The perfect formula for a Christmas No. 1 hit has been discovered

13 December 2018, 11:12

Pet Shop Boys take the crown for most perfect Christmas No. 1
Pet Shop Boys take the crown for most perfect Christmas No. 1. Picture: Getty Images

The mystery formula for the perfect Christmas song has been determined by music experts.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to write a Christmas No. 1 hit? Now there's no need to wonder, as experts from UK music label Ostereo have found the blueprint for the perfect Christmas song.

By analysing every Christmas No. 1 from the past 50 years, Ostereo found the winning combination of four different components – song duration, key, tempo and the artist's age.

They also found most Christmas hits tend to be ballads and cover versions - and they are almost all about something other than Christmas.

The perfect formula

1. Song duration of 3:57
2. In the key of G major
3. Tempo of 114 bpm (beats per minute)
4. Performer is 27 years old

“I think we’re a long way from an algorithmically-generated Christmas number one,” said Howard Murphy, founder of Ostereo. “But certain characteristics do make a song more likely to resonate with audiences at Christmas.”

If the formula is applied to all the Christmas No. 1 songs from the past 50 years, the song that comes out on top is the Pet Shop Boys' 1988 cover of Elvis Presley's 'Always On My Mind'. The duo covered the song in G major at a speed of 125 bpm, and the song lasts 3:55. The duo's average age at the time of its release was 31.5, a few years off the 'perfect' 27, but combine this with the length, key and tempo, and you find the Christmas No.1 sweet spot...apparently.