A charity single honouring the victims of one of Britain's worst-ever sporting disasters has become the U.K.'s Christmas No. 1 on the pop music chart.
According to the Official Charts Company, the cover track He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother by the ensemble The Justice Collective captured the top spot on the pop music chart for the week of Christmas.
An annual tradition closely followed by British music fans, the Christmas No. 1 is based on sales and legal downloads during week of Christmas. He Ain't Heavy sold 269,000 copies to beat out Impossible, the debut single of James Arthur, the latest winner of the music talent show The X-Factor.
Paul McCartney, former Spice Girl Mel C., Robbie Williams and Mick Jones of The Clash are among the famous figures who formed The Justice Collective to perform the cover, which is a benefit track to raise money for the families of those who died in 1989 Hillsborough disaster.
The tragedy saw 96 soccer fans crushed to death at a stadium in Sheffield, in northern England. At the time, police characterized the victims as rowdy, drunken fans and blamed them for the crush. An inquest issued verdicts of "accidental death."
However, for years the families of those killed have campaigned to overturn the official accounts and restore the smeared reputations of their deceased relatives.
On Dec. 19, Britain's High Court quashed the original verdicts and ordered a new investigation. The government has also set up a new inquiry into the tragedy.
Winning singers of The X-Factor, Simon Cowell's TV music competition, have dominated the Christmas No. 1 slot in the past decade.
The exceptions have included an amateur choir of military wives, who took the No. 1 spot in 2011 for Wherever You Are (an original song inspired by poems they exchanged with their husbands stationed in Afghanistan), and U.S. band Rage Against the Machine, whose track Killing in the Name was pushed to the top of 2009's holiday chart through a grassroots online campaign.