Christmas number one: predictions, runners and riders

The man behind the Rage Against the Machine campaign reveals his festive picks

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Jon Morter is the man who beat Simon Cowell. His successful campaign to topple X Factor from the Christmas number one spot back in 2009 was a triumph. Instead of sweet young Joe McElderry, Christmas parties that year thumped to the sweary anthem Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine. Now a social media guru, he’s the perfect guy to size up this year’s contenders…


Something I Need, Ben Haenow – Number 2

“I think the original Band Aid was a fantastic thing – a game-changer in the music industry. Sir Bob and Midge Ure got their just credit for that. But now it’s jumped the shark. The single predated social media in 1984, and even in 2004 Facebook had just launched. People now know that Bono earns 600 million quid, Geldof’s got a few bob, and One Direction aren’t short of a few quid. People can make their own decision, and whether it is the right or wrong opinion, they’ll have an opinion. People are thinking no – you’ve got a lot of money, we haven’t.”

“The song got a bit of a boost back up from the CD release, but I don’t think it’ll go top ten. I think it’s had its go. Plus, the release dates were just off the scale for bizarreness. If you are going to release a CD single, why do it a week before the Christmas chart?”

Real Love, Tom Odell – Top 20

“The John Lewis singles basically take a decent-ish song, strip every ounce of soul until it’s just a shell, get a (normally female) singer – it’s a man this year, bit of a twist – and get them to sing really whimsically. Stick it all together in the studio then add a cute animal and/or a kid giving granddad a present. It’s a formula – just like the X Factor winner’s single is a formula. Next year you could do a sweep stake on what the John Lewis song will be – my bet is an Iron Maiden track stripped to just a single piano, a twee singer and lots of white backgrounds.”

“It’s been out for a while so I think it’s had it’s peak. I would be so shocked if it got anywhere near the top 10. I just can’t see it. If it does I will eat my words and go on a John Lewis spending spree.”

Ariana Grande with Santa Tell Me – Top 20

“It’s a jaunty little Christmas tune. I can’t see it challenging at the top but Christmas songs sell pretty decently.”

Number of the Beast, Iron Maiden – Top 10

“Another campaign I am advising. They’ve got a fair few numbers, but it’s not on the same scale as Rage Against the Machine or even AC/DC last year. I think if it gets to the Top 10 that would be a great result. It’s hard to get the numbers now because Facebook have changed how their pages work. Rage Against the Machine would never succeed today, because we relied on old features like group messaging. Also, I think more people aren’t necessarily cynical, but they are a lot more wary of the ‘like’ button. They’re less ‘like’ happy.”

“I think that with Rage we wanted to say ‘enough’, and it worked, but now a lot of people say ‘we’ve done it, why should we do it again?’ But these campaigns will keep happening, because there is always going to be someone out there with a similar feeling to me five years ago. Good luck to them!”

All Together Now, Peace Collective – Top 10

“I’ve been advising a few campaigns, but the Peace Collective is my main one. Officially I am one of the Collective, because I was part of the Justice Collective who were number one in 2012. I got the call a few months ago to say we’re putting the band back together, are you in?”

“We’ve got some big entities behind it, including the Premier League – it was partly their idea to do this. We’re trying to get every single premier league club to tweet and Facebook it. We don’t have a clue what’s going to happen, although I don’t think we quite have the steam to get it to number one this year. But hey, it’s the Christmas chart, anything can happen. We’ve still got a few things up our sleeve.”

 Ok Father Christmas, John Otway – Top 40

“John Otway [who scored a number 27 hit with Really Free in 1977] might be the dark horse. He’s attempting to get his third hit in 37 years. It ain’t going to be number one – I think he knows that – but if he can get into the Christmas top 40 that would be amazing. I think it’s doable – he’s got a very hardcore fan base. Previously, his fans all colluded to get him a top ten hit when he shouldn’t in a million years. If everyone of them buys his Christmas song, I can’t see why not.”


The Classics

“Streaming counts towards the charts for the first time this year. One Spotify play is one hundredth of a sale, so I think you’ll see the old stuff coming back: Wizzard, Slade, Stop the Cavalry, etc. I bet Mariah Carey will go quite high, and don’t be shocked if the original Band Aid comes back. Think about it: people make a Spotify playlist of Christmas songs to play in the background of opening presents, or in shops and cafes up and down the country.”