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Christmas number one chart battles

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Girls Aloud

© Rex Features / David Fisher

The Beatles, Cliff Richard, Slade, Boney M, Pet Shop Boys, Mr Blobby, Michael Jackson, Bob the Builder, Robbie Williams, Rage Against the Machine and, erm, One True Voice.

Such a list of diverse acts can only mean one thing: Christmas number one chart battles. The race to top the Xmas chart has always been a particularly British affair, even if Simon Cowell has managed to take charge of the accolade in recent years.

With this year's festive fight on the horizon, Digital Spy takes a look back at just some of the classic number one races of Christmas past.

1973: Slade vs. Wizzard
The 1973 battle could be credited for having the first true Christmas number one race. While Elton John's 'Step Into Christmas' criminally stalled at number 26, '73 saw Wizzard's 'I Wish it Could Be Christmas Everyday' fight it out against fellow glam rock Gods Slade, with their anthem 'Merry Xmas Everybody'.

Despite being a track that is still to this day dusted off each December, Wizzard somehow finished at #4, behind Gary Glitter and the New Seekers; meaning Slade took the crown in 1973. Still, the festive season hasn't truly begun until you've heard Noddy Holder reliably informing you that it is indeed Christmas

Listen to Slade's 'Merry Christmas Everybody' below:



1984: Wham! vs. Band Aid
There wasn't so much of a battle in terms of sales, but it still produced two solid Christmas favourites, and they both featured George Michael.

Any average year would most likely have seen Wham!'s 'Last Christmas' easily hit the top spot, especially as they were one of the biggest pop acts around at the time. But they were resoundly beaten by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure's Band Aid with the multi-million selling 'Do They Know it's Christmas?', which featured everyone from Bono to Status Quo. In fact, both singles were re-released the following year, and both reached the top ten again.

Watch Band Aid's 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' video below:



1993: Take That vs. Mr Blobby
Not only did the year's top ten include pop giants Meat Loaf and the Bee Gees, it threw up one of the all time Christmas number one upsets of epic proportions.

In the red corner was Take That with the ballad 'Babe', while Noel Edmonds's 'Mr Blobby' sat in the blue. Despite Blobby reaching the top spot earlier that month, he successfully clawed his way back to be the surprise winner of '93.

Watch the 'Mr Blobby' music video below:



1994: Mariah Carey vs. East 17
Mr Blobby helped give the Christmas chart a novelty boost the following year, with both Zig & Zag and the Power Rangers inside the Top 10. Oasis were on the rise and went straight in at three with 'Whatever', but the real battle was between East 17's 'Stay Another Day' and Mariah Carey's 'All I Want for Christmas is You'. Despite Carey's annual chart resurgence ever since, she was beaten by one of the leading boybands of the time.

Watch the 'Stay Another Day' music video below:



1999: Westlife vs. Cliff Richard
After three years of Spice Girls dominance at the Christmas top spot, 1999 was a free-for-all, with several artists fighting it out. Tween-poppers Steps and S Club 7 gave it a go, as well as a brave attempt from South Park's 'Mr Hankey the Christmas Poo', which hit number eight.

The final race - between Cliff Richard's 'Millenium Prayer' and Westlife's 'Seasons in the Sun/I Had A Dream' - was extremely tight, but after two weeks at the top, Cliff had to make do with the silver medal. He was beaten by the new kings of boyband pop, who secured their year of chart domination with the biggest prize of all.



2002: Girls Aloud vs. One True Voice
2002 saw the start of the talent show takeover of the Christmas chart. Popstars: The Rivals aimed to produce two groups that battled it out for the Christmas number one, meaning very few thought it worth competing.

Despite being ridiculued for their audition earlier in the series, The Cheeky Girls brought out 'The Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)', which eventually peaked at number three. In the end, the boyband One True Voice came second with what was to be their biggest hit, 'Sacred Trust', while Girls Aloud took the crown with 'Sound of the Underground'. The age of the talent show had begun.

Watch the 'Sound of the Underground' music video below:



2003: Gary Jules vs. The Darkness
The 2003 Christmas number one race was one of the last before Simon Cowell dominated the game. Several well-established groups tried out including the Sugababes, Blue and Atomic Kitten, but many presumed the victors would be the contestants from Pop Idol, who put out a cover of John Lennon's 'Happy Christmas (War Is Over)' ahead of the show's finale.

Shockingly, it only reached number five, leaving glam rockers The Darkness with 'Christmas Time' to fight it out with Gary Jules's 'Mad World'. Eventually Jules's Tears for Fears cover came out on top after its use in various TV programmes and, of course, the Donnie Darko film.

Watch the 'Mad World' music video below:



2009: Joe McElderry vs. Rage Against The Machine
From 2005-2008, The X Factor winners had safely secured the Christmas number one. Yes, even Leon Jackson managed to achieve it! Unfortunately for 2009's winner Joe McElderry, Facebook campaigns were in, and he faced a tough battle with Rage Against the Machine's 'Killing in the Name' in a bid to stop the Cowell's dominance. Both singles sold by the bucketload, but in the end, Joe's 'The Climb' finished second.

Watch the 'Killing in the Name' video below:



Do you think The X Factor winner's single will top the charts this Christmas? Leave your comments in the box below:

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