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Jan 2

Charts – 1 January 2021

Posted on Saturday, January 2, 2021 by Paul in Music

This is a little unexpected. This chart period includes Christmas Day, but it also includes the six days following. And normally the Christmas records tail off sharply once Christmas itself is passed. So I assumed we’d start to see the clear out this week. Instead, festive domination continues for a further week, and…

1. Wham! – “Last Christmas”

…”Last Christmas” sneaks a week at number one before the season ends. It hasn’t been a number one before – it was the Christmas number 2 in 1984 behind Band Aid. That’s 36 years ago, setting a new record for the longest time between entering the charts and reaching number one. (The previous record holder was Tony Christie’s “(Is This The Way To) Amarillo”, which reached number 1 as a charity re-issue 33 years after it first charted.)

Wham! now have five number one hits to their name, the others all falling between 1984 and 1986: “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, “Freedom”, “I’m Your Man”, and less obviously “The Edge of Heaven”. George Michael had a further seven solo numbers between 1984 and 1996: “Careless Whisper”, “A Different Corner”, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (with Aretha Franklin), “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” (with Elton John), the “Five Live” EP (with Queen), and “Jesus to a Child”.

Needless to say, there’s no much else going on on the top 40 singles chart; a handful of climbers and a couple of Christmas records that were just outside the top 40 scrape their way in. “This Christmas” by Jess Glynne climbs 4-3, and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Justin Bieber climbs 8-4. “Step Into Christmas” by Elton John climbs 10-8, to match its peak from last year. “I Wish It Could be Christmas Everyday” by Wizzard climbs 13-12, slightly short of last year’s position.

“Afterglow” by Ed Sheeran climbs 30-13 in its first full week on release, which rather suggests that it would have come nowhere close to being the Christmas number one. “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” by John & Yoko and the Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir climbs 21-19. “Get Out My Head” by Shane Codd rebounds 38-22, beating the number 24 peak it reached last month – not quite sure what’s going on there. “Holly Jolly Christmas” by Michael Bublé climbs 25-24, which is a new all-time peak for it. “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney climbs 26-25 for its best position of the streaming era. “Santa Baby” by Kylie Minogue climbs 32-31, which is a new peak for it. “Sleigh Ride” by the Ronettes is up 34-33, again for an all-time peak. And the same goes for “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow” by Dean Martin, climbing 39-37. Earth-shattering stuff, I think you’ll agree.

39. Katy Perry – “Cozy Little Christmas”

Climbing from number 42. This reached number 23 on its first release two years ago, and got to number 22 last year. Number 39 is a significant tailing off, but it’s still charted three years running, which is an achievement of sorts in a modern record.

40. Jose Feliciano – “Feliz Navidad”

Climbing from 44 to enter the top 40 for the first time, fifty years after it was released. Feliciano did have some hits back in the sixties – his biggest UK hit was his cover of the Doors’ “Light My Fire”, which reached number 6 in 1968, and was the template for the Will Young cover that reached number 1 in 2002.

On the album chart, the number 1 is “Christmas” by Michael Bublé, which returns to the chart every year, but hasn’t been number 1 since its release in 2011 (when it managed three weeks). It got to number 2 last year, mind you, and in a declining album market, a record that has a decent shot of being put on as a background playlist over Christmas has a good shot of picking up streaming points.

The album chart is mostly year-in-review and discount material – Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” rebounds from 18 to 3, for example, and there are re-entries for a bunch of greatest hits albums from people like Fleetwood Mac, Abba and Michael Jackson – but there are a couple of genuine new entries.

17. Playboi Carti – “Whole Lotta Red”

His second studio album (not counting mixtapes, none of which charted in the UK anyway). Its predecessor, 2018’s “Die Lit”, got to number 27 – but it was released in May, so it’s not exactly comparable.

26. Lil Durk – “The Voice”

Officially a mixtape, but it does better than his 2020 album “Just Cause Y’all Waited 2”, which got to 32. Again, the release week probably has something to do with that. He’s still only had one appearance on the singles chart, guesting on Drake’s “Laugh Now Cry Later”, which reached number 4 in August.

Bring on the comments

  1. Brendan says:

    Whamageddon: a game played during the 24 days before Christmas Eve in which players try to go from December 1 to the start of Christmas Eve without hearing “Last Christmas” by Wham! If the player hears the song between those days, they are out of the game and have to post “#Whamageddon” on social media to indicate that they have lost. –

  2. Martin Smith says:

    Last Christmas now being number 1 is going to screw up a lot of middling music stations/channels’ “should have been #1/I can’t believe it wasn’t #1/best ever #2 singles” lists. And wrongfoot a lot of pub quizzes too, I suspect.

  3. Taibak says:

    I take it “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses never caught on in the UK, huh?

  4. Joe S. Walker says:

    I don’t think “Christmas Wrapping” has ever been a big hit here, but it does get played. Great single anyway, and the Waitresses were on “The Akron Compilation”, an excellent album that’s never been released on CD.

  5. Paul says:

    “Christmas Wrapping” got to number 45 on release in 1982, and it’s never improved on that. It’s the only track the Waitresses have ever got into the top 75, though Shampoo covered “I Know What Boys Like” (and missed the top 40 with it).

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