There is no number one quite like the Christmas number one: the song that sits atop the UK Singles Chart in the week on which Christmas Day falls. It’s such a coveted spot that betting on the winner is a festive tradition in itself. More records are sold at Christmas than at any other time of year, so the Christmas chart-topper is often the year’s best-selling single.
The first Christmas number one came in 1952, when the charts started their weekly run in the New Musical Express. The Beatles are the only act to have achieved four Christmas number ones, with three consecutive winners from 1963, and in 1963 and 1967 they had both the number one and number two singles in the year-end charts. Cliff Richard has only had two solo Christmas number ones; his other two were as part of The Shadows and Band Aid II.
Here’s the full list of Christmas number ones, starting with 1952 to 1972:
1952 Al Martino – Here in My Heart
1953 Frankie Laine – Answer Me
1954 Winifred Atwell – Let’s Have Another Party
1955 Dickie Valentine – Christmas Alphabet
1956 Johnnie Ray – Just Walkin’ in the Rain
1957 Harry Belafonte – Mary’s Boy Child
1958 Conway Twitty – It’s Only Make Believe
1959 Emile Ford & The Checkmates – What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?
1960 Cliff Richard & The Shadows – I Love You
1961 Danny Williams – Moon River
1962 Elvis Presley – Return to Sender
1963 The Beatles – I Want to Hold Your Hand
1964 The Beatles – I Feel Fine
1965 The Beatles – Day Tripper / We Can Work It Out
1966 Tom Jones – Green, Green Grass of Home
1967 The Beatles – Hello, Goodbye
1968 The Scaffold – Lily the Pink
1969 Rolf Harris – Two Little Boys
1970 Dave Edmunds – I Hear You Knocking
1971 Benny Hill – Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)
1972 Jimmy Osmond – Long Haired Lover from Liverpool