Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name has won the most competitive race for the Christmas number one in years, the Official Charts Company announces today.
The song, first released in 1992 and backed by an enthusiastic online campaign by fans, sold more than 500,000 copies in the week leading up to the end of business yesterday to beat X Factor winner Joe McElderry’s The Climb to the top of the chart.
McElderry sold 450,000 copies, though sales slipped in the last few days.
In taking the title for 2009, Killing In The Name also sets two new landmarks, becoming the UK’s first download-only Christmas number one and notching up the biggest one-week download sales total in British chart history.
Rage Against The Machine led the race for number one from the beginning of a fascinating week, but their lead slipped after the CD of McElderry’s single was released on Wednesday. By Friday morning, Rage Against The Machine held the advantage by just 9,000 copies. But Killing In The Name went on to sell 200,000 copies across Friday and Saturday to make sure of the number one spot.
Official Charts Company managing director Martin Talbot says:
“Congratulations to Rage Against The Machine on their number one – as we have seen in recent years, overhauling any X Factor winner in the race for the Christmas number one is no mean achievement. The popular support we have seen for the record this week has been truly amazing – and handed them two all-time records.
“But congratulations too should also go to Joe McElderry. In taking the number two spot, he has still achieved one of the highest weekly sales of any single this year – in almost any other year, 450,000 copies would have given him the Christmas number one.
“Through this week, these two tracks have accounted for more than 950,000 single sales, a fact which is truly remarkable.”
The last time a battle for number one was anywhere near as close, Spice Girls’ Goodbye beat Chef’s Chocolate Salty Balls in 1998, with sales of 380,000 sales to 375,000 respectively. In recent years, Alexandra Burke’s Hallelujah last year was among the all-time biggest selling Christmas singles, moving 576,000 last year to beat Jeff Buckley’s recording of the same song.
Christmas Number Ones Of The Decade (nearly all shit – and isn’t it interesting how it starts with a song about fixing things, and ends with an anthem of anger and political rejection?):
Year Artist Title
2000 Bob The Builder Can We Fix It
2001 Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman Somethin’ Stupid
2002 Girls Aloud Sound Of The Underground
2003 Michael Andrews feat Gary Jules Mad World
2004 Band Aid 20 Do They Know It’s Christmas?
2005 Shayne Ward That’s My Goal
2006 Leona Lewis A Moment Like This
2007 Leon Jackson When You Believe
2008 Alexandra Burke Hallelujah
Number one in the Official UK Albums Chart for the fourth consecutive week is Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed A Dream.