Over the past few years, British music fans have united to try and prevent the country's prestigious Christmas Number One single from falling into the hands of The X Factor winner. In five of the past six years, whoever won the British version of Simon Cowell's singing competition also scored the top-selling single for the week of December 25th. Hoping to avoid another X victory, a grassroots Facebook campaign has been launched to help catapult Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" to the top of the Xmas charts. It's sort of like Occupy Wall Street, except it's music fans angry about the state of pop music and not the economy, and instead of camping out in city parks, they just bound together and purchase an old song on digital music services.
So far, the "Nirvana for Christmas No. 1" group has nearly 20,000 "likes" on Facebook, but expect that number to rise in the next few weeks. There is also an interesting subplot to the whole situation: One of this year's potential X winners is a group called Rhythmix, which is also the name of a U.K. children's charity. According to the "Nirvana for Christmas No. 1" page, when the charity asked The X Factor to change the group's name, they were told to "get a lawyer." Those legal fees are now draining the charity's funds. In light of that, each purchase of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" will also benefit Rhythmix.
In 2009, a similar campaign helped Rage Against the Machine's 1992 single "Killing in the Name" defeat X Factor winner Joe McElderry for the Christmas Number One, as members of Rage and even Paul McCartney supported the cause. "The people in the U.K. are tired of being spoon-fed one schmaltzy ballad after another and they want to back their own charts, and we are honored that they have chosen our song to be the rebel anthem to try to topple The X Factor label," Morello said at the time. Rage honored the grassroots effort by performing a free concert in Great Britain the next year.
However, last year, an attempt to get John Cage's silent composition "4'33" to the Xmas top spot, dubbed "Cage Against the Machine," failed by a wide margin, and X Factor winner Matt Cardle took the Christmas crown. Since this is the 20th anniversary of Nevermind, Nirvana stands a better chance of locking up the Number One. Although it's one of the greatest songs ever, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" only peaked at Number Seven on the British singles chart in the early '90s.