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Still saving us from tears: the inside story of Wham!'s Last Christmas

From George Michael hogging the sleigh bells in the studio to pratfalling on the snowy video set, the beloved Christmas song is testament to the late pop star’s talent – and insecurities

In December 1984, two future seasonal staples were vying for Christmas No 1: Do They Know It’s Christmas? by charity supergroup Band Aid, and Last Christmas by Wham!. Admittedly, the competition wasn’t exactly cut-throat. George Michael not only sang on the Band Aid single, but also donated the royalties from Last Christmas to the same cause. Yet the Christmas single saturation that year did lead to a chart curiosity: Band Aid’s victory meant that one of the most beloved and brilliant festive songs has never reached No 1.

The years, however, have only seen Last Christmas’s ubiquity grow: 3.7m copies sold and countless cover versions later (by everyone from Taylor Swift and Whigfield to Ariana Grande and Good Charlotte), it’s now the best-selling single to never reach the top of the UK charts. But this year, on the first anniversary of Michael’s death, with a fan campaign returning the song to the charts, that may be about to change.

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