Fairytale Of New York tops the checklist of essentially the most performed Christmas carols

The classic anthem of the Pogues, Fairytale Of New York, unveiled as the UK’s most-played Christmas carol of the 21st century, beats the tracks of Wham! and Mariah Carey.

The 1988 duo with the late singer Kirsty MacColl, who was killed in a boat accident in 2000, was never number one.

However, it has now topped the list of the 40 most played Christmas titles of the 21st century, compiled from music usage data across the UK by music licensing company PPL.

Kirsty MacColl was killed in a boat accident in 2000 (James Arnold / PA)

Carey’s festive All I Want For Christmas Is You – which topped the charts for the first time earlier this month – is second on the list, while Wham! ‘S Last Christmas! takes third place.

Meanwhile, Wizzards I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday and Chris Rea’s Driving Home For Christmas rank fourth and fifth, respectively.

Steve Lillywhite, Producer of Fairytale Of New York, said: “The term ‘timeless classic’ is a very limited term that is reserved for very few records and by definition it takes time to define that.

“I’m very happy to have produced this timeless classic, although sad that Kirsty is no longer with us, what a way to remember her every Christmas.”

The new table is based on PPL data compiled from music usage and airplay information from radio and TV channels, as well as public performance venues such as pubs, clubs, bars, jukeboxes and shops across the UK.

Mariah Carey (Ian West / PA)

It aired on BBC Radio 2 on Christmas Day and will be available on BBC Sounds.

Peter Leathem, CEO of PPL, said, “In times of uncertainty and change, the music we know and love can offer comfort and support through fond memories and hope for the future.

“So it’s no wonder that Christmas music was broadcast and played earlier than ever this year, which provides relief during the pandemic.

“This is testament to the artists and record labels who made it, and PPL is proud to support them through our royalties.

“Many thanks to BBC Radio 2 for helping us celebrate these brilliant tracks. We wish our performer and record company members, licensees and all music fans a Merry Christmas and a better 2021.”

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