Every year sees a new crop of Christmas songs, and while lots of them are great, it can be tricky for them to cross over and become a perennial favourite, up there with the old classics from the 60s and 70s.
It’s definitely not an argument we’d like to have – Christmas is all about getting on, after all – but 25 years after its release, Mariah Carey has undoubtedly earned legend status was this little number, which celebrates its 25th birthday since making its Official UK Chart debut...
All I Want For Christmas Is You was a surprise move for perfect-piped chanteuse Mariah Carey, back in 1994. She’d just enjoyed her period of greatest success in the UK, with her first run of consecutive Top 10s and a Number 1 single Without You from chart-topping album Music Box. Everybody wanted to see what she would do next, and, well, a Christmas album probably wasn’t what everyone was expecting.
The seasonal collection Merry Christmas was led by a song that would quickly become a festive classic. All I Want For Christmas Is You went in at Number 5 20 years ago this week, the UK perhaps not quite ready to get into the festive spirit. Sales trebled the following week, however, and the song raced to Number 2, 25 years ago this week.
Any other week, Mariah could have made it to Number 1, but there was a huge sales surge for East 17’s Stay Another Day – shifting over 130,000 copies that week. Sales increased for Mariah again the following week, but with East 17 still clearing over 120,000 copies, it was runner-up spot again.
The week before the Christmas Number 1 was announced, Mariah sold 100,000, but East 17's sleigh was super-fast – they notched up 160,000 sales in the same seven days, and the prize went to them.
She may have been disheartened at the time, but little did she know just how loved Mariah’s jolly bell-jingling jaunt would become by the British public.
East 17 may have won the Official Christmas Number 1 battle, but ultimately victory belonged to Mimi. Stay Another Day has notched up 1.14 million chart sales, including streams, which is pretty impressive, but All I Want For Christmas has racked up a whopping 2.34 million, 1.23 million of which are pure sales (physical and downloads).
East 17's chart-topper is seeing a mini resurgence this year; band member and the song's writer Tony Mortimer has teamed up with the London's Waltham Forest Youth Choir for a new version of the track to raise money for charity CALM this Christmas.
Since downloads counted toward the Official Singles Chart in 2007, All I Want For Christmas Is You has been like that traditional poinsettia you can’t help but buy. It’s returned to the Top 40 every single year, returning to its Number 2 peak the past two years. With this being its 25th anniversary, could it be the year Mariah fulfils her destiny and scores that festive chart-topper she so richly deserves?
She’s given the song a lot of love over the years: she recorded a special version with Justin Bieber in 2011, and in 2014 she kicked off what has become an annual Christmas concert series. To mark its 25th birthday in 2019, she's done a curious-but-brilliant team up with Walkers crisps, she’s reissued her Christmas album and is releasing the single on cassette CD, 7” and 12” formats. A new version of the music video featuring previously unseen footage has also been released to help boost its streaming numbers, and she's released a short documentary about how the song was made on Amazon. A very Mariah Christmas to you!
Elsewhere in the Official Singles Chart that week in 1994, TV series Power Rangers had become a global phenomenon, and its theme song entered at Number 3, while Bon Jovi found himself in the Top 10 with often-forgotten Christmas single Please Come Home For Christmas.
Just outside the Top 10, new at Number 11, was Cotton Eye Joe by Eurodance group Rednex. The Europop-meets-country song grew in popularity over the Christmas season, eventually climbing to Number 1 in January 1995.
Article image: Daniela Federici