independent

Sunday 20 October 2019

Smells like another Christmas without a festive number one

WITH JIM HAYES

OKAY, a confession. When Rage Against The Machine trumped X Factor winner Joe McElderberry, or whatever his name is, to take the Christmas number one slot after a massive internet campaign in 2009, I was not a happy camper.

Not that I was holding a candle for Joe's song, the name of which escapes me at this point. I just didn't want to hear RATM's 'Killing In The Name' as I relaxed in my old rocking chair on Christmas Day, stuffed to the gills with turkey and pudding.

Call me a sentimental fool, but I want my Christmas number one to jingle all the way, with snowmen, Santa, mistletoe, three wise men and possibly Rudolf and his big shiny nose all getting at least a mention.

Unfortunately, as in 2009, it does look as if we won't have a 'proper' Christmas number one this year. It will either be the X Factor winner or somebody trying to stop the X Factor winner reaching the top of the charts on Christmas Day. That's the way it's been since Shayne Ward's ' That's My Goal' hit number one at Christmas in 2005 shortly after he won the second series of X Factor. Every X Factor winner since then has claimed the Christmas No. 1 slot, except the aforementioned McElderberry who had to settle for number two in Christmas week, and was – it has to be said – the victim of a brilliant Facebook campaign to get ' Killing In The Name' to the top on December 25th.

The bookies are already in agreement that this Christmas the number one almost certainly have the X Factor badge, be it from Janet, Johnny, Misha B, The Risk or one of the others battling for votes every weekend on the X Factor stage.

The only people likely to upset the applecart would appear to be Nirvana who are the subject of a determined Facebook campaign by fans to have 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' in the number one position on Christmas Day, 20 years after the release of the band's seminal album 'Nevermind'.

Organisers of the Facebook group 'Nirvana For Christmas No. 1' said they were inspired to start the campaign after The X Factor 'stole' the name of children's charity Rhythmix for their girl group.

The Brighton charity, which uses music to help young people, asked the show to change the group's name, but say they were ignored. The Facebook group owners said: " This year the X Factor have decided to effectively bully a children's charity. Well, f *** you, X Factor. We're going to download the Nirvana classic Smells Like Teen Spirit to stick the proverbial finger up at you. Who's in?"

This is all very admirable but the news is good and bad. Good because 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' would be infinitely preferable to some Gary Barlow cast-off tune from Marcus the hairdresser; bad because it means we won't have a Christmas song at number one for yet another Christmas.

...Unless of course we start our own campaign for the return of a Christmas classic. All you have to do is go to iTunes mid December and download Slade's 'Merry Christmas Everybody'. Go Noddy!

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