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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 December, 2003, 19:00 GMT
Gary Jules tops Christmas charts
Gary Jules
Jules' album Trading Snakeoil For Wolftickets is out in the New Year
Little known US singer Gary Jules has beaten rock band The Darkness to clinch the Christmas number one.

Mad World, by Jules and composer Michael Andrews, topped the charts ahead of the British rockers, who were the bookies' favourites.

Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End) was widely expected to be The Darkness's first UK number one.

The Osbournes were knocked off top spot and fell to three, beating new entries from Avid Merrion and the Pop Idols.

Simple music

Jules recorded Mad World - a cover version of the 1982 hit by Tears For Fears - with Andrews for the soundtrack to cult film Donnie Darko.

Recorded three years ago, it was initially an outsider for the number one, but received widespread airplay.

"It's an incredible thing for me to be able to enter into the mainstream like this with one of my best friends," said Michael Andrews on hearing the news.

1. Mad World Gary Jules
2. Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End) The Darkness
3. Changes Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne
4. Proper Crimbo Avid Merrion
5. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) Pop Idols

"It's a testament to the fact that people do like honest, simple music."

In a poll by BBC News Online, 28% of voters wanted The Darkness to be number one, followed by 19% for Bill Nighy, which entered the charts at 26, and 15% for Jules.

Four of the top five tracks were released earlier in the week, with Avid Merrion's Proper Crimbo surprisingly selling more than the Pop Idols.

Their song, which debuted at number five, had been odds-on favourite to reach the top spot before their rivals' records were released.

However, a backlash against their version of the Lennon classic, Happy Xmas (War is Over) saw CND dub the release "insensitive and offensive".

Veteran stars

A higher chart position was probably expected after ten million people voted for Michelle McManus to win the Pop Idol final on Saturday.

2002 - Girls Aloud, Sound of the Underground
2001 - Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman, Somethin' Stupid
2000 - Bob the Builder, Can We Fix It?
1999 - Westlife, I Have A Dream
1998 - Spice Girls, Goodbye
Girl band contenders for the festive top spot, Atomic Kitten and Sugababes, entered at number eight and number ten respectively.

But it was not a good year for the veteran stars.

Cliff Richard's Santa's List slipped from number five to number thirteen, after just one week in the charts.

And Christmas Is All Around by actor Bill Nighy, from the film Love Actually, only made it to number 26.

The BBC's Lakhvir Gill
"At the last minute the number one spot was clinched by outsiders"

Darkness tipped for festive crown
17 Dec 03  |  Entertainment
Cult hit puts singer Jules in spotlight
11 Dec 03  |  Entertainment
Osbournes duet is new number one
14 Dec 03  |  Entertainment


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