Label volunteer, Leah Langley, tells us about how Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’ reached Number One for the first time, becoming the first Number One 2021.
January 1st, 2021 saw the first UK Number One of the year being announced, and much to everyone’s surprise, it was WHAM!’s ‘Last Christmas’ which topped the chart for the first time ever. After over 9.2 million streams in the week leading up to the New Year, the 36-year-old song finally reached the top spot. When it was originally released in December 1984, it was beaten to the top spot by Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’. The song, before it reached Number One, was the UK’s biggest-selling single to have never reached Number One after amassing 1.9 million sales across its lifetime (Official Charts Company). It now claims a new record for taking the longest time to reach Number One
WHAM! was formed by long-time friends, Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael in 1981. They sold over 30 million records as a band before splitting in 1986, with George expressing a desire to make music that was more mature. Following the tragic death of George Michael, on Christmas Day 2016, fans had previously tried to get the song to Number One in 2017 to mark the first anniversary of his death. Despite the song entering the Top 10, it only managed to reach Number Two as it was beaten by Ed Sheeran’s ‘Perfect.’ Following the news, Andrew Ridgeley took to Twitter to express his delight and stated that he was “somewhat amazed,” and said that, “It’s a fitting tribute 2 George’s songwriting genius and 1 of which he would’ve been immensely proud & utterly thrilled.”
Last Christmas was not the first festive classic to enter the charts, as Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You,’ claimed Number One on December 26th, 26 years after its original release. There had been 28 festive tracks featured in the Top 40 over the weeks of December, with many songs reaching new peaks. With the chaos of 2020, it seems that people were quick to revert to the classics to get them through the festive period which felt unfamiliar this time around as things were so different to previous years. Many people were quick to take to social media and express their delight that the song was finally getting the recognition it deserves with many sharing the joy that the Christmas tunes were bringing to their families. In a time of pure uncertainty, the festive songs had been able to unite people once more.
Header designed by Christos Leo Alamaniotis – Assistant Head of Design
Article Edited by Matthew Rousou – Label Music Editor