December 22nd, 2017

Blue Red

65 years of UK Christmas No1s - 1994

East 17 - Stay Another Day
1994


"Stay Another Day" is a 1994 pop song recorded by British boy band East 17. It was released in late 1994 and became their only number one on the UK Singles Chart, becoming the Christmas number one of 1994, and also topped the charts in Sweden, Ireland and Denmark. To this day, it remains their biggest hit.

"Stay Another Day" was the third single from East 17's second album Steam, following up "Around The World" and the album's title track. It was their first ballad, written by the band's lead songwriter Tony Mortimer and said to be about his brother Ollie, who committed suicide. Mortimer was aided in the composition by his co-manager Rob Kean and songwriter Dominic Hawken, who had once been Boy George's keyboard player. Christmas bells were included towards the end of the song to appeal to the lucrative Christmas singles market. The most familiar arrangement is unusual among pop records in that it features almost no drums, apart from some timpani during the introduction to and towards the end of the track.

Two videos were made for the song. One features the band singing the song in a studio whilst the other video shows the band in a black background wearing white furry parkas and black leather jackets and features a woman wearing a long dress and veil whilst it snows. The latter video is shown usually around Christmas.

In November 1994, "Stay Another Day" entered at number seven on the UK Singles Chart. The following week it climbed to its peak of number one on the chart, where it remained for 5 weeks, thus becoming the 1994 Christmas number-one and Britain's third best-selling single of 1994.

It was also the 4th biggest selling boyband single of the 90s in the United Kingdom and has sold 910,000 copies and has received a Platinum sales status certification. Tony Mortimer won an Ivor Novello songwriting award for this song. The single was also nominated for 'Best Single' at the Brit Awards in 1995.



The Charity Radio station show where I tried to collect all the Christmas no1s in the month happened in 1993 so from here onwards I have bought the Christmas no1s every year, just after New Year when the singles have still been in the charts.

I can never manage to listen to this song for more than about 30 secs!! Brian and the other the members of East 17 (but mostly Brian) sing words spelt with a 'TH' pronounced 'F'!!!! If there is one thing that annoys me it's people saying 'I Fink' instead of 'I Think' etc. It really bugs me!!! It's unfortunate that the video of the song has a close up of Brians face just as he sings about 'Frowing it all away'! I can't avoid noticing it everytime!!

End of moan! LOL!
Blue Red

65 years of UK Christmas No1s - 1995

Michael Jackson - Earth Song
1995


"Earth Song" is the third single from Michael Jackson's album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I.  It is a ballad that incorporates elements of blues, gospel and opera. Jackson had a long-standing history of releasing socially conscious material such as "We Are the World", "Man in the Mirror" and "Heal the World". However, "Earth Song" was the first that overtly dealt with the environment and animal welfare. "Earth Song" was made for the "Dangerous" album but it failed to make the album. The song was written and composed by Jackson; the task of production was split between Jackson, David Foster and Bill Bottrell.

Jackson's intent was to create a song that was lyrically deep yet melodically simple, so the whole world, particularly non-English-speaking fans, could sing along. He conceptualized a song that had an emotional message."Earth Song" is a ballad that incorporates elements of blues, gospel and opera. In the socially conscious track, Jackson issues a plea to God about problems ranging from war to endangered animals.

"Earth Song" remains Jackson's best-selling single in the United Kingdom, where it sold 1.16 million copies as of November 2012. It debuted at number one, where it remained for six weeks throughout December 1995, beating the U2/Brian Eno project Passengers in competition to win the Christmas number one spot, and into the new year. During its stay at number one, "Earth Song" kept the first single released by The Beatles in 25 years, "Free as a Bird", off the number one position.

The song also took the number one position in Spain and Switzerland, peaking within the top five in almost every European state. In Germany, it was Jackson's first single to reach No. 1 of the German Singles Chart and by staying on the pole position for 5 consecutive weeks, it's also his most successful single there. Thanks to this, the song is the 10th most successful pop hymn ever in that country.

The song was only released to radio in the U.S., appearing on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. In 2006, "Earth Song" reached number 55 on the European Hot 100 Singles chart, following the Visionary: The Video Singles campaign, whereby 20 of Jackson's hit singles from the 1980s–1990s were reissued in several European countries.

"Earth Song" was accompanied by a lavish music video directed by fine art photographer Nick Brandt, and was shot in four geographical regions. It centered on the destruction and rebirth of Earth and went on to receive a Grammy nomination in 1997. The song was a top five hit in most European countries. In the United Kingdom, it remains Jackson's best-selling single, and was the country's number-one Christmas single in 1995. "Earth Song" was not released as a single in the United States. Jackson went on to receive recognition from various animal and environmental organizations.

In 1996, Jackson performed "Earth Song" at the BRIT Awards in the United Kingdom; he was there to collect a special "Artist of a Generation" award. Jackson sang while dangling off the edge of a high rise crane lift, which he had used the year before while performing it on the German TV show Wetten Dass. Below, a chorus of backing performers joined in and many of them began to physically embrace Jackson upon his descent. In response to the performance, Jarvis Cocker ran onto the stage without permission, lifted his shirt and pretended to break wind, before giving Jackson the insulting V-sign. The Pulp frontman had been there with his band, who had been nominated for three Brit awards. Cocker was subsequently questioned by police over claims he had assaulted some of the child performers, but he was later released without charge. The singer explained that he found the performance offensive, claiming that Jackson had portrayed himself as Christ-like and could do as he pleased because of his immense wealth and power. Jackson condemned Cocker's behavior as "disgusting and cowardly".



I've always liked this video but I do have to side with Jarvis Cocker about what happened at the BRITs!I was watching the performance on TV with my freinds and we all started looking at each other and saying how uncomfortable we were getting, and how strange and odd the performance was. I said that although I liked the song I really felt he was making himself out to be a Messiah which for me put a totally different spin on the song - at which point Jarvis jumped on stage and protested over exactly the same thing!!
Snow blow

65 years of UK Christmas No1s - 1996

Spice Girls - 2 Become 1
1996


"2 Become 1" is a pop ballad by English girl group Spice Girls. Written by the group members along with Matt Rowe and Richard Stannard during the group's first professional songwriting session, it was produced by Rowe and Stannard for the group's debut album Spice (1996). The lyrics focuses on the bonding of two lovers, and also address the importance of contraception. It was inspired by the special relationship that was developing between Geri Halliwell and Rowe during the writing session.

Released as the group's third single on 16 December 1996, it topped the UK Singles Chart for three weeks, becoming the group's third consecutive chart-topper, their second million-selling single, and their first Christmas number-one single in the United Kingdom.

"2 Become 1" was released in the United Kingdom, in three single versions. The first one, a maxi single that included the single version of the track, an orchestral take, the Junior Vasquez remix of "Wannabe", and "One of These Girls", a song written by the group with Paul Wilson and Andy Watkins—the songwriters and production duo known as Absolute. The second version was the special Christmas pack, a standard CD single in a cardboard case that included a signed postcard with a Christmas message from the group. This version contained the single version, the Dave Way remix, and their own version of Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride". The third version was a two-track cassette single, featuring the single version and the orchestral take of the song.

It sold 209,000 copies in the first three days of release and 430,000 in the first week, becoming the tenth best-selling single of the year. "2 Become 1" sold 1.11 million copies in total, giving the Spice Girls their second and final million-selling single in the UK.

In Ireland, "2 Become 1" was the group's second number-one single, and their first to debut at the top of the Irish Singles Chart. It stayed at the top position for six weeks, and became their first Christmas number-one single in the country. It topped the singles chart in Spain, and peaked inside the top ten in Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, and inside the top fifteen in Belgium and Germany. It was also commercially successful in Australia and New Zealand, peaking inside the top three on both countries.

The song was released in the United States, in July 1997, peaking at number four on the Billboard Hot 100.

Blue Red

65 years of UK Christmas No1s - 1997

Spice Girls - Too Much
1997


"Too Much" is a pop ballad by the British pop group Spice Girls. Written by the group members with Paul Wilson and Andy Watkins at the same time as the group was filming scenes for their movie Spice World, it was produced by Wilson and Watkins for the group's second album Spiceworld, released in November 1997.

In June 1997, the group began filming scenes for their movie Spice World. At the same time, Virgin Records started the first marketing meetings for the Spiceworld album's promotional campaign, set to be released in November. No songs had been written for the album at this point, so the group had to do all the song-writing and recording at the same time as they were filming the movie. Between takes, and at the end of each filming day, the group usually went straight into a mobile recording studio set up in a Winnebago, which followed them between film sets. The schedule was physically arduous with logistical difficulties, as Melanie Brown commented in her autobiography: "doing the two full-time jobs at the same time took its toll and within a couple on weeks, exhaustion set in."

The concept of "Too Much" was mainly penned by Geri Halliwell while the group was filming Spiceworld in a closed set besieged by fans and the media, in London's Docklands. While Halliwell left the set, sitting in the backseat of a car, she started scribbling a few lines in a notebook about "love being blind and how words that appear deep may be meaningless". The other members then helped to complete the song. Halliwell, inspired by a T-shirt that said "What part of no don't you understand?", wrote the song's middle eight with Melanie Chisholm at Paul Wilson and Andy Watkins' studio in Richmond, London.

The format was for Emma Bunton to sing the high part, Melanie Brown, Victoria Beckham, and Halliwell singing the lower and middle parts, and Chisholm adding the ad-libs. The song was recorded in a caravan in the middle of mayhem. Wilson and Watkins doggedly worked on it with whichever of the group's members were available from the filming set at any given point. A considerable amount of production work was required afterward before the track reached its final form.

"Too Much" was released in the United Kingdom on 15 December 1997, in two single versions. The first, released on cassette and in a standard CD single format, included an exclusive PlayStation postcard from the group's upcoming video game Spice World. The track listing contained the radio edit of the track, a Soulshock & Karlin remix, and the B-side "Outer Space Girls"—written by the group with Matt Rowe and Richard Stannard. The second version, released on a standard CD single, contained the radio edit, an orchestral version, and "Walk of Life", a different B-side, written by the group with Absolute. The images on the single's cover were taken from a photoshoot the group did for the October 1997 issue of Elle magazine.

It debuted at the top of the UK Singles Chart, becoming the Spice Girls' second consecutive Christmas number-one single. It made the group the first act to reach number one with their first six singles, and the first to debut at the top of the chart five times in a row. It stayed at number one for two weeks, and was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in December 1997.

"Too Much" was moderately successful in Europe. It peaked inside the top ten in Denmark, Finland, Ireland, and Spain, and inside the top twenty in Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland. The song was also a moderate success in Oceania. In New Zealand, it peaked at number nine, In Australia, it peaked at number nine and was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).

In the US, "Too Much" did better than its predecessor, "Spice Up Your Life", but was not as successful as Spice's singles had been. It peaked at number nine, becoming the group's fourth and final top ten hit. It peaked at nine on the Canadian Singles Chart.

Robin

65 years of UK Christmas No1s - 1998

Spice Girls - Goodbye
1998


"Goodbye" is a song recorded by the British girl group the Spice Girls. It was released by Virgin Records on 11 December 1998 as a Christmas single, along with the B-side, "Christmas Wrapping". The song was written by the Spice Girls, Richard Stannard, and Matt Rowe, and is the group's first song without the vocals of Geri Halliwell. "Goodbye" made the Spice Girls the first act to have three consecutive Christmas number-one singles since The Beatles.

"Goodbye" was originally written in 1997 with both Matt Rowe and Richard Stannard intending it to be on the Spiceworld album. However, due to time constraints it was not recorded by the Spice Girls at the time. While touring in America after the departure of Geri Halliwell, Stannard and Rowe flew to Nashville, Tennessee to meet the group and rewrite the song. The group put input on the song and recorded it.

"Goodbye" was released in a two-CD format (a standard single and a maxi single). The typical track listing internationally followed the UK track listing. In the U.S., the single was released as an EP and contained only the B-side, "Christmas Wrapping", which only featured vocals from Melanie C and Emma Bunton, and live versions of "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" and "We Are Family", which were recorded at their final concert at Wembley Stadium on September 20, 1998. The U.S. single also included a set of four stickers of the girls, portraying them as fairies, similar to their appearance in the music video of "Viva Forever". In 2000, it was included on the group's third studio album, Forever.

In the United Kingdom, the single became the group's eighth number-one single, topping the charts for one week, selling 380,000 in the first week. "Goodbye" got them into the records as the first act to have three consecutive Christmas number-one singles since the Beatles. As of December 2013, the song has sold 884,000 copies in the UK alone, becoming their fourth best-selling single. In New Zealand, it debuted and peaked at number one for two weeks, their second consecutive number one after "Viva Forever", which also debuted and peaked at number one for two weeks. "Goodbye" was their third and final number one hit in New Zealand.

The song debuted and peaked at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100, with sales of 74,000 copies.

Snow sunset

65 years of UK Christmas No1s - 1999

Westlife - I Have A Dream/Seasons In The Sun
1999


"I Have a Dream" is a cover version  of the song written by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus and sung by the Irish boy band Westlife, it was released in December 1999, twenty years after ABBA's original release. The song became the group's fourth UK number-one single. The release was a double-A-side, also featuring "Seasons in the Sun". The release became the UK's Christmas number-one single of 1999, extending its peak into January 2000 and spending seventeen weeks in the UK chart. The song was the 26th best selling single of 1999 in the UK




"Seasons in the Sun" is an English-language adaptation of the song "Le Moribond" by Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel with lyrics by American singer-poet Rod McKuen. It became a worldwide hit in 1974 for Canadian singer Terry Jacks and became a Christmas Number 1 in 1999 for Westlife.

 Westlife covered "Seasons in the Sun" for their self-titled debut album Westlife (1999). It was released on December 19, 1999 as a double A-side with a cover of ABBA's "I Have a Dream" and became the 1999 Christmas number one. It has sold over 650,000 copies in UK so far.

Star

65 years of UK Christmas No1s - 2000

Bob The Builder - Can We Fix It?
2000


"Can We Fix It?" is the name of the theme song, written by Paul K. Joyce, and sung by Neil Morrisey, from the children's television programme Bob the Builder, produced by Hot Animation. The song's title is derived from the main character's catchphrase. The chorus of the song features this phrase prominently, as well as the response, "Yes we can!"

"Can We Fix It?" became a Christmas number one single in 2000, beating Westlife's "What Makes a Man". It was the biggest selling single of the year in the UK, appearing 80th in the all-time UK best-sellers list. It reached number one in Australia in 2001.

A second single by Bob, "Mambo No. 5", with the lyrics adapted from Lou Bega's 1999 hit version, also reached number one a year later. An album entitled The Album followed, which debuted at No. 4 in the UK Albums Chart, and included a cover of Elton John's "Crocodile Rock".

"Can We Fix It", was voted by Channel 4 viewers in late 2003 as one of the 100 worst singles of all-time, even though it reached No. 1 in the UK chart.

The song has sold over one million copies in the UK, according to the Official Charts Company. The song was the best selling of 2000 in the UK and the 10th biggest selling single of the 2000s (decade).

cat snow on head

65 years of UK Christmas No1s - 2001

Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman - Something Stupid
2001


"Somethin' Stupid" is a song written by C. Carson Parks in 1966 and sung by British singer Robbie Williams with Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman. The song appeared on Williams' 2001 album, Swing When You're Winning, and it topped the UK Singles Chart at the end of the year. The song became Williams' first Christmas number-one single in the United Kingdom, and fifth as a featured artist. The single sold 98,506 copies in its first week and 366,000 copies over all earning a Silver Certification by the BPI.

The song was the 30th best selling single of 2001 in the UK. The song also became another number-one single for Williams in New Zealand, being certified Gold, and became, at the time, his best selling single in Europe charting inside the top ten in most countries. In Australia, it became Williams' fourth top ten single, earning a Gold certification for over 35,000 copies sold.

Blue Red

65 years of UK Christmas No1s - 2002

Girls Aloud - Sound Of The Underground
2002


"Sound of the Underground" is the debut single by British all-female pop group Girls Aloud, later featured on their debut album of the same name. The song was written by Miranda Cooper, Brian Higgins, and Niara Scarlett, and produced by Higgins and his production team Xenomania. Following Girls Aloud's formation on the ITV1 reality television show Popstars: The Rivals, "Sound of the Underground" was released just sixteen days later on 16 December 2002. It became the year's Christmas number one. The single spent four consecutive weeks at number one, achieving a platinum certification from the British Phonographic Industry.

"Sound of the Underground" was one of sixty songs that Brian Higgins and Miranda Cooper had written with the aim of launching their own girl group. The song was originally recorded in 2001 by Orchid, a London girl group that included singer and actress Louise Griffiths and who disbanded before gaining a firm record deal. It was chosen by Girls Aloud's manager Louis Walsh as their debut single. The six finalists of the ITV1 programme Popstars: The Rivals rehearsed the song a week before the finals.

Girls Aloud were formed through the show by a public vote on 30 November 2002. The concept of the programme was to produce a boyband and a girlband who would be "rivals" and compete for the Christmas number one single in 2002. Girls Aloud competed against One True Voice, managed by music producer Pete Waterman. Both groups were sent on huge promotional tour. They used a combative "Buy girls, bye boys" slogan to persuade the public to buy their single. A cover of One True Voice's single "Sacred Trust" appears on the special edition bonus disc of Girls Aloud's greatest hits album The Sound of Girls Aloud.

The single was released on two different CD single formats and on cassette. The first CD included a cover of East 17's "Stay Another Day" and Brian Higgins' remix of "Sound of the Underground", while the second CD included the instrumental of "Stay Another Day" and an interview with the girls. In some countries, a Flip & Fill remix of the single was featured.

Pete Waterman caused a media frenzy after accusing Girls Aloud of being unoriginal and not singing on "Sound of the Underground" (after they claimed it was better to release a new song than a cover as the A-side). Many articles falsely claim that this track was then "stolen" from Orchid by Girls Aloud. The track was actually owned by Xenomania (the producers) and the original version was used as a "session singers" version, making it Girls Aloud's and not a cover as some articles suggested. Due to the press attention, the members of Orchid are credited on the single release and remain backing singers on the single. Sarah Harding explained that this just pads out the track and is not uncommon in the industry.

"Sound of the Underground" debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart on 22 December 2002. Girls Aloud sold just over 213,000 copies, while One True Voice's "Sacred Trust" sold only 147,000. Girls Aloud stayed at number one for a second and third week, the final chart of 2002 and the first chart of 2003. The single spent another week at number one, bringing "Sound of the Underground" to a total of four consecutive weeks at number one in the UK. It spent two weeks in the top five at numbers three and five respectively, before slipping to number nine. The single spent fourteen further weeks inside the UK's top 75. It was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry in March 2003 for shipments of over 600,000 and sold over 653,000 copies.

The song had similar success on the Irish Singles Chart. "Sound of the Underground" debuted at number two behind Eminem's "Lose Yourself", while One True Voice only managed to chart at number nine. They held on at number two for a second and thirdweek. In the song's fourth week on the Irish chart, "Sound of the Underground" managed to rise to number one, finally dethroning Eminem. It spent two weeks at the pole position. The song peaked inside the top twenty on Belgium's Ultratop Flanders chart and the Netherlands' Single Top 100 chart. The song also charted in Australia and various European countries.

Snow sunset

65 years of UK Christmas No1s - 2003

Michael Andrews And Gary Jules - Mad World
2003


"Mad World" is a song written by Roland Orzabal of the band Tears for Fears, "Mad World" was originally written on acoustic guitar when Orzabal was 19, it was a deliberate attempt to write something in the vein of Duran Duran's "Girls on Film".

"Mad World" achieved a second round of success almost twenty years later after it was covered by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules for the film Donnie Darko in 2001. While the Tears for Fears version featured synthesizers and heavy percussion, the Andrews/Jules version was stripped down; instead of a full musical backing, it used only a set of piano chords, a mellotron imitating a cello, and modest use of a vocoder on the chorus. Their version was originally released on CD in 2002 on the film's soundtrack, but an increasing cult-following spawned by the movie's DVD release finally prompted Jules and Andrews to issue the song as a proper single. The release was a success in late 2003, becoming the Christmas number one single in the UK.

The music video was directed by Michel Gondry. The song's success in the United Kingdom however did not translate to the United States, where it reached number 30 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Heart snow

65 years of UK Christmas No1s - 2004

Band Aid 20 - Do They Know It's Christmas
2004


"Do They Know It's Christmas?" is a song written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1984 to raise money for relief of the 1983–85 famine in Ethiopia. The original version was produced by Midge Ure and released by Band Aid on 28 November 1984.

A third version of the song was recorded by Band Aid 20 in November 2004 for the twentieth anniversary of the original recording, and again got to No. 1. The idea was prompted by Coldplay singer Chris Martin, although Geldof and Ure both got quickly involved. Geldof did the publicity and educated the younger artists on the issues (some of the artists weren't born when the original was recorded) while Ure assisted producer Nigel Godrich and filmed the event for the corresponding documentary.

This version of the song featured an extra segment—a rap by Dizzee Rascal in the midst of the "here's to you" section. Bono arrived at the recording to sing the same line as two decades earlier, making him the sixth artist to appear on two versions, in addition to Geldof, Ure, Paul McCartney, Sarah Dallin and Keren Woodward (Bananarama).

Organisers and producers:

Midge Ure – organiser
Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Travis) – producer
Bob Geldof – producer
Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz)

Instruments:

Danny Goffey (Supergrass) – (drums)
Thom Yorke – (piano) and Jonny Greenwood – (guitar) – (Radiohead)
Sir Paul McCartney – bass guitar
Justin Hawkins and Dan Hawkins (The Darkness) – guitar
Brian May (Queen) – guitar
Roger Taylor – drums (Queen)
Phil Collins – drums (Genesis)
Ron Mael – keyboards (Sparks)

Vocals:

Tim Wheeler (Ash)
Daniel Bedingfield
Natasha Bedingfield
Bono (U2)
Busted
McFly
Chris Martin (Coldplay)
Dido – performed separately from a studio in Melbourne
Dizzee Rascal – the only artist to add lyrics to the song
Ms Dynamite
Skye Edwards (Morcheeba)
Estelle
Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy)
Justin Hawkins (The Darkness)
Jamelia
Tom Chaplin (Keane)
Tim Rice-Oxley (Keane)
Beverley Knight
Lemar
Shaznay Lewis (formerly of All Saints)
Katie Melua
Róisín Murphy (Moloko)
Feeder
Snow Patrol
Rachel Stevens
Joss Stone
Sugababes
The Thrills
Turin Brakes
Robbie Williams – performed separately from a studio in Los Angeles
Will Young
Weird Al Yankovic – performed separately from a studio in Lynwood
Russell Mael (Sparks)
Fran Healy (Travis)
Fraser Stone
George Cave
Fraser Aitken
Felix Pivcevic