Ed Sheeran and Elton John announce details of new single Merry Christmas - can it claim the 2021 Official Christmas Number 1?

Ed and Elton's highly anticipated Christmas duet is one of the leading contenders for the festive top spot.

Ed Sheeran and Elton John have announced the title and release date of their highly anticipated Christmas duet.

Merry Christmas will be released on Friday, December 3 - exactly three weeks before the race for the Official Christmas Number 1 kicks off

All UK proceeds from this year's Christmas period will go to the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation. 

MORE: New Christmas songs for 2021 - how do they compare to the classics?

In a Love Actually-inspired post on his social media channels, Ed said: "Last Christmas I received a call from my mate Elton John and he told me we should do a Christmas song, and I replied 'Yeah maybe in 2022', but I actually wrote the chorus that day and here we are.

"Our Christmas song Merry Christmas is out this Friday (December 3). It has sleigh bells... a lot of them."

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A post shared by Ed Sheeran (@teddysphotos)

Ed & Elton are one of the leading contenders for this year's Official Christmas Number 1 - others include Adele, ABBA and George Ezra.

The 2021 Official Christmas Number 1 race kicks off at 12.01am on December 17, until 11.59pm December 23. Top 100 Official Christmas Singles Chart and Albums Chart will be published on OfficialCharts.com from 5.45pm.

This year, Official Charts, in partnership with Nine Eight books, have released the The Official Christmas No.1 Singles Book - a definitive guide to every festive chart-topper. The book is priced at RRP £12.99 and is available via the Official Charts online store, on AmazonWaterstonesWHSmith and more*.

*Official Charts may earn a small affiliate commission fee from some of these book retailers.

Article image: Zakary Walters