SEVEN decades after the first Christmas No1, the battle for the coveted spot rages as fiercely as ever.
Al Martino was the first to claim the honour in 1952 with Here In My Heart – and since then a procession of A-list names have joined the club.
The Beatles boasted four throughout the Sixties, while Paul McCartney regained the crown in 1977 with Wings’ Mull Of Kintyre.
More recently, The Spice Girls, Michael Jackson, Robbie Williams and Whitney Houston have beaten the festive competition.
A spate of novelty acts saw Mr Blobby take top spot in 1993 and later Bob The Builder, before X Factor’s TV domination saw Leona Lewis, Shayne Ward, Alexandra Burke, Matt Cardle, Sam Bailey, Leon Jackson and Ben Haenow triumph.
A public campaign saw Rage Against The Machine break that run in 2009 – and similar campaigns saw novelty act LadBaby nab the last three.
Here, we take a look at the front runners, along with their odds of hitting the top.
ELTON AND ED SHEERAN – 11/10
THE superstar duo are many bookmakers’ favourites for the Christmas No1.
In a recent Sun interview Ed played a preview of the duet, simply titled Merry Christmas, revealing sleigh bells and a catchy chorus showcasing his gift for a chart earworm.
A video sees the pair parody a host of other Christmas pop videos and is released tomorrow, alongside the single.
It’s hard to see them being beaten.
LADBABY – 4/6
IF anyone can challenge Ed and Elton for Christmas No1, it’s the victor of the last three years – equalling the Spice Girls’ haul.
LadBaby – real name Mark Hoyle – is a British YouTube star whose first Christmas No1 was 2018’s We Built This City, about the joys of sausage rolls.
His 2021 effort has not been revealed yet but bookies already have him as a favourite – with Mark saying: “Never rule out a sausage roll at Christmas.”
CHURCH OF ENGLAND – 25/1
IN an unexpected new bid for populism, the Church of England has unveiled its first festive single, featuring the St Martin’s Voices choir performing the carol In The Bleak Midwinter.
Royalties from the record will go to charity, and the single will form the soundtrack to this year’s Church of England Christmas campaign, a series of social media adverts highlighting the hardships that many experience at this time of year.
ABBA – 18/1
THE Swedish comeback icons will enter the Christmas race for the first time tomorrow with the release of their latest single, Little Things – having never made a bid for the festive top spot before.
The track, which reflects on the joy of Christmas morning, is out on CD, with the band hoping to capitalise on their success with physical sales of their recent comeback album, Voyage.
A festive music video will also be released to accompany the song.
GEORGE EZRA – 50/1
INDIE singer-songwriter George has reworked Charles Brown’s 1960 single Please Come Home For Christmas for this year’s Amazon Music festive streaming service.
Following Jess Glynne’s This Christmas and Ellie Goulding’s River, the singer is hoping the forgotten track might enjoy an unexpected revival.
The song last appeared in the Official Singles Chart in 1994, when Bon Jovi’s cover reached No7.
The Xmas classics
CHRISTMAS isn’t Christmas without some Mariah Carey, Wham!, Wizzard, Slade and The Pogues – and one of the classics could take top spot again this year.
With streaming services now the biggest influence on pop’s chart positions, festive favourites frequently dominate the Top Ten in the run-up to Christmas Day, with fans whacking them on Spotify to get in the mood before the holidays.
Already, Last Christmas, All I Want For Christmas Is You and Fairytale Of New York are among the hardy classics getting an outing.
Could an oldie make it all the way to the top spot once more?
Bookies are offering short odds on many of the obvious candidates . . . though Cliff Richard remains an outside bet at 50/1.
ADELE – 10/1
SEVERAL tracks from Adele’s new album 30 are already proving hugely popular on the Official Chart – and bookies think one of them could sail all the way to the Christmas top spot.
As well as its No1 lead single Easy On Me, the album tracks Oh My God and I Drink Wine are performing well – and now a fresh promotional push around a new single is expected soon.
THE LATHUMS – 16/1
THIS year’s anti-Christmas effort comes from Wigan-based indie rockers The Lathums – who already enjoyed topping the charts with their debut album earlier this year.
Titled Krampus, the new single describes the end of the world and cancelling Christmas – and has gained a surge of support among social media users looking to rebel against the usual cheesy chart-topper.
GARY BARLOW AND SHERIDAN SMITH – 25/1
ANOTHER A-list pairing, Take That frontman Gary and West End star Sheridan sang their new single How Christmas Is Supposed To Be on last week’s Jonathan Ross show – with their odds of claiming the festive top spot quickly rising.
But while it ticks a lot of classic Christmas single boxes, it may just prove too sickly-sweet for some.
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