Wham!’s Christmas classic Last Christmas has scooped the UK Christmas number one for the first time ever.
The pop tune has seen off competition from former Eurovision Song Contest runner-up Sam Ryder, whose festive offering You’re Christmas To Me battled the group’s iconic tune, alongside Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You which was also in the running.
Last Christmas has hit the number one spot in the UK on several occasions, including for the previous two weeks, but has never scooped the top prize of being top of the charts for Christmas Day.
For several decades the song, by pop duo George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, was known as the UK’s best-selling single to have never reached number one, until January 2021 when it finally landed the top spot.
The race was blown wide open when YouTuber LadBaby, who have been number one for the past five years with hits such as I Love Sausage Rolls and Sausage Rolls for Everyone featuring Elton John and Ed Sheeran, decided not to enter this year.
The final chart was announced on Friday evening after Wham! had led the way, with physical sales counting for more than streams in the chart’s rankings, but newer songs such as Ryder’s carrying more weight in terms of moving up the list.
Wham! and The Pogues classic Fairytale of New York were both been reissued on vinyl in the lead up to this week, while Ryder’s song is available to buy on CD.
Following the death of Pogues frontman Shane McGowan, an online campaign looked to get the 1988 Christmas classic to number one with MacGowan’s wife Victoria Mary Clarke claiming the ballad “should be the Christmas number one, it absolutely should. I’m very much in favour of that”.
She added: “I don’t think [getting to number one] was ever that important to him, because I think that he really appreciated the fact that so many people love it and it means so much to so many people, and being number one isn’t really all about being appreciated.”
The Rolling Stones claimed the official Christmas number one album for 2023 with their Hackney Diamonds record. It first topped the album charts in October upon its release.
Michael Bublé’s Christmas album took the Christmas runner-up spot, while Cher’s Christmas selection making the top five as a new arrival.
Wham! first released their debut Fantastic in 1983 which peaked at number one before their second album Make It Big a year later also reached the top spot.
The duo had number-one single success between 1984 and 1986, with tracks including I’m Your Man, Freedom and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, after their festive track Last Christmas was beaten to the top spot by Band Aid’s charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas?. The Wham! song five weeks at number two.
After chart-topping single The Edge Of Heaven was released in 1986, they decided to bow out at the top, commemorating their partnership with one final performance.
The band staged a farewell gig at London’s Wembley Stadium on June 28 1986, where they said goodbye to their fans and each other.
They were joined on stage by guests including Sir Elton John and Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon.
Michael fully established his solo career in 1987, jumping straight to number one with his first solo studio album, Faith.
This was followed by Listen Without Prejudice Volume 1 in 1990, Older in 1996, Songs From The Last Century in 1999 and Patience in 2004.
All of his albums reached the top spot in the charts, with the exception of Songs From The Last Century, which claimed the number two position.
His first solo single, Careless Whisper, made number one across the globe after its release in 1984.
Other hit solo singles include Faith, Freedom! ’90 and Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.
Michael, whose real name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, achieved seven number one singles in the UK as well as collaborating with the likes of Aretha Franklin and Sir Elton.
In later years, the singer made headlines when he was found in possession of drugs and in 2010 he pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis and driving under the influence of drugs after crashing his Range Rover into a north London shop.
The singer died aged 53 on Christmas Day in 2016 and a post-mortem examination found he had died from heart disease and a build-up of fat in his liver.
A 90-minute film about Wham! was released on Netflix earlier this year exploring how the band formed and why it ended.
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