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11th Jun 2020

Rage Against The Machine: 10 years on from beating The X Factor at Christmas

Rich Cooper

rage against the machine

Remember the Christmas number one?

If you are too young or don’t have memories of pop culture beyond the last decade, you may not know that the Christmas number one used to be a really big deal in the UK.

Every year for decades the race to see which song would be crowned number one at Christmas was hotly contested and reported on. Then The X Factor came along and sort of made the whole thing boring.

The singing talent show saw its winners take the Christmas number one every year between 2005 and 2008, but ahead of Christmas 2009, one couple had had enough.

Jon and Tracy Morter were sick of what they saw as the domination of the British charts by manufactured pop acts, and so decided to set up a Facebook group calling for people to make Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name’ that year’s number one.

Incredibly, it worked, and a year later the band played a free gig in London’s Finsbury Park to thank them. This is the story how a people-powered movement defeated a corporate giant.