Fairytale Of New York tops chart of most-played Christmas songs

The Pogues' classic anthem Fairytale Of New York has been revealed as the UK's most-played Christmas song of the 21st century, beating tracks by Wham! and Mariah Carey.

The 1988 duet with late singer Kirsty MacColl, who was killed in a boating accident in 2000, has never been a number one.

However, it has now topped the chart of the top 40 most-played Christmas tracks of the 21st century compiled by music licensing company PPL, from music usage data around the UK.

Carey's festive All I Want For Christmas Is You – which topped the charts for the first time earlier this month – is second on the list, while Last Christmas by Wham! takes third place.

Meanwhile, Wizzard's I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday and Chris Rea's Driving Home For Christmas take fourth and fifth place respectively.

Steve Lillywhite, producer of Fairytale Of New York, said: "The term 'timeless classic' is reserved for very few records and, by definition, you need time to have passed to define this.

"I am very happy to have produced this timeless classic, although it's tinged with sadness as Kirsty is no longer with us, but what a way to remember her every Christmas."

The new chart is based on PPL data, compiled from music usage and airplay information from radio stations and television channels, as well as public performance locations such as pubs, clubs, bars, jukeboxes, and shops all across the UK.

It was broadcast on Christmas Day on BBC Radio 2 and will be available on BBC Sounds.

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Kirsty MacColl
Shane Macgowan Of The Pogues With Kirsty Maccoll, Shane Macgowan Of The Pogues With Kirsty Maccoll (Photo by Brian Rasic/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 01: FLEADH Photo of Kirsty MacCOLL and POGUES and Shane MacGOWAN, with Kirsty MacColl (Photo by Patrick Ford/Redferns)
(Original Caption) Singer Kirsty MacColl who used to work with the Irish band 'The Pogues'. Her new album is called 'Tropical Brainstorm'. (Photo by rune hellestad/Corbis via Getty Images)
Kirsty Maccoll Performing With The Pogues - 1988, Kirsty Maccoll Performing With The Pogues - 1988 (Photo by Brian Rasic/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Photo of Kirsty MacCOLL (Photo by Kerstin Rodgers/Redferns)
English singer and songwriter Kirsty MacColl (1959 - 2000), UK, 3rd October 1979. (Photo by Mike Lawn/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Photo of Kirsty MacCOLL (Photo by Kerstin Rodgers/Redferns)
UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 01: Photo of Kirsty MacCOLL; posed, in car (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 01: Posed portrait of singer Kirsty MacColl in August 1981. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: FLEADH Photo of Kirsty MacCOLL (Photo by Patrick Ford/Redferns)
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PPL chief executive Peter Leathem said: "During times of uncertainty and change, the music we know and love can provide comfort and support, through good memories as well as hope for the future.

"It is no surprise then that Christmas music has been broadcast and played earlier than ever this year, providing relief during the pandemic.

"This is a testament to the performers and recording companies who created it, and PPL is proud to support them via our royalty payments.

"Thank you to BBC Radio 2 for helping us celebrate these brilliant tracks, and we wish our performer and recording company members, our licensees and all music fans a merry Christmas and a brighter 2021."

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