It’s that time of year when records I recognise are in the Top 100 and I start slavishly following the path of ‘A Fairytale of New York’ back to domination of our airwaves. The song’s leapt 48 places to no 18 in the first December chart whilst Mariah Carey’s already at no 6. Only two more weeks for the Xmas Chart so will it be top 10 again, like last year. We’ll soon see.
Obviously, I spoke too soon.
Although technically today saw the unveiling of the New Year’s Day no. 1 (and it’s still Ed fucking Sheeran), people have still been buying the old Xmas songs. I couldn’t believe my eyes and had to count, and these are the official, Crookall-authenticated figures:
40 (yes, that’s 4-0, forty Xmas singles in the top 100.
17 in the top 30, which is more than 50%
And no fewer than 6 Xmas singles, all of them oldies, in the top 10, and that includes ‘Fairytale of New York’ gaining two places to reach no 5, and it hasn’t been that high since 2007, and only higher three times..
Even ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ has reached no 16, and it hasn’t been that high ever since the very first time it was released, forty-four years ago.
I don’t know what they put in the water this Xmas, but they’ve my permission to do so again eleven months from now.
I’ve already been awake for more than six hours and I no more know what to do with myself now than I did in the dark hours before 5.00am when I knew that I wan’t going to get to go back to sleep. It’s Xmas but it’s not yet Xmas and I’m restless over the fact that I have nothing really to do except wait out the last couple of days.
The cold I’ve been suffering the last week has taken its toll, mainly on spirit and purpose. It’s denied me the concentration to do things in more than small bashes, especially writing, for which I’ve had ample opportunity. I’ve blown out gallons of mucus, coughed incessantly, sniffled and snuffled and when I have absolutely had to do something, the least amount of effort has exhausted me.
But, weirdly, there was this moment on Thursday evening when, as if with the throwing of an actual switch, my head came back on and I was suddenly clear and lucid. I was still dead on my feet, going back into work yesterday, and not at my most active.
It didn’t turn out to be a Retro Xmas after all. It’s Ed bloody Sheeran at no 1, with Wham! at 3, Mariah Carey at 4 and the Pogues and Kirsty at 7, with none of the others moving more than one position or two. We talked about Xmas songs at work yesterday, and about the nest eggs they’ve been. I remember that first year, 1973, Slade and Wizzard and Elton, when the idea of pop groups doing Xmas songs caught on with a vengeance. Before that, it was bloody novelty songs, like ‘Grandad’ and ‘Ernie’ and ‘Two Little Boys’, which used to set my teeth on edge when I was fourteen, let alone now.
But that was forty-four years ago. Forty-four years I’ve been listening to ‘I wish it could be Xmas Every Day’, and Lord knows I loved it and it’s massive fun but if I never hear it, or Slade, again I won’t feel deprived, because I’ve just heard them too many times now.
I’ve got to go out, before long, to complete the Xmas shopping. That’s carrots, brussells, an apple pie and a tin of Quality Street, plus whatever other chocolate I decide. I’ve worked it out in my head and on e-mail too many times. I’ve got everything else, I am prepared, I am efficient, I shall get the turkey out of the freezer tonight, but I am still desperately worried that I have forgotten something that I won’t remember until I’m in the middle of cooking on Monday. I must have forgotten something. Only what?
On Xmas Eve I’ve one more final day of working and I really don’t want to contemplate that, finishing at 9.00pm, technically, when the buses stop running at 6.00pm, and the way home is all uphill. In the meantime, there’s time that only can be killed, slowly, painfully, one second at a time, because it’s all about waiting until the Day, when all those things bought can be removed from their packaging, their suspension, my suspension.
Two more packages have been delivered today. I have no idea what they are, I have lost track, I have been assembling that pile all month. I need to ensure I don’t run out of electricity in the meter whilst it can’t be topped up. I can’t concentrate, I don’t know what to do, I’m restless.
I’m beginning to think that we might, just might, have a Retro Xmas no 1 this year.
If we do, it looks unlikely to be my dream choice, Kirsty and the Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’, though that’s climbed to no 7 this week. But Mariah Carey and Wham! have both moved up three places, to nos 2 and 3 respectively. All three of these songs peaked at no 2, first time out, and there’s got to be a definite chance of either Maria the Diva or the late George M going that final one better.
We’ll know at 6.00pm on Friday, when the Xmas chart gets announced. Maybe a Retro top 3? Whoever gave that a chance of happening, in the years of livestreams?
Come on you Pogues! (and dear, darling Kirsty).
It’s December again, and once more I am recording/celebrating the annual return of the greatest Christmas song in history, The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s “A Fairytale of New York”.
It’s hit the Singles chart again, for the fifteenth time and for the thirteenth successive year, and this time, by jumping from 55 to 10, today, it’s reached the top 10 for the fifth time, and the first since 2007.
And for some reason, this is a nostalgia heavy Christmas pop period, because Mariah Carey is at no 5, Wham at no 6 and Band Aid at 16. Even Shakin’ Stevens and Wizzard have crashed the top 30. All this with two more charts to go. And whilst I hold no brief for either Mariah or George Michael, it would fill me with delight if either one of those, or both, could knock Simon Cowell’s latest into a cocked hat.
I’d love it even more if it were “Fairytale of New York”, which peaked at no 2 first time round, exactly thirty years ago this year, but I’m content with what it’s already achieved. According to Wikipedia, it’s the most played Xmas song of the 21st century in the UK, so you’ll already be familiar with it, but here it comes again, together with the tears that cannot help but well every time I play this, and I think of poor, wonderful Kirsty, killed 17 years ago, but who will never ever die because this record will be around as long as people have ears.
This year, they’re at no 15 in the drunk tank.
But still the permanent no. 1 in my Xmas heart.
Everybody’s making a fuss about how Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Xmas is You’ has now returned for Xmas for a tenth successive year, especially as it’s leaped to no 6 in the chart, its highest position since the first Xmas of this run, when it got to no 4. It didn’t do that much better when it first appeared in 1994, peaking at no 2.
But you know we don’t care about that here. For this blog, there is but one Xmas song and that’s ‘A Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. This week, the record advanced fifty places to reach no 16, and that’s the record’s twelfth successive season, not to mention two previous visits, the first of these in 1987 when, like Mariah Carey, it peaked at no 2.
With two more Chart Fridays, there’s a possibility for the song’s first top 10 placing since 2007, especially as there seems to be a stronger (and earlier) than usual resurgence by the old Xmas favourites. Wham! have also hit the top 20 with ‘Last Xmas’, which is their tenth successive season (if you allow a highest place of no 57 in 2010) but only the third time they’ve reached the top 20 in that spell.
Shakin’ Stevens has hit the top 30, Wizzard and Michael Buble the top 40, and Band Aid (the original) no 41. And there’s another twelve Xmas classics in the mix, making up almost one-fifth of the top 100.
So, with tears always ready to be shed at the pure voice of the forever-missed Kirsty MacColl, lost to us sixteen years gone, on 18 December this year, and hope that a big splash will be made this year, I give you…