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An almost Holy Grail-like annual accolade as far as the UK singles chart is concerned, awarded to whatever song happens to be at the top of the charts in the same week as Christmas Day. Consequently, for the more teenybopper, mainstream end of the recording industry, it's a major achievement while for the rest of us means that the end of the year is, more than any other time, guaranteed to see the release of god-awful, BBC-funded, children's novelty songs (see Bob The Builder, Tweenies and Mr. Blobby) and the inevitable, sickly-sweet 'Merry Christmas' number from Cliff Richard.

And so, every year, the tabloids fill precious column inches with updates on the 'Race for Christmas Number One', record shops like HMV are quick to erect displays for their predictions, and William Hill offer odds for the more gamble-hungry record buyers to have a flutter on. With all the excitement and tension involved it's little surprise to learn that, come the beginning of January, people no longer care.

2009: Fed up with the X-Factor dominance of the Christmas number one spot, husband and wife Jon and Tracy Morter started a Facebook campaign to get Killing In The Name by Rage Against The Machine at the top spot instead. After perhaps the most heated chart race in recent times, Rage Against The Machine won by about 50,000 copies sold and finally topppled Simon Cowell's strangehold on the holiday top spot.

On a personal note, I was all ready to leave this node alone this year, never really interested in the result and especially reticent to update it with the same bland X Factor winner being guaranteed to "win". But I'm, for once, actually exceptionally happy to see one of my all-time favourite songs win against the odds. And also because it was a basic protest that got it there which happily aligns with what Rage Against The Machine have always been about, if you raise your voice about something and be counted, no matter how trivial, you will get what you want. Zach de la Rocha in a Radio 1 phone interview when the chart was announced said that a "large portion" of the proceeds from the sales would be given to the homeless charity Shelter. It is a VERY merry Christmas. *glee!*.

Christmas Number One Singles, 1970-present.

2009: Rage Against The Machine: Killing In The Name (see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8423340.stm)
2008: Alexandra Burke: Hallelijah (see: X Factor)
2007: Leon Jackson: When You Believe (see: X Factor)
2006: Leona Lewis: A Moment like This (see: X Factor)
2005: Shayne Ward: That's My Goal
2004: Band Aid 20: Do They Know It's Christmas?
2003: Michael Andrews feat. Gary Jules: Mad World (see: Donnie Darko)
2002: Girls Aloud: Sound Of The Underground (see Pop Idols: The Rivals)
2001: Robbie Williams / Nicole Kidman: Somethin' Stupid
2000: Bob The Builder: Can We Fix It?

1999: Westlife: I Have A Dream
1998: Spice Girls: Goodbye
1997: Spice Girls: Too Much
1996: Dunblane: Knockin' On Heavens Door
1995: Michael Jackson: Earth Song
1994: East 17: Stay Another Day
1993: Mr. Blobby: Mr. Blobby
1992: Whitney Houston: I Will Always Love You
1991: Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody
1990: Vanilla Ice: Ice Ice Baby

1989: Band Aid 2: Do They Know It's Christmas?
1988: Cliff Richard: Mistletoe and Wine
1987: Pet Shop Boys: Always On My Mind
1986: The Housemartins: Caravan Of Love
1985: Whitney Houston: Saving All My Love For You
1984: Band Aid: Do They Know It's Christmas?
1983: The Flying Pickets: Only You
1982: Rennee & Renato: Save Your Love
1981: Human League: Don't You Want Me
1980: John Lennon: (Just Like) Starting Over

1979: Pink Floyd: Another Brick In The Wall Part 2
1978: Boney M: Mary's Boy Child
1977: Wings: Mull Of Kintyre
1976: Johnny Mathis: When A Child Is Born
1975: Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody
1974: Mud: Lonely This Christmas
1973: Slade: Merry Xmas Everybody
1972: Little Jimmy Osmond: Long Haired Lover From Liverpool
1971: Benny Hill: Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West)
1970: Dave Edmunds: I Hear You Knocking

chart information sources:

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