It’s Christmastime, which means cosy cocoa, sparkling lights, and classic holiday tunes. One song, Last Christmas by Wham! has been a favourite for almost forty years, winning millions of fans. In 2023, this popular song was the number-one Christmas song, a big deal in the music business. Join us as we explore the fun world of Christmas hits, the songs that came before them, and what makes a great Christmas song.
Every year in the UK, music lovers and musicians look forward to the competition for the top Christmas song. Although there was a lot of competition in 2023, Wham’s! Last Christmas jingle was the clear winner. When this timeless song debuted in 1984, Band-Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” always won. Thus far
Featured in the 2023 Christmas chart were the top five contenders:
1. The Last Christmas, Wham!
3. Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You 2. Sam Ryder – You’re Christmas To Me 3.
4. Stick Season by Noah Kahan 5. Ed Sheeran and Elton John: Joyful Holiday Season
Remarkably, LadBaby, a charity effort, has been the top-charting act for Christmas for the last five years with its fundraising tracks with culinary themes. But in 2023, they withdrew from the competition, leaving a wide open path for other performers.
The Christmas Triumph of Wham!
Andrew Ridgeley, one half of Wham!, remarked, “It’s marvellous and humbling to have got there,” after learning that “Last Christmas” had taken the top place. He said his musical accomplice, the late George Michael, had long hoped to have a Christmas number-one hit.
The unexpected source of inspiration for Last Christmas was George Michael. When it hit, he was watching a football game on TV at his parents’ home in Hertfordshire. He ran upstairs to his little four-track studio and returned an hour later, giddy with anticipation. Ridgeley remembers it. It was the epitome of a beautiful Christmas film. It was an incredible moment.
Michael decorated the Advision Studios in London with Christmas decorations for the song’s recording in mid-August to create the right atmosphere. One of Ridgeley’s mother’s friends cried when she heard it played for their family because it reminded her of a romantic Christmas song.
The charming, corny music video for Last Christmas was shot in Switzerland and included model Kathy Hill and Pepsi and Shirlie, who were supporting vocalists for Wham. It was the last time George Michael would be seen without his signature designer stubble, which made it much more noteworthy.
With a lifetime total of 5.34 million chart units, including streaming and sales, Last Christmas has solidified its position as the third-biggest single in the UK after years of being denied the number one slot.
Even though Wham! They finally won but had to contend with serious opposition in 2023. With his infectious song You’re Christmas To Me, Sam Ryder was the closest competitor to Wham. The song gained a lot of momentum from the massive retailer Amazon and was included in their Christmas playlists when it was commissioned for the soundtrack of Your Christmas Or Mine 2.
Even with a vigorous PR campaign that saw Ryder touring the nation in a Sam-ta Grotto bus, he could not wholly overtake Last Christmas. He was optimistic, however, remarking, Christmas number two, isn’t that bonkers?
Reissued on vinyl to honour leader Shane MacGowan’s demise, Fairytale of New York, another beloved song by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, made a serious push for the top spot. It finished in sixth place despite having solid sales.
Cher’s Chart Position
Cher left her imprint during this festive chart battle with her Christmas hit, DJ Play A Christmas Song. The 77-year-old music icon accomplished a remarkable milestone by becoming the first female performer to have a Top 40 impact with brand-new songs in seven decades. She beat Shirley Bassey to become the chart’s oldest solo female artist.
The Christmas Number One Announcement
As always, the 2023 Christmas top tune was revealed at 4 PM on Friday, December 22, 2023. Last Christmas by Wham! It became the most-played Christmas song in history five years after George Michael died in 2016 and more than 40 years after its first release.
Other famous artists who vied for the 2023 Christmas top spot were Mariah Carey, Sam Ryder of Eurovision, and The Pogues. However, Last Christmas won over the British people with its classic charm this holiday season.
The Evolution of Popular Christmas Songs
Christmas number-one singles in the UK span several decades and represent diverse musical styles and sentiments. Musicians from many walks of life compete annually for the top spot on the charts. There are songs by them that become classics almost immediately and others that fade into obscurity. Find out which Christmas songs are the most beloved ones ever made.
Over the first years of the UK singles chart, it was typical for popular songs or traditional melodies to reach the top in the charts over Christmas. White Christmas by Bing Crosby is one of the first and most long-lasting songs to go number one during Christmas. It achieved significant popularity in 1942. Its timeless aesthetic has ensured its inclusion in Christmas festivities for several decades.
Band-Aid’s 1984 song Do They Know It’s Christmas? Served as a fundraiser for Ethiopian famine help. It was meant to raise money for aid for the Ethiopian famine. Included several renowned British and Irish artists. Due to its uplifting message of unity and hope, the song became a beloved Christmas staple.
During this time, the British people began to appreciate emotional music. The love and introspection-themed Mistletoe and Wine (1988) by Cliff Richard and I Will Always Love You (1992) by Whitney Houston brought a new Christmas magic.
At the turn of the century, the Christmas charts included music from many genres. Artists like Robbie Williams and Girls Aloud battled it out for first place with infectiously upbeat pop tunes. Internet campaigns in 2009 helped Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the Name reach No. 1 on the Christmas list, shattering the reign of reality show winners as the most popular holiday songs.
Charity singles have a lasting impact, as seen by LadBaby’s food-themed fundraising songs that reached number one at Christmas from 2018 to 2022. Not only were these lively tunes entertaining, but they also helped out charitable causes.
Christmas number one hits in the UK throughout the years reflect the season’s enduring joy and the music industry’s dynamic nature. From heartfelt ballads to catchy rock anthems and traditional carols, these songs reflect the many tastes and emotions of the British people.
We loved Wham’s Last Christmas! Becoming the 2023 Christmas number one shows how music can bring people together, bring back memories, and spread happiness at this time of year. Let the magic of Christmas music bring you joy and comfort, no matter what kind you like—an old favourite or the newest hit.