Andrew Ridgeley has said Last Christmas finally going to number one 36 years after its release is a “fitting tribute” to his Wham! bandmate George Michael’s “songwriting genius”.
The ballad sets a new record for the time taken for a single to reach the top spot, the Official Charts Company said.
It has notched up 9.2 million streams over the past week, four years after Wham! frontman turned solo singer Michael died.
Ridgeley said of the news: “I am delighted, somewhat amazed and profoundly pleased that Wham!’s iconic Christmas classic, Last Christmas, has finally achieved the ultimate accolade of becoming a number one – albeit 36 years after its first release which is, perhaps more than anything a testament to its timeless appeal and charm.
“It is a fitting tribute to George’s songwriting genius and one of which he would have been immensely proud and utterly thrilled.”
When it was released in December 1984, Last Christmas was beaten to the top spot by Band Aid’s charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas?
The track spent five weeks at number two and was the UK’s best-selling single to not reach the top of the singles chart.
It has re-entered the Top 40 several times since downloads were introduced to the Official Chart, but never reached number one.
A statement from Sony said: “We are absolutely delighted that after a wait of 36 years Wham!’s Last Christmas has topped the UK chart. We thank the fans for their support and Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael for creating this timeless treasure.”
LadBaby claimed the Christmas number one single last month, for the third consecutive year.
The YouTuber’s song Don’t Stop Me Eatin’ raised money for food bank charity The Trussell Trust.
Tony Christie’s (Is This The Way To) Amarillo? previously held the record for the longest time taken for a single to reach the top of the singles chart, the Official Charts Company said.
It took just over 33 years to get to number one thanks to the re-release with Peter Kay in 2005.
Meanwhile, in the official albums chart, Michael Buble’s Christmas album climbs to the top this week.