So, after four years of domination by X Factor, with nobody else getting anything near a look in, the Facebook campaign to send Rage Against The Machine's early 1990's single Killing In The Name to No.1 for Christmas in the UK has worked!!! Rage won comfortably in the end, around 50,000 sales ahead of Joe McElderry, who is nevertheless destined to climb to the top next week now that the aim of the Rage campaign has been achieved. I am absolutely astounded and extremely pleased that this worked. I thought that we wouldn't see anything else at No.1 for xmas until Simon Cowell decided to end The X Factor. But this huge outcry from the masses has shown that whilst most of us have no problem with the show itself, or its victor (I think Joe is an excellent singer and voted for him to win in the final), what we don't appreciate is that the Christmas #1 was taken away from us. To outsiders it may seem stupid - why should we care what song is at the top of the charts over the festive season in the UK? Because these songs are written in history. Tune into any music channel and you are likely to see at some point a rundown of all of the past Christmas No.1's. Usually they are such safe and pedestrian songs that they fit perfectly into the MOR quota that channels such as Bliss have to achieve. I for one can't wait to tune into the 'xmas #1's 1982-2009' show next year and see Killing In The Name, a historic rebellious rock anthem, being played right after a long string of boring karaoke ballads.
This is not the first time that 'the machine' has failed. Let's not forget the hugely hyped cover of John Lennon's Happy Xmas (War Is Over) sung by the Pop Idol 2003 finalists which was similarly released with the aim of getting the 2003 Christmas #1. In fact it stalled at No.5 behind the epic Darkness/Michael Andrews and Gary Jules tussle. This is a great day for the UK charts because it shows that people do care - Why must we endure these identical production line cover versions of already terrible songs year after year. Didn't Girls Aloud's triumphant debut single Sound of the Underground winning out over male equivalent One True Voice's dire Bee Gees cover Sacred Trust teach anyone anything? People will buy the X Factor winner's single regardless - Joe could have released a cover of Mr Blobby and sold over 400,000 copies. But why do the winner's of these shows deserve such attention for bringing absolutely nothing new to the table? Sound of the Underground has rightfully gone down in the Girls Aloud canon of classics and was a decent and respectable Christmas No.1. In contrast the likes of Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke and Will Young - all top class acts - stick their awful covers at the end of their debut album as a 'bonus track' almost flagging up the point that they don't want them on there in the first place. These songs are AWFUL. The Climb is easily not only my least favourite Miley Cyrus single, but probably the most boring song of the year. So out of however hundreds of millions of songs that exist, why on earth was it chosen?
I am absolutely ecstatic that it won't be joining the Christmas No.1 hall of fame, and of course the X Factor juggernaut won't be stopped until Simon ends it - it's too huge, like that fact or not - but please next year - how about picking a song which isn't a sleep inducing ballad for the winner's single? It might just stand out, and very possibly even attract buyers to it on musical merit! Rage have done the impossible and we can expect another similar Facebook campaign next year. Will it work in the same way? Probably not - the point has been proven - but the theory that X Factor instantly has the right to the Christmas No.1 single has now gone out the window thanks to Rage, and most importantly Facebook. Perhaps next year there won't need to be a campaign because current artists won't be so afraid to release singles on Christmas week for fear of anihilation. We started the decade with a brilliant chart battle - Sophie Ellis Bextor vs. Victoria Beckham's posh vs. posher fight which was won by the underdog, and the underdog has won again this time. More of the same next year please - the charts are finally relevant again!!!
The UK's official Christmas No.1 2009
Rage Against The Machine - Killing In The Name