Military Wives Choir have taken the top spot on the Official UK Singles Chart, earning the title of the 2011 Christmas Number One single for their song ‘Wherever You Are’. The results were announced today (December 25) at 3pm, during of BBC1’s Top Of The Pops Christmas special. You can watch the video for the winning song by scrolling to the bottom of this story.
According to a Treasury spokeswoman, a VAT equivalent from the single’s sales was donated to donated to armed forces’ charities. ‘Wherever You Are’ is said to have been the fastest-selling single in six years, with a staggering 556,000 copies in the past week, which is more than the rest of the Top 12 combined.
Official Charts Company managing director Martin Talbot said:
Many congratulations to the Military Wives and Gareth Malone, who have made this year’s race for the Official Christmas Number 1 one of the greatest of all time. To have achieved more than 500,000 sales in a week without the backing of a vast promotional operation over many weeks, like X Factor, is truly remarkable. It is hard to think of a more deserving winner in 60 years of Christmas Number 1s. And their victory should prompt all of us to think of the many wives and families of servicemen who are not home this Christmas.
The collective recently featured on BBC 2 show The Choir, which saw a group of unrefined singers having their voices polished up. The song’s writer Paul Mealor told BBC News that he wrote the song based on letters the women had written to their partners.
The song’s conductor Gareth Malone said of the win: “This is so surreal. Who would have guessed in those first rehearsals that we could take Christmas Number One? …Thank you to the British public for supporting The Royal British Legion and SSAFA Forces Help by buying this single. Chris Evans and Radio 2 have helped us to showcase the talent and strength of these amazing women. The support of the British military for the choir has been fantastic. I’m delighted that they have found their voice. We did it!”
The Military Wives Choir topped X Factor winners Little Mix with their cover of the Damien Rice‘s ‘Cannonball’. It was recently revealed that theirs was the lowest-selling X Factor winner’s single since 2004.
They also defeated the Facebook campaign to make Nirvana’s 1991 ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ Christmas Number One, which re-entered the charts following the record label’s decision to re-release the single.
Last year, X Factor‘s Matt Cardle‘s ‘When We Collide’, a retitled cover version of Biffy Clyro’s ‘Many Of Horror’, was Christmas Number One. Click here to view a gallery of every Christmas Number One ever, beginning in 1952.