Artist News

X-Factor winner tops Christmas chart

By | Published on Monday 20 December 2010

So, as pretty much expected really, the ‘X-Factor’ franchise regained the Christmas number one trophy last night, for all it’s worth, which isn’t much really, but still, well done them.

Yes, this year’s ‘X’ man Bob Curdle topped the Christmas chart yesterday with his only slightly awful cover version of Biffy Clyro’s ‘Many Of Horror’. The single, retitled ‘When We Collide’, sold 439,000 units last week, over ten thousand less than last year’s lap of honour single from Joe McElderry, but enough to comfortably assure Curdle the top spot in this week’s chart. It was also one of the biggest selling singles of the year in terms of number of units shifted in one week, not all that far behind that other terrible Cowell-instigated cover version, the ‘Everybody Hurts’ cover in aid of the Haiti earthquake fund.

Curdle told reporters: “I can’t believe it, as if winning wasn’t enough. I honestly didn’t think I’d even make it on to the live shows, let alone win and now be the Christmas number one. I can’t even begin to describe how if feels. It’s nuts, crackers and crazy. To think that many people have supported me and bought the record is absolutely mind blowing. Thank you so much to everyone. I’m going to have one or two beers to celebrate!”

The second place single, the recent Rihanna and Drake collaboration, also zooming up the charts on the back of recent ‘X-Factor’ exposure, was along way behind Curdle, selling 104,000 units last week. The eighth best selling single was also there because of the ‘X-Factor’, in a distorted sort of way, with Biffy Clyro fans taking to the internet to buy the original version of the song Curdle covered.

In terms of the anti-X Facebook-based rallying calls for alternative chart domination, it was the Family Guy inspired ‘Surfin Bird’ campaign that scored the highest chart position.

Although a long way off the sales created by a similar Facebook campaign in favour of Rage Against The Machine this time last year (over 500,000 copies of ‘Killing In The Name’ were sold in Christmas chart week in 2009), the old Trashmen record that featured in a 2008 episode of ‘Family Guy’ shifted a not at all insignificant 70,000 units, putting it at number three in the overall chart. 

Although getting a lot less press coverage than the Cage Against The Machine project (though I think Radio 1’s Scott Mills was supporting it), the ‘Surfin Bird’ campaign took off on Facebook much earlier, and actually had multiple Facebook pages in its favour, the main one of which had over 630,000 supporters by last week. It quickly took third place in early week charts as the race began last weekend.

The charitable Cage Against The Machine venture, a more avante-garde affair and, in our minds, the more artistically interesting of this year’s anti-X campaigns, ended up at number 21 in the final chart, selling nearly 16,000 units in aid of five charities, including the British Tinnitus Association and CALM. The re-recording of John Cage’s silent work ‘4’33″‘ remains a great project though, and the accompanying remixes (different producers recording 273 seconds of the noise that surrounds them), are great pieces of musical work that you can still download in aid of those great charities.

There were other Facebook campaigns for the Christmas chart, of course, none of which dented the Top 40, but some of which appeared lower down in the chart countdown. One, which we only came across for the first time last week, clearly took the sweary nature of last year’s successful anti-X campaign as its inspiration. The song by comedy music outfit Kunt & The Gang sports the title, ‘Use My Arsehole As A Cunt’. With this track only coming to wider attention on its arrival at number 66 in the chart last night, there are now moves on Facebook to send it higher for the New Year chart next Sunday. 

Commenting on their number three chart position, a spokesman for the ‘Surfin Bird’ campaign told CMU: “We’re actually pretty pleased to have nabbed the Christmas number three and were top of the Facebook campaigns this year. We were totally inspired by last year’s Rage campaign and wanted to give it a go. We did it for a bit of fun and it certainly was that! So a big thank you to those who got involved and bought it. It’s now in the Christmas chart stats, which is pretty cool. For the New Year number one we’re supporting this week’s number 66, Kunt & The Gang, to try and chart it into the top 40. Bird!”

Meanwhile, looking back on the busiest week of the Cage Against The Machine project, Xfm DJ and CMU columnist Eddy Temple-Morris who, of course, joined with this particular Facebook venture in October and orchestrated the new recording of ‘4’33″‘, told us: “On the surface of it, number 21 is not good enough for a charitable initiative, and it reflects the apathy of the general public towards less cuddly causes, pitifully neglected organisations like the tinnitus and depression charities we were supporting. But, that said, it was never really about the chart position for us, it was about awareness – of the project and the charities we were supporting – and raising funds for those organisations”.

He continued: “We were talked about by every newspaper, from the Telegraph to The Sport, on every radio station, TV channel, music website or blog. Ian Hislop and Alexander Armstrong even mentioned it on ‘Have I Got News For You’. Rage Against The Machine tweeted about us and The Prodigy made a statement in support. From New York to LA, Rome to Amsterdam, people were communicating about it, discussing, thinking about something important… what we did here was immensely powerful. Silence never caused so much noise. Now we have to keep going. Keep spreading the word, keep downloading the tune, keep talking, keep communicating; as CALM say, ‘being silent is not being strong”.

Chart stats, as always, come courtesy of the Official Charts Company.

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