Christmas Retro: 10 Best Non-Christmas Christmas No 1s!

In 1993 novelty won the day and Mr Blobby beat Take That to the top spot. Sadly he doesn't make this top ten...

In 1993 novelty won the day and Mr Blobby beat Take That to the top spot. Sadly he doesn’t make this top ten…

Before Simon Cowell and ITV effectively bought the UK Christmas Number 1 slot each year through the X-Factor, UK Christmas No 1 used to be all about a tradition of novelty and competition. Who would win that coveted top spot? When I was growing up I remember the battle between Take That and Mr Blobby for the Christmas number 1 spot that year. Both singles had been released before the last week of Christmas. Mr Blobby had been number one for one week, then Take That grabbed the spot. I remember being over my Nan and Granddad’s and such was the interest we had Radio 1 on and Mr Blobby had snatched it, much to our amusement as two of my cousins had backed Take That down the local bookmakers. The thing is that many Christmas number 1s, despite having a novelty factor, often don’t have a Christmas factor – but can still be synonymous with having a good party or Christmas… so here’s my top 10 non-Christmas themed Christmas Number 1s!

10. A Moment Like This – Leona Lewis (2006)

I’ll start by saying I am usually 100% against X Factor winners buying the Christmas number one slot – it means that the last ten years of Christmas number ones have been largely dominated by one hit wonders (Steve Brookstein, Matt Cardle, Leon Jackson… the list goes on). However with X Factor at its height in 2006 there was something genuinely special about Leona Lewis. It’s not a Christmas song, it’s not a novelty song – it’s just a bloody good song, sung by a bloody good singer, and therefore worthy of its position in this top 10.

9. Can We Fix It? – Bob The Builder (2000)

Voiced by Neil Morrissey (Men Behaving Badly, Waterloo Road), Bob the Builder was one of the most popular children’s television programmes of the late 1990s and 2000s. The song was blatant novelty, and whats more it was able to go one better than the Teletubbies had managed the year before. Can Bob fix it? Yes he can!

8. Sound of the Underground – Girls Aloud (2002)

Another reality formed pop group sneaks into the top ten here in the first attempt to buy the Christmas number 1 – though interestingly the competition element still remained. Girls Aloud was formed during ‘Popstars: The Rivals’ the idea being that two rival pop groups released their song in the same week, the song that got to number one (or charted highest) was the group that won. Girls Aloud being mentored by Louis Walsh won the day with this solid pop track and stayed together for the next decade…

7. Reet Petite – Jackie Wilson (1986)

Have a few drinks, put this on and you’ll want to dance around. With an awesome pop video that originated from a BBC2 documentary, at the time this song held the record for the song which had the longest gap between its chart debut and reaching number one. It had taken 29 years…

6. I Wanna Hold Your Hand – The Beatles (1963)

Only the Spice Girls have as many consecutive Christmas number ones as this Liverpudlian group who are arguably the UK’s most famous pop group. Another great track and shows off 60s music at its best it’s another ‘wedding dance’ special track. It is however very worthy of its position here – the first track to be produced using four track technology and the first Beatles track to be number 1 in America.

5. Stay Another Day – East 17 (1994)

Some may regard this as a Christmas tune. It is difficult to deny that the track was definitely designed to sound Christmassy with sounds of Christmas bells, however the lyrics point to a more heartfelt cause.

4. Don’t You Want Me – Human League (1981)

If I was asked what my top ten 80s tracks were, this would be in the top 3. The lyrics, the electronic music – this tune is 80s personified. A classic track!

3. 2 Become 1 – Spice Girls (1996)

Another tune that is potentially regarded as a Christmas track purely through a snow-set music video and use of different instruments. However this is arguably the Spice Girls best ballad, and most amusingly covered in the Vicar of Dibley at Alice & Hugo’s wedding.

2. Always On My Mind – Pet Shop Boys (1987)

Fairytale of New York lost out to this track, so it must be good. Voted recently as the best cover of all time, this track turns Elvis Presley’s 1972 ballad into a fairly upbeat pop track. Still think The Pogues deserved that Christmas number one though.

1. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen (1975 & 1991)

It had to be this – Queen’s most popular song, the song that many people of a generation or two can sing along to with or without music at the end of a night – and most importantly a song that wasn’t Christmas number 1 once but twice having been re-released with ‘These are the days of our lives’ after Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991. At 6 minutes long, this is a song that is truly great – possibly not just the best non-Christmassy number one of all time, but the best number one of all time – ever. All together now…

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