Rage Against the Machine take Christmas No.1 slot

Rock band Rage Against the Machine ended Simon Cowell’s four year domination of the Christmas charts tonight after a hugely popular Facebook campaign helped the Los Angeles nu-metallers snatch the Christmas number one slot from X-factor’s Joe McEdlerry.

More than half a million people downloaded the band’s famously anti-authoritarian and expletive laden track “Killing in the Name” in what was seen as a broad protest against the increasing influence of manufactured pop music.

It is the first time a non-X-Factor song has made it to Christmas number one for four years and represents a major snub to the show’s creator Cowell who angrily described the campaign to deny him another number one slot as “very Scrooge”.

X-Factor winner McElderry was less than a year old when Rage Against the Machine stormed onto the LA rock scene in 1992 with their self-titled debut album which went triple platinum and effectively gave birth to the nu-metal rock scene by blending heavy metal guitar riffs with politically charged rap lyrics. Earlier in the week he listened to “Killing in the Name” for the first time and described it as “dreadful”.

But last night the 18-year-old Geordie singer, whose cover of Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” sold 50,000 fewer copies than his rivals, was noticeably more magnanimous in defeat.

"Fair play to the guys who have organised the Facebook campaign - it's been exciting to be part of a much-hyped battle and they definitely deserve congratulations," he said. "This time last year I never thought for one minute that I'd win The X Factor, never mind about having a debut single out, so I'm just delighted to be in the charts.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 1’s Chart Show, Rage frontman Zach de la Rocha said his band getting to number one said “more about the spontaneous action taken by young people throughout the UK to topple this very sterile pop monopoly and less about the song and the band. We are very proud to have had the song chosen as the vehicle by which to do this."

Krissi Murrison, editor of the NME, which publicly backed the anti-X-Factor campaign, hailed Rage’s victory. “It proves not only that the public have better taste than Simon Cowell gives them credit for, but that it there is actually an alternative to the pap we have been fed by X Factor for the past six Christmases,” she said.

Overturning the X-Factor’s dominance of the Chritmas charts, she said, was no mean feat.

“The assumption was obviously that no-one could topple the combined power of ITV and X Factor - especially not a grassroots campaign with zero marketing budget. But this just proves that anything is possible. Does this mark a permanent change? Yes, and one that X Factor have brought on themselves. The public has had enough of them hi-jacking the charts with second-rate karaoke cover versions, and this is our way of showing that.”

For the past four years the Christmas number one has effectively been a forgone conclusion and this year was expected to be no different when McElderry won the latest series of X-Factor.

But a Facebook group called “Rage Against the Machine for Christmas No 1” quickly transformed itself into a major grassroots protest against the X-Factor attracting more than 980,000 followers. The campaign took on an increasingly anti-corporate and pro-social justice tone with followers encouraging each other to donate to the homeless charity Shelter which received £65,000 in public donations. Rage Against the Machine also lent their support to the campaign, promising to donate their royalties to Shelter and to play a thank you gig in the UK next year if the campaign was successful.

Despite the growing success of the campaign most bookies still expected McElderry to be this year’s Christmas number one and made him the favourite. By Friday Rage Against the Machine were a mere 9,000 copies ahead of McElderry but as the Saturday midnight cut off point for the Christmas number one slot loomed, Rage fans went into a download frenzy according to industry insiders.

Steve Wheeler, from Recordstore.co.uk, one of the largest independent music online traders, said: “Between 8pm and midnight there was a sudden jump in the number of Rage downloads. I think people suddenly realised the race was a lot closer than they thought and that they could effect some meaningful change.”

Bookies are set to make a major loss from the Rage victory. Rupert Adams, from William Hill, said. “We’ll probably take quite a hit, quite possibly a six or seven figure hit. The last time we had such an unpredictable Christmas number one was with Mr Blobby which badly stung bookies because no-one expected that track to win.”

A BBC spokesperson said Radio 1 and Radio 6 would continue to play the clean edit of “Killing in the Name” which cuts out the 17 swearwords at the end of the song. Radio Two will not play the Rage track but will play McElderry.

Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
musicReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Arts and Entertainment
‘Dawn of Planet of the Apes’ also looks set for success in the Chinese market

film
News
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight

tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
    Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

    Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

    The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
    Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

    Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

    The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

    Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

    Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

    Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

    The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
    The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

    The Open 2014

    Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?