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The Christmas chart invasion gathers pace
Eight more old Christmas songs enter the top forty while Taylor Swift remains at number one. There is a battle at the top of the albums chart between artists born over 50 years apart.

Taylor Swift continues her reign at the top of the singles chart. The albums chart sees a battle between Stormzy and Cliff Richard.

Taylor Swift remains at number one in the singles chart with Anti-Hero getting a sixth week at the top. It is the fourth single to get at least six weeks at number one this year. The three others all went on to get at least one more week atop the chart.

After five weeks of a static top two, there is finally a change this week. Streams of Sam Smith and Kim Petrasís Unholy have been in decline for three weeks. That, coupled with the fact that the song has been in the chart for ten weeks, means that it is on the Accelerated Chart Ratio whereby its streams are halved in value. As a result, it has dropped out of the top ten. The main beneficiary is Meghan Trainorís latest rubbish Made You Look.

Messy In Heaven by Venbee and Goddard climbs two places to number three. Oliver Tree and Robin Schulz remain at number four with Miss You. Anne-Marie and Aitch move up[ one place to number five with Psycho. The biggest climb of the week is the 25-place advance for Escapism by RAYE and 070 Shake to number six.

Mariah Carey and Wham both move into the top ten. All I Want For Christmas Is You is at number eight; Last Christmas is at nine. Last Christmas is the first song in the history of the UK singles chart to have spent at least one week in each position in the top ten, something it has taken nearly forty years to achieve.

All I Want For Christmas Is You gains its 35th week in the top ten, drawing level with Frankie Laineís I Believe as the longest-running top ten hit in UK chart history. The latter song, though, spent 35 consecutive weeks in the top ten, a record unlikely ever to be broken under current chart rules.

The takeover of the chart by old festive songs is now well and truly underway with a further eight of them entering this week. The highest of them, at number eighteen, is Brenda Leeís 1962 release Rocking Around The Christmas Tree. The performance of this song is one of several examples of how the December charts are influenced by American-curated playlists. These lists tend to be dominated by American releases with the British classics (such as Slade and Wizzard) either omitted altogether or given slots well down the list. Leeís song first returned to the top forty in 2016 and has been peaking steadily higher ever since. Last Christmas it re-entered the top ten for the first time since its initial chart run, even reaching a new peak of number five.
Michael Bubleís Itís Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, released in 2011 but not a top forty hit until 2016, is at number twenty. This is not the only one of this weekís crop to have performed modestly on its original release. Ariana Grandeís Santa Tell Me spent a few weeks at the bottom end of the top 100 when its parent album was released in 2014. It made its top forty debut three years later and, so far, has a peak position of number eleven, reached in 2020. It is currently at number 28.

Last year, Santa Tell Me was one of two festive hits for Ariana Grande. The other was Santa Canít You Hear Me, a duet with Kelly Clarkson. She too had her own hit in the form of Underneath The Tree, a number 30 hit in 2013. It has returned to the top forty every year since 2015, reaching the top twenty in each of the last two years. It is at number 31 this week.

The big success story of the Christmas streaming era has been Bobby Helmsí Jingle Bell Rock. It was released in 1957 but failed to reach the chart which was only a top thirty at the time. It finally entered the chart sixty years later when it reached the dizzy heights of number 71. It made its top forty debut in 2019, a fact that went unreported here as it happened in the immediate post-Christmas chart for which I generally donít produce a commentary. This year it makes its earliest top forty entry, at number 36. Will it beat last Christmasís peak of number sixteen?

There are still some British songs re-entering this week. The highest of them, at number 26, is Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin Stevens. As he was at number 69 last week, he just about managed to be the first Welsh act ever to have a chart hit while Wales were in a FIFA World Cup finals tournament. When Merry Christmas Everyone was released in 1985 (delayed for a year to avoid competing against Band Aid), it topped the chart and was Stevensí fourteenth top ten single. He only had one more top ten hit after that - What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For in 1987.

The grand-daddy of charity songs, Band Aidís Do They Know Itís Christmas is back at number 34. We are a mere two years away from finding out whether it is going to get yet another revamp for its fortieth anniversary. The under-performance of the last version suggests that a further reworking might be a mistake.

For several years after downloads were first included in the chart, the main festive song battle was between Mariah Carey and the magnificent Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl. The contrasting fortunes of the two songs in recent years is another reflection of the dominance of those American playlists. It is at number thirty this week, well behind Careyís effort.

Elton John and Ed Sheeranís 2021 offering Merry Christmas leaps 25 places to number fifteen.

In recent years, the Official Charts Company (OCC) has got rather better at trying to raise the profile of the charts with regular press releases. Not all of them actually generate a story anywhere other than on their own website and in chart forums, but this week saw one of the exceptions with a story about the battle at the top of the albums chart. The factor that made it particularly newsworthy was the contrast between the two acts involved - Stormzy and Cliff Richard.

Cliff Richard has been around for almost as long as the charts have existed in the UK. He made his debut with Move It in 1958, just six years after the first UK singles chart. Stormzyís first appearance in the chart was in 2015 by which time the so-called Peter Pan of Pop was 74. Richard released his first album, Cliff, in 1959 and it reached number four. He has had at least one top ten album every decade since then and his latest release, Christmas With Cliff, extends that run to a remarkable eighth decade. It includes his versions of two songs in the top forty this week - Jingle Bell Rock and Rockiní Around The Christmas Tree. Thankfully, he has left Fairytale Of New York well alone.

While Christmas With Cliff is Cliff Richardís 46th studio album, Stormzy is only on his third although, to be fair to him, he would have needed to release more than three albums every two years since he learned to talk to have matched Richardís total. This Is What I Mean follows Gang Signs And Prayer (2017) and Heavy Is The Head (2019), both of which topped the chart. As usual the list of musicians contributing to the album is an extensive one. The list this time includes, on viola, Laurie Anderson, best known for her brilliantly odd 1981 hit O Superman.

When all the sales, streams and estimated streams had been tallied, the winner of this battle of the generations was Stormzy who gets his third number one album. The title track from the album enters the singles chart at number 32. The snoozefest that is Firebabe is at number eleven. Hide And Seek, whose main virtue is that it isnít quite as dull as Firebabe, can be found at seven. Christmas With Cliff is at number two.

Taylor Swift is at number three with Midnights. Andrea, Matteo and Virginia Bocelliís Family Christmas is at number four. Bruce Springsteenís Only The Strong Survive survives for a third week in the top five, at number five.

Dermott Kennedyís Sonder tumbles to number seventeen after a week at number one.

In their long chart career, Crawley band The Cure have only had three top ten singles and two of them - High and the marvellous Friday Iím In Love - came from the same album, 1992ís Wish. Remixes of both of those songs are among the additional tracks on the deluxe version of the album released to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The original release was the bandís only number one; this version is at number nine.

Christmas with Aled (Jones) and Russell (Wtason) returns to the top forty at number 29.

While Peter Green, who died in 2020, is generally regarded as the principal founder of Fleetwood Mac, it was to other members, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, who gave the band their name. They first enjoyed chart success in the 1960s with hits including their only UK number one single Albatross.

Shortly after the success of Albatross Peter Green left the band (he returned briefly in 1971) and John McVie brought in his then wife Christine. She left and rejoined the band several times over the following 52 years.

At the time of Albatross, Fleetwood Mac were primarily a blues band. However, by the time of their most successful album, 1977ís Rumours, their sound had evolved, partly because of the final departure of Peter Green several years before. While some bands would have been tempted to follow up an album as successful as Rumours with more of the same, Fleetwood Mac released the double-album Tusk, a very different collection.They continued to evolve over the following decades.

For all its success as an album, Rumours didnít spawn any major hit singles. Three singles from the album reached the top forty, but none of them even cracked the top twenty. One of those top forty singles was Donít Stop, written by Christine McVie who died this week aged 79. Her other contributions as a songwriter included Everywhere and Little Lies.

Most additional streams of Fleetwood Macís music will have been yesterday (Thursday), the day after Christine McVieís death was announced. For reasons which remain unexplained, most streaming companies provide data to the OCC over 24 hours after the end of each day. The bulk of those extra streams, therefore, will not have been included in the calculations for this weekís charts. Any additional sales yesterday, on the other hand, will have been included.

Even without the additional streaming data Rumours jumps eighteen places to return to the top forty at number 24, one place behind their 50 Years - Donít Stop compilation.
Published on: 2022-12-02 by Suedehead2 || 875 Views
Comments (1)
2 Dec 2022 - 19:53
BuzzJack Legend
Group: Moderator
Posts: 20,750
Member No.: 17,376
Joined: 18 Jul 2012 - 10:05
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Bloody american streaming xmas creations:o Pretty sure if they decided to feature showaddywaddys hey mr christmas near the top end of the streaming list it would miraculously chart again for the first time. Its better than half the usual suspects! I suspect they could curate a special remix of someone breaking wind with some sleigh bells on and that would chart too:teresa:
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