Bucking the trend for charity tracks and X Factor winners, this year’s Christmas No 1 has been revealed as Clean Bandit’s tribute to single mothers, Rockabye – a dancehall-inspired song featuring Sean Paul and Anne-Marie.
The classical crossover group who formed at Cambridge University managed to stave off competition from Brits critics choice winner Rag’n’Bone Man, One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson and pop group Little Mix – a remarkable feat bearing in mind the track entered the chart nine weeks ago, before climbing to the top spot for a seven-week reign.
Rockabye – dedicated to “all the single mums out there / Going through frustration” – is one of 2016’s biggest hits across downloads and streams, with combined chart sales of 589,000.
“To have been No 1 for seven weeks is something amazing in its own right that we are all incredibly proud of, but to now be Christmas No 1 is mind-blowing,” Clean Bandit said in a statement. “It’s something we never imagined would happen with Rockabye when we were writing and recording it. Thanks to everyone who has made this happen!”
Speaking about the track’s poignant lyrics, guitarist and keyboard player Jack Patterson, told the OfficialCharts.com: “It’s weird actually. My mum has got this theory about the song, about “Rockabye, baby” being about Jesus, and that Jesus is the baby. She’s talking about this woman who’s looking after the child on her own and saying it’s a bit like Mary … and Joseph is kind of there, but not.”
In recent years, a mix of charity tracks and Simon Cowell-created pop acts have taken the top spot, with the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir at No 1in 2015, X Factor’s Ben Haenow in 2014, and Sam Bailey in 2013.
Elsewhere in the charts, Rag’n’Bone Man is at No 2 with Human, One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson and Steve Aoki slip down to No 3 with Just Hold On, Little Mix’s new single Touch jumps 19 places to No 4, and Mariah Carey’s classic track All I Want For Christmas Is You rounds off the Top 5. Other vintage Christmas tracks to re-enter the top 40 thanks to streaming services include the Pogues’ and Kirsty MacColl’s Fairytale of New York, in at No 15, Shakin’ Stevens’ Merry Christmas Everyone at No 22 and Chris Rea’s Driving Home For Christmas at No 26 – his highest chart position to date.
Rangers football supporters delivered the highest charting fan-led campaign this week: Glad All Over by the Dave Clark Five is back in the Top 40 at Number 31 in support of striker Joe Garner.
Top of the album chart are Michael Ball and Alfie Boe whose record Together had a huge pre-Christmas surge, with 98% of their sales being physical copies. Combined sales to date are 466,000.
“It’s a dream come true,” Ball and Boe told OfficialCharts.com. “There’s only one thing better than having a No 1 album and that’s having a Christmas No 1 album. A huge thanks to everyone who bought the album. Our hearts go out to you all for Christmas. We hope we entertain you with the album for Christmas and lots of love to everyone.”
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