Triple J's Lindsay McDougall singing his <i>Christmas Number One</i>.

Triple J's Lindsay McDougall singing his Christmas Number One.

Christmas-themed singles are not a big part of Australian culture but that could change after Triple J's ambitiously-titled charity song Christmas Number One lived up to its name and topped the iTunes chart.

Lindsay McDougall, a Triple J presenter and also guitarist for band Frenzal Rhomb, wrote the song - which raises money for the Australian Red Cross — in "less than two days". It was performed by a cast of Australian musicians including Phil Jamieson from Grinspoon, Abbe May, Andy Bull, Bertie Blackman, Elizabeth Rose plus other ABC stars like "Doctor Karl" Kruszelnicki and even the Bananas in Pyjamas.

"We literally talked about it on a Monday and released it on a Friday. We wrangled 36 musicians in a less than a week and recorded it in three hours," says McDougall.

He says the idea for the title came from the film Love Actually, in which former pop star Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) has a festive hit with Christmas is All Around Us.

"We thought it would be hilarious to call it Christmas Number One because even if it went nowhere we could still say we had released a Christmas number one," McDougall says.

"When you think about all the money and marketing strategies that goes into huge recording artists making the top 10 this seemed easy. It's an awesome testament to listeners and the station."

The single was released last Friday and the Triple J listeners drove it to number one yesterday afternoon. It has since slipped two places but could climb back up the charts in the absence of other festive songs for Australian music fans to purchase in the lead-up to Christmas.

"We never seriously thought this would happen. I am quite amazed there haven't been more Christmas songs released," McDougall says. "Maybe now everyone will do one.

"I would like to see a competition, we could have commercial radio versus Triple J, Aussie rock bands like Rose Tattoo could get involved and we could get unsigned bands too.

"The Australian music industry is great at raising money when its people fall on hard times, maybe they could put some of that into [other] charity work."

All proceeds go to the Red Cross — after Apple takes its standard 30 per cent cut.

"We begged them to drop that and even invoked the spirit of Christmas but every charity song pays that. But no-one else is getting any cash out of it," McDougall says.

Red Cross CEO Robert Tickner was "over the moon" with the song and its success. He said the profits from the song will be spread across several campaigns.

"We don't anticipate it's going to earn hundreds of thousands, but it could be tens of thousands. [The funds raised] will support our work generally, which ranges from work with Aboriginal communities to emergencies and disasters to international humanitarian and legal campaigns, like our push to make nuclear weapons illegal."

Triple J also produced a tongue-in-cheek video, directed by Tim Pass and inspired by Band-Aid's classic Do They Know It's Christmas, featuring the musicians dressed in festive pullovers. "Amazingly we didn't have to buy any[jumpers]," McDougall says. "People at Triple J owned enough and wear them non-ironically."

Triple J's Christmas Number One can be downloaded from here.