would you like to see bag the Official Christmas Number 1 this year? Leave your comments below: