1. Boney M: Mary’s Boy Child (1978)
It’s a calypso Christmas! This disco carol from the serial hit-makers is among the best-selling singles in UK chart history, outstripping festive favourites by Wham! and Bing Crosby. It’s also the only song to have been Christmas Number One twice – Harry Belafonte’s version spent seven weeks there in 1957.
2. St Winifred’s School Choir There’s No One Quite Like Grandma (1980)
The recently murdered John Lennon was knocked off the top spot to make this Number One. Written by one Gordon Lorenz, it’s the sonic equivalent of eating 12 bags of Werther’s Originals, and the only time pink cardigans and white knee-highs were to feature on ‘Top of the Pops’.
3. Westlife: I Have a Dream/Seasons in the Sun (1999)
Not only did this godawful Westlife effort keep Sir Cliff’s ‘Millennium Prayer’ off the top spot they also managed to absolutely crucify (sorry, Jesus) not one but two great songs. Abba’s joyous ‘I Have a Dream’ was reinvented as a dirge that would have made Santa suicidal and Terry Jack’s peculiarly touching number about saying final goodbyes becomes downright creepy, especially when Brian McFadden smiles his way through the line ‘Goodbye my friend, it’s hard to die’ in the video.
4. Cliff Richard: Mistletoe and Wine (1988)
Recipe for Christmas chart domination: take a well-aged ham, smother him in cheese and serve on a bed of sleigh bells. Cliff rode the top of the charts for four weeks in 1988 with this schlocky and pious nightmare – but gaudy media sincerity was all the rage back then. For ironic LOLs, it’s still pretty unbeatable.
5. Band Aid II: Do They Know It’s Christmas? (1989)
A second, wetter wave of pop stars – straight from Pete Waterman’s Rolodex and including Kylie and Jason and Cliff Richard – lined up to clutch their headphones and warblethrough Geldof and Ure’s original. Band Aid II sounded the death knell for the ’80s, and for the charity single as anything more than a periodic celebrity social duty.
6. Mr Blobby: Mr Blobby (1993)
Westlife had one. East 17 had one. The Spice Girls had three. But Take That just couldn’t bag a Christmas Number One in the ’90s. To add insult to injury, in 1993 the band’s ‘Babe’ was denied the top spot by the pimpled, elephantine, ‘Noel’s House Party’ anarchist Mr Blobby, whose song repeats the word ‘blobby’ over 30 times, and starts and ends with a fart. Gary, that’s got to hurt…
7. East 17: Stay Another Day (1994)
The Walthamstow group’s only Number One – that spent a respectable five weeks at the top – is a touching ode to frontman Tony Mortimer’s brother Ollie, who committed suicide the year this single was released. It’s tarnished slightly by the OTT bell-ringing, and the ever-hilarious Brian Harvey (a man who managed to run over himself in 2005 while being sick out of his Mercedes), who poses as a winter hamster on the record cover.
8. Rennée and Renato: Save Your Love (1982)
If you don’t know this song then think of the most annoying thing you can imagine in the world and times it by ten. It’s a bloke who sounds like the one from the Go Compare ads duetting with a woman who showed an amazing lack of committment even for the pop world, having left the duo before this song was even released.
9. Shayne Ward: That’s My Goal (2005)
Shayne who? Come on that’s a bit harsh. You remember him. That guy. You know the one. The shavenheaded nice-looking fella from ‘X Factor’. This was the first monster Christmas hit from the series, selling an incredible 742,180 copies in just five days. He then went on to have a glittering career… No wait, that was Steve Brookstein, or was it Leon Jackson? Anyway, none of us could remember it until we YouTubed it and now, to our horror, we can’t forget it.
10. £1 Fish Man: One Pound Fish (2012)
In recession-torn Britain, what better way to see out 2012 than with a Christmas Number One that celebrates good-value healthy eating? Already a hit on YouTube, singing stallholder Muhammad Shahid Nazir sells his piscine wares at Queen’s Market in Upton Park, and has been signed by Warners for a one-single deal. For its mix of sassy chatter, bhangra-lite beats and pure pop, it might not equal Missy Elliott’s ‘Get Ur Freak on’, but it’s our London Number One choice this year for sure.