Hillsborough charity single overtakes James Arthur in Christmas Number One race

Justice Collective's cover of 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' overtakes X factor winner

Hillsborough charity single overtakes James Arthur in Christmas Number One race

Photo: PA

The Hillsborough charity single is narrowly ahead of X factor winner James Arthur in the race for this year's Christmas Number One.

According to the Official Charts Company The Justice Collective’s cover of The Hollies', 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother', has taken a marginal lead over James Arthur's 'Impossible', based on the first three days of sales data.

The Justice Collective features a star-studded line up including Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Paloma Faith, Melanie C, Holly Johnson, Shane MacGowan, The Farm’s Peter Hooton, and Gerry And The Pacemakers’ Gerry Marsden.

Yesterday, Arthur was just over 3,000 sales ahead in the Number One race, but this morning (December 19), the positions have flipped with Justive Collective now taking a 3,400 sales lead. Up until midnight last night, 'He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother' had sold over 109,700 copies so far with, with 'Impossible’ shifting 106,300 copes.

Official Charts Company managing director Martin Talbot said in a statement: "This really is the closest Number 1 battle we can remember - even closer than the legendary 2009 battle between Rage Against The Machine and Joe McElderry. The poll concludes at midnight on Saturday night (December 22), so there is a long way to go yet - but this one looks like going down to the wire."

A spokesperson for retailer HMV, which reported strong physical sales of the Justice Collective single, says, "If demand at HMV and other outlets continues at this rate, the single could generate upto a quarter of a million sales by the end of the week to top the festive charts."

The official Christmas Number One single will be revealed on BBC Radio 1 this Sunday (December 23).

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