No festive period would be complete without the battle for the coveted Christmas number one single spot. With X Factor contestants old and new, Paul McCartney re-entering the race and Bob Geldof resurrecting and redesigning the Band Aid crew, the 2014 battle to be the number one single is wide open. The acts are incredibly varied, but what are the odds an outsider will win the title this year?
"Tainted Love" has become an anthem for more than one generation, but it is the sassy, soulful Gloria Jones’ version that stands above the others. The Northern Soul star has been working tirelessly to improve the lives of those in Sierra Leone, and after the Ebola outbreak a Facebook group has been set up in order to help her. All profits from this track will go towards Jones’ work and her song is 100/1 with Coral Sports to steal the number one spot.
Always a favourite in December, Irish band The Pogues’ "Fairytale of New York" will be heard in pubs and homes throughout the country over Christmas. Whether this ever-popular ode to broken dreams and growing old disgracefully will sell as much as it did when first released in 1987 is a subject for debate, but Winner Sports make it a 100/1 chance.
Rage Against the Machine were the anti-X Factor choice in 2009, and their supporters succeeded in putting metal at the top of the charts over Christmas, much to the disdain of the pop crowd. The Facebook group set up this year to get Iron Maiden’s "Number of the Beast" to the top of the pile already has over 17,300 likes, suggesting a genuine chance of topping the pile. Metal fans can get 50/1 odds with Betfred Sports if they think Iron Maiden will make it to the number one slot.
After finishing sixth on the X Factor in 2012, Ella Henderson has proved a popular chart hit, her song "Ghost" going straight to number one and staying in the top five spot for eight consecutive weeks this summer. From her best selling album 'Chapter One', the singer’s third single "Yours" is a slow, soulful ballad that relies on great vocals. Ella’s odds to win the number one spot are currently 100/1 with William Hill Sports.
Created by the team formerly known as the Justice Collective, who made it to Christmas number one in 2012, the Peace Collective look to continue their success in 2014. This time they have re-recorded "The Farm’s All Together Now" with original band member Peter Hooton, alongside stars including The Proclaimers and Gabrielle. In support of the British Red Cross, this nostalgic track is based on the Christmas day 1914 football matches that took place between the trenches. "Altogether Now" is currently a strong contender at 16/1 with Bet365 Sports.
Featured on the John Lewis Christmas advert (competing with popular character Monty the Penguin for attention), troubadour Tom Odell is a serious contender this year with his cover of the little known Beatles song "Real Love". His cover makes use of bells, cymbals and soft vocals to evoke a suitably warm and fuzzy feeling, and Betfair Sports have made the 24-year-old a 19/1 shot.
One of the year’s most interesting entries brings together an actor, a comedian and a musician all at the top of their respective genres. No title has as yet been released, but it’s sure to be interesting: Kasabian’s lead songwriter Pizzorno has produced the tune, with Elba rapping and Fielding providing the lyrics. Likely to be the hipster choice for this year’s Christmas number one, odds to win are 50/1 at Winner Sports.
Samuel L. Jackson has recruited the help of none other than Sir Paul McCartney to put together a cover of A Great Big World’s hit "Say Something". The Beatle knows a thing or two about the festive top spot, having already reached it five times. Robbie Williams and Mel C. lead a line-up of star turns, who are 25/1 with Ladbrokes Sports to come out at number one. The song will raise money for cancer campaigning charity 'One For The Boys'.
The X Factor’s lockdown on the Christmas number one spot may have been broken, but the appeal of the show’s winner is still vast. Leading the current crop is feisty funk singer Fleur East, who is back for a second try at the competition after failing to make it through as part of a girl group during the second series. Her soulful covers and powerful voice have made her the show’s 2014 favourite, and she is 5/2 to top the charts with Betfred Sports.
In response to the Ebola crisis, Bob Geldof has got some of the world’s biggest artists together to raise money and awareness of the pandemic this Christmas. His re-working of the classic "Do They Know It’s Christmas?" is peppered with celebrities including One Direction, Ed Sheeran and Rita Ora. With such star appeal and the proceeds going to a great cause, Band Aid 30’s track is sure to be a big seller, and Bet365 Sports are offering 5/2 on it being a Christmas number one.
With less than a month left until Christmas, be prepared to hear these songs and even more everywhere for the next few weeks vying for attention and support in their quest for the coveted Christmas crown. If any of them appeal to you or you simply fancy them a good bet to be sitting on top of the singles chart come Christmas week, be sure to visit William Hill Sports today or any of the other bookmakers above offering odds on this holiday tradition.