A look at the top 40 charts in Christmas week throughout the ’80s. You may remember the Christmas number ones, but what competition were they up against?

Andy Stewart

1989 Christmas Top 40

In many ways the last year of the decade wasn’t too dissimilar from the early years – people were still using synths and computers to make their records, except the computers were now the size of a suitcase rather than an entire room, the records could be made in your bedroom instead of a professional recording studio and the drums now sounded like drums rather than someone hitting a biscuit tin with a stone. There was still a yearning for the familiar though, and the Stars On 45 medley craze of 1981 was echoed in 1989 by the likes of Jive Bunny, only now you could simply cut and paste the original records together instead of having to recruit teams of session musicians to painstakingly re-record them. The Christmas number 1 was also familiar, albeit in a depressing way as it showed how far mainstream pop music had deteriorated in the second half of the decade.

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More from Xmas Top 40

1988 Christmas Top 40

Kylie & Jason

Thanks to the increased availability of samplers and home recording equipment, in 1988 36% of the population was taking old records apart and welding them back together to make new ones. Bomb The Bass, Coldcut and S-Express were the most … read more

1987 Christmas Top 40

Shane & Kirsty

1987 saw the proper arrival of house music in the UK, with Steve “Silk” Hurley’s Jack Your Body topping the chart in January and M/A/R/R/S blithely sampling every record they could get their hands on and reaching number 1 with … read more

1986 Christmas Top 40

Jocky Wilson

Something seemed to have shifted in 1986. Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Culture Club and Frankie Goes To Hollywood all returned from their mid-decade break to lesser acclaim, failing to score a top three hit between them. Wham! called it a … read more

1985 Christmas Top 40

Shakin' Stevens

After the pop frenzy of the previous year, 1985 was something of a let down. With Frankie, Spandau and Culture Club all taking a year off and Wham! and Duran each offering up only one new song in the entire … read more

1984 Christmas Top 40

Band Aid

1984 was the high water mark for ’80s pop. Duran Duran, Wham!, Culture Club, Spandau Ballet and Frankie Goes To Hollywood dominated the chart. If only all these amazing acts could come together to record one enormous hit single together, … read more

1983 Christmas Top 40

The Flying Pickets

As we hit the mid-80s, 1983 was the year the decade really started to establish a distinguishable style. In the face of the grim reality of a second term of Thatcher government, pop went flamboyant with Culture Club, Spandau Ballet … read more

1982 Christmas Top 40

Keith Harris

You might have thought that by 1982 old-fashioned analogue music would be dead and the entire chart would be computer generated. Of course that scenario was still a good 25 years away. In fact synthpop was struggling, with the likes … read more

1981 Christmas Top 40

The Human League

1981 had been something of a transitional year. The past had been condensed into a series of bite-sized chunks thanks to a slew of medley singles – the works of the Beatles (Stars On 45), ABBA (Stars On 45 2), … read more

1980 Christmas Top 40

John Lennon & Yoko Ono

Christmas 1980 was something of a subdued affair. Chartwise there was a fairly standard mix of Christmas songs, novelty records and songs that had been hanging around for a while and just happened to be caught up in the festive … read more