…which has made a brisk 21-12-6-2 climb while most people were paying attention to the Christmas records. This is now her biggest UK hit, beating the number 3 peak of “Lush Life” last year.
7. Wham! – “Last Christmas”
There are twelve Christmas singles on the top 40 this week, assuming you count Matt Terry’s “When Christmas Comes Around” (which is the X Factor winner’s single, but it’s still a Christmas song). You might also have thought that this chart would also see a surge of George Michael tracks as a response to his death. But that doesn’t happen. The next highest George Michael track is “Careless Whisper” at number 44. It’s starting to seem as though the deluge of re-entries after the death of a star is an artefact of the download era (when everything was available but you had to buy it, and tracks in the top 10 on iTunes started to develop their own momentum), which hasn’t translated so well to the streaming era. We see it now as an occasional event upon the release of major albums, not so much as a commemorative flood. Perhaps that’s because the really big name artists tend to leave so much material behind them that the vote is split too many ways to make an impact. And to the extent that the audience did rally behind a single track, it seems to have been this one.
His greatest hits album re-enters at number 8, and Wham!’s greatest hits album “The Final” re-enters at 40.
Highest position since 2007. Streaming has been kind to the Christmas hits.
24. Andy Williams – “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”
This is a surprise. “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” is not one of the tracks that returns every year – it made number 21 in 2007 but it hasn’t been back since. Williams died in 2012, so this is his first posthumous top 40 hit.
Andy Williams had his first UK hit in 1957 when “Butterfly” reached number 1. His regular singles career continued through to the mid-1970s, and he also resurfaced in 1999 (when a re-issue of “Music To Watch Girls By” reached number 9), and again in 2002 (when he duetted with Denise Van Outen, of all people, on a genuinely terrible version of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” that reached number 23). If he hadn’t skipped the 1980s, he would have had a top 40 hit in every chart decade.
Up 9, for its highest place since, you guessed it, 2007. The significance of 2007, if you haven’t twigged, is that it was the first year when downloads were counted towards the chart. Incidentally, they’re tweaking the chart rules next year to reduce the weight given to streaming. It’s going from 100 plays equalling one sale, to 150 plays, in an attempt to stop things being quite so static next year. We’ll see how that goes for them – the long term momentum is clearly towards streaming whatever happens, so there’s a definite sense of trying to hold back the tide of history here. A bit more growth in the streaming market, a bit more decline in the sales market – both of which are eminently likely – and it’ll all be cancelled out.
31. Brenda Lee – “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”
Blimey. This hasn’t been in the chart since it made number 6 at Christmas 1962. It’s not even the most successful UK version of the song. That, weirdly, is the Comic Relief cover by Mel Smith and Kim Wilde which made number 3 in 1987, and still gets vastly more TV play simply because it has a video. (It’s basically Kim Wilde doing a straight cover of the song with comedy asides throughout.) Brenda Lee had seven top 10 hits in the first half of the 1960s, the biggest at the time being “Speak To Me Pretty”, which reached number 3.
37. Elton John – “Step Into Christmas”
Again, not one of the usual suspects – this is making its first return to the top 40 since its release in 1973. Despite being a perennial filler on Christmas compilations ever since, it only made number 24 when it came out.
40. Paul McCartney – “Wonderful Christmastime”
And another Christmas track returning to the top 40 for the first time since its release in Christmas 1979, when it made number 6. McCartney has had solo hits in every decade since the 1970s, and he doesn’t need to rely on this to do it, since he was already credited along with Rihanna and Kanye West on “FourFive Seconds” last year.
Nothing to talk about on the album chart beyond the George Michael/Wham! compilations already mentioned. Little Mix return to number 1 with “Glory Days”, for a third week in total.