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11 Years Ago Today: 'Killing In The Name' Christmas Number One

20 Dec 2022

On the 30th anniversary of Rage Against The Machine's 'Killing In The Name', we wanted to take a moment to remember the unexpected and shocking moment on the 20th December, 2009, where the protest song took the number one spot in the UK Christmas charts.
The track, which was initially released in November 1992, took 17 years to reach the top spot when in 2009 a campaign was organised to block a single from the television show X Factor from taking the Christmas Number 1, as it had done for a consecutive four years.
The campaign - organised by English DJ John Morter and his wife Tracy - drew criticism from X Factor Simon Cowell, who described it as 'cynical' and 'stupid', meanwhile, the BBC reported the campaign had attracted over 750,000 supporters.
Rage Against the Machine added their support towards the campaign, and Tom Morello stated that attaining the Christmas Number 1 spot would be a 'wonderful dose of anarchy' and added that he would donate the unexpected windfall to charity. On top of this, the campaign raised £70,000 for the homeless charity, Shelter.
In June 2010, Rage Against the Machine performed a free concert at Finsbury Park in London, which drew over 40,000 fans. On stage were the campaign's organisers, John and Tracy Morter, who were handed a cheque which showed that a grand total of £162,000 had been raised for charity.
In the signed limited edition, Whatever It Takes, Tom Morello reflects on this moment as being one of his 'favourite rock 'n' roll moments ever'. Especially with the song breaking records with the most singles downloaded in one week in UK chart history.
'I dug deep into my garage and photo albums to find pictures that I hadn't seen in many years. Some of the photos show history in the making. Some are historically rocking. And some are historically embarrassing.' - Tom Morello
Find more information about the limited copies here.
Whatever It Takes

Whatever It Takes

Tom Morello


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