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Last year’s ‘Rage Against X Factor’ Facebook campaign set an important precedent that paved the way for a series of similar initiatives, all aimed at pushing for one song or another to reach the hot spots in the charts. All of these songs have one thing in common: they offer an alternative to the overwhelming domination of the airwaves seen by acts coming from The X Factor. As a TV talent show it has received heavy criticism by many artists and industry insiders, for dishing up pale copycats of famous singers and not encouraging any form of creativity or musicianship. High up the music food chain, Sir Elton John recently stated that the program has made pop music “’arse-paralysingly brain-crippling”.
So, here is the remedy. The following 10 songs are the ones you should stick in your Christmas shopping basket this year to fight back! The following tracks represent the Top 10 of the best Facebook campaigns for the No. 1 spot. While some of them have more serious intentions, let’s face it, it’s all about the lighthearted spirit of Christmas. The list favours free musical choices over the stale prefabricated pop music pushed forward by the likes of Simon Cowell. Each group has been endorsed by the masses, so let’s make this the official Christmas Top 10 this year! Not only would it constitute a big thumbs up for social media, but more importantly each purchase scores a victory to the people! Follow the links and join the revolution!
1. RAGE AGAINST X FACTOR http://www.facebook.com/ratm4xmas
The “mother” of this new movement for musical populism, this Facebook group, launched by Jon and Tracy Morter in early December 2009, encouraged people to buy the song ‘Killing In The Name’, by American politically active rock/rap band Rage Against The Machine, in the week running up to Christmas in order to prevent the winner of the The X Factor from achieving the Christmas number one slot in the UK Singles Chart. Alongside the group, a JustGiving page was created to raise money for homeless charity Shelter. On December 20, 2009, ‘Killing In The Name’ reached the number one spot. The track now appears on the Guinness Book of World Records under the category of “fastest-selling digital track”.
2. CAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE http://www.facebook.com/cageagainstthemachine
One of the many spin-offs of the 2009 Rage Against X Factor campaign, this Facebook group is currently aiming at pushing John Cage’s 4’33” (a track consisting in 4 minutes 33 seconds of silence) to the UK Singles Chart’s number one position. The most radical objection to the over-commercialisation of music and perhaps a little anti-music too! This one is arguable in the running for the top spot!
3. ANARCHY IN THE UK FOR CHRISTMAS No. 1 http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_137888602927499
This Facebook campaign involves an indie-label release, a tongue-in-cheek folk take on the punk classic ‘Anarchy In The UK’ by ‘rocketclover’. The video to the song sees rocketclover members skipping hand in hand down Camden High Street in green dungeries, being chased by punks, cleaning up the streets and demonstrates all the things that Anarchy is not. However, there is a serious tone to the release, as Criminal Records will be donating a bulk of profit to charity.
4. IRON MAIDEN FOR CHRISTMAS NUMBER 1 http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=242837837348
‘Eddie says no to X Factor number ones’ is the motto for this campaign aimed at getting “some real British music back at the top of the charts”. The song in question is ‘These Colours Don’t Run’ by Leyton heavy metal veterans Iron Maiden. It’s definitely a worth it’s weight in gold release, and just think of the look on Simon’s face!
5. BIRD IS THE WORD http://www.facebook.com/pages/Get-Surfin-Bird-to-Christmas-Number-One-2010-Family-Guy/284802306054
Another Facebook campaign for No. 1 in the charts. This time the song is The Trashmen’s ‘Surfin’ Bird’, which was featured in a 2008 episode of ‘Family Guy’, where main character Peter Griffin becomes obsessed with the song. This rather annoying tune has an ‘I know a song that will get on your nerves’ feel. Fantastic to wind up Simon Cowell!
6. HERE’S TO YOU MRS ROBINSON http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&ref=search&gid=235645771055
This campaign is perhaps the most improbable of the lot: it was launched in the wake of the Iris Robinson sex scandal, after it was disclosed that the Northern Ireland Unionist politician had an affair with 21-year-old Kirk McCambley, pushing for the classic Simon and Garfunkel song “Mrs Robinson” to become the new British pop chart number one.
7. JEFF BUCKLEY INSTEAD OF X FACTOR http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=37339746887
A group aimed at getting the famous Leonard Cohen song ‘Hallelujah’, in the classic Jeff Buckley’s version, to the top of the charts, instead of a version of the same song released by the X Factor. This is the one campaign where the criticism against The X Factor for recycling music instead of trying to push creativity is made most clear.
8. LOCAL BOY IN THE PHOTOGRAPH CAMPAIGN http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=128577433837467&v=info
A Facebook group set up by a Canton wrestling referee, campaigning to get Stereophonics tune ‘Local Boy in the Photograph’ to number one as a tribute to former band member Stuart Cable, who died tragically on June 7th, 2010, aged 40.
9. LET’S GET FRANK SIDEBOTTOM IN THE CHARTS http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=126798324023133&ref=search
Similar to the Stuart Cable one, this Facebook campaign aims to celebrate Chris Siervey, the creator of the cult 80’s TV character Frank Sidebottom, after his recent death, by pushing to get Frank Sidebottom’s famous spoof ‘World Cup Song, Three Shirts on The Line’ to the number one slot in the charts.
10. WAITS FOR CHRISTMAS http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7715129065
A campaign to get Tom Waits’ ‘Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis’ to No. 1 for Christmas in Ireland. What better way to contrast the invasion of the airwaves by clear-voiced zero-personality covers-singers than having rock’s favourite growler at number one?
And so there we have it! Let’s make Rock N Roll History! Music is all about real talent and it’s much better to support the real talent, fighting through the wasteland and achieving recognition because they stood the test of time! And don’t forget! Date to purchase is Monday 13th December!
I'd still take Kelly Clarkson of Tom Waits on any day. Indie snobs may hate top 40 but their tastes aren't always much better.
Video for Anarchy in the Uk [Rocket Clover]
I'm backing Bird Is the Word!