Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Music experts find formula for ‘perfect’ Christmas number one

The Pet Shop Boys scored a Christmas number one with Always On My Mind (PA)
The Pet Shop Boys scored a Christmas number one with Always On My Mind (PA)

Music researchers have crunched the numbers on Christmas songs to find the perfect formula for a festive hit.

Experts at a UK music label looked at every Christmas number one from the last 50 years to see what they have in common and determined that the Pet Shop Boys’ Always On My Mind came closest to being the quintessential tune for the holidays.

“I think we’re a long way from an algorithmically-generated Christmas number one,” said Howard Murphy, founder of Ostereo which conducted the research, in a press release accompanying the data.

“But certain characteristics do make a song more likely to resonate with audiences at Christmas,” he added.

For a song to hit the top spot on Christmas Day it needs to be three minutes and 57 seconds, in the key of G major, played at 114 beats-per-minute and performed by a 27-year-old solo artist, according to the research.

Other key trends among the songs analysed were that the majority were ballads, nearly half were cover versions and nearly all were about something other than Christmas.

Always On My Mind hits the ideal length and key exactly, as well as being a cover of Elvis’ 1972 hit, but is slightly faster than the formula suggests at 125 bpm and performed by a duo who had an average age of 31.5 when the song hit number one at Christmas 1988.

Mary’s Boy by Boney M came a close second, researchers said, with a tempo of 113 bpm, length of four minutes two seconds and a key of F, two semitones lower than G.

Murphy said: “You can’t turn an average song into a hit at any time of year – never mind Christmas – so adding sleigh bells to a Christmas song won’t make a difference if the song isn’t already great.

“But certain characteristics do make a song more likely to resonate with audiences at Christmas. Clever instrumentation can enhance the festive feel of the song.

“For example, without the church bells at the end, East 17’s Stay Another Day is still a great song, but it’s not a Christmas song.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]