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Whamageddon for Pogues as Christmas No.1 fairytale ends

The Pogues classic seasonal song Fairytale of New York has missed out on the coveted UK Christmas No.1 as Wham! claimed the festive top spot with their track Last Christmas – nearly forty years after it was first released.

The Pogues song, a bittersweet duet between the late Shane MacGowan and the late Kirsty MacColl, famously failed to make No.1 in Britain on its original release in 1987 when it was pipped at the post by Pet Shop Boys’ cover of Always on my Mind, a song made famous by Elvis Presley.


Over the past few days, the surviving members of The Pogues and MacGowan’s widow, Victoria Mary Clarke, had urged fans to download Fairytale of New York or buy a specially released new pressing of the 7″ single in the hope that a final push would see the song finally make No.1 in the UK.

The song secured the top spot in Ireland in 1987 and returned to No.1 last Friday but has now been toppled by American singer-singer Noah Kahan and his hit Stick Season on the new Irish chart.

Fairytale has consistently made the Top 10 on many occasions over the past 35 years in both Ireland and the UK and it has also topped Best Christmas Song polls many times since its release.

Wham!, comprised of the late George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, scored many hits over their career but Last Christmas, first released in 1984, was known as the UK’s best-selling single to have never reached No.1, until January 2021 when it finally landed the top spot.

George Michael and Andrew Ridgley pictured in 1984

However, the song has now been awarded the prestigious Christmas No. 1, 39 years after it was beaten to the top by Band Aid’s charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas?. The Wham! song lasted five weeks at No. 2 in 1984 and into the early weeks of 1985.

Speaking to BBC Radio 1 on Friday, Andrew Ridgely said, “It is a big moment for me and everyone involved with Wham! and George Michael. When Yog wrote this track, he wrote it with No.1 in mind, that was the goal.”

You’re Christmas to Me by UK Eurovision runner-up Sam Ryder and Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas were also in contention for the top spot in the UK.

The news of Wham!’s belated success will come as bad news for players of “Whamageddon”, a game in which players try to make it from 1 December to the end of Christmas Eve without hearing Last Christmas.

Alan Corr @CorrAlan2

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