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Justice Collective’s Cover Song Wins Christmas No. 1 Title

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Justice Collective


Justice Collective’s cover of the Hollies’ 1969 hit “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother” won the coveted Christmas number one spot, narrowly beating “X Factor” winner James Arthur’s “Impossible.” The Justice Collective is an all star band made up of some of the best musicians in the UK and Liverpool, including Sir Paul McCartney, Gerry Marsden (Gerry & the Pacemakers), Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes To Hollywood), Melanie Chisholm (Spice Girls), Peter Hooton (The Farm), John Power (Cast) and Rebecca Ferguson plus other notables including Robbie Williams, Paloma Faith, Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze), Mick Jones (Clash, Big Audio Dynamite et al) and Beverley Knight.

Justice Collective’s “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother” single made a strong comeback heading towards the end after James Arthur’s “Impossible” opened up a wide lead of 3,000 singles sold, but Justice Collective ended up with a winning margin of 45,000 and 269,000 singles sold. Arthur added another 224,000 to his massive opening tally of 489,000 for a two-week total of 713,000. That also made “Impossible” the third-biggest-selling No. 2 single of the century.

“He Ain’t Heavy,” was originally written by Bob Scott and Bob Russell, and was first recorded in 1969 by Kelly Gordon and went on to be covered by the Hollies soon after, whose version reached No. 3 on first release in 1969, becoming the 15th of the Manchester group’s original 17 top ten U.K. hits. It hit No. 7 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1970, with Neil Diamond’s recording of it reaching No. 20. The Hollies’ single then reached No. 1 in the U.K. in a 1988 reissue prompted by its use in a beer commercial.


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