60 Years of the Christmas Number One: 1952 – 1972

The Beatles 1964 US Library of Congress Public Domain

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

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