Fairytale Of New York tops iTunes charts as it battles Wham! and Mariah Carey for Christmas number one

The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan (Brian Lawless/PA)
The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan (Brian Lawless/PA) The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Pogues’ hit song Fairytale Of New York has topped the iTunes chart following the death of the band’s frontman Shane MacGowan.

The song is in a battle for the Christmas number one spot in the UK official charts against Wham! and Mariah Carey, the Official Charts Company has said.

Originally released in 1987, the band’s gritty festive track has never reached the top spot in the UK charts, peaking at number two and beaten to the Christmas number one spot in the year of its release by the Pet Shop Boys’ Always On My Mind.

After the death of MacGowan aged 65 on Thursday, there have been calls from his fans and wife Victoria Mary Clarke for the track to finally claim the coveted Christmas number one title in a few weeks time.

Shane MacGowan death
Shane MacGowan death Shane McGowan (Andy Butterton/PA)

Last Christmas by pop duo Wham!, which consisted of the late George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, is currently on track to take the top spot next Friday after climbing four spaces, according the Official Chart Company’s first look.

However, singer superstar Carey’s classic All I Want For Christmas Is You is less than 1,500 chart units behind at the moment, climbing from sixth to second.

Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues featuring the late Kirsty MacColl has seen an even greater surge up the charts following the death of MacGowan, rising 15 places since last week to claim the third spot.

Its jump in the last seven days puts it in contention for the Christmas title, which will be announced in less than three weeks on December 22.

The 89th Academy Awards – Vanity Fair Party – Los Angeles
The 89th Academy Awards – Vanity Fair Party – Los Angeles Mariah Carey (PA)

Coral bookmakers is also placing it top of its predictions to achieve the festive number one with 1/5 odds ahead of Wham! and Carey’s festive juggernauts.

Fairytale Of New York was written by MacGowan with fellow Pogues founder Jem Finer and later rerecorded to have MacColl duet with MacGowan, which led to the best-known version of the track.

It has returned to the UK Christmas top 40 every year since 2005 but never reached the top spot, according to the Official Charts Company.

MacGowan’s wife told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday that she is in favour of the band’s best known song reaching the milestone in his honour.

She said: “It would be nice, wouldn’t it? It should be the Christmas number one, it absolutely should. I’m very much in favour of that.”

Eurovision star Sam Ryder’s new festive offering, You’re Christmas To Me, is currently placing at number four in the first look at the UK singles chart, while Jack Harlow’s Loving On Me has fallen four places to number five.

The Christmas number one is set to be announced on December 22 live on BBC Radio 1’s The Official Chart show.