talks about the latest releases in the music world

Christmas No.1 Contenders 2014

Christmas No.1 Contenders 2014

It’s that time of year again when the great, the good and sometimes downright awful release singles in a bid to get to the top of the charts. As with recent years there are the online campaigns, charity singles and of course the X Factors winners single.

X Factor Winner – TBC

At the time of writing the X Factor winner is still to be announced and we have no idea what song that person will end up singing. However whatever it ends up being it still leads the betting, and given Sam Bailey’s success last year you can see why. That said viewing figures for the series have been disappointing and the remaining contestants are not necessarily creating many waves. You can’t help feeling that if a weak song is chosen it could end up missing out.  Last year saw Sam Bailey win the festive battle with just 149k sales, the lowest first week sales since the original X Factor winner Steve Brookstein. It’s pretty much guaranteed to be up there when the sales are counted on the 21st December, but who else could put in a strong challenge. Here are a few other tracks which have been gaining some publicity during the run-up to Christmas.

Band Aid 30 – ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’

Despite it’s surprise surrender to Take That, Band Aid 30 should receive a sales boost from the release of a CD format of the single. This will allow more multiple purchases as people buy them as gifts for friends, and its impressive first week sales show that there is still public appetite to support the charity. It has been released very early this year and that may yet count against it. Each of the last three incarnations have managed to be top of the tree on Christmas week but my feeling is that this latest version may have its work cut out to achieve the same record. Certainly based on download sales the track has shown a quick decline, but the CD format is likely to be available in supermarkets and places where other contenders may not be able to get to.  It’s second favourite but it’s not one that I would risk putting my money on this year.

Iron Maiden – ‘Number Of The Beast’

How fantastic would it be to see Iron Maiden claim their second ever number one hit this Christmas? Their only other chart topper was ‘Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter’ back in 1991 but this year has seen an online campaign to get their classic track ‘Number Of The Beast’ to no.1. The single was first a hit in 1982 when it reached no.18, but it then returned in 2005 when it reached no.3. It also became a hit on the album chart in 1990 when a combined re-issue of the 12″ of ‘Run To The Hills’ and this track made no.3. There can be no doubt as to what a great song it is, but will the fan base be able to buy in big enough quantities to secure a no.1 placing? Last year AC/DC would have triumphed if everyone in their Facebook group had bought ‘Highway To Hell’ but sadly it failed, peaking at no.4. Can this end up doing better for them? Our fingers are crossed!

Peace Collective – ‘Alltogether Now’

Next up under review are The Peace Collective who are a charity ensemble who have come together to raise money for the British Red Cross and the Shorncliffe Trust. Stars appearing include Alexandra Burke, Holly Johnson, Amelle Berrabah, Jane McDonald, The Proclaimers, Guy Chambers, while the track will be executively produced by Suggs and Mick Jones.  The track was originally a hit for Liverpool band The Farm (who also appear on this version) in 1990 but it returned to the charts in later years thanks to Everton Football Club and a remake by the 2004 England football team when it was selected as their song of the 2004 European Championships. Charity songs have a strong record in the Christmas top 40 and while this was originally thought to be a strong contender for the top spot it seems to have faded a little in recent days.

John Otway – ‘OK Father Christmas’

John Otway is arguably most famous for his debut 1977 hit ‘Really Free’ which saw him team up with Wild Willy Barrett. Since then he has built himself a reputation with a loyal bunch of fans and he found out just how dedicated they were when they worked to ensure that his 2002 single ‘Bunsen Burner’ became a surprise top ten hit.  That showed just what can be achieved with a loyal fanbase, hard work and some multi-format releases.  Some bookmakers have John in with a real chance of causing an upset this year and I know many people who would be delighted to see that happen.  Early signs are that his Facebook campaign is a little further behind in terms of numbers compared to Iron Maiden but it doesn’t take much to cause a swing in momentum. Even if he can make the top ten it would be a great achievement and it would put a smile on the faces of his fans up and down the country.


LFO stands for Low Frequency Oscillator and was originally a duo which consisted of Gez Varley and Mark Bell. Gez left the band in 1996 but Mark carried the name on until his death earlier this year following post surgery complications.  The track is now getting a second crack at chart glory thanks to a reissue and a social media campaign. It was actually the bands only top forty hit, reaching no.12 in 1990.  The follow up ‘We Are Back’ came close to success but stalled at no.47 and their last minor hit was ‘Freak’ which made no.79 in 2003. Of all the online campaigns currently ongoing for the Christmas no.1 this does seem to be one of the less likely to succeed. That is no reflection on the track, which remains as great today as it was back then. However it is likely to struggle against a band with as big a fan base as Iron Maiden.

Sparks – ‘Thank God It’s Not Christmas’

It has been forty years since the ever popular duo Sparks reached no.2 with their classic ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us’ and their debut album ‘Kimono My House’ made the top five. Now they are aiming for their first top forty hit since 1997 with ‘Thank God It’s Not Christmas’, a track which originally featured on that album. A remastered version of that album is also being released in December although it is rumoured to be available on vinyl only. The band have also two dates booked in at the Barbican Centre in London on the 19th and 20th December where they will perform the album in its entirety along with some other chosen tracks from their back catalogue backed by a 35 piece orchestra. They have been able to achieve some unusual hits over the years but I suspect that a Christmas no.1 in 2014 is beyond them, but that won’t stop them trying!

Other releases the week before Christmas include ‘Love Me Harder’ by Ariana Grande featuring The Weeknd, ‘Miracles’ by Coldplay, ‘Go All Night’ by Gorgon City featuring Jennifer Hudson, ‘Can’t Stop The Love’ by Neon Jungle, ‘Bed Of Lies’ by Nicki Minaj featuring Skylar Grey, ‘New Thang’ by Redfoo and ‘Living Without You’ by Tulisa.

Who will do it? Don’t forget to follow us at @ChartChatUK where our weekly column will continue to review the weeks new releases before eventually trying to call just what will be this years number one single.

Ian Anderson

6 December, 2014 - Posted by | ChartChat

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