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

Wham!’s Last Christmas has reached No 1 in the UK singles chart for the first time, 36 years after it was first released.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest Christmas songs of all time, it was originally held off the top spot in 1984 by Band Aid’s charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas?

Last Christmas spent five weeks at No 2 that year, and was a Top 10 hit in 1985 too. With the advent of downloads and streaming meaning that any song could re-enter the charts, it reappeared in 2007, reaching No 14. It has reached the Top 40 nearly every year since, going Top 3 the last four years.

It sets a new record for time elapsed between a song being released and reaching No 1. This was previously held by Tony Christie with his song (Is This the Way to) Amarillo, which reached No 18 on first release in 1971, but reached No 1 over 33 years later in 2005 after it was rereleased with Peter Kay for Comic Relief.

Wham!’s Andrew Ridgeley said he was “delighted, somewhat amazed and profoundly pleased” that the song had finally reached No 1 and paid tribute to his late bandmate and the song’s writer, George Michael. He said the chart placing was “a testament to its timeless appeal and charm”. He added: “It is a fitting tribute to George’s song-writing genius … he would have been immensely proud and utterly thrilled.”

Until now, Last Christmas was the biggest-selling single to not reach No 1, a record that passes to Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera’s 2011 single Moves Like Jagger.

At No 2 this week is All I Want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey, which also reached No 1 for the first time this festive season – it was kept off the top spot when first released in 1994 by East 17’s Stay Another Day.

Boosted by streams over Christmas itself, it’s an all-festive top five with Jess Glynne’s cover of Donny Hathaway’s This Christmas reaching a new high at No 3, Justin Bieber’s version of Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree at No 4, and the Pogues’ Fairytale of New York.

There are 28 Christmas songs in the Top 40 altogether. Jose Feliciano’s Feliz Navidad is at No 40, earning its first ever Top 40 position 50 years after it was first released – in December it also reached the Top 10 in the US for the first time. Last week’s Christmas No 1, Ladbaby’s charity single Don’t Stop Me Eating, falls to No 78. Michael Bublé’s multi-platinum 2011 album Christmas is No 1 in the album chart for the first time since that year.

There was a campaign to get Comin’ Over Here, a satirical collaboration between Asian Dub Foundation and Stewart Lee, to No 1 on the day the UK left the EU. The track features the comedian retelling a standup routine that mocks bigoted opinions about immigration, over an industrial rock backing. Despite a spirited effort, it only reached No 65 in this week’s chart.


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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