The top 10 Christmas songs of the last decade

Fairy lights are blinking, decorations adorn every shop window and high streets across the land are alive with the sights and smells of Christmas. Christmas just isn’t Christmas however without the reassuringly familiar sound of carols, brass bands, laments for a white Christmas and our favourite tunes to dance around the tree. 

At MusicWorks we are doing our bit to help get you in festive mood by sharing with you the most popular Christmas songs of the last decade. 

We start by presenting a short video of what happened when we went onto the streets of Britain to ask shoppers and office workers what impact Christmas music has on them. 

Coming in at number 10 is Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! by Dean Martin

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Curiously this song was written in Hollywood, California during one of the hottest days on record and although it’s commonly regarded as a Christmas song due to its seasonal lyrics it never actually mentions “Christmas”. The song first became a hit in 1946 when recorded by Vaughn Monroe but this version was recorded in 1966 by Dean Martin.

At number 9 is Bing Crosby with White Christmas

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According to the Guinness Book of World Records this is the best-selling single of all time (as opposed to most played in last decade) The song was written by Irving Berlin and reminisces about an old-fashioned Christmas. In 1942 the song spent eleven weeks at the top of the Billboard charts. The version most heard today is not in fact the one Crosby recorded in 1942; it had to be re-recorded because the original master became damaged through overuse.

In 8th place is Stop The Cavalry by Jona Lewie

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Although this song was never intended as a Christmas hit, the line “Wish I was at home for Christmas” as well as the brass band arrangements made it an appropriately styled song to play around Christmas time. The song peaked at number 3 in the UK singles chart in December 1980, only being kept from number 1 by two re-issued John Lennon songs following his murder on the 8th December that year. The song was written as well as performed by Jona Lewie.

Coming in at number 7 is Driving Home For Christmas by Chris Rea

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This song was written by Chris Rea and released in December 1988 as a non-album single. It peaked at number 53 in the charts that year but re-entered the charts in 2007 peaking at number 33.

In at number 6 is the Band Aid single Do They Know It’s Christmas?

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The song was written by (Sir) Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for relief of the famine in Ethiopia and was released by Band Aid on 29th November 1984. Band Aid was formed by Geldof and the song was performed by many of the most popular Irish and British musicians of the time. It sold a million copies in the first week alone and went on to become the biggest selling single in UK chart history until 1997 when Elton John’s Candle in the Wind was released as a tribute to Princess Diana.

Number 5 is Wizzard’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday

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This Christmas song was written and produced by Wizzard front man Roy Wood and was first released in 1973 when it reached number 4 in the singles chart. It was famously beaten to the Christmas number 1 spot by another song in this list (see number 4!). The song was actually recorded in August, so in order to create a wintry feeling the sound engineer filled the studio with Christmas decorations and turned down the air conditioning to cold forcing Roy Wood to wear a woolly hat he found in lost property.

Number 4 and the one that beat Wizzard to the Christmas number 1 spot in 1973 is Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade

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The song was written by lead vocalist and guitarist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea and was the band’s sixth number-one single in the UK. Having claimed the prized Christmas number 1 spot the song remained number 1 until well into February 1974. Despite being an amalgam of melodies from discarded songs written several years earlier it went on to become Slade’s best-selling single. It was also their last number 1 single. In 2009 PRS for Music announced that around 42% of the world’s population at the time may have heard the song.

3 is The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York

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After its release in 1987 the song rapidly became a hit after being performed on Top of the Pops. It peaked at number 2, denied the top spot by the Pet Shop Boys’ cover of Always on My Mind. The song features the late British singer Kirsty MacColl, was written by Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan and was featured on The Pogues’ album If I Should Fall from Grace with God. In December 2007 BBC Radio 1 censored some of the lyrics to avoid offence, however after a day of criticism from listeners and the band they reversed the decision.

At number 2 is Wham! with Last Christmas

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Released in 1984, Last Christmas was written by George Michael, one half of Wham! The single was expected to be a winner of the coveted Christmas number 1 spot but the Band Aid single beat them to it. However, George Michael’s involvement in Band Aid did at least ensure Wham! had some representation in the Christmas number 1 and Wham! Subsequently donated all their royalties from Last Christmas to the Ethiopian famine appeal. The song made #1 in several other countries. 

And number 1 is Mariah Carey and All I Want For Christmas Is You 

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Released in November 1994 as the lead single from Mariah Carey’s 4th album Merry Christmas it was written by Carey and Walter Afanasieff. An up-tempo love song combining pop music and traditional beats. The song’s inspiration came reportedly from Carey’s sentiments towards her then husband Tommy Mottola. The song is one of only a few recent songs to be considered a Christmas classic and continues to set records each year. It reached number 2 in the UK and stayed there for three consecutive weeks and is her best-selling single in the UK, being certified as platinum.

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