People can get obsessed about anything in this world. During my life I have met people with obsessive interests in things like crumpets, Polaroid cameras, Ewan McGregor, World of Warcraft and even once somebody who shoehorned Nuneaton Town FC into pretty much every conversation they had.
Seriously, it was ridiculous. You’d ask someone what their favourite breakfast was and they’d reply by reading out the entire starting line-up of Nuneaton’s game against Middlesbrough in 2006. Funny thing is, that’s not even the weirdest answer to that question I’ve ever gotten back. Someone once told me they only ate cereal that had orange juice poured over it.
All these obsessions are fine though, and I think it’s important in life to have things you’re passionate about. For me it’s been a few things over the years, from professional wrestling to trying to hit a nine-darter, but there was a period in my rather barren teenage years when I had a rather strangely keen interest in the music charts.
I can’t work out why or how it started, but I’ve always been interested in facts and statistics, and the cleanliness and the simplicity of the music charts appealed to me. I would scour the internet for hours researching where a certain bands single got to in the charts, how many they had sold and how that compared to other bands in their genres.
Back in 2002, I bought one of my first records, There Goes The Fear by Doves, which was released and deleted on the same day. It reached #3 in the charts, a huge feat for a band like Doves and really kick started their commercial appeal.
Why am I talking about this? Because this is a countdown of my favourite Christmas number one hits, songs that have outsold all others in the week of the year when most records are sold. It’s like winning the FA Cup or having a really good of can of Coke, achieving the Christmas number one is a momentous occasion for any musical act.
The turkey on the table as Top Of The Pops quietly plays in the background. It used to be the dream of many, but everything changes and nowadays the music charts for 51 weeks a year are now tedious and predictable, with downloads effectively killing the chances of any slightly obscure acts from crashing the charts.
Nowadays a band like The Wedding Present could never dream of releasing a single every month for a year and attracting interest, the Manic Street Preachers wouldn’t come back following the disappearance of Richey Edwards by hitting #2 in the charts with A Design For Life in 1996, just one place behind Return Of The Mack by Mark Morrison, a duo of songs which is surely a candidate for the best one-two in musical history.
Have a look at this video where Chris Eubank eulogises the Manics before they appear on TV and tell you don’t wish it was 1996 again.
Sadly though time has too move on, and we have to move on with it, so my obsession with the music charts is now dead, except for one week a year when the buzz is still there, the statistics come out and the excitement grows to see who has that coveted Christmas top spot.
#24 – Here In My Heart by Al Martino
Here In My Heart my Al Martino wasn’t just the first ever Christmas number one all the way back in November 1952, it was the very first number one in the history of the UK music charts. The song was so popular that it was the only number one of 1952. In some ways Rihanna of 1952 with his songs dominating the charts. Quite how many songs were actually released in 1952 is another thing of course.
In terms of the actual song itself, we can all be honest and say just like slavery, Thalidomide and Forsyth just because something happened in the past doesn’t mean it’s any good. It’s a standard song about love which is at home in a montage sequence of a b-level romantic comedy, sung pretty ordinarily by a gentleman whose main redeeming feature is the fact his surname has the word ‘Martin’ in it.
This isn’t a character assassination of the man though, and the reason for picking it is because I hate the Pet Shop Boys cover of Always On My Mind, plus this track is where it all began. Sometimes the first of things can be the best – The Godfather, or Definitely Maybe for example. and though that definitely isn’t the case here, for Here In My Heart’s sheer significance it definitely deserves its place here.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned Christmas enough in this edition, so why not have a quick look at the classic Toys R Us advert from the nineties to wash Here In My Heart out of your ears.
As ever, you can keep up to date with the countdown by listening to the Spotify playlist below, and you can leave your comments, suggestions and thoughts in the comments below, or on twitter @martinhines
Let’s end with what is becoming a magnificent tradition with two YouTube comments from Here In My Heart. Let the people talk.
To catch up on the rest of the countdown CLICK HERE