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Dec 29

Charts – 29 December 2017

Posted on Friday, December 29, 2017 by Paul in Music

There’s still time to vote in our end of year awards!  But first, we have what’s usually the first of two dead charts, covering the weeks of Christmas itself and New Year – too late to be part of the fight for Christmas Number One, too early for anything else to be going on.

And what do people listen to over Christmas?  Well, they hammer the Christmas playlists.  So all those Christmas singles that stayed put last week surge forward this week, bringing with them a bunch of stragglers that were previously hovering outside the top 40.  Which means that there are new entries!  There’s something to write about!  The Christmas singles account for more than half of the chart, but then that’s what people are actually listening to.  It also means the chart is set for a convulsion next week, when all the Christmas tracks are likely to plummet.

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Perfect”

All very well.  But first, Ed Sheeran hangs in there for a fourth week with “Perfect” – not a huge upset.  His other current single, guesting on Eminem’s “River”, slips to 3 this week, but that’s more staying power than other Eminem singles have shown.

Right, deep breath…

“White Christmas” by Wham! climbs 3-2 to match its original 1984 peak.  “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey holds steady at 4, and “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl climbs 7-5, its highest position since 2007.  Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” climbs 12-7, its highest position since its 1985 re-issue (when it got to 3).  Perhaps the biggest surprise of this Christmas season sees “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee climb 14-9, returning to the top 10 for the first time since 1963; it’s not been a regular feature of the digital era until now.  And “Merry Christmas Everyone” by Shakin’ Stevens climbs 15-10 – it is a digital-era regular, but this is its highest position since its original run at Christmas 1985.  And yes, that’s six back catalogue Christmas singles in the top 10.

Elton John’s “Step Into Christmas” climbs 18-11; until this year it hadn’t even been a top 20 hit.  “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” by Michael Bublé climbs 22-13, again reaching an all-time peak.  And the same goes for “Driving Home For Christmas” by Chris Rea, which climbs 20-14.  Wizzard’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” climbs 23-15 for its highest position of the digital era (though it did get to 16 in 2007, and it got to number 4 on its release in 1973).  “Merry Xmas Everybody” by Slade climbs 29-16, also achieving a digital-era peak.  “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams moves 37-17, another all-time peak. “One More Sleep” by Leona Lewis climbs 36-19; this year has seen its first chart placing of any significance since its release back in 2013.

“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” by John & Yoko featuring the Plastic Ono Band climbs 35-21, which is another example of a digital-era high.  “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby climbs 41-22 (having dropped out of the top 40 last week).  “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney moves 38-26 – all three of these are seeing their first significant activity of the download era.  “Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande, ignored until this year, moves 32-28.  And here come the stragglers…

29.  Boney M. – “Mary’s Boy Child – Oh My Lord”

The Christmas number one of 1978 has not previously raised its head in the download era, even though it still gets plenty of seasonal airplay.  Sometimes credited simply as “Mary’s Boy Child”, it’s a cover of the Harry Belafonte song with an added original chunk (the “Oh My Lord” bit).

Boney M. started off as a pseudonym for German producer Frank Farian before developing into an actual group when he needed somebody to do the TV appearances.  The resulting line-up are shown in  the video above – Liz Mitchell, Marcia Barrett, Maizie Williams, and Bobby Farrell – and they did indeed perform live as Boney M., but the actual records feature the voices of Mitchell, Barrett and Farian himself.

31.  Coldplay – “Christmas Lights”

The Coldplay Christmas single from 2010, which reached number 13 and hasn’t been heard from since.   The first half is a maudlin dirge with little festive potential.  The second half is a little more rousing, but still far from an obvious listening choice, even given the season.

32.  Kelly Clarkson – “Underneath The Tree”

This is a by-the-numbers festive belter, sleigh bells and all – if studios come with an “All I Want For Christmas Is You” button, then somebody’s pressed it here.  It spent a single week at number 30 on its release in 2013, but at least you can see how it might have found its way onto a playlist – it’s got a decent enough chorus.  Lyrically, it’s a bit confused – the idea is that you’re the only present she needs, but “You’re the only thing I need underneath the tree” is a curious image.

34.  Michael Bublé – “Holly Jolly Christmas”

….okay.  This is another track from his perennial Christmas album, which also spawned “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” (see above).  The song was written in 1962 and the original version is a rather perkier rendition by the Quinto Sisters.

But the best known version is by Burl Ives, who originally recorded it for the soundtrack of a 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer stop-motion special, and did it again on an album in 1965.

No version of the song has been a hit single in the UK before.

38.  Kylie Minogue – “Santa Baby”

This is a new entry, in as much as it’s never been in the top 40 before.  But Kylie Minogue’s cover of “Santa Baby” dates back to 2000, when it first surfaced as the B-side of “Please Stay”.  It was re-issued on a Christmas EP in 2010, and it has received regular airplay for many years now.  It’s the first version of “Santa Baby” to make the chart; mind you, the original was recorded by Eartha Kitt back in 1953, when the chart only went down as far as number 12 or so.

39.  Sia – “Santa’s Coming For Us”

Uniquely on this chart, a Christmas single actually released this year, from an entire Christmas album, “Everyday Is Christmas” (sic).  Many of the tracks have videos and Sia probably has hopes of recurrent sales here.  Of course, that’s not Sia lip-synching in the video, it’s Kristen Bell.  (That’s not Sia on the cover of the album, either.  It’s Maddie Ziegler.)

Despite the unfortunate title, which conjures up images of a Christmas-themed slasher movie, this is a bouncy one, and I can see it showing up again next year.  Bit late for it to go further now, though.

Over on the album chart, Ed Sheeran’s “÷” returns to number 1 for a nineteenth week.  The first of those weeks was back in March.

Surprisingly, a couple of people have actually released albums this week.

34.  Quavo & Travis Scott – “Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho”

Rap collaboration, with cover art by Ralph Steadman.  Not often you can say that.

39.  Motion Picture Cast Recording – “The Greatest Showman”

A musical about PT Barnum.  The singer on the track above is Keala Settle.

Bring on the comments

  1. S says:

    I think the albums recap got cut off there

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