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Related article: Festive Fifty: An Introduction


The following is a chronological list, compiled as a ready reference, of the tracks that made number one in the Festive Fifty chart hosted by Peel between 1976-2003, by Radio 1 in 2004 and 2005, and by Dandelion Radio from 2006 to date. Note that since the rules of the chart were changed in 1983 to include only material from the current year, only one previous number one has re-entered (and that solely because of the All-Time 2000 Festive Fifty).

If all charts up to the present day are taken into account, it means that the Fall, Sex Pistols and Joy Division tie for first place regarding number of top placed acts, with three apiece in their own right. However, Mark E. Smith has performed on three with the Fall and one with the Inspiral Carpets and, being members of both Joy Division and New Order, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris have all performed together on five of the number one tracks. [1]

Five artists have hit number one on more than one occasion. The longest gap between number one songs (and bands) is that of Joy Division's 'Atmosphere', which was at pole position in 2000 nineteen years after its last success. [2]

The closest-run contests were 1989 (Peel stated that merely six points covered the top three acts), 1990 (a "semi-spoiled ballot" prevented My Bloody Valentine from winning), 1992 (a tie, resolved by counting the largest number of favourite track of the year votes) and 2003, where Cinerama made it to the top by merely one vote.

Only two acts have held down the top two positions in the same chart: Jesus & Mary Chain (1985) and Pulp (1995).

PJ Harvey could be considered the unluckiest of all acts, having made number two three times (including twice in consecutive years) without making number one (although this 'dry' spell ended in 2011).

No Peel Session track has ever made the top of the chart: the nearest miss was by the Fall in 1987, when 'Australians In Europe' made number two.

The Festive Fifty Number Ones

Radio 1: The Peel Era

Radio 1: Post-Peel

Dandelion Radio


  1. Many thanks to Steve W. for pointing out this omission.
  2. However, Mark Whitby considers that all-time chart properly to belong to 1999, since it was compiled in tandem with the yearly chart of that year and held over to January because of time considerations, or inability to locate all the records in time, according to Peel. Even allowing for this, it still beats the next contender, the Fall (14 years), by some distance, and in any case, the latter did not achieve this with the same song.
  3. Not broadcast until 1993.