Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas Is You reaches UK No 1 after 26 years

Festive favourite that reached No 2 in 1994 finally tops British chart, with Carey saying ‘we are keeping the Christmas spirit alive together despite how dismal the year’s been’

Mariah Carey has finally topped the UK charts with her widely beloved festive hit All I Want for Christmas Is You, 26 years after it was first released.

“Happy Christmas UK!” she said in a statement. “We finally made it!!! We are keeping the Christmas spirit alive together despite how dismal the year’s been. Love you always! Joy to the world.”

Carey was kept off the top spot in 1994 by East 17 and their – admittedly also iconic – song Stay Another Day. Since the advent of digital downloads and then streaming, the song has been able to work its way back up the charts each Christmas. It first re-entered the Top 40 in 2007, reaching No 4, and has returned every year since, tantalisingly reaching No 2 in 2018 and 2019.

For a song that was written in less than an hour, it has endured fantastically well: no other song in UK chart history has spent longer in the Top 40 before reaching No 1. It achieved 10.8m streams this week, more than any other song in any single week of 2020 so far, and has sold 1.24m copies in its lifetime, making it the 84th highest-selling song in history.

But its success means that another of pop’s greatest Christmas songs, Wham!’s Last Christmas, which reaches No 2 this week, is kept from achieving its own first No 1 placing. It spent five weeks at No 2 over Christmas 1984, held off the top by Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas?, and has placed in the Top 10 for the last three years.

Unlike the occasionally Scrooge-like attitude from pop stars towards their festive hits, Carey has enthusiastically championed All I Want for Christmas Is You. Her seasonal concert tour All I Want for Christmas Is You: A Night of Joy and Festivity began in 2014 and toured North America and Europe on and off until 2019. This year, in lieu of the tour, she recorded Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special for Apple TV+, featuring guest appearances from Ariana Grande, Snoop Dogg and more.

She also recorded an all-star version for James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke in 2016, featuring Adele, Lady Gaga, Elton John and more, and even sang it to advertise pigs-in-blankets flavoured Walkers crisps in 2019. It reached No 1 in the US for the first time last year having been ineligible on its first release.

Royalties organisations won’t reveal how much the song – co-written with Walter Afanasieff – makes Carey each year, but a 2017 Economist study claimed it had generated $60m (£45m) in royalties up to that point.

Buoyed by streaming numbers, as the UK attempts to conjure the magic of Christmas earlier than ever following a miserable year, 22 further Christmas songs are in this week’s Top 40. The Top 10 alone features the Pogues’ Fairytale of New York (No 4), Shakin’ Stevens’ Merry Christmas Everyone (No 6), Michael Bublé’s It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (No 7), Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? (No 8), and Elton John’s Step Into Christmas (No 10).

Newer Christmas songs are edging their way into the canon of favourites, with Ariana Grande’s Santa Tell Me (No 11) and Kelly Clarkson’s Underneath the Tree (No 16) scoring their highest placings yet.

But the album chart has a decidedly un-Christmassy No 1, keeping Michael Ball and Alfie Boe’s album of festive belters off the top: Weird!, the debut album from punkish Doncaster pop star Yungblud. Addressing his fans, he said: “Be proud to be weird, be proud to be different, I love each and every one of you.”

All I Want for Christmas Is You must hang on for two more weeks if it wants to also secure the Christmas No 1 spot, announced this year on Christmas Day. Carey faces potential competition from online personality LadBaby, who has yet to enter the race, but has won the Christmas No 1 for the last two years with his comedy sausage roll themed cover versions in aid of food bank charity the Trussell Trust.

Contributor

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
LadBaby reach Christmas No 1 for third year in a row
YouTube stars and campaigners raise funds for food bank charity the Trussell Trust with Don’t Stop Me Eatin’

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

25, Dec, 2020 @4:00 PM

Article image
Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas Is You reaches US No 1 after 25 years
‘We did it,’ Carey says, after streaming services finally help seasonal hit to top spot

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

17, Dec, 2019 @10:44 AM

Article image
Last Christmas by Wham! reaches No 1 for first time after 36 years
Festive favourite was kept off No 1 by Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? in 1984

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

01, Jan, 2021 @6:00 PM

Article image
All I want for Christmas is normality: festive hits chart earlier than ever
Sales and streams of Christmas classics are up by 50% on last year as listeners turn to Mariah, Wham! and Shakin’ Stevens to combat pandemic blues

Laura Snapes

18, Nov, 2020 @5:17 PM

Article image
Mariah Carey v Wham! – who should finally get their festive No 1?
All I Want for Christmas Is You and Last Christmas have never topped the UK chart, but one is likely to finally triumph today. The Guardian’s music editors debate which deserves to win

Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes

11, Dec, 2020 @12:30 PM

Article image
Mariah Carey review – delightful diva is all you want for Christmas
With sugar-plum fairies, drummer boys and Mariah hitting those incredible high notes, the only thing missing from this high camp festive show is live reindeer

Caroline Sullivan

12, Dec, 2017 @11:09 AM

Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You sells its millionth copy

The perennial Christmas classic by Mariah Carey has sold its millionth copy since first going on sale in 1994

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

20, Dec, 2013 @9:03 AM

Article image
LadBaby scores 2018 Christmas No 1 with ode to sausage rolls
The parenting blogger’s song, a reworked version of Starship’s We Built This City, is raising money for foodbank charity The Trussell Trust

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

21, Dec, 2018 @6:00 PM

Article image
Ed Sheeran scores first Christmas No 1 with Perfect
The singer-songwriter hit the top spot after releasing five versions of his single, including duets with Beyoncé and Andrea Bocelli

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

22, Dec, 2017 @6:00 PM

Article image
Mariah Carey describes seeking treatment for bipolar disorder
The singer-songwriter told People magazine, ‘I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted’

Laura Snapes

11, Apr, 2018 @12:35 PM