Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Christmas #1 = Hallelujah X 2?

Sure, we Yanks might have Oprah's Favorite Things, but across the Pond, the traditional Brit obsession at this time of year has long been the Christmas #1 -- that is, the top single on the UK charts for the week including 25 December.

For months leading up to the Sunday before the holiday (when the standings are revealed), acts jockey, labels campaign and media speculate -- not to mention that no less than 50,000 folks have pledged to Rickroll this year's stakes.

But even so, 2008's likely winner has already been tipped -- a double-shot of "Hallelujah"... just not the chorus from Messiah:
Jeff Buckley's version of the song Hallelujah is set to shoot up the singles chart after X Factor winner Alexandra Burke released her own cover.

According to midweek sales Buckley's version, from the 1994 album Grace, is set to be number three, but Burke's single will debut at number one.

Burke, 20, has already broken the record for the fastest-selling download single in Europe.

The original Leonard Cohen version of the song is currently at number 34.

If Buckley's cover climbs any higher, this could mean two versions of the same song sitting at number one and number two in the Christmas charts.

The centerpiece of the lone studio album released before his 1997 death at 30, Buckley's take on the hymn has changed lives.


On a related note, as tomorrow opens the door to the liturgical calendar's anticipatory week, it's as good a time as any to return to the biggest Christmas 1 of all -- which, however hard it might be to believe, marks its silver anniversary next year...

...yet somehow, mullets, androgyny and all, it never, ever gets old.