Christmas jingling: the biggest royalty-earning Christmas number 1 songs of all time
So, after three weeks of pre-Christmas hysteria, post-work Christmas party shame, and some bizarre, unseasonably warm weather, the big day is now just 4 days away. In other words, our very own Great British carnival season has landed – only Ebeneezer Scrooge himself could fail to be just a little bit giddy and excited by now.
Granted, Christmas isn’t exclusively our own, but we do get really, really into it here in the UK. The warm, carefree spirit of the festive season brings out the best of us, and for one month only we find ourselves in the unchartered territory of not only having little to complain about, but in fact being really rather jolly. But for all the loud, garish reindeer jumpers, and all the beer, mulled wine, chocolates and mince pies that we could possibly consume, they are but teasers – it’s when Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody first sings to us from the radio, and the annual festive chart battle begins that the yuletide magic really starts to set in.
With this year’s battle set to be a two-horse race between X Factor winner, Louisa Johnson, and the NHS Choir, it’s looking like we’ll be waiting a while longer for a new all-time favourite Christmas classic – something which will grieve this year’s challengers for the title as much as the rest of us.
If you’ve read or seen Nick Hornby’s About A Boy, you’ll be aware that the main character, Will Freeman, lives a life of affluence and comfort, in spite of the fact he never again has to work a day in his life. The reason? Well, he lives happily ever after off of the back of the royalty payments he receives for a huge Christmas hit his dad wrote. Just like the song writing creators of real life Christmas classics like Slade, the Pogues, and Mariah Carey, among others. It’s for good reason that the penning of an all-time great Christmas song is known in the music industry as ‘the pension’.
In case you were wondering which Christmas hits are the biggest money-spinners for the artists that perform them each year, Prezzybox created a Christmas Song Royalties Calculator to answer that very question. While the estimated figures below were for 2013, it’s a safe bet to presume that, in the absence of any new entrants, the list still holds true:
Slade ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ (£522,000)
The Pogues ‘Fairytale of New York’ (£393,000)
Mariah Carey ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ (£354,000)
Wham! ‘Last Christmas’ (£307,000)
Cliff Richard ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ (£100,000)
Band Aid ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ (£79,000)
Shakin’ Stevens ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ (£55,000)
The Pretenders ‘2000 Miles’ (£46,000)
East 17 ‘Stay Another Day’ (£30,000)
Jona Lewie ‘Stop The Cavalry’ (£13,000)
The annual January pay cheque that these songs provide for the musicians that wrote and performed them undoubtedly means that retirement will prove to be a comfortable state of affairs. The moral of the story is clear: if you want to be super affluent in old age, pen a legendary Christmas hit.
Only, don’t do as Boney M and the Beatles did and sign away your song rights, of course.
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