'Last Christmas' finally hits #1, 36 years after its release

Wham's festive classic 'Last Christmas' has topped the UK charts for the first time.

Written by the late George Michael and originally released in December 1984, the synthpop hit has entered the top 10 several times - but never hit the top spot until now, BBC News reports.

"It is a fitting tribute to George's song-writing genius and one of which he would have been immensely proud and utterly thrilled," said band member Andrew Ridgely, saying he was "somewhat amazed" to see it finally reach number one.

Its previous peak was number two in 2017, after his tragic early death on Christmas Day the year before. 

Michael wrote the song in his childhood bedroom in February 1984.

"We'd had a bite to eat and were sitting together relaxing with the television on in the background when, almost unnoticed, George disappeared upstairs for an hour or so," Ridgely wrote in his memoir.

"When he came back down, such was his excitement, it was as if he had discovered gold which, in a sense, he had."

The duo recorded it in August. It hit number two that December - held off the top spot by Band Aid's 'Do They Know It's Christmas?', which also featured Michael.

The 36-year gap between release and topping the chart is a new record. 

The song is currently third on the NZ singles chart, behind Mariah Carey's 'All I Want for Christmas' from 1994 and LAB's 'Why Oh Why'. 

The inclusion of streaming figures in chart data has made it easier for old classics to hit the charts again.

In recent years 'Last Christmas' has also become the subject of an internet challenge called #Whamageddon, where participants try to avoid the song from the start of December until Christmas Day - but it clearly hasn't hurt the song's popularity.