Christmas number one was the wanted accolade in UK music the nineties. Nuts to the Mercury Music Prize, you can even keep your BRITs, being top of the charts when Santa came to town was the big one.
Over the last few years though, the importance of getting Christmas number one has been reduced to such a scale, that less than a week before the big day, the battle hasn’t even been mentioned.
It’s a far cry from the days when you couldn’t move for the publicity surrounding the Christmas number one spot.
A lot of this reduction has to be attributed to the rise of The X Factor. For years, the show always concluded just at the right time for the winners single to hit the charts and take over the top spot for Christmas.
This happened for four years straight until a growing backlash against the inevitably of it all became so big that it fuelled Rage Against The Machine to number one, beating X Factor winner Joe McElderry to the become the festive chart topper.
While Matt Cardle got top spot the year after, the reality show’s winner was once again beaten the year after in the form of The Military Wives, whose choir effort easily stole Little Mix’s thunder.
The X Factor has had issues this year with viewing figures, with some even calling the show in crisis, but the animosity against the single to come out at the end of it had begun even before Joe McElderry suffered its wrath.
In the past the Christmas number one was a badge of honour for pop bands, who competed to see if they could be on top of the podium on the biggest week of the year for music sales. That The Spice Girls managed it three years in a row was one of their proudest achievements.
It was even a way that some smaller artists gained glory, as with Michael Andrews and Gary Jules, whose cover of the song Mad World scored a surprise victory.
Now though, it’s the preserve of charity songs, which will fight amongst themselves for their respective causes. While we’ll only know next week who’ll be wearing the crown, we’re not expecting anything like the mad scramble that we used to get.
It’s a real shame that one of the best set pieces in music has really lost its allure, as it always made for compelling viewing.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith