Hillsborough charity single tops UK chart

British singer Robbie Williams features on the Hillsborough charity single that has topped the UK chart. Photo / AP
British singer Robbie Williams features on the Hillsborough charity single that has topped the UK chart. Photo / AP

A charity single for the families of those killed in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, featuring Paul McCartney and Robbie Williams, has claimed Britain's coveted Christmas No.1 spot, officials have announced.

The Justice Collective's cover version of He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother, originally a hit for The Hollies in 1969, sold more than 269,000 copies, the Official Charts Company said on Sunday.

Funds raised from sales will go towards meeting the families' ongoing legal costs.

The performers include Melanie C, Shane MacGowan, Mick Jones, Gerry Marsen, Paul Heaton, Holly Johnson, Beverley Knight, Paloma Faith and Peter Hooton.

Ex-Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish and former captain Alan Hansen also appear.

Some 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death in the Hillsborough football stadium disaster in Sheffield, northern England, in April 1989.

It was the worst sporting disaster in British history.

The fatal crush was caused by huge overcrowding on a terrace before an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

On Wednesday, the High Court in London quashed accidental death verdicts delivered in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy and called for fresh inquests to be held, while police also launched a new investigation.

The move followed the publication of a damning independent report in September that concluded that 41 of those who died would have had the "potential to survive" if they had received medical treatment more quickly.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel report also found that police tried to divert blame for the tragedy on to the victims.

McCartney has appeared on seven Christmas number ones before - four with The Beatles, two as part of Band Aid and one with Wings - while Melanie C has appeared on three with the Spice Girls and Williams has been on two.

The song edged out Impossible by James Arthur, who won this year's edition of television talent contest The X Factor.

One Pound Fish Man - Pakistani east London market trader Muhammad Shahid Nazir - with his One Pound Fish song used to draw in customers, rose 18 places to No.29 on the Christmas chart.

Emeli Sande, who sang at the London 2012 Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, notched the Christmas No.1 album with Our Version of Events after topping the weekly charts on Sunday.

The record has sold 1.32 million copies in Britain to date, making it the biggest-selling album of 2012 so far.


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