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Ed Sheeran’s Perfect the most successful Christmas Number One of New Millenium, according to new study

With the 70th Christmas Number One due to be crowned in little over 48 hours time, bookmaker William Hill can reveal Perfect, by Ed Sheeran, to be the most successful festive chart-topper of the new Millennium.

The singer-songwriter capped a hugely successful 2017 by scoring his first ever Christmas Number One, landing top spot with Perfect. In all, hit-maker Sheeran released six versions of the track, including duets with Beyoncé and Andrea Bocelli.

William Hill, which instituted the now traditional festive flutter on the coveted Christmas Number One back in 1977, has ranked all previous Christmas chart-toppers based on a combination of Spotify plays, first week sales, total sales, weeks at number one and YouTube video views.

And while a number of the 20 tracks analysed barely even mention a snowflake or a bauble, let alone the great man himself – only 12 Number Ones out of the 69 so far mention the festive season – the one thing they do have in common, is that they sold copies by the sleighful.

Sheeran has racked up a staggering 1,910,250,798 Spotify plays, 3,030,169,858 YouTube video views, and combined UK sales to date in excess of 4.1 million.

That is enough to see him finish above X Factor’ winner Alexandra Burke, who raced to Number One in the UK singles chart in 2008, nabbing the coveted Christmas top spot with her cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Burke’s Hallelujah became the fastest-selling single by a female solo artist, with 576,000 copies shifted in its first week.

Shayne Ward, another winner of everyone’s favourite talent show, the X-Factor, debuted at Number One in 2005 with That’s My Goal, and with 742,000 first week sales – the only track to surpass Burke’s Hallelujah – is the third most successful Christmas Number One in the last 20 years.

Burke clocked 18,570,042 YouTube views, with Ward mustering just half of that, but both were dwarfed by Sheeran – 3,030,169,858, and counting – whose track, Perfect, spent six weeks at number one.

Rockabye, by Clean Bandit, is the fourth most successful Christmas Number One of the new Millennium, the dance hit, about a single mother struggling to support her family, fended off stiff competition in 2016, to spend a mammoth nine weeks in top spot.

Fifth is Do They Know It’s Christmas? By Band Aid 20. It remains one of the most iconic charity records of all time and claimed top spot in 2004, two decades after the original, with another clutch of famous faces – not to mention voices – getting together to record a cover version.

Total combined UK sales of 3,820,000 make it the second biggest selling behind Sheeran’s Perfect, but its Spotify plays, first week sales and YouTube views of 9,595,268, make it successful enough, JUST, to make the top five.