Military Wives enter the Christmas Number 1 race in pole position

The Military Wives have taken pole position in the race to become the 60th Official Christmas Number 1 this Sunday - and are in line to win the first ever Official Singles Chart Number 1 Award.

‘Wherever You Are’ by The Military Wives with Gareth Malone has taken a big step ahead of the rest of the field, selling 242,000 copies across the counter in their first two days on sale, according to Official Charts Company data. Sales reports for the single’s first two days on sale this week (Sunday and Monday) indicate that The Military Wives Choir may have become the fastest-selling single for six years.

The last time any release sold as many copies in its first two days was when 2005 X Factor winner Shayne Ward’s ‘That’s My Goal’ sold 313,000 copies in its opening two days in December of that year. In doing so, Ward’s single became the third fastest selling single of all time after Elton John's ‘Candle In The Wind’ and Will Young's ‘Evergreen’, which sold 658,000 and 403,000 copies in their first days of sale.

The Military Wives are currently in first place in the race for this year's Official Christmas Number 1, having sold six times as many copies as the second biggest selling single of the week so far - Little Mix's ‘Cannonball’, which has sold 38,000 copies.

Other big rivals set to enter the Top 10 include ‘Forever Yours’ by YouTube phenomenon Alex Day, Coldplay’s former Number 2 hit, ‘Paradise’ and Nirvana’s 1991 hit, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.

Other contenders for the Official Christmas Number 1 slot this week, Lou Monte’s ‘Dominick The Donkey’ (which has been championed by BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles), two versions ‘Last Christmas’ (Wham!’s original and a cover by the cast of The Only Way Is Essex), and Stacey Solomon’s rendition of ‘Driving Home For Christmas’ (as featured in the Iceland TV ad campaign) all take up places further down the Official Singles Chart Top 20.

The Military Wives’ single (which is in aid of The Royal British Legion and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen Families Association) is performed by a choir made up of women whose loved ones are deployed in Afghanistan which was put together by Gareth Malone for the fourth series of BBC2’s The Choir.

The song combines a poem compiled from letters to and from servicemen and their wives, with music composed by Royal Wedding composer Paul Mealor. The song was performed by the Military Wives at the Royal British Legion’s Festival Of Remembrance earlier this autumn.

In a recent interview with, Military Wives’s lead singer Sam Stevenson revealed her heavy rock roots and what it would mean to keep Simon Cowell from the festive top spot “I was all behind Rage Against The Machine, I mean I love Rage Against The Machine anyway, but just to kick the X Factor off the top spot I think I would have voted for ‘Barbie Girl’ or something, as long as it wasn’t X Factor.”

Watch the video interview below:

An all-new prize on offer for this year’s Official Christmas Number 1

The Official Singles Chart Number 1 Award is a brand new award set to launch this week, ahead of 2012 – the 60th anniversary of the Official Singles Chart.  Developed by the Official Charts Company, the new award will be presented to recognise every new Official Number 1 single from this Sunday onwards, in partnership with BBC Radio 1’s Official Chart Show - which is broadcast from 4pm to 7pm every Sunday afternoon, hosted by Reggie Yates.

The unique trophy is cast from industrial brushed metal and shaped to reflect the Official Charts icon, which combines two arrows to create a Number 1 – the most important position in the Official Charts. Its first recipient will be the winner of this year’s Official Christmas Number 1 race, the 60th Christmas Number 1 of all time.

A string of top chart stars have backed the forthcoming launch of the award including last week’s chart topper Olly Murs.  “It means everything for an artist to get a Number 1 single,” said Olly. “When you release a record, to have people love it and buy into it, and see it at the top of the tree is the best feeling in the world. And now for there to be an award for it - even better!”

Olly introduces the new award and is joined by Professor Green, Emeli Sande and boyband The Wanted to talk about what it means for an artist to be Number 1. Watch the video here.

The Official Singles Chart is compiled purely based on actual sales achieved (not airplay or ‘buzz’), and counts sales daily from over 6,000 retailers covering 99% of the singles market, from HMV to iTunes and Amazon, supermarkets and independent record stores. Hence, being the UK’s only official chart.