Can anyone remember those 'Top of the Pops' Christmas albums that were released throughout the late Seventies, that had awful versions of that year's hits on them but also had some wonderful front covers that weren’t far off the theme of Legs and Co? I can. They were great for lads like me at that time of your life. As I remember it, you could buy them from Woolies and other similar outlets if your mum would let you. The music was dire but the front covers more than made up for it.

Well, I've hunted a few down here and will show you them a little later into this article. I know. What a tease...

But first of all...here’s a few Christmas vinyl facts to keep you going...

The Beatles are the only act to have four Christmas number ones, three consecutively starting from 1963. On two occasions, 1963 and 1967, they had both the Christmas number one and the number two, the only act to have achieved this. Interesting stats but they will never be famous.

As part of two acts, George Michael repeated the feat with Band Aid and Wham! in 1984, and Ed Sheeran did so in 2017 with duets with Beyoncé and Eminem.

Paul McCartney has been top no less than eight times with various acts.

Cliff Richard has spent four Christmases at number one; two as a solo act, one with the Shadows and one as part of Band Aid II.

The Spice Girls later equalled the record of having three consecutive Christmas number ones, from 1996 to 1998. Spice Girl Melanie C achieved a fourth Christmas number one as a member of the Justice Collective in 2012, which also gave Robbie Williams his third.

'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen which reached the number-one spot at Christmas 1975 and 1991, is the only record to have reached the top twice.

'Mary's Boy Child' is the only song to be Christmas number one for two artists (Harry Belafonte in 1957 and Boney M. in 1978), although 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' has been Christmas number one for three generations of Band Aid.

The original version of 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' is the second best selling single in UK history while 'Bohemian Rhapsody' is the third best selling single of all time.

So what’s the biggest selling CHRISTMAS album I hear you shout? Well, how about this?

'Elvis' Christmas Album' by Elvis Presley

Released in 1957, this is both the oldest album on the list and the top seller, but considering it's Elvis that shouldn't come as a surprise. With classic tracks like 'Blue Christmas' and 'Silent Night', your holiday really isn't complete without this one. Now is it? There’s nothing finer than watching grandma's teeth pop out while singing along to 'Silent Night', eh?

Elvis is followed up closely by this wonder:

'Miracles: The Holiday Album by Kenny G

From 1994, 'Winter Wonderland', 'Silver Bells' and 'The Chanukah Song' all make appearances, so it's a must-have if you like smooth jazz. Mmmmm….nice.

How can we have a Christmas list of goodies without 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday' recorded by British glam rock band Wizzard. It was first released in December 1973 and, as with most Wizzard songs, was written and produced by the band's frontman Roy Wood — formerly of the Move and a founding member of ELO. Despite the song's strong, long-lasting popularity, it has reached no higher than number four on the UK Singles Chart, a position it occupied for four consecutive weeks from December 1973 to January 1974. The song was beaten to the 1973 Christmas Number 1 spot by Slade's 'Merry Xmas Everybody' which remained at the top of the charts for five weeks, from December 1973 to January 1974. Damn you, Noddy!

Speaking of Noddy, Mr Holder has referred to this Christmas merrymaker as his pension scheme, reflecting on its continuing popularity and the royalties it generates. In 2015 it was estimated that the song generates wait for it...get this...£500,000 of royalties per year. That’s half a million to you and me.

The song was written by lead vocalist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea, and produced by Chas Chandler. It was the band's sixth and final number-one single in the UK.

Released at the peak of the band's popularity, 'Merry Xmas Everybody' sold over a million copies upon its first release. It is Slade's last number-one single, and by far their best-selling single. It has been released during every decade since 1973, and has been covered by numerous artists. The single was certified UK Platinum by BPI in December 1980. Since 2007 and the advent of downloads counting towards the UK Singles Chart, it has re-entered the charts each December. As of December 2012, it has sold 1.21 million copies in the UK.

And here's a stat for you……in a UK television special on ITV in December 2012, 'Merry Xmas Everybody' was voted third (behind 'Fairytale of New York' and 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday') in The Nation's Favourite Christmas Song.

As it’s the festive season I also thought I would dig out a few of those cheesy items like the old picture disc. Christmas was no exception when it came to colouring the record with the artist themselves so that we could use them as dinner plates.

I particularly like one by Orville. I can imagine it covered in a nice chicken gravy. You can't. I can. You can't...i c c c can.

This year as you sit around the Christmas table eating your turkey astound people with your Christmas record knowledge and with stats about each year, the artist and song and even how many weeks it stayed at No. 1. Ready?

1952 Al Martino 'Here in My Hear'" 9
1953 Frankie Laine 'Answer Me' 8
1954 Winifred Atwell 'Let's Have Another Party' 5
1955 Dickie Valentine'Christmas Alphabet' 3
1956 Johnnie Ray 'Just Walkin' in the Rain' 7
1957 Harry Belafonte 'Mary's Boy Child' 7
1958 Conway Twitty 'It's Only Make Believe' 5
1959 Emile Ford and the Checkmates 'What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?' 6
1960 Cliff Richard and The Shadows 'I Love You' 2
1961 Danny Williams 'Moon River' 2
1962 Elvis Presley 'Return to Sender' 3
1963 The Beatles 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' 5
1964 The Beatles 'I Feel Fine' 5
1965 The Beatles 'Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out' 5
1966 Tom Jones 'Green, Green Grass of Home' 7
1967 The Beatles 'Hello, Goodbye' 7
1968 The Scaffold 'Lily the Pink' 4
1969 Rolf Harris 'Two Little Boys' 6
1970 Dave Edmunds 'I Hear You Knocking' 6
1971 Benny Hill 'Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)' 4
1972 Jimmy Osmond 'Long Haired Lover from Liverpool' 5
1973 Slade 'Merry Xmas Everybody' 5
1974 Mud "'Lonely This Christmas' 4
1975 Queen 'Bohemian Rhapsody' 9
1976 Johnny Mathis 'When a Child Is Born (Soleado)' 3
1977 Wings 'Mull of Kintyre/Girls' School' 9
1978 Boney M. 'Mary's Boy Child – Oh My Lord' 4
1979 Pink Floyd 'Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)' 5
1980 St Winifred 's School Choir 'There's No One Quite Like Grandma' 2
1981 The Human League 'Don't You Want Me?' 5
1982 Renée and Renato 'Save Your Love' 4
1983 The Flying Pickets 'Only You' 5
1984 Band Aid 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' 5
1985 Shakin' Stevens 'Merry Christmas Everyone' 2
1986 Jackie Wilson 'Reet Petite' 4
1987 Pet Shop Boys 'Always on My Mind' 4
1988 Cliff Richard 'Mistletoe and Wine' 4
1989 Band Aid II 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' 3
1990 Cliff Richard 'Saviour's Day' 1
1991 Queen 'Bohemian Rhapsody/These Are the Days of Our Lives' 5
1992 Whitney Houston 'I Will Always Love You' 10
1993 Mr Blobby 'Mr Blobby' 3
1994 East 17 'Stay Another Day' 5
1995 Michael Jackson 'Earth Song' 6
1996 Spice Girls '2 Become 1' 3
1997 Spice Girls 'Too Much' 2
1998 Spice Girls 'Goodbye' 1
1999 Westlife 'I Have a Dream/Seasons in the Sun' 4
2000 Bob the Builder 'Can We Fix It?' 3
2001 Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman 'Somethin' Stupid' 3
2002 Girls Aloud 'Sound of the Underground' 4
2003 Michael Andrews and Gary Jules 'Mad World' 3
2004 Band Aid 20 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' 4
2005 Shayne Ward 'That's My Goal' 4
2006 Leona Lewis 'A Moment Like This' 4
2007 Leon Jackson 'When You Believe' 3
2008 Alexandra Burke 'Hallelujah' 3
2009 Rage Against the Machine 'Killing in the Name' 1
2010 Matt Cardle 'When We Collide' 3
2011 Military Wives with Gareth Malone 'Wherever You Are' 1
2012 The Justice Collective 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' 1
2013 Sam Bailey 'Skyscraper' 1
2014 Ben Haenow 'Something I Need' 1
2015 Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir 'A Bridge over You' 1
2016 Clean Bandit featuring Sean Paul and Anne-Marie 'Rockabye' 9
2017 Ed Sheeran "Perfect" 6
2018 LadBaby 'We Built This City' 1
2019 ? —

Now then gents back to those 'Top of the Pops' album covers we spoke about at the start of this article. Ready?

There we go!

Only joking! Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at Pennyblackmusic

















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