Wham!'s "Last Christmas" sleeve

Wham!’s “Last Christmas” returns to number 2

The online campaign to mark the first anniversary of George Michael’s passing by sending Wham!’s Last Christmas to number 1 has fallen just short of its target – but the track has returned to number 2 in this week’s official singles chart.

On its first release in 1984, the double A-side of Last Christmas and Everything She Wants entered the chart at number 2. Despite spending five weeks in second place and selling over a million copies it was denied the top spot by Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? which became the UK’s biggest selling single of all time. A reissue of Last Christmas reached number 6 in 1985 and the song has regularly returned to the listings at the end of the year since 2007 when download sales were integrated into the singles chart. Despite this, it wasn’t until George’s death on Christmas Day 2016 that the song made it back into the top ten, reaching number 7 in the week after his passing.

As well as the online campaign, the track’s return to the number 2 position this year is due in part to the inclusion of streaming data in the singles chart, which has also driven numerous other Christmas singles to their highest chart position in decades. The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl climb to number 5 in this week’s chart with Fairytale of New York, its highest position since 2007, while Wham!’s former vanquishers Band Aid reach number 7, the first time the original recording of Do They Know It’s Christmas? has been in the top ten since 1985. Shakin’ Stevens achieves a similar feat, with Merry Christmas Everyone returning to number 10 and entering the top ten for the first time since it was 1985’s festive chart topper.

Further down, two Christmas classics are enjoying their first ever visits to the top twenty: Elton John’s Step Into Christmas achieves a new peak of #11 (it only reached 24 on its original release in 1973), while Chris Rea reaches #14 with Driving Home For Christmas, having peaked at #53 when first released in 1988. Surprisingly though, Jona Lewie’s Stop the Cavalry only reaches #61 (it got as high as #58 in 2016) and the Waitresses’ Christmas Wrapping – voted second favourite Christmas hit of the entire decade in our recent poll – re-enters at a lowly #87.