Christmas Number One Rankings: ’80s

Figured I’d do a few blogs where I rank all the Christmas number ones for every decade from the ’80s until now. The eighties are a mix of random pop songs and deliberately “Christmassy” tracks. The quality varies greatly so let’s get to it.

#10: There’s No One Quite Like Grandma- St Winifred’s School Choir (’80)

Kids singing a novelty song. It doesn’t get much worse than that.

#9: Mistletoe and Wine- Cliff Richard

I don’t hate Cliff Richard, the dude had some solid hits in the sixties, and you gotta admire his longevity, but when Cliff links up with Christmas he repeatedly serves up dross. Twee and cheesy, this is just woeful stuff and feels oddly cynical.

#8: Do They Know It’s Christmas?- Band Aid II (’89)

If Cliff cornering Christmas was cynical then this is just as bad. Sure, there’s a charity angle, but it feels like a PR exercise and the song is just a bland retread of the original. And with a less impressive line-up largely filled with Stock Aitken Waterman acts (Big Fun, Bros, Sonia)

#7: Save Your Love- Renee and Renato (’82)

A saccharine duet, but not a terrible song, the kinda thing a nan would love. Seems to have been completely forgotten in the intervening years though.

#6: Always On My Mind- Pet Shop Boys (’87)

I quite like PSB, but covering Elvis is always setting yourself up to fail, particularly when it’s one of his best songs. That being said as King covers go, this is one of the better ones, mainly because they don’t make any attempt to mimic the style. And it has a kinda cool brooding quality too.

#5: Do They Know It’s Christmas?- Band Aid (’84)

I know a lot of people have an issue with this song, and it’s not perfect, but it’s catchy and an alright song. I think people would be more forgiving if it wasn’t played a million times every festive season. Also, the line-up is filled with icons of the ’80s.

#4: Merry Christmas Everyone- Shakin’ Stevens (’85)

Cheesy, but I like it. It’s just a happy, fun Christmas pop song.

#3: Reet Petite- Jackie Wilson (’86)

Jackie Wilson’s 1957 track gained new life after being featured in a claymation clip on TV and spent four weeks at number one, three years after his death. Catchy, fun and I can’t not join in with it.

#2. Don’t You Want Me- The Human League (’82)

An absolute classic of the eighties, a synth filled delight of recrimination, regret and a relationship falling apart. Still holds up.

#1. Only You- The Flying Pickets (’83)

An acapella cover of a Yazoo track this is probably my favourite of the non-Christmas Christmas songs, in that it gets played quite a bit come December. It’s oddly moving and haunting, unique and catchy as hell. The video where the mismatched band members sing it in a rather depressing pub is an antidote for all the sleigh bells and cheeriness elsewhere. I love it.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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