December 1, 2023

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Wham!, Kylie Minogue & Band-Aid Holiday Hits Surge on Billboard Global Charts

But beneath Carey’s perennial favorite, both of Billboard’s global charts reveal differences from the mostly American, and decades-old, holiday classics that have come to light up the Hot 100 each recent Yuletide season.

First up is Wham!’s “Last Christmas.” The 1984 single rises to No. 2 on both the Global 200 and the Global Excl. U.S. charts, while hitting Nos. 8 and 9, respectively, on the domestic Holiday 100 and Hot 100 (as it reaches the latter list’s top 10 for the first time). Globally, the George Michael-penned classic ranks ahead of Stateside standards by Brenda Lee, Bobby Helms, Burl Ives and Andy Williams, all of which crowd the top five of the Hot 100 below Carey’s.

Those top five Hot 100 hits by Lee, Helms, Ives and Williams, all released between 1957 and 1965, have peaked higher on the U.S.-based Hot 100 and Holiday 100 than either of the global charts, with, notably, Ives’ “A Holly Jolly Christmas” at No. 175 on the Global Excl. U.S. chart, as opposed to No. 4 on the Hot 100.

Meanwhile, certain contemporary holiday songs shine brighter globally — those even more recent than Carey and Wham!’s songs from the ’80s and ’90s, respectively. “Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” by Michael Bublé, and “Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson, all released in the 2010s, place at Nos. 5, 6 and 8 on the Global 200, respectively. On the Hot 100, they rank between Nos. 12 and 23.

Further, Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe,” from 2011, is at Nos. 19 and 21 on the Global 200 and the Global Excl. U.S. chart, while hanging at No. 40 on the Holiday 100 and not even on the Hot 100. (It’s worth noting that older holiday songs can chart on the Hot 100 only if ranking in the top 50, per the chart’s recurrent rule. No such threshold is in place for the global rankings, so the combination of that distinction and each global chart running 200 positions deep helps make for more holiday songs on those lists than on the Hot 100.)

In addition to the rising Christmas classics of the 2010s, certain British and Australian acts are overperforming internationally as compared to the U.S. “Driving Home for Christmas” by Chris Rea and “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by all-star group Band-Aid climb to Nos. 16 and 17 on the Global Excl. U.S. chart without cracking the Hot 100. Shakin’ Stevens’ “Merry Christmas Everyone” hits the top 40 of both global charts while also remaining absent from the U.S.-based Hot 100 and Holiday 100.

Plus, Kylie Minogue has charted with her cover of “Santa Baby,” at No. 79 this week on the Global Excl. U.S. survey and No. 196 on the Global 200. The song was originally made famous by late American crooner Eartha Kitt, and the trends above also adhere to these two versions: Kitt’s recording outpaces Minogue’s on the Global 200, which includes U.S. data, at No. 57 (again, compared to Minogue’s No. 196 rank), while it’s absent on the Global Excl. U.S. tally (where Minogue’s is, again, at No. 79).

In the final weeks of 2020, other non-U.S. acts populated the global charts with holiday tracks without any presence on the Hot 100. Sia charted with “Snowman” and “Santa’s Coming for Us,” the former reaching No. 18 on the Global Excl. U.S. chart and No. 25 on the Global 200, and Elton John climbed to No. 55 on the Global 200 with his 1974 favorite “Step Into Christmas.”

Overall, Bublé, whose 2011 LP Christmas ranked in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 for the 10th consecutive holiday season this year, boasts the most holiday titles of any act on both global charts, with nine on the Global 200 and four on Global Excl. U.S. Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole follow on the Global 200 with four each, while Carey, Grande, Sia, and Frank Sinatra tie for runner-up on Global Excl. U.S. with two apiece.

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