George Michael reaches number one for first time since 1996 with Last Christmas

George Michael’s classic single Last Christmas has reached number one over 36 years after its release.

The iconic track, which the late singer released as part of Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley has become the first number one of 2021, according to Official Charts.

The song has set a new record for longest time taken for a single to reach Number 1 at 36 years, beating Tony Christie’s (Is This The Way To) Amarillo which took 33 years and four months to reach the top spot.

Achievement: George Michael's classic single Last Christmas has reached number one over 36 years after its release

Achievement: George Michael's classic single Last Christmas has reached number one over 36 years after its release

Achievement: George Michael’s classic single Last Christmas has reached number one over 36 years after its release 

Last Christmas climbed from three to one in the charts after it got an impressive 9.2 million streams over the past week.

It is the first time in 24 years that George, who tragically died on Christmas Day in 2016, has reached the top of the charts, with his last number one being Jesus To A Child in 1996.

Wham!’s Andrew Ridgeley took to Twitter to mark the achievement, saying it was a testament to George’s ‘songwriting genius’.

He wrote: ‘I am delighted, somewhat amazed & profoundly pleased that WHAM!’s iconic Christmas classic Last Christmas has finally achieved the accolade of becoming a No 1. 

Classic: The track, which the late singer released as part of Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley has become the first number one of 2021, according to Official Charts (pictured in 2007)

Classic: The track, which the late singer released as part of Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley has become the first number one of 2021, according to Official Charts (pictured in 2007)

Classic: The track, which the late singer released as part of Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley has become the first number one of 2021, according to Official Charts (pictured in 2007)

'Amazed': Wham!'s Andrew Ridgeley took to Twitter to mark the achievement, saying it was a testament to George's 'songwriting genius'

'Amazed': Wham!'s Andrew Ridgeley took to Twitter to mark the achievement, saying it was a testament to George's 'songwriting genius'

‘Amazed’: Wham!’s Andrew Ridgeley took to Twitter to mark the achievement, saying it was a testament to George’s ‘songwriting genius’

‘It’s a fitting tribute 2 George’s songwriting genius and 1 of which he would’ve been immensely proud & utterly thrilled.’  

Meanwhile, Martin Talbot, chief executive, Official Charts Company, said: ‘This is a fantastic record for Last Christmas. 

‘Just a few weeks after Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas is You reached Number 1 after a 26 year wait, for the Wham! tune to make its own impact after so long really shows how much the British public love their Christmas classics.’ 

Last Christmas was previously the UK’s best-selling single to never reach number one with 1.9 million sales.

George wrote the track after he was inspired by a visit to his childhood home. 

Impressive: Last Christmas climbed from three to one in the charts after it got an impressive 9.2 million streams over the past week (pictured in 1983)

Impressive: Last Christmas climbed from three to one in the charts after it got an impressive 9.2 million streams over the past week (pictured in 1983)

Impressive: Last Christmas climbed from three to one in the charts after it got an impressive 9.2 million streams over the past week (pictured in 1983)

Andrew previously wrote about how the song came about for The Mail On Sunday.

He said: ‘We went to his old room, the room in which we had spent hours as kids recording pastiches of radio shows and jingles, the room where he kept a keyboard and something on which to record his sparks of inspiration, and he played me the introduction and the beguiling, wistful chorus melody to ‘Last Christmas.” 

‘It was a moment of wonder. George had performed musical alchemy, distilling the essence of Christmas into music.

‘Adding a lyric which told the tale of betrayed love was a masterstroke and, as he did so often, he touched hearts.’

George and Andrew formed Wham! in 1981 and sold 30 million records, splitting up in 1986, with George citing a desire to make more mature music. 

History: George and Andrew formed Wham! in 1981 and sold 30 million records, splitting up in 1986, with George citing a desire to make more mature music (pictured in 1984)

History: George and Andrew formed Wham! in 1981 and sold 30 million records, splitting up in 1986, with George citing a desire to make more mature music (pictured in 1984)

History: George and Andrew formed Wham! in 1981 and sold 30 million records, splitting up in 1986, with George citing a desire to make more mature music (pictured in 1984)

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