The least festive Christmas No.1s in history

Who was listening to ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ at Christmas? Everyone in 1979, apparently

From Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everyone’ to Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’, we’ve been treated to plenty of festive chart toppers over the years. But there’s also been many a year when something decidedly un-Christmassy has slipped through the cracks and crept into that No.1 position. Some of them are fun, some of them incredibly depressing, and all of them would make better listening in January. Here are the least festive Christmas No.1s on record.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen (1975/1991)

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (Official Video Remastered)

Queen’s mammoth hit has been a Christmas No.1 not once but twice. It’s not exactly festive, but there isn’t really a bad time of year to listen to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.

Lily The Pink – The Scaffold (1968)


This modernisation of a jaunty folk tune from The Scaffold is a truly insane listen but definitely cheerful enough to celebrate too. It doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the Christmas season, however, although it does gain a few extra points for managing to include the line ‘Hark the herald angels sing’. Fun fact: Elton John provided backing vocals on this one.

Mr Blobby – Mr Blobby (1993)

Mr Blobby Music Video [1993 Christmas Number 1]

Mr Blobby is for kids, and kids love Christmas. Does Mr Blobby actually have anything to do with Christmas? No.

Can We Fix It – Bob The Builder (2000)

Bob the Builder: Sing-a-Long Music Video // Theme Song: Can we Fix it?

Sorry, Bob, but the same goes for you.

Rockabye – Clean Bandit ft Sean Paul and Anne-Marie (2016)

Clean Bandit - Rockabye (feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie) [Official Video]

Clean Bandit’s collaboration with Sean Paul and Anne-Marie is an incredibly random Christmas listen. Still, this tale of a struggling single mum has family at its core and makes a couple of references to angels so… close enough?

Sound Of The Underground – Girls Aloud (2002)

Girls Aloud - Sound Of The Underground (Official Music Video)

Whilst it does sound like Girls Aloud are celebrating, this likely isn’t a description of their office Christmas party.

Return To Sender – Elvis Presley (1962)

Elvis Presley - Return To Sender [Video]

References to postal delivery services give this a tenuous link to the festive season, but there’s not much Christmas joy to be found in Elvis’ lover repeatedly sending back his unopened apologies. Unfortunately, it’s not even one of his better songs.

2 Become 1 – Spice Girls (1996)

Spice Girls - 2 Become 1 (Official Music Video)

The Spice Girls actually had three Christmas Day No.1s in the 90s and none of them were particularly festive. ‘Too Much’ took the top spot in 1997 and ‘Goodbye’ in 1998, but their least holiday-appropriate offering was ‘2 Become 1’. It’s just too horny for Christmas. Sorry girls.

Here In My Heart – Al Martino (1952)

Al Martino Here In My Heart

The first ever Christmas number one in record is… sad. “Here in my heart/I’m alone and so lonely,” sings Al Martino, before going on to give us two and a half minutes on the girl who doesn’t want him. As sad songs go it’s not a full-on tearjerker, but no one’s dancing.

Answer Me – Frankie Laine (1953)

Frankie Laine - Answer Me, My Love

Frankie Laine picked up exactly where Al Martino left off one year later with ‘Answer Me’, an equally depressing song that follows exactly the same story as Martino’s and still doesn’t feature a single jingle bell.

Just Walkin’ In The Rain – Johnnie Ray (1956)

Walking In The Rain - Johnnie Ray

Apparently there were a lot of lonely Christmases in the 50s. At least Johnnie Ray takes his moping outdoors for some variety.

It’s Only Make Believe – Conway Twitty (1958)

Conway Twitty "Its Only Make Believe"

Rounding out our barbershop quartet of lovesick 50s singers with Christmas No.1s is Conway Twitty, who is actually with the girl he loves but is painfully aware she doesn’t love him back. Did Christmas mean something different seventy years ago?

What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For? – Emile Ford and the Checkmates (1959)

What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes At Me for

Emile Ford offers something just a shade different with ‘What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For?’ by threatening the object of his unrequited affections. “Well, that’s all right, I’ll get you alone some night/And baby you’ll find, you’re messing with dynamite,” he sings. Merry Christmas.

I Hear You Knocking – Dave Edmunds (1970)

I Hear You Knocking

Not answering the door isn’t very Christmassy.

Killing In The Name – Rage Against The Machine (2009)

Rage Against The Machine - Killing In the Name (Official HD Video)

Although Rage Against The Machine’s successful campaign to keep the X Factor winner’s single out of the top spot in this year was a Christmas gift to us all, this spectacularly angry protest song isn’t as interested in bringing the nation together to celebrate as it is in uniting them to riot.

Day Tripper – The Beatles (1965)

Day Tripper (Remastered 2015)

The Beatles scathingly expose someone that they consider to be only partially committed to the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle – unlike themselves. It’s a great track built around an even greater guitar riff, but unfortunately songs about LSD don’t often make it onto Christmas playlists.

Don’t You Want Me – The Human League (1981)

The Human League - Don't You Want Me (Official Music Video)

Whilst The Human League’s seedy and slightly threatening tale of a skewed relationship between a young aspiring star and her manager turned boyfriend is a truly excellent track, it’s perhaps a little confronting for Christmas Day.

Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West) – Benny Hill (1971)

Benny Hill - Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West)

Ernie’s tale starts in suitably tongue-in-cheek novelty song territory and veers quickly downhill into tragedy and supernatural horror. After Ernie is killed in a duel with a love rival, he returns to haunt the unhappy couple forever. It’s a wild and very un-festive ride but you could probably do a decent jig to it, so there’s that.

Another Brick In The Wall – Pink Floyd (1979)

We can absolutely get behind Pink Floyd’s shakedown of abusive schooling tactics – any other time of year. This isn’t the children’s choir we’re looking to hear from on December 25th.

Mad World – Michael Andrews, Gary Jules (2003)

There are some sad songs on this list but ‘Mad World’ is the most depressing Christmas No.1 on record by a country mile. Not a single lyric in this song could be described as jolly, unless Gary Jules is singing “Happy Birthday” to Baby Jesus. And we suspect he isn’t.