Hallelujah, it’s Friday, which means another fun walk down memory lane to see what was at Christmas No. 1 in decades gone by.
This week we’ve reached the 1990s and, sadly, the end of our road – I’ll explain why later.
However, don’t be sad, because the 1990s meant Britpop, Girl Bands and the start of my own personal favourite TV show – The X-Files.
So, were Oasis ‘Mad Fer It’ enough to claim a Christmas chart-topper?
Well, no, but it was the decade when Girl Power reigned supreme, and it had to be the decade 1999 by Prince saw us into the new millennium in style – wasn’t it?
Read on to find out.
How Many 1990s Christmas No. 1’s Do You Remember?
Cliff Richard – Saviour’s Day
Following on from his Christmas No. 1 in 1988 with ‘Mistletoe and Wine’, Cliff proved once again he was the King of Christmas with ‘Saviour’s Day’. Technically, this was his third straight Christmas No. 1 with him appearing on 1989s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ by Band Aid II (but nobody counts that).
It was a slow burner, having entered the charts at No. 6 in early December before claiming top spot a few weeks later for one whole week.
And what did it knock off the top spot?
‘Ice Ice Baby’ by Vanilla Ice.
In 2009, ‘Saviour’s Day’ was named as the ninth most annoying Christmas song by Lactofree, a company who produce Lactose-Free products. I’m not sure what clout they have in the music industry, but there you go.
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody/These Are The Days Of Our Lives
Following Freddie Mercury’s death in December 1991, Queen released a double A-Side comprising of Bohemian Rhapsody and These Are The Days Of Our Lives.
The tracks held onto No. 1 for five weeks, and rightly so.
Bohemian Rhapsody already had nine weeks and a Christmas No. 1 under its belt from its original 1976 release – making it an impressive fourteen weeks at the top of the charts.
It was farewell to a legend and a master of his art. Freddie Mercury remains one of the greatest singers and showmen of all time – one who may never be surpassed.
Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You
Back in the early 90s, it was still possible to remain at No. 1 for an inexplicably long period of time. ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’ by Bryan Adams and ‘Love Is All Around’ by Wet Wet Wet both spent fifteen weeks at No. 1 – in fact, I still believe they’re number one they were there so long.
And ‘I Will Always Love You’ by Whitney Houston was another of the long stayers. Taken from ‘The Bodyguard’ soundtrack, starring Houston herself, ‘I Will Always Love You’ amassed ten weeks at the top of the charts, crushing all hopeful Christmas contenders in its wake.
Stuff like this never happens these days, and we moan about it, but if you didn’t live through the early 90s with the tracks above by Houston, Adams and Wet Wet Wet, you can consider it a blessing – because you couldn’t escape them.
Mr Blobby – Mr Blobby
East 17 – Stay Another Day
It’s pretty common knowledge East 17 don’t consider ‘Stay Another Day’ a Christmas song. In fact, the song was written by the band’s lead singer Tony Mortimer and is about his brother Ollie’s suicide.
However, with the music industry being what it is, and with the song being released towards Christmas, bells were added to make it sound more festive – helping it climb to No. 1 for five weeks.
You’ll never listen to it the same way again.
Michael Jackson – Earth Song
In 1995, when Britpop was riding a high, it wasn’t a classic tune by Oasis or Blur that claimed Christmas No. 1, it was Michael Jackson’s epic ‘Earth Song’.
At the time critics weren’t big fans, slating the song for its overblown message on saving the world (Yeah, because saving the Earth is such a bad idea!).
However, when did music lovers ever listen to critics?
And in this instance, they didn’t, as sales kept it at the top of the charts for six weeks.
Personally, whenever I hear ‘Earth Song’ it reminds me of a Spitting Image parody which showed the Earth screaming as it held on to two trees like Jackson in the video.
The Spice Girls – 2 Become 1
Girl Power blew through the charts in 1996 with The Spice Girls leading the charge.
Now, I wasn’t a fan myself, I was a huge Oasis fan eagerly awaiting the bloated ‘Be Here Now’. However, I did actually like ‘2 Become 1’ – and not just because the girl I fancied in school liked it too.
This was only the bands third single, but they claimed Christmas No. 1 at the height of their powers and stayed there for three weeks.
With lyrics that included:
Wanna make love to ya baby
‘2 Become 1’ wasn’t a song many teenage boys sang out loud back then, but you should hear me now!
However, this was just the start of the bands Christmas domination. One would become two which soon became three…
The Spice Girls – Too Much
The Spice Girls made history with their second consecutive Christmas No. 1, ‘Too Much’. It was their sixth single, and by claiming top spot, became the first artists to reach No. 1 with their first six releases.
Just likes ‘2 Become 1’, the Spice Girls opted for a slow ballad for the festive period, which seemed to be what the world wanted at Christmas towards the end of the 1990s.
While only staying at No. 1 for two weeks, the band were still riding a high – and they’d go on to create history twelve months later.
Too much of something is bad enough
proved to be true, as the world would see inside of a year.
The Spice Girls – Goodbye
If you were too young to remember the 1990s, I can’t underestimate just how important The Spice Girls were. And they continued their chart domination with their third consecutive Christmas No. 1, ‘Goodbye’.
However, it was a high following a tumultuous year.
Geri Halliwell had left the band on bad terms, but it didn’t stop the remaining foursome from making history as the first group since The Beatles to claim three Christmas No. 1’s in a row (sorry Cliff).
It was their last Christmas hit, and within a few years the band broke up.
Love them. Hate them. The Spice Girls spiced up our lives and added to the era of Britpop and New Labour’s Cool Britannia wave of success.
Westlife – I Have A Dream/Seasons In The Sun
Wait – what?
You have one of the greatest artists of all time write a song called 1999, and it doesn’t make it to Christmas No. 1 in 1999?
What we did endure in 1999 was never-ending news reports about the end of the world. Concerns the Millennium Bug would set off nuclear warheads and all electrical devices would cease to work were very real. So, what better way than partying to Prince’s classic 1999 as we waited for our impending doom?
Unfortunately, what we got was a very bland, middle-of-the-road double A-side by Westlife covering ABBA’s ‘I Have A Dream’ and Jacques Brel’s ‘Seasons In the Sun’.
They stayed at the top for four weeks, mostly due to the band’s popularity rather than the quality of the covers which, to be honest, were as dull as dishwater.
And alas, there we have it, we’ve come to the end of our trips back in time. I considered carrying on into the 2000s but, well, it’s mostly made up of Bob the Builder and X Factor winners – and nobody needs reminding of that.
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Right, I’m off to listen to 1999.
See you soon!