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Ed Sheeran's 'Perfect' Leads Race to U.K.'s Christmas No. 1

Ed Sheeran
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Ed Sheeran performs during the 'The Voice of Germany' finals at Studio Berlin Adlershof on Dec. 17, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. 

Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” takes an early lead in the race to the U.K.’s coveted Christmas No. 1, though tracks by Eminem and Wham aren’t far behind.  

Following the release of a new orchestral version of “Perfect” featuring Andrea Bocelli, Sheeran’s latest moves just ahead of Eminem’s new entry “River” (which also features Sheeran) with Wham’s timeless holiday hit “Last Christmas” coming in at No. 3, according to the Official Charts Company. 

Despite its enduring popularity, Wham’s “Last Christmas” never quite made it to the chart summit. The track was beaten to the crown in 1984 by the all-star Band Aid project’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” (which also featured Wham’s George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley) and to this day is the biggest selling No. 2 single in U.K. charts history. The song could yet hit the mark thanks to a social media campaign to get it to the top in memory of Michael’s death last Christmas day

Other singles lighting up the chart after 24 hours include AC/DC's "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)," at No. 22, following a fan campaign in remembrance of the band’s founding bass player Malcolm Young, who died last month.

The sprint to the Christmas No. 1 started last Friday with sales and streams to be counted toward the chart until midnight Thursday (Dec. 21) local time.

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