Getting to the Christmas number one spot in the UK charts has always been a big deal. This year there has been plenty of rivalry again in the lead-up to the formal announcement. Old favourites, sentimental memories, and charity songs were all vying for contention.
The UK charts 2023 Christmas number one has finally been confirmed as “Last Christmas” by Wham. The song was first released 39 years ago and has reached number one previously, but never in the final Christmas week. When first released back in 1984 as a double A-side single with “Everything She Wants” the record was beaten to the top by Band Aid and the huge charity hit “Do They Know It’s Christmas”.
Wham’s hit written by George Michael gets a boost at this time of year from seasonal streaming and downloading of songs. The Official Charts Company noted that the song had been streamed over 13.3 million times in just the last seven days. Another reason for the popularity, apart from the great song itself, is in memory of writer and singer George Michael who passed away on Christmas Day in 2016.
A tight race to the Christmas top of the charts
There were several contenders for the top position this year. “Fairytale of New York” was expected to feature highly after the sad death of singer and writer Shane McGowan recently. The song reached number six this week. There was a huge effort by Sam Ryder to take the top spot with “You’re Christmas To Me”. Streaming and downloads are clearly important and Ryder amazingly came in second place despite his song only being available on Amazon Music and not via the big-hitting services of Spotify or Apple Music.
In the end, it’s a triumph and first Christmas number one for Wham. It’s become the third-ever biggest hit in the UK. George Michael was said to be mildly annoyed that his top hit prior to his death was a Christmas song. He’d surely be delighted with its success this year and with his early decision for all his royalties from it to be paid to charity. It’s a song that just keeps giving!
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