Freddie Matthews writes from London: I’ve been talking about it for the last few weeks and finally we know the UK Christmas Number 1 single. Just as I predicted The Justice Collective beat the X Factor winner James Arthur to the No.1 spot on the Official Christmas Singles’ Chart by more than 45,000 sales. The song, a cover version of The Hollies’ He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, sold more than 269,000 copies in the space of one week. The Justice Collective single was released and recorded in memory of 96 football fans who died in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. I really believe that a huge part of the song’s popularity was down to the stars who appear on the track, including Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams, Liverpool lad John Power from The La’s, Paloma Faith, Rebecca Ferguson, Mick Jones of The Clash, Jon McClure of Reverend & The Makers and Melanie Chisholm from, of course, The Spice Girls, as well as many more music celebrities. With all of the proceeds going to the families of those who died in the tragedy, this couldn’t have been a more appropriate Christmas UK No.1.
There doesn’t seem to be a week that goes by in the British music press without the mention of another Adele accolade in 2012. Her album 21 however, which has now topped the 25 million sales barrier across the world, has only sold 750k plus in the UK this year, making it just the 2nd biggest seller of 2012 behind Emeli Sande’s Our Version Of Events. I say ‘only’ as far as UK sales for Adele are concerned because we’re supposed to be her home market and I would have thought she’d have sold several million here and certainly not less than 1 million. That said however, we shouldn’t forget that the album was released at the beginning of 2011, which accounts for the other 3.8 million UK units sold. Adele is also on the verge of passing a long held record by Oasis from the 1990s, as 21 is just a few sales behind those of What’s The Story (Morning Glory) and when it does, 21 will become the UK’s fourth biggest-selling album of all time.
This week also saw Birmingham International Airport announce its intention to rename itself, like many other airports around the world, adopting a famous musician’s name instead. It’s all about raising the city profile apparently and campaigners think Ozzy Osbourne Airport will make a huge difference to the second largest British city of Birmingham, despite the story of his biting off the head of a rat when his band Black Sabbath were on tour in the 1970s. Ozzy Osbourne Airport would follow in the footsteps of John Wayne, Bob Hope, Louis Armstrong, Mozart, and of course one of the newest, John Lennon Airport in Liverpool.
And finally, if you’re holidaying in the UK in the near future you could be paying cash with a little help from some of Britain’s music legends, as the new £10 notes may well have the faces of either The Beatles or Mick Jagger featured upon them. Yes, we Brits are apparently sick of the same old £10 designs that have been kicking around for far too long. So it’s time for a refresh and these are just 2 of the many suggested famous British icons including: Robbie Williams, Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare, Princess Diana, David Beckham, John Cleese, Sir David Attenborough. But hang on, what about Ozzy Osbourne? He’d be far more appropriate and I’d happily pay a restaurant bill with several Ozzys!