All Number 1s are special, but scoring the Official Christmas Number 1 is the ultimate prize.
Claiming the festive top spot is a British institution and is often the most upredictable chart race of the year. Previous Christmas Number 1s have been claimed by music icons, cartoon characters, punk-rock disruptors, TV talent show winners, and all-star charity records.
The 2021 Official Christmas Number 1 will be announced on Friday, December 24, and with 2021 marking the UK’s 70th Official Christmas Number 1, competition for the top spot is shaping up to be fiercer than ever. But for now, let's look back at every Official Christmas Number 1 single in the UK.
There's not many chart records the Beatles haven't broken and, yes, they have the most Christmas Number 1s of everyone – four in total. The first three, I Want To Hold Your Hand, I Feel Fine and Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out topped the Official Singles Chart consecutively from 1963–1965. Hello, Goodbye was the fourth in 1967.
Spice Girls also notched up three consecutive Christmas Number 1s: 2 Become 1, Too Much and Goodbye all reigned the festive rundown from 1996–1998. 2018-2020 saw YouTuber LadBaby match that feat with a hat-trick of sausage roll-themed songs, each raising money for foodbank charity The Trussell Trust.
Spice Girls (Rex/Shutterstock)
Seven Christmas Number 1s feature the word ‘Christmas’ in the title, if you include Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody from 1973. And as Christmas is the season of goodwill, why not, eh? In 69 years of Christmas chart-toppers, 12 are genuine Christmas songs, eight are by TV talent show winners, three are by choirs and five could be classed as novelty singles.
Versions of charity smash Do They Know It’s Christmas? have topped the festive Top 40 three times: for Band Aid in 1984, Band Aid II in 1989, and finally for Band Aid 20 in 2004. The first version of Do They Know It’s Christmas? is the biggest selling Christmas Number 1 of all time, with over 3.8 million copies sold.
Mary’s Boy Child has been a Christmas Number 1 twice for totally different artists. Harry Belafonte topped the charts with it in 1957 and Boney M took a one-horse open sleigh all the way to Number 1 with it (mashed up with Oh my Lord) in 1978.
The only song to get the Christmas Number 1 twice by the same artist is Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. It first topped the Christmas charts in 1975 and pulled it off again 16 years later, following the death of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. As a result, it is one of the longest-reigning Number 1 hits of all-time.
This year, Official Charts has joined forces with Nine Eight Books to bring the first-ever official guide to every Christmas Number 1 single in history. The Official Christmas No.1 Singles Book is out now and available through Official Charts' online shop, as well as at Waterstones, Amazon, WHSmith* and more.
*This article contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission.
The Official Christmas Number 1s
|1952||HERE IN MY HEART||AL MARTINO|
|1953||ANSWER ME||FRANKIE LAINE|
|1954||LET'S HAVE ANOTHER PARTY||WINIFRED ATWELL|
|1955||CHRISTMAS ALPHABET||DICKIE VALENTINE|
|1956||JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN||JOHNNIE RAY|
|1957||MARY'S BOY CHILD||HARRY BELAFONTE|
|1958||IT'S ONLY MAKE BELIEVE||CONWAY TWITTY|
|1959||WHAT DO YOU WANT TO MAKE THOSE EYES AT ME FOR?||EMILE FORD & THE CHECKMATES|
|1960||I LOVE YOU||CLIFF RICHARD & THE SHADOWS|
|1961||MOON RIVER||DANNY WILLIAMS|
|1962||RETURN TO SENDER||ELVIS PRESLEY|
|1963||I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND||THE BEATLES|
|1964||I FEEL FINE||THE BEATLES|
|1965||DAY TRIPPER/WE CAN WORK IT OUT||THE BEATLES|
|1966||GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME||TOM JONES|
|1967||HELLO, GOODBYE||THE BEATLES|
|1968||LILY THE PINK||THE SCAFFOLD|
|1969||TWO LITTLE BOYS||ROLF HARRIS|
|1970||I HEAR YOU KNOCKING||DAVE EDMUNDS|
|1971||ERNIE (THE FASTEST MILKMAN IN THE WEST)||BENNY HILL|
|1972||LONG HAIRED LOVER FROM LIVERPOOL||JIMMY OSMOND|
|1973||MERRY XMAS EVERYBODY||SLADE|
|1974||LONELY THIS CHRISTMAS||MUD|
|1976||WHEN A CHILD IS BORN (SOLEADO)||JOHNNY MATHIS|
|1977||MULL OF KINTYRE/GIRLS' SCHOOL||WINGS|
|1978||MARY'S BOY CHILD – OH MY LORD||BONEY M|
|1979||ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL (PART 2)||PINK FLOYD|
|1980||THERE'S NO ONE QUITE LIKE GRANDMA||ST WINIFRED'S SCHOOL CHOIR|
|1981||DON'T YOU WANT ME||THE HUMAN LEAGUE|
|1982||SAVE YOUR LOVE||RENÉE AND RENATO|
|1983||ONLY YOU||THE FLYING PICKETS|
|1984||DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS?||BAND AID|
|1985||MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE||SHAKIN' STEVENS|
|1986||REET PETITE||JACKIE WILSON|
|1987||ALWAYS ON MY MIND||PET SHOP BOYS|
|1988||MISTLETOE AND WINE||CLIFF RICHARD|
|1989||DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS?||BAND AID II|
|1990||SAVIOUR'S DAY||CLIFF RICHARD|
|1991||BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY/THESE ARE THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES||QUEEN|
|1992||I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU||WHITNEY HOUSTON|
|1993||MR BLOBBY||MR BLOBBY|
|1994||STAY ANOTHER DAY||EAST 17|
|1995||EARTH SONG||MICHAEL JACKSON|
|1996||2 BECOME 1||SPICE GIRLS|
|1997||TOO MUCH||SPICE GIRLS|
|1999||I HAVE A DREAM/SEASONS IN THE SUN||WESTLIFE|
|2000||CAN WE FIX IT?||BOB THE BUILDER|
|2001||SOMETHIN' STUPID||ROBBIE WILLIAMS & NICOLE KIDMAN|
|2002||SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND||GIRLS ALOUD|
|2003||MAD WORLD||MICHAEL ANDREWS & GARY JULES|
|2004||DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS?||BAND AID 20|
|2005||THAT'S MY GOAL||SHAYNE WARD|
|2006||A MOMENT LIKE THIS||LEONA LEWIS|
|2007||WHEN YOU BELIEVE||LEON JACKSON|
|2009||KILLING IN THE NAME||RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE|
|2010||WHEN WE COLLIDE||MATT CARDLE|
|2011||WHEREVER YOU ARE||MILITARY WIVES WITH GARETH MALONE|
|2012||HE AIN'T HEAVY, HE'S MY BROTHER||THE JUSTICE COLLECTIVE|
|2014||SOMETHING I NEED||BEN HAENOW|
|2015||A BRIDGE OVER YOU||THE LEWISHAM & GREENWICH NHS CHOIR|
|2018||WE BUILT THIS CITY||LADBABY|
|2019||I LOVE SAUSAGE ROLLS||LADBABY|
|2020||DON'T STOP ME EATIN'||LADBABY|
|2021||SAUSAGE ROLLS FOR EVERYONE||LADBABY FT. ED SHEERAN & ELTON JOHN|
©2021 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.
Click through below to see the artwork of every Official Christmas Number 1 single:
Main image: Warner Bros/Regency/Canal +/Kobal/Mark Allan/Invision/AP/Shutterstock