It seems that the second the calendar ticks over to 1st December, those classic Christmas tunes sprinkle us with festive cheer but which ones have proved the most popular over the years? Here are the best-selling festive songs for you to add to your Christmas Day playlist.
- Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas? (1984)
The original song and line up, written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, sold over 3 million copies in the first week of release in 1984 and sat at number one for five weeks. The song brought together popular eighties bands and singers to create the ultimate charity single, raising over eight million pounds to contribute to the 1984 Ethiopia famine.
- Boney M – Mary’s Boy Child (1978)
In 1978, Boney M released their own version of Harry Belafonte’s Mary’s Boy Child to become Christmas number one in the same year. The single became the fifth bestselling single in UK history and was the first single to sell over one million copies, a total of 1.8 million sold to date.
- Wham! – Last Christmas (1984)
George Michael adds his second festive hit to the list of bestsellers (George also appeared in the 1984 Band Aid single), as he and musical partner Andrew Ridgeley sold over a million copies of romantically tragic single Last Christmas in 1984. The single missed out on the top spot and the Wham! boys were crowned Christmas number two.
- Slade – Merry Xmas Everybody (1973)
A Christmas song that well and truly sticks in your head, you just can’t help but dance around to the 1973 Noddy Holder favourite that is Merry Xmas Everybody. The song was popular even before its release, selling half a million copies in advance orders! The song held the Christmas number one that same year and sold over a million copies overall.
- Harry Belafonte – Mary’s Boy Child (1957)
The original Mary’s Boy Child was released in 1957 by Harry Belafonte, who held the Christmas number one for seven weeks in the UK. The song sold over a million copies in total and Belafonte became the first black male to have a number one in the UK.
- Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas? (2004)
Bob and co. re-released the 2004 Band Aid 20 version with popular musicians Dizzee Rascal, Coldplay and Robbie Williams, selling over 1.18 million copies to date. This year Bob Geldof and the likes of One Direction, Ellie Goulding and Ed Sheeran are hoping for the same success to raise money for the Ebola crisis in Africa.
- Bing Crosby – White Christmas (1942)
The Guinness Book of Records states White Christmas as the bestselling single of all time with record sales as high as 50 million worldwide. Bing Crosby famously performed the song for the first time on Christmas Day 1941 and it has been featured on many Christmas compilation albums since.
- The Pogues ft. Kirsty Maccoll – Fairytale of New York (1987)
Surprisingly this infamous and poignant Christmas tune has never made it to number one. At twenty-seven years old, the single has sold over a million copies and is the 126th single to do so in the UK.
- Cliff Richard – Millenium Prayer (1999)
Cliff Richard’s Millennium Prayer held Christmas number one in 1999, featuring the lyrics to the Lord’s Prayer to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. Selling around 1.2 million copies, all proceeds were donated to the children’s charity, Children’s Promise.
- Johnny Mathis – When a child is born (1976)
Released in 1976, this Christmas number one spent three weeks in the top spot. Johnny Mathis sold around 900,000 copies of the single and went on to hold a Guinness World Record for over 350 million singles sold worldwide throughout his career.
So, which Christmas tunes will you be singing along to this week? Are you a fan of those golden oldies, or do you enjoy a modern twist on a classic?