Guest Post by Jo of A Rose Tinted World

Growing up in the 80s in the UK, Sunday evenings used to mean one thing for me – the new pop chart. The charts here in the UK were a real tradition. Many a youngster would tune in to Radio One to hear the new number one each week. (And often surreptitiously record it with a tape recorder!) But one chart was more excitedly anticipated than any other in the year. The Christmas number one in the charts was hotly contested and always eagerly awaited. The volume of record sales used to peak each year for the festive season, so it was very lucrative to reach this pinnacle. With a large dose of nostalgia, here is a reminder of some Christmas number ones through the years.

Christmas Number Ones Through The Years

We all have our favourite decade for music. And so the 80s Christmas music will always hold a strong place in my heart. But what other gems can we find when looking through the Christmas music archives? Decade by decade let me take you back some of the best Christmas number ones of the time.

A Very 60s Christmas

In the decade of mini skirts and mods, it is not surprising that one group dominated the British Christmas charts. The Beatles actually had four Christmas number ones this decade. They even held both the Christmas number one AND the number two slots for two of those years. None of their Christmas hits had particularly festive themes, so here is “Hello, Goodbye”

Other number ones this decade include:
  • Elvis Presley – “Return To Sender”
  • Tom Jones – “Green Green Grass Of Home”
  • The Scaffold – “Lily The Pink”

A Very 70s Christmas

The 70s started to get glam. Glitter was in, boots were platform, flares were ultra wide. In an age of glam rock, the glitz of Christmas did not disappoint. And Christmas was heavily featured in the themes, from Slade to Boney M. However, mid decade, one extra long song managed to dominate the Christmas chart, and it wasn’t even particularly festive. Here is Queen and “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Other number ones this decade include:
  • Slade – “Merry Christmas Everybody”
  • Mud – “Lonely This Christmas”
  • Wings – “Mull Of Kintyre

A Very 80s Christmas

Big hair, bigger shoulder pads, yuppies and filofaxes. Yes, the 80s was definitely a bit of a fashion disaster. But it was the age when we discovered that music could also do so much good in the world. Through the medium of Band-Aid and Live Aid, relief money was raised and was pledged to some of the poorest in the world. So this has to be the featured Christmas single this decade. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid.

Other number ones this decade include:
  • Renee and Renato – “Save Your Love”
  • The Flying Pickets – “Only You’ 
  • Cliff Richard – “Mistletoe And Wine”

A Very 90s Christmas

The 90s was very much the decade of the novelty Christmas single. Who could forget “Mr Blobby” and “Bob the Builder” (which was the 2000 Christmas number one)  But the decade of Christmas number ones was totally dominated by one group, who had three in a row – The Spice Girls. And here is the first – “2 Become 1”.

Other number ones this decade include:
  • Whitney Houston – “I Will Always Love You”
  • Michael Jackson – “Earth Song”
  • Westlife – “I Have A Dream”

A Very Noughties Christmas

The decade after the millennium saw a new breed of Christmas number one. The reality show winner’s song. The start of the decade brought us singing contests such as Pop Idol and Popstars: The Rivals. Girls Aloud emerged as winners of Popstars, and immediately their debut single became the Christmas number one that year. Simon Cowell realised that this was a winning formula, and so when X-factor started, the end of the series always coincided with Christmas, meaning that the winners were pretty much guaranteed the hallowed spot at the top of the Christmas charts. Here is Leona Lewis with “A Moment Like This”.

However, in 2009 there was a bit of a backlash. So Joe McElderry was denied the top spot by a reissued Rage Against The Machine single.

Other number ones this decade include:

  • Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman – “Something Stupid”
  • Band Aid 20 – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”
  • Alexandra Burke – “Hallelujah”
Christmas In The Twenty-Tens

The trend of X-factor Christmas number ones did carry on into the current decade. But we’ve also seen a large resurgence of charity singles getting to the top spot over the last 10 years. With songs from The Military Wives, The Justice Collective and the NHS choir, it definitely has been a reminder that Christmas is a time for goodwill and charity to your neighbour. 

And last year, the top spot even went to a blogger! LadBaby released his charity single for Christmas, a parody cover of “We Built This City”

So, who will be number one this year? And what does the next 10 years of Christmas number ones hold? Whatever happens, I hope that you have enjoyed my nostalgic tour of Christmas music through the years. Do you have your favourite Christmas number one and was it included?

About the Author

A Rose Tinted World is a parenting, sewing and lifestyle blog by Jo Boyne. After 22 years of being a dentist, Jo had her first child in her mid forties, and decided to take a bit of a career break. She discovered a new love of sewing, and decided to start a blog about all her experiences. You can find her over on her