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Dec 2

Charts – 1 December 2023

Posted on Saturday, December 2, 2023 by Paul in Music

Ah, early December. That period when almost no new singles are released because it’s nearly Christmas, but the annual festive march hasn’t reached the top end of the chart just yet, and so whatever’s at the top of the chart tends to stay there for now.

1. Jack Harlow – “Lovin On Me”

That’s three weeks, with Noah Kahan’s “Stick Season” climbing to 2 – I suppose it’s just possible he might sneak a week at number 1 before Christmas. Bear in mind that it’s only holding on at number 1 because all of the Christmas back catalogue is subject to the downweighting rule.

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

Well, except for this – it’s recent enough that the chart rules still allow it to be reset to normal if it has a sudden suge in sales. But the Christmas streaming playlists are swamping the charts – we’ll see the march of last week’s new entries in a bit. This spent three weeks at number 1 on its release in 2021, and reached number 3 again last year.

18. The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl – “Fairytale of New York”

Another track that returns every year. It reached number 2 on release in 1987, and it’s charted every Christmas since 2005, which is going back to downloading rather than streaming. It made the top 10 in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, but only got to number 9 last year. The death of lead singer Shane MacGowan on Thursday might make a difference this year, but then again, it’s a record that surges in streams every December, so perhaps not. At any rate, if it does have an impact, it won’t register until next week’s chart.

20. Bobby Helms – “Jingle Bell Rock”

This is one of the clearer examples of the UK charts being influenced by American Christmas playlists – “Jingle Bell Rock” was not a top 40 hit in the UK until 2019, although Helms did have some minor UK hits in 1957-8. It made number 30 in 2019, 27 in 2020, 16 in 2021, and number 7 last year, so students of the Christmas charts will be on tenterhooks to see if it can go top 5 this time.

23. Sam Ryder – “You’re Christmas to Me”

This is an Amazon Music exclusive, something that they’ve been doing at Christmas for the last few years. It’s in the 70s UK Christmas single mould, very much by the numbers. Ryder’s biggest hit – by a mile – remains last year’s Eurovision entry “Space Man”, which reached number 2. Until now, his only follow up hit had been “Mountain”, which got to number 35.

25. Shakin’ Stevens – “Merry Christmas Everyone”

Delighted to see that the full version of this video is still on YouTube after all, solemnly billed as the “Director’s Cut”. The opening minute of near-silent tedium is one of the highlights of any right-thinking person’s Christmas.

This was the Christmas number 1 of 1985, and it’s charted every year since 2014. It peaked at number 6 in 2019, and again in 2020, and again in 2021, but only got to number 12 last year.

27. Kelly Clarkson – “Underneath the Tree”

This track reached number 30 on release in 2013 and it’s been back every year since 2017. Last year, it reached an all time peak of number 12. It’s a rare case of something shamelessly made to formula which is actually good, mainly because Kelly Clarkson can belt this stuff out convincingly.

She now has a daytime TV show, on which she takes the opportunity to do random (and heavily abbreviated) covers with the house band on a regular basis. Most of them are what you’d expect in that slot – the most recent one on her show’s YouTube channel is “Desperado” by the Eagles. But… well…

29. Andy Williams – “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

Another track that didn’t chart in the UK top 40 until the download era, though in fairness, it was only an album track back in 1963. It reached an all time peak of number 9 in 2021, and fell one place short of that last year.

35. Band Aid – “Do They Know It’s Christmas”

I can’t embed the official version of the video on YouTube because it’s age restricted – perhaps commendably, the only version they’ve posted is the edit with the contemporary famine footage. For the British, however, the Christmas number 1 of 1984 has long since drifted loose of its original meaning – which is perhaps for the best because some of the lyrics haven’t aged well. There’s still something a bit troubling about people wheeling out a song about starvation for Christmas celebration, though. Anyway, it reached the top 10 in 2017 to 2021 but fell just short last year, peaking at 12.

36. Dean Martin – “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!”

Dean Martin’s cover of this 1945 Christmas song was recorded for a Christmas album in 1959 and wasn’t a single at the time. It made the UK top 40 for the first time in 2019, and reached an all time peak of 20 last year.

38. Jorja Smith – “Stay Another Day”

Another Amazon track – and yes, it’s a moody cover of East 17’s Christmas number 1 from 1994. It’s at least an inventive take on the song.

40. Sia – “Snowman”

We’re still going with this one and not “Santa’s Coming For Us”? Okay. This charted for the first time in 2021 and reached number 28 last year.

This week’s climbers:

  • “Stick Season” by Noah Kahan climbs 4-2.
  • “Last Christmas” by Wham! climbs 14-5.
  • “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey climbs 16-6.
  • “Can’t Catch Me Now” by Olivia Rodrigo climbs 13-2.
  • “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee climbs 31-14.
  • “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” by Michael Bublé climbs 37-16.
  • “Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande climbs 38-22.

There are 11 tracks leaving the top 40 this week:

  • “Paint the Town Red” by Doja Cat is a former number 1 and had 16 weeks on chart.
  • “Vampire” by Olivia Rodrigo is also a former number 1, finally leaving the top 40 after 21 weeks.
  • “Angel Numbers / Ten Toes” by Chris Brown had a single week at 32.
  • “Northern Attitude” by Noah Kahan got two weeks, peaking at 16.
  • “Lil Boo Thang” by Paul Russell got a single week at 36.
  • “Sprinter” by Dave & Central Cee, another former number 1, lasted 25 weeks.
  • “Would You (Go To Bed With Me)” by Campbell & Alcemist managed 6 weeks but couldn’t get past number 29.
  • “First Person Shooter” by Drake featuring J Cole re-entered last week at 27.
  • “One of Your Girls” by Troye Sivan peaked at 11 and managed 6 weeks.
  • “Selecta” by Chase & Status featuring Stefflon Don peaked at 27 with two weeks.
  • “You Broke My Heart” by Drake got a single week at number 26.

With “Sprinter” gone, the longest running track in the top 40 is now “Baddadan” by Chase & Status, which has been on the chart for 18 weeks. It’s currently at 11, so it has a good shot of riding out the snowstorm.

The album chart is predictably light on new releases.

1. Take That – “This Life”

Now operating as a trio of Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald, Take That are on to their tenth – assuming you count “Odyssey”, which was one of those “covering our own back catalogue” albums. The single’s rather pleasant.  It’s their ninth number one album; they’ve only ever missed with a live album (which got to number 3) and with their 1992 debut (which got to number 2).

The only other new entry this week is…

16. Tina Turner – “Queen of Rock’n’Roll”

A compilation of her solo singles, some of which are remastered, and one of which – the single above – is a remix. It’s billed as celebrating “50 years since the start of Tina Turner’s iconic solo career”, which they seem to be measuring from her debut solo album “Tina Turns the Country On!” in 1974, despite the fact that (1) there weren’t any singles from that album, so the compilation actually starts in 1975; and (2) it’s not 2024 yet. Oh, and (3) she released two solo singles in the 1960s… but fair enough, she wasn’t really a solo artist at that point.

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