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Jan 1

Charts – 31 December 2021

Posted on Saturday, January 1, 2022 by Paul in Music

The final chart of 2021 covers the chart week 24-30 December – which means it includes both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Although the streams of Christmas songs generally fall off a cliff after Christmas itself, they do so well on the big day that this is another Christmas-dominated top 40. Next week, almost all of these Christmas records will vanish, and we’ll have a massive influx of new singles.

1. Ed Sheeran & Elton John – “Merry Christmas”

Well, of course people weren’t going to keep buying the LadBaby version. That track exists to be bought as part of a charity campaign or just as part of a narrative – it doesn’t exist to be listened to, and so it places this week at number 29. To be fair to him, that’s better than he managed in the previous two years, when he dropped from number 1 straight out of the top 40.

The proper version of the song returns to number 1 for a third week, but given the festive angle (and the fact it’s been out a month already) I doubt it’ll manage a fourth.

28. Fireboy DML & Ed Sheeran – “Peru”

This is an actual, regular new entry – it’s a new mix of a track that topped the specialist Afrobeat charts in November, but which hadn’t previously made the top 40.

It’s the first top 40 hit for Nigerian singer Fireboy DML, and you can see why someone thought this might work with the audience for Sheeran’s more electronic tracks. You can also see why they thought an English-language verse might help a track which is partly performed in Yaruba and contains references to other Afrobeat artists. It’s one of the better things Sheeran’s lent his name to.

32. Darlene Love – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”

Originally released in 1963 on the Phil Spector Christmas Album, this has made the top 40 a couple of times before, but it isn’t a regular. Its peak was in 2018 when it got to number 22.

34. Jona Lewie – “Stop the Cavalry”

The British don’t just like listening to songs about famine over Christmas – they also enjoy antiwar campaign songs that mention Christmas in passing. This track wasn’t originally conceived as a Christmas single, and in some countries it wasn’t even released at Christmas. In the UK, it was a single over Christmas 1980 and spent five weeks stuck at number 3. It was very unlucky not to make number 1 at the start of 1981; it was held off by two John Lennon tracks re-issued in the aftermath of his murder. Aside from Lennon, the other tracks that kept it off number 1 were “Super Trouper” by Abba and, er, “There’s No One Quite Like Grandma”.

“Stop the Cavalry” is a very good record, and to modern audiences Lewie’s reputation rests almost entirely on it. He did have another hit in 1980 – “You’ll Always Find me in the Kitchen at Parties”, which got to number 16.

Despite being a staple of Christmas compilations, this is the first time that “Stop the Cavalry” has made the top 40 since its initial release. Last year it only got to 77.

35. Sia – “Snowman”

Huh. There’s an entire Sia Christmas album, released in 2017, and this is the track that’s getting streams? Not “Santa’s Coming For Us”, which has previously got as high as 17? That’s unexpected. It’s not a staple, it’s never made the top 40 before. It must have made it onto some playlists as a change of pace.

39. Frank Sinatra – “Let it Snow Let it Snow Let it Snow”

This is another surprise, since the Dean Martin version of this song is already in the top 40 (and climbs this week to 27). It’s the first time this version of the track has made the top 40 – though it does have a video that’s had a lot more effort put into it than most of these back catalogue numbers. Sinatra had tons of hits back in the 1950s, but hasn’t been on the top 40 since 1993, when a version of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” by him and Bono was released as a double A-side for the U2 single “Stay”.

This week’s climbers (all of which will be gone next week):

  • “Last Christmas” by Wham! climbs 3-2. It managed number 1 in the dead period last year.
  • “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl climbs 7-4. It’s peaked at 4 for four years running now.
  • “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee climbs 9-5. That’s an all-time for the track, though Lee had bigger hits in the 60s – “Sweet Nothin’s” (number 4 in 1960) and “Speak to me Pretty” (number 3 in 1962)
  • “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” by Michael Buble climbs 11-7, matching its all time peak from 2018 and 2020.
  • “Come On Home for Christmas” by George Ezra climbs 10-8 in its first year out.
  • “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams climbs 15-9, which is an all-time peak fro the song. It becomes his tenth top 10 hit.
  • “Driving Home for Christmas” by Chris Rea climbs 12-10 to make the top 10 for the first time. Over 20 years after its release, it becomes his joint biggest hit, matching the peak of “The Road to Hell (Part 2)” in 1989.
  • “Step into Christmas” by Elton John climbs 13-11. It made the top 10 in the previous two years.
  • “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band Aid climbs 14-12. The first time it’s missed the top 10 since 2016.
  • “Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande climbs 16-13, two places behind last year’s all-time peak.
  • “I Wish It Could be Christmas Everyday” by Wizzard climbs 17-15 – three places below last year.
  • “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms climbs 22-16, overtaking the 1958 single “Jacqueline” to become his biggest UK hit.
  • “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney climbs 23-17, its highest position of the streaming era.
  • “The Christmas Song” by Olivia Dean – another new release – climbs 27-19.
  • “One More Sleep” by Leona Lewis climbs 21-20, two places below last year’s peak.
  • “Merry Xmas Everybody” by Slade climbs 24-21. It hasn’t missed the top 20 since 2016.
  • “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” by John Lennon & Yoko Ono climbs 26-22, three places below last year.
  • “Sleigh Ride” by the Ronettes climbs 29-23, which is the single’s all time peak.
  • “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Camila Cabello – another new release – climbs 38-24.
  • “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano climbs 34-25, which makes it his joint second-biggest UK hit (along with 1969’s “And the Sun Will Shine”)
  • “Holly Jolly Christmas” by Michael Bublé climbs 33-26.
  • “Let it Snow Let it Snow Let it Snow” by Dean Martin climbs 36-27.
  • “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber climbs 39-31.
  • “Santa Can’t You Hear Me” by Kelly Clarkson & Ariana Grande climbs 40-37.

The plucky singles clinging on in there that aren’t to do with Christmas would have made the following top 10 – and are thus likely to rocket up the chart next week.

  • 1: Gayle, “ABCDEFU”. (Actual position: 14.)
  • 2: Fireboy DML & Ed Sheeran, “Peru” (28)
  • 3: Sam Fender, “Seventeen Going Under” (30)
  • 4: Ardee, “Flowers (Say My Name)” (33)
  • 5: D-Block Europe, “Overseas” (36)
  • 6: Ed Sheeran, “Overpass Graffiti” (40)
  • 7: SwitchOTR, “Coming For You” (41)
  • 8: Ed Sheeran, “Shivers” (42)
  • 9: Acraze featuring Cherish, “Do It To It” (43)
  • 10: Elton John & Dua Lipa, “Cold Heart” (45)

You won’t be surprised to hear that nothing much is happening on the album chart. “=” by Ed Sheeran returns to number 1 for a second week, having spent the intervening seven weeks hovering at 2 or 3. There are 7 present or former number 1 albums in the top 10 – one of which is Queen’s Greatest Hits, for heaven’s sake, and one is Michael Buble, but the others are Adele, Abba, Olivia Rodrigo and Coldplay.

The surge of Christmas plays does result in a handful of compilations making the album top 40 for the first time: “Ultimate Christmas” by Frank Sinatra, which came out in 2018, charts at 33. And “Christmas Classics” by Bing Crosby shows at 36. Surprisingly, it’s only his sixth top 40 album.

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