“Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine is a fantastic record. When it was the subject of that Facebook campaign last year to push it to Christmas Number 1 at the expense of the X-Factor winner, I was all for it. It’s not that I had anything against Joe McElderry or Simon Cowell, particularly. I don’t really like the X-Factor or the relatively unchallenging, lowest common-denominator music that it tends to produce, but neither do I particularly begrudge other people enjoying it. And how relevant is the concept of the Number 1 single anyway? I was mostly pleased because I think it’s a great song and I enjoyed hearing it so much more often than usual. As Christmas week wore on, I’ll admit that I started to actively want RATM to get to the top of the chart, but I didn’t go and buy another copy of a song I already own. It was a bit of fun. If they’d picked another record, I’m not sure I would have cared.
It looks as though we’ve unleashed a monster.
Try doing a quick google search for “Christmas Number 1 2010” with results only from Facebook.
There are apparently campaigns for Muse, Surfin’ Bird, Rick Astley, Bat Out of Hell, Green Day, Guns n’Roses, Journey, U2, Cliff Richard, Anarchy in the UK.... and that’s just on the first two pages of results. If any of these get any traction, then the Christmas top 40 countdown is going to be very strange indeed.
Yesterday, I accidentally stumbled across a campaign by supporters of Help For Heroes to send “Simply the Best” by Tina Turner to the top of the UK singles chart. The campaign (such as it was, and I've no idea if this is a recent thing) appeared to consist of people on Twitter bombarding the feeds of celebrities – especially DJs – to back a campaign that was somehow nebulously good for “our brave troops”. The tone of some of the requests (and I saw a couple aimed at Greg James, the Radio 1 DJ) was basically quite bullying. Play this record. Why haven’t you played this record? Etc.
I realise that I’m shouting into the void, but enough. Please. Haven't we got enough problems?
And seriously, Tina Turner? Do heroes mainly like crap records or something? If that's true, then what’s wrong with Phil Collins? He is currently top of the UK Album chart after all....