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Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’ Finally Scores the U.K. Christmas Number One, 39 Years Later

‘Tis the season for yuletide classics of yesteryear to finally reach the top spot on the charts as Wham!‘s “Last Christmas” was awarded the U.K.’s Christmas Number One this week, 39 years after the song’s release.

The hotly contested Christmas Number One annually measures a single’s popularity in the U.K. in the week prior to Christmas, with classic rockers, pop singers, and festive tracks like Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” winning in decades past. In recent years, the Christmas Number One single has been dominated by reality competition singers, YouTubers, charity singles, and Ed Sheeran (although Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” hijacked the race in 2009). 

However, just as Brenda Lee found herself atop the Hot 100 with “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” 65 years after that single’s release, Wham!’s “Last Christmas” finally reached the top spot, nearly 40 years after “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (which also featured George Michael) kept it from Number One in Christmas 1984. “Last Christmas” also made a push for the top spot in 2022, only to finish as the Christmas Number Two again.

Michael’s Wham! band mate Andrew Ridgeley said in a statement following the feat (via The Guardian), “George would be beside himself [that] after all of these years, [we’ve] finally obtained Christmas No 1. Yog [George] said that he wrote ‘Last Christmas’ with the intention of writing a Christmas No 1. It’s mission accomplished!”

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Ridgeley continued, “It was a huge disappointment to us both when it didn’t reach No 1 [in 1984] because, in our opinion, it was nailed-on… Thwarted for many years subsequent to that – the perennial bridesmaid – over recent years it seems it’s become part of the fabric of Christmas for a lot of people.”

The Eighties duo beat out Sam Ryder’s “You’re Christmas To Me” (the Christmas Number Two), Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” and Noah Kahan’s “Stick Season” for the honors. Although a valiant effort was made to get the Pogues’ “Fairytale in New York” atop the charts following the death of singer Shane MacGowan, that single — the Christmas Number Two in 1987 — only reached Number Six this week.

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