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broodings from the burrow

December 19, 2018

virtual advent tour 2018: day 19
posted by soe 6:37 am

virtual advent tour 2018, hosted by spritewrites.net.

Season’s greetings, readers! We’re back for our final Wednesday before Christmas. While you probably know Dec. 6th is when Western religions celebrate St. Nicholas Day, did you know that Eastern Orthodox religions celebrate it on Dec. 19? So happy St. Nicholas Day, once again!

As I mentioned last week, my Dad (DOD) composed two Virtual Advent Tour posts for us this year. While his first post looked at some of the earliest Christmas carols, his second fast forwards to more contemporary times.

Take it away, DOD!

United Kingdom’s Christmas One Singles

Okay, so not every Christmas pop song originates in the United States and since the passing of Dick Clark and Casey Kasem, other music charts have become even more important than ours. One of the most notable is in merry old England and calls attention to the most popular single recording on Christmas Day of each year. This pop chart began in 1952, and in 1955, the first Christmas themed song to become a number one was “Christmas Alphabet” by Dickie Valentine, a British cover song of a McGuire Sisters hit the previous year in the States. Since then, there have been nine additional Christmas songs, the last of which was the most recent version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid 20 in 2004.

Christmas Number Ones first gained notoriety in 1973 when British rock bands Slade and Wizzard deliberately released Christmas tunes, “Merry Christmas, Everybody” and “I Wish It Could be Christmas Everyday” respectively. Slade topped the chart on that Christmas. What makes this a contest is since 2002, the singles chart has been fair game for reality contestants, novelty acts, supergroups, retailers, and charities to vie for publicity and fame. The last of the non-professional acts to become the number one single was in 2015, when the leading pop act, Justin Bieber, asked his fans to vote for a charity instead. The winner was a choir consisting of employees from the Lewisham and Greenwich National Health Service Trust (operators of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the University Hospital in Lewisham). The choir did a number called “A Bridge Over You.” This is a combination of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” and Coldplay’s “Fix You.”

Pop acts almost always win the race to Number One. The Beatles are the only act to have four Christmas Number Ones. They are also the only act to have both the Number One and the Number Two Christmas songs. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen is the only song to have reached the top spot twice (1975 & 1991). “Mary’s Boy Child” is the only song to reach Number One by different artists (Harry Belafonte and Boney M.). “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” has been Number One for three generations of Band Aid.

Here are two contending acts for this year. First, the Christmas advertisement from John Lewis and Partners called “The Boy and the Piano.”

The second is a group of firefighters from across England who banded together as The Fire Tones to raise money through their charity Christmas single benefitting The Firefighters Charity and The Band Aid Trust.

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Have a merry musical Christmas everyone.

Thanks for this post, Dad. Part of what I like about the film Love, Actually is Billy Mack’s (played brilliantly by Bill Nighy) blatant pursuit of a comeback through the Christmas Number One race.

See you all tomorrow for yet another stop on the Virtual Advent Tour!

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