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Ed Sheeran and Elton John’s ‘Merry Christmas’ debuts at number one

The pair have hit the top spot on the same day they announced their festive LadBaby collaboration

By Joe Goggins

Ed Sheeran and Elton John with their award for 'Merry Christmas'.
Ed Sheeran and Elton John with their chart award for 'Merry Christmas'. (Photo: Official Charts Company)

Ed Sheeran and Elton John have gone straight in at Number One with their festive single.

‘Merry Christmas’ topped the UK singles chart today (December 10). In its first week the duet notched up 7.6 million streams and boasted sales of 76,700 including pure sales (physical and digital downloads) of 22,100.

It’s Sheeran’s third Number One single of the year in the UK after ‘Bad Habits’ and ‘Shivers’, and John’s second, following on from his Dua Lipa collaboration ‘Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)’.

The upbeat track has received mixed reviews from critics, with The Guardian calling it “an overstuffed, undercooked turkey”. The Telegraph, meanwhile, was more forgiving, saying that ‘Merry Christmas’ is “phenomenally catchy”. It’s scored the biggest single-week CD sales of 2021 so far with 8,100 copies shifted.

The news means that Sheeran and John now have 21 UK Number One singles between them, with the latter having nine to the former’s twelve, a total that he now shares with Take That. Only five acts in chart history have more: Madonna has 13, Cliff Richard and Westlife have 14, The Beatles have 17 and Elvis Presley continues to lead the way with 21.

The current Top 10 suggests that the British public are very much getting into the Christmas spirit with their listening habits.

Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’ is at Number Three, and Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ is at Number Four, meaning that the pair have swapped places since last week. Shakin’ Stevens’ ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ is in sixth, The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s ‘Fairytale of New York’ is seventh, Michael Bublé’s take on ‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas’ is at Number Nine. Rounding out the Top 10 is Brenda Lee’s ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’.

The coveted Christmas UK Number One spot has been claimed three years running by graphic designer and YouTuber LadBaby, who unveiled his latest festive track today (December 10). ‘Sausage Rolls for Everyone’ is a collaboration with Sheeran and John, meaning that the latter two acts are in an even stronger position to clinch the Christmas top spot.

‘Sausage Rolls for Everyone’ isn’t released until next Friday (December 17) but it has already been installed as an odds-on favourite by several bookmakers. All proceeds from the charity track will go to the Trussell Trust, which aims to eliminate food bank use in the UK.

LadBaby would make history should ‘Sausage Rolls for Everyone’ be Christmas Number One; no artist has ever taken the UK festive top spot for four years running before.