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The Pogues' Fairytale of New York is this year's most played Christmas song

Tale of a drunken Irishman's yuletide revelry has outplayed the likes of Mariah Carey and Wham! logo
Published: Thursday, 15th December 2011 at 11:40 am

If you’ve switched on a radio, been to a supermarket or watched TV in the last few weeks, your ears can’t help but have been assailed by all those appealingly naff Christmas tunes that are wheeled out year after year. But, according to a new survey, the song you’re most likely to have blasted at you over the festive period is The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York.


The track tops the Phonographic Performance Limited's (PPL) list of the most played Christmas songs, which is based on airplay from over the past year, and sees The Pogues reclaim the number one spot from Mariah Carey, whose All I Want for Christmas Is You occupied the number one slot on PPL’s chart this time last year.

Fairytale of New York featured Shane MacGowan and the late Kirsty MacColl in the roles of warring lovers and reached number two in the charts when it was originally released in 1987. Royalties from continuing sales of the song have assisted MacColl’s family’s investigation into the singer’s untimely death at the age of 41 in 2000.

The 80s emerges in PPL’s chart as the most popular decade for festive tunes, with songs released in the period accounting for half of the top 20 tracks.

White Christmas by Bing Crosby, which was released in 1942, is the oldest song to make the list, while East 17’s Stay Another Day and Carey’s song are tied as the most recently released entries, both having come out in 1994.

"Fairytale of New York is a timeless classic which everyone knows and rightfully deserves its place at the top spot,” said PPL spokesman Jonathan Morrish.

“Stop somebody in the street and ask them what is their favourite Christmas song, and they would undoubtedly choose one from the PPL top 20.”

Is he correct? The full top 20 is reproduced below, so have a look, and if your favourite Christmas song’s been overlooked, let us know in the comments…


1) Fairytale of New York, The Pogues
2) Last Christmas, Wham!
3) All I Want for Christmas Is You, Mariah Carey
4) I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday, Wizzard
5) Do They Know It's Christmas, Band Aid
6) Merry Xmas Everybody, Slade
7) Driving Home for Christmas, Chris Rea
8) Step into Christmas, Elton John
9) The Power of Love, Frankie Goes to Hollywood
10) Merry Christmas Everyone, Shakin' Stevens
11) Wonderful Christmas Time, Paul McCartney
12) Happy Xmas (War Is Over), John and Yoko
13) Stay Another Day, East 17
14) I Believe in Father Christmas, Greg Lake
15) Stop the Cavalry, Jona Lewie
16) White Christmas, Bing Crosby
17) 2000 Miles, The Pretenders
18) Christmas Wrapping, Waitresses
19) Thank God It's Christmas, Queen
20) Rockin' around the Christmas Tree, Brenda Lee


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