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Rage Against The Machine claim Christmas No.1 spot (2009)

Rage Against The Machine

Story by Jack Foley

RAGE Against The Machine have won the race for the Christmas No.1 single in the UK charts for 2009.

Their track, Killing In The Name, beat X-Factor winner Joe McElderry’s The Climb to clinch the top spot and confound early expectations.

Helped by an internet campaign waged via Facebook to prevent another X Factor Christmas win, Killing In The Name sold 500,000 downloads and beat McElderry by 50,00 copies.

Some record and chart specialists have described the news as “possibly the greatest chart upset ever”.

And a delighted Zack de la Rocha, from Rage, immediately told the Radio 1 Chart Show: “We’re very, very ecstatic about being number one. It says more about the spontaneous action taken by young people throughout the UK to topple this very sterile pop monopoly.”

McElderry, 18, was gracious in defeat, however, praising the Facebook campaign, and adding: “It’s been exciting to be part of a much-hyped battle and they definitely deserve congratulations.”

And even X Factor judge Simon Cowell, who had earlier in the week dismissed the Facebook campaign as “stupid”, was forced to pay tribute to the couple behind it, Jon and Tracy Morter.

He said he was “gutted” for Joe “because a number one single meant a lot to him” but congratulated “Jon and Tracy”.

Rage set new records and pledge gigs and charity donations

Rage Against The Machine’s No.1 success also set two records by becoming the first single to reach the top of the charts on download sales alone and achieving the biggest download sales total in a first week ever in the UK charts.

Underlining how much the chart success meant to the LA-based bany, de la Rocha added that Rage Against The Machine would perform a free concert in the UK next year (2010) to celebrate the chart win.

And guitarist Tom Morello pledged that proceeds from the single would go to homeless charity Shelter, tying in with the Morters’ Facebook campaign which includes an online link to give to the charity, raising nearly £70,000 so far.

Rage Against The Machine’s success is all the more remarkable given the X Factor’s dominance of the Christmas chart in recent years – the past four Xmas No.1’s have all been by X Factor winners, including Alexandra Burke’s version of Hallelujah last year.