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George Michael could claim the first number one of 2021

Reiss Smith December 31, 2020
George Michael mural Brent London

George Michael. (Getty)

George Michael could claim the first UK number one of 2021, with the Wham! classic “Last Christmas” just behind Mariah Carey in a midweek chart update.

The late pop icon, who passed away on Boxing Day 2016, could return to the top of the charts Friday (1 January) thank to a festive surge in popularity for the immortal “Last Christmas” by Wham!.

A midweek update by the Official Chart Company puts Wham! just behind that other Christmas classic, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas”. Only 89 sales units separate the two, according to MusicWeek.

It would be a stunning victory for “Last Christmas”, which was released 36 years ago in 1984 only to be beaten to the top of the UK chart by Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. It would be Michael’s first number one since 1996’s “Fastlove”.

Mariah Carey earned a similarly belated festive number one on 11 December, 2020, when “All I Want For Christmas” reached number one in the UK charts after a 26-year wait.

“Last Christmas” is the second most-played Christmas song of all time, according to 2019 research by the Performing Rights Society, second only to The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York”.

Over the years it has been covered by myriad artists including Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and Billie Piper.

In 2019 the song set a new record for the biggest week of streams for a song in the UK.

Despite clocking an incredibly 17.1 million streams in just seven days, it was beaten to number one by Ellie Goulding’s cover of “River”, which was only available to stream on Amazon and YouTube at the time.

The former ensured its success by including it on “just about every holiday-themed playlist”, wrote Mark Mulligan of Media Research at the time, meaning every time an Alexa device was asked to play Christmas music, Goulding’s voice blared back at them.

 

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