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A screengrab of Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl in the video for Fairytale of New York.
last christmas

The Pogues' Fairytale of New York misses out on UK Christmas number one as Wham! take top spot

Last Christmas has secured the coveted top spot 39 years after its release.

THE POGUES’ FAIRYTALE of New York has missed out on the UK Christmas number one, with Wham! securing the top spot with Last Christmas, 39 years after the track was released.

Fairytale of New York, the classic duet between the late Shane MacGowan and the late Kirsty MacColl, was originally released in 1987.

It was kept off the top spot by Always On My Mind by the Pet Shop Boys – although it did take the number one slot in Ireland. 

Fans had launched a campaign to get the song back to the top of the charts following the death of the band’s frontman Shane MacGowan on 30 November.

But the song has come in at number six on the latest edition of the UK’s Official Singles Chart, which will cover the week of Christmas, with Last Christmas landing the coveted number one spot. 

Last Christmas was first released in December 1984 by pop duo George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, but was famously beaten to the top spot by Band Aid’s charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas?.

The festive track has now made history as the longest ever journey to make it to the top spot in time for Christmas Day, according to the Official Charts Company.

Andrew Ridgeley said: “Last Christmas has finally ascended to the much-cherished and sought-after Official Christmas number one, which was always the main goal.

“George would be beside himself (that) after all of these years, (we’ve) finally obtained Christmas number one. Yog (Michael) said that he wrote Last Christmas with the intention of writing a Christmas number one.

“It’s mission accomplished.”

Ridgeley said it was a “huge disappointment” for the pair not to reach the top spot in 1984 as they believed it was “nailed on”.

“Had it not been for Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas?, it probably would’ve been number one,” the 60-year-old said.

“Thwarted for many years subsequent to that – the perennial bridesmaid – over recent years it seems it’s become part of the fabric of Christmas for a lot of people.

“Christmas number one has been a long-held ambition for Yog (Michael) and I, and for the fans, too. It’ll mean a lot to Wham!’s legacy – it’s the crowning glory.”

Ridgeley said the song was “conceived as a Christmas number one” as Michael had “lofty ambitions for himself as a songwriter”, before the band split in 1986.

Michael, who had an extensive solo career with singles including Careless Whisper, died on Christmas Day in 2016 aged 53.

“Our fans will have a real sense of achievement and pride in the fact it’s become Christmas number one,” Ridgeley added.

Last Christmas is now the UK’s third biggest song of all time with a combined lifetime total of 5.34 million chart units, the Official Charts Company said.

Sam Ryder, who placed second at the 2022 Eurovision competition, has landed the second spot on the Christmas singles chart with his new song You’re Christmas To Me, joining his 2022 Eurovision entry Space Man, which also placed second.

While Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You cemented its place at number three.

With reporting from Press Association

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