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Tag Archives: UK Christmas Number Ones

UK Christmas Number Ones – 1984 (& 1989 & 2004)

The original version of the hugely successful charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas?, written by Bob Geldof & Midge Ure in reaction Michael Buerk’s BBC reports of famine in Ethiopia, was performed by Band Aid, a group comprising of the biggest names in British music at the time. It even led to the enormous Live Aid benefit concert the following summer.

In addition to various reissues, the song was re-recorded in 1989 by Band Aid II and 2004 by Band Aid 20,  giving three different versions of the same song the top slot in their respective years.

Here’s an excellent collaborative cover version produced by Ronin Wong, who gathered 43 performers around the world – mainly uke players – into this video collage (full credits & back story). See how many faces you recognise!

And, if you’ve been enjoying this trip down chart memory lane, why not try Smooth Radio’s Christmas Number Ones quiz or Uke Hunt’s annual Xmas ukulele-themed one?

More info on Wikipedia.

 

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UK Christmas Number Ones – 1974

Glam Rock band Mud swapped their Tiger Feet for crepe-soled shoes to play their Elvis Presley pastiche Lonely This Christmas.

Here’s Ukulele Paradijs with a delightfully cheesy version, recorded in Gouda:

More info on Wikipedia.

 

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UK Christmas Number Ones – 2015

The Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir, from PLUC’s local NHS Trust, were responsible for 2015’s charity Xmas number one. Released after they were runners up in the BBC’s The Choir: Sing While You Work  and at a time of crisis for the NHS, A Bridge Over You combines two previous hits: the iconic Bridge Over Troubled Water (probably Simon & Garfunkel’s best-known hit) and Coldplay’s Fix You (used for various good causes, such as a tribute highlighting the aftermath of the 7/7 London Bombings in 2005).

Helmut Bickel gives one of his fingerstyle tutorials for Fix You.

Enjoy Paxukulele & Sunny performing Bridge Over Troubled Water:

More info on Wikipedia.

 

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UK Christmas Number Ones – 1994

Stay Another Day has proved to be East 17‘s biggest hit.

It was written by the band’s lead songwriter, Tony Mortimer, and is about his brother Ollie, who took his own life. For 2019 Mortimer has recorded another version with the Waltham Forest Youth Choir to raise money for the charity CALM.

Here’s a group from Learn To Uke Ukulele Tutorials, fittingly playing in Walthamstow, E17:

More info on Wikipedia.

 

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UK Christmas Number Ones – 1985

The UK’s biggest-selling singles artist of the 1980s, Shakin’ Stevens took Merry Christmas Everyone  to the top in 1985. Its original planned release was put back by a year to avoid clashing with the runaway success of Band Aid’s charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas?

Here’s some footage of Wirral Ukulele Orchestra at a local gig:

More info on Wikipedia.

 

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UK Christmas Number Ones – 1973

Merry Xmas Everybody, written by lead vocalist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea at the height of Slade‘s popularity, is by far their biggest hit.  A perennial favourite, it’s been released every decade since 1973 & covered numerous times, ensuring them a comfortable pension from the royalties!

Here’s a gentle take on it from Uke Nukem:

More info on Wikipedia.

 

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UK Christmas Number Ones – 1971

Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West) was a novelty hit from Benny Hill, utilising some of the same gags from his earlier number Gather In The Mushrooms. He’s a real fun guy!

Here’s a suitably daft reenactment from Ukulele Hooley Ernie:

More info on Wikipedia.

 

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