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LadBaby scores a hat-trick of Christmas number ones
LadBaby has the Christmas number one single for the third successive year, joining The Beatles and The Spice Girls in a very exclusive club. Former Beatle Paul McCartney has the number one album.

LadBaby completes a hat-trick of food-related Christmas number one singles. Paul McCartney gets his first solo number one album for over 30 years.

If you put together the various foodstuffs mentioned in the titles of songs in the iTunes top forty over the course of the week (sausage rolls, garlic bread, apricots, a sweet) you might be able to rustle up a substantial, albeit rather weird, meal. Ahead of all of them, though, was this year’s rubbish from LadBaby, Don’t Stop Me Eating. At least he has decided to omit sausage rolls from the title this year.

The song is based on Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’. The original version failed to reach the top forty when it was released in 1982 but ultimately got into the top ten when it was covered by the cast of Glee in 2010. Both the original version and the one by the Glee Cast spent several weeks together in the top ten at the start of that year.

LadBaby thereby joins an exclusive club of acts who have had three successive Christmas number one singles. He joins The Beatles (1963-65) and the Spice Girls (1996-98) and loses his title as the only act to have two, and only two, consecutive Christmas number ones. The Beatles had a fourth Christmas chart-topper in 1967. Paul McCartney had yet another one in 1977 when Mull Of Kintyre / Girls School by his band Wings spent nine weeks at the top, becoming the first single to sell two million copies in the UK. McCartney’s Pipes Of Peace is generally considered to be a Christmas song - it is, after all, about the 1914 Christmas truce - but it didn’t get to number one until January 1984. Later in 1984, he recorded a message of support which was included in the 12” version of Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas.

As in the last two years, most of LadBaby’s sales are real sales rather than streams. This week, therefore, the biggest selling song is at number one. For the last two weeks, the best seller hasn’t even been in the top 100. As reported last week, Mental As Anything’s Live It Up topped the sales chart two weeks ago after Rangers fans downloaded it to mark their elevated position in Scottish football. Last week, it was the turn of a rock choir with their inferior version of Freiheit’s Keeping The Dream Alive. That, too, failed to make the top 100 in the Official Chart.

The original version of Keeping The Dream Alive remains magnificent, particularly the extended version with a lengthy instrumental featuring the London Symphony Orchestra and some Brian May-esque guitar work. Sadly, that version is not available on Spotify in the UK although it can be found on Youtube.

Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You slips to number two after a fortnight at number one and Wham’s Last Christmas is at three. Jess Glynne’s version of This Christmas is at number four.

At number five there is a song which is not very polite about the UK’s Prime Minister. Whatever you might think of the message, it would be very difficult to convince anyone that it has any musical merit whatsoever. Its lyrics are not exactly sophisticated either.

On Pogues singer Shane McGowan’s 63rd birthday, Fairytale Of New York is at number six. Happy birthday too to Dido and Annie Lennox.

This week’s surprise release came from Mr Edward Sheeran who released a new single, Afterglow, on Monday. The title has previously been used by Genesis for the final song on their 1976 album Wind And Wuthering from the days when they still sounded like Genesis. It was a great way to end an album that began in style with Eleventh Earl Of Mar and One For The Vine. Even allowing for the fact that it was released part way through the chart week, it might have been expected to enter rather higher than number 30. It is, of course, likely to go higher next week as most of the songs above it will drop out of the top forty.

Two versions of Let It Snow Let It Snow have been lurking in the lower reaches of the top 100 for the last couple months by Rat Packers Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. This week, the Dean Martin version climbs into the top forty at number 39. It made its first ever top forty appearance in the same position last year. Coldplay’s Christmas Lights, a number thirteen hit when it was released in 2010, returns at number 33. Kylie Minogue’s Santa Baby is at number 32, its highest ever chart position.

Liam Gallagher’s lovely All You’re Dreaming Of was released on vinyl last week. Those sales are enough to see it return to the top forty at number 24, eleven places above its previous peak.

Before LadBaby started on his run of Christmas releases, there was a battle at the top between Justin Bieber and an NHS Choir. Bieber had been at number one for the three weeks before Christmas with Love Yourself and was widely expected to stay there before the NHS Choir intervened with A Bridge Over You. The race was turned decisively in the choir’s favour when the Canadian encouraged his fans to buy their song. This year, Bieber and the NHS Choir have joined forces on a new version of his song Holy which reached number seven earlier this year. Surprisingly, the new version has not sent the song back into the top forty. By contrast, Bieber’s version of Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree enters the top ten at number eight.

As mentioned above, The Beatles had four Christmas number ones, including three in a row from 1963-65. They also had the Christmas number one album every year from 1963 to 1969 apart from 1966 when the Sound Of Music soundtrack topped the chart. It seems unlikely that any act will repeat The Beatles’ feat of three successive Christmas chart doubles at the top of both the singles and albums chart. Their 1 collection gave them a seventh Christmas number one album in 2000.

Paul McCartney’s first solo album, McCartney, was released in 1970 while The Beatles were in the process of breaking up. The album was recorded at his home and comes close to being a “pure” solo album with Linda McCartney’s backing vocals the only contribution from anyone else. The album peaked at number two.

After several more successful albums, including ones with Wings, he released McCartney II in 1980, once again with Linda’s vocals the only contribution from someone not called Paul McCartney. This time, he made it all the way to number one. The album included Wonderful Christmastime which has become a regular visitor to the top forty in recent years.

If ever there was a good time to go back to basics and record McCartney III, it really had to be this year. He should have spent much of the early part of the year preparing to headline Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary festival in June. Instead, he has written, performed and produced this new album. It enters at the top of the chart to give McCartney his first solo number one album since Flowers In The Dirt in 1989 and his eighth number one album away from The Beatles.

Taylor Swift’s Evermore slips to number two after seven days at the summit. Michael Ball and Alfie Boe are at number three with Christmas Together and Michael Buble’s Christmas album is at five. Sandwiched between them, at number four, is Neil Diamond and the London Symphony Orchestra’s Classic Diamonds collection.

Ask any fan of 1990s indie music to describe Shed Seven and there is a good chance that the answer will be along the lines of “a few really good songs and a whole load of other stuff”. You would probably also get a consensus that Chasing Rainbows and Going For Gold were the good songs. Beyond that, they might begin to struggle to name any more.

With that in mind, it is something of a surprise that the band are still going, notwithstanding a brief hiatus from 2003-07. Their loyal fans (however many of them there are) have been rewarded with a live album Another Night Another Town, named after a line in their song Disco Down and bringing together recordings from live dates in 2018 and 2019. Those loyal fans have taken the album into the top forty.

In keeping with tradition, there will be no chart commentary from me next week when much of the singles chart will comprise re-entries as most (if not all) of the Christmas songs drop out. The next commentary will appear on Friday 8 January 2021. That chart is also likely to have a number of re-entries as some of the older songs get their streaming ratio reset to the standard ratio.
Published on: 2020-12-25 by Suedehead2 || 1512 Views
Comments (6)
King Rollo
25 Dec 2020 - 16:11
BuzzJack Platinum Member
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Afterglow by Genesis can be heard at its best on their live album 'Three Sides Live' as the last of a medley of songs which starts with 'In The Cage' and continues with the instrumental sections of two songs before finishing with 'Afterglow'.
25 Dec 2020 - 16:22
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I've got a copy of Three Sides Live somewhere!
26 Dec 2020 - 8:45
BuzzJack Platinum Member
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LadBaby at least gives the 21st century plenty of material to prove that the charts aren't any better than they were when novelty songs popped in during the 20th century.... laugh.gif

26 Dec 2020 - 15:16
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Very true!
27 Dec 2020 - 19:19
BuzzJack Platinum Member
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If you put together the various foodstuffs mentioned in the titles of songs in the iTunes top forty over the course of the week (sausage rolls, garlic bread, apricots, a sweet) you might be able to rustle up a substantial, albeit rather weird, meal.

I think you might have liked the Garlic Bread song Suedehead, it certainly was my favourite of the various new songs on the iTunes chart on Christmas week. smile.gif
28 Dec 2020 - 13:16
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I hadn't actually heard Garlic Bread ohmy.gif I have now, and it is certainly better than most songs of its type!
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