Official Chart Flashback 1973: Noddy Holder remembers Slade's Number 1 debut with Merry Xmas Everybody

We talk to the Slade frontman about the band's sixth and final Number 1 single, which debuted at Number 1 50 years ago this week.
slade xmas no 1 flashback

50 years ago this week in 1973, the English glam-rock band Slade earned their sixth UK Number 1 single when Merry Xmas Everybody debuted at Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart.

At the time, Slade were on top of the world, enjoying repeated success as one of the biggest British bands on the scene. Merry Xmas Everybody was their third Number 1 single that year alone - following Cum On Feel The Noize and Skweeze Me Pleeze Me. 

But out of all of Slade's hits, Merry Xmas Everybody is the one to endure, becoming part of the the British institution every Christmastime. It's not Christmas if your dad hadn't queued the song up on the speaker and you hear Noddy Holder scream IT'S CHRISTMASSSSSS!!!

In fact, Merry Xmas Everybody's popularity was so enduring at the time that it became that year's Official Christmas Number 1 single, and is now ranked as one of the best-selling singles of all time on the Official Chart.

MORE: See where all of Slade's singles and albums have charted in the UK

To celebrate 50 years since since the song's debut at Number 1, we rung up Slade frontman Noddy Holder about his memories of making the festive classic.

"It was a fantasic feeling," Noddy says, remembering hearing the news that Merry Xmas Everybody had debuted at Number 1. "It was the epitome of that year for us, we'd had a fabulous run of hit records up to that point. We were red hot, we were selling out shows all across Europe. We were at the peak of our career.

"But you still never know if the next single [is going to be a hit]. When we saw the pre-orders we thought, blimey. This record is really going to fly."

Noddy even remembers tuning into the Official Chart Show live to hear the Number 1 announcement being made.

"Even though we'd done it before, five times," he recalls, "it's still a great thrill. When you're at the top of the charts, it's a great thrill."

But how exactly did the song come about? While the bones of Merry Xmas Everybody were composed by Slade's Jim Lea from the scraps of a demo called Buy Me A Rocking Chair, while Noddy re-wrote entirely new lyrics in one night in his childhood bedroom in Walsall. But when it came to actually recording the song, the band took off for sunnier climes. 

"We delivered it to the record company after recording it in New York," Noddy reveals, "during a boiling hot summer. We were doing the big chorus in an echo-y stairwell in this skyscraper where the studio was situated. There were all these Americans going about their daily business in the 100 degree heat, going 'who are these four crazy Englishman?!'"

And from Christmas Number 1 1973 to Christmas Number 1 2023, you can keep up to date with all the updates here as the race for the UK's most important Number 1 of the year begins tomorrow.

Remind yourself of all the contenders for the UK's 2023 Christmas Number 1 single here.

Also in the chart this week in 1974: Another Christmas classic, Wizzard's I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, reached a brand new peak (6), Roxy Music entered the Top 10 with Street Life (9) and Kiki Dee's Amoreuse was up three (13).

View the Top 100 Official Singles Chart from this week in 1973.

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