Those wacky Brits and their musical Christmas traditions

OK, full disclosure here – I am not British.  And not that there’s anything wrong with our friends in the U.K., mind you, but I am trying to understand their passion for this concept of Christmas Number One.

Apparently, it is a big event for the public to anticipate the single which will be numero uno on the singles chart released just before or on Christmas Day. 

Why does this matter?  Um, not really clear to me.  According to Wikipedia:

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when the subject of the Christmas number one began to excite significant media coverage. However it seems to date back to 1973, when two of the most successful bands of the day – Slade and Wizzard – both released Christmas-related singles (“Merry Xmas Everybody” and “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” respectively) in an attempt to clinch the festive chart-topper, with Slade ultimately coming out on top.

Well, that certainly clears it up.  Slade and Wizzard?  Yikes.

The list of Christmas Number One singles is cringe-worthy and has been dominated in recent years by Simon Cowell’s The X Factor and the strategic release of the winner’s single from his reality television show.

This has apparently raised the ire of a number of British music fans, who have started a Facebook campaign to Rage Against The X Factor – asking individuals to download the 1992 single “Killing In The Name Of” by Rage Against The Machine this week in an attempt to make that song 2009’s Christmas Number One.

The whole story is completely ridiculous, but – with the power of Facebook – the campaign has picked up steam and sales of “Killing In The Name Of” apparently are threatening to wrest the title away from Cowell and the winner of this season’s X Factor, Joe McElderry performing a cover version of Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb”.

So, Rage Against The Machine vs. Miley Cyrus?  Even RATM’s Tom Morello joined in this week by tweeting his support.

Rolling Stone’s Rock & Roll Daily update provides some additional background on the whole affair. 

NME, meanwhile, reports that Cowell believes he has done the UK public a “favour” by monopolizing this scintillating Christmas Number One race.

The whole thing mercifully gets sorted out this Sunday.  And you can even make a wager on Rage’s chances for a victory, odds of which were recently slashed from 100-1 to 3-1.

And, for those of us who can’t understand all the excitement, it does provide a good excuse to go back to the excellent debut album by Rage Against The Machine and enjoy the record once again. 

Unless, of course, Miley Cyrus is your thing.  Then, by all means, enjoy the “poignant” cover version by Joe McDingleberry or McElderry, or whatever his name is.

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~ by acm213 on December 15, 2009.

2 Responses to “Those wacky Brits and their musical Christmas traditions”

  1. Thanks for the most random knowledge I have gained all day!

  2. I don’t think its all that random, we celebrate christmas and everything else around it, as the #1 single has always been celebrated too it makes sense really.

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