Hillsborough disaster tribute tops UK Christmas chart

LONDON, Dec 23 (Reuters) - A tribute song to the victims of

the 1989 Hillsborough football stadium disaster has taken the

number one spot on Britain's Christmas pop chart.

"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", a version of the ballad

that was a worldwide hit for The Hollies, went to the top of the

chart in its first week of release.

Money raised by the single will go to the families of the 96

Liverpool soccer fans killed in Britain's worst sporting

disaster in Sheffield, northern England.

The song features performances by artists including Paul

McCartney, Robbie Williams, the Clash's Mick Jones and Peter

Hooton of The Farm. They came together under the name The

Justice Collective.

The Official Charts Company, which compiles the weekly

rundown, said on Sunday that the song beat a strong challenge

from James Arthur, a newcomer who won this year's "The

X-Factor", a music talent show. His single "Impossible" was last

week's number one.

Relatives of those killed at Hillsborough have campaigned

for 23 years to overturn official accounts of what caused the

deaths. Police had blamed rowdy, drunken fans for contributing

to the crush. Many of the victims were children and teenagers.

A government-backed inquiry concluded in September that

police had smeared supporters to cover up their failings, helped

by inaccurate media coverage.

Britain's High Court quashed the original "accidental death"

inquest verdicts on Dec. 19 and ordered a new investigation. The

government also set up a new police inquiry.

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