Published: 21 December 2022

Surrey's Favourite Christmas No.1s: Countdown 5-1…

It’s the one you’ve been waiting for! We’ve polled staff, students and alumni… and here are the top five Christmas No.1 hit singles as voted for by our University community.

Who’d have thought that former upholsterer and milkman Shakin’ Stevens would be so loved by our academic staff?

“This song has appeared on every Christmas compilation I have ever had and hearing it seems to signal that Christmas is on! Wrapping presents, decorating, baking… it all starts going with a bounce once this comes along.”

Dr Carina Dunlop, Department of Mathematics

“In 1985, I was 12 and I loved Shakey! I'd got a record player for a birthday not long before the Christmas of 1985 and I'd been to Woolworths to get the single, which I'm pretty sure included a poster. Either that or the Christmas edition of Smash Hits had come out with posters galore. I love the 1980s and I especially love 1980s Christmas tunes.”

Dr Catherine McNamara, Guildford School of Acting

“It’s such a cliché of a Christmas song, but it evokes feelings of warmth, love and excitement, all things which I associate with this time of the year. More recently, it’s the song I dance around to with my little boy in the lead-up to Christmas. He loves it just as much as I do!”

Emily Taylor, Advancement

4. 2009: Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine

“Who doesn't enjoy the jingling bells and cosy warmth of Rage Against the Machine?”

Lucy Evans, Advancement

3. 1994: Stay Another Day by East 17

“This song makes me smile because I went out with some friends years ago and partook in some ‘festive cheer’. At the end of the night – OK, it was 5am the next morning – my friend and I stood belting this song out, while swaying from side to side cradling two big fluffy Maine coon cats we’d befriended. They had the most perplexed looks on their faces, but they obliged and let us cradle them like small children.”

Jess Blaszczyk, Advancement

“East 17 played a Thursday set at Glastonbury one year. I didn’t see them, but I had a particularly touching moment by the stone circle. I was slightly worse for wear and trying to make my way back to my tent. While on my journey, someone was gently singing: ‘Baby, if you've got to go away, Don't think I could take the pain, Won't you stay another day?’ It was quite moving.”

Daniel Marshall, Advancement

2. 1984: Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid

“I was 10 when this came out and I remember it being a massive moment, even understood by me. Not only because it was the first time those hard-hitting images from a famine had been seen in a pop video, but also because it was the first time that pop stars with some amazing 1980s hairstyles had come together to do something different.

“I also remember swooning over my favourites at the time, namely Paul Young and Andrew Ridgely from Wham!”

Roz Panayiotou, Advancement

1. 1973: Merry Christmas Everybody by Slade

“If the No.1 on the Christmas No.1s list isn’t this song, I might have to quit my job in protest for being surrounded by people who didn’t vote for this absolute legend of a track.

“It’s a perfect festive song that evokes memories of 1980s family parties. These were chaotic, crowded affairs filled with tinsel, sausage rolls, gigantic crackers and children doing their ‘party piece’ for drunken grown-ups.

“I remember being at my aunt and uncle’s house with great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents and what seemed like hundreds of cousins all squeezed into a small semi-detached. I had my new sparkly Christmas dress on, people were dancing in the living room or chatting in the kitchen, and Slade came on. I remember thinking: ‘Life doesn’t get better than this! I am so, so happy right now.’”

Charlotte Wilson, Advancement

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