Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, Baby

One of the plot points of the horribly contrived and overrated film Love, Actually, which takes place around Christmas, is that British people are pointlessly fascinated by which song is at Number One on the pop charts at Christmas. Here in the United States, no one much cares, because we're not listening to a whole lot of pop music this time of year, and even if we are, it tends to be holiday-themed music anyway. It would make more sense to be concerned about which song was Number One on the Fourth of July, because everyone's listening to Top Forty radio as they drive to the beach.

So the list of songs that took the Number One spots on the American charts is pretty paltry. In the interest of brevity (and because no one really cares about this), I'm going to list only the songs from what Casey Kasem used to call the Rock Era (which for my purposes is 1955-2000) that were at Number One on charts that came out on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and for the record, the official chart date falls on a Saturday.

1955: "Autumn Leaves," by Roger Williams
1960: "Are You Lonesome To-night?, [sic]" by Elvis Presley
1965: "Over and Over," by the Dave Clark Five
1966: "Good Vibrations," the Beach Boys
1971: "Brand New Key," by Melanie
1976: "Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)," by Rod Stewart
1977: "How Deep Is Your Love," by the Bee Gees
1988: "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," by Poison
1993: "Hero," by Mariah Carey
1994: "Here Comes the Hotstepper," by Ini Kamoze
1999: "Smooth," by Santana featuring Rob Thomas

Not much of a list, is it? The one good thing about "Here Comes the Hotstepper" is that my son Mark used to sing the line following the title as something about a "leprechaun gangster." It's nice to see the Beach Boys getting some Christmas love, but I prefer to imagine a family driving off to Midnight Mass in 1971, and being infused with the spirit of Melanie, allowing that she'd done all right for a girl.


  1. You understand that England has a Christmas #1 every year, right? It's whatever song is #1 at the end of the calendar year.

  2. No, I understand that. But does anyone want to read a list of 45 American Christmas Number Ones? More to the point, do I want to have to type that list out?

  3. No, but Christmas Number One was indeed once more of a Thing in the UK. So it's a nostalgic premise at worst. But ... "overrated"? "Contrived"? You are dead to me.


  4. (And Joe said I would never post.)