Christmas is an annual festival, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, forms an integral part of the holiday season centered around it; the traditional Christmas narrative, the Nativity of Jesus, delineated in the New Testament says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in accordance with messianic prophecies. When Joseph and Mary arrived in the city, the inn had no room and so they were offered a stable where the Christ Child was soon born, with angels proclaiming this news to shepherds who further disseminated the information.
Although the month and date of Jesus' birth are unknown, the church in the early fourth century fixed the date as December 25. This corresponds to the date of the solstice on the Roman calendar. Most Christians celebrate on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar, adopted universally in the civil calendars used in countries throughout the world. However, some Eastern Christian Churches celebrate Christmas on December 25 of the older Julian calendar, which corresponds to a January date in the Gregorian calendar. For Christians, the belief that God came into the world in the form of man to atone for the sins of humanity, rather than the exact birth date, is considered to be the primary purpose in celebrating Christmas; the celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, completing an Advent calendar or Advent wreath, Christmas music and caroling, lighting a Christingle, viewing a Nativity play, an exchange of Christmas cards, church services, a special meal, pulling Christmas crackers and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, wreaths and holly.
In addition, several related and interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses; the economic impact of Christmas has grown over the past few centuries in many regions of the world. "Christmas" is a shortened form of "Christ's mass". The word is recorded as Crīstesmæsse in 1038 and Cristes-messe in 1131. Crīst is from Greek Khrīstos, a translation of Hebrew Māšîaḥ, "Messiah", meaning "anointed"; the form Christenmas was historically used, but is now considered archaic and dialectal. Xmas is an abbreviation of Christmas found in print, based on the initial letter chi in Greek Khrīstos, "Christ", though numerous style guides discourage its use.
In addition to "Christmas", the holiday has been known by various other names throughout its history. The Anglo-Saxons referred to the feast as "midwinter", or, more as Nātiuiteð. "Nativity", meaning "birth", is from Latin nātīvitās. In Old English, Gēola referred to the period corresponding to December and January, equated with Christian Christmas. "Noel" entered English in the late 14th century and is from the Old French noël or naël, itself from the Latin nātālis meaning "birth". The gospels of Luke and Matthew describe Jesus as being born in Bethlehem to the Virgin Mary. In Luke and Mary travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census, Jesus is born there and laid in a manger. Angels proclaimed him a savior for all people, shepherds came to adore him. Matthew adds that the magi follow a star to Bethlehem to bring gifts to Jesus, born the king of the Jews. King Herod orders the massacre of all the boys less than two years old in Bethlehem, but the family flees to Egypt and returns to Nazareth.
The nativity stories recounted in Matthew and Luke prompted early Christian writers to suggest various dates for the anniversary. Although no date is indicated in the gospels, early Christians connected Jesus to the Sun through the use of such phrases as "Sun of righteousness." The Romans marked the winter solstice on December 25. The first recorded Christmas celebration was in Rome on December 25, 336. Christmas played a role in the Arian controversy of the fourth century. After this controversy was played out, the prominence of the holiday declined; the feast regained prominence after 800. Associating it with drunkenness and other misbehavior, the Puritans banned Christmas during the Reformation, it remained disreputable. In the early 19th century, Christmas was reconceived by Washington Irving, Charles Dickens, other authors as a holiday emphasizing family, kind-heartedness, gift-giving, Santa Claus. Christmas does not appear on th
The Hillsborough disaster was a fatal human crush during an FA Cup semi-final football match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, on 15 April 1989. With 96 fatalities and 766 injuries, it remains the worst disaster in British sporting history; the crush occurred in the two standing-only central pens in the Leppings Lane stand, allocated to Liverpool supporters. Shortly before kick-off, in an attempt to ease overcrowding outside the entrance turnstiles, the police match commander, chief superintendent David Duckenfield, ordered exit gate C to be opened, leading to an influx of more supporters to the overcrowded central pens. In the days and weeks following the disaster, police fed false stories to the press suggesting that hooliganism and drunkenness by Liverpool supporters were the root causes of the disaster. Blaming of Liverpool fans persisted after the Taylor Report of 1990, which found that the main cause of the disaster was a failure of control by South Yorkshire Police.
Following the Taylor report, the Director of Public Prosecutions ruled there was no evidence to justify prosecution of any individuals or institutions. The disaster led to a number of safety improvements in the largest English football grounds, notably the elimination of fenced standing terraces in favour of all-seater stadiums in the top two tiers of English football; the first coroner's inquests into the Hillsborough disaster, completed in 1991, ruled all deaths that occurred that day to be accidental. Families rejected the original coroner's findings, their fight to have the matter re-opened persisted, despite Lord Justice Stuart-Smith concluding in 1997 there was no justification for a new inquiry. Private prosecutions brought by the Hillsborough Families Support Group against Duckenfield and his deputy Bernard Murray failed in 2000. In 2009, a Hillsborough Independent Panel was formed to review all evidence. Reporting in 2012, it confirmed Taylor's 1990 criticisms, while revealing new details about the extent of police efforts to shift blame onto fans, the role of other emergency services, the error of the first coroner's inquests.
The panel's report resulted in the previous findings of accidental death being quashed, the creation of new coroner's inquests. It produced two criminal investigations led by police in 2012: Operation Resolve to look into the causes of the disaster, by the Independent Police Complaints Commission to examine actions by police in the aftermath; the second coroner's inquests were held from 1 April 2014 to 26 April 2016. They ruled that the supporters were unlawfully killed due to grossly negligent failures by police and ambulance services to fulfil their duty of care to the supporters; the inquests found that the design of the stadium contributed to the crush, that supporters were not to blame for the dangerous conditions. Public anger over the actions of his force during the second inquests led the SYP chief constable David Crompton to be suspended following the verdict. In June 2017, six people were charged with various offences including manslaughter by gross negligence, misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice for their actions during and after the disaster.
The Crown Prosecution Service subsequently dropped all charges against one of the defendants. Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, the home of Sheffield Wednesday, was selected by the Football Association as a neutral venue to host the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest football clubs. Kick-off was scheduled for 3:00 pm on 15 April, fans were advised to take up positions 15 minutes beforehand. At the time of the disaster, most English football stadiums had high steel fencing between the spectators and the playing field in response to both friendly and hostile pitch invasions. Hooliganism had affected the sport for some years, was virulent in England. From 1974, when these security standards were put in place, crushes occurred in several English stadiums. A report by Eastwood & Partners for a safety certificate for the stadium in 1978 concluded that although it failed to meet the recommendations of the Green Guide, a guide to safety at sports grounds, the consequences were minor.
It emphasised. Risks associated with confining fans in pens were highlighted by the Committee of Inquiry into Crowd Safety at Sports Grounds after the Bradford City stadium fire in May 1985, it made recommendations on the safety of crowds penned within fences, including that "all exit gates should be manned at all times... and capable of being opened from the inside by anyone in an emergency". Hillsborough hosted five FA Cup semi-finals in the 1980s. A crush occurred at the Leppings Lane end of the ground during the 1981 semi-final between Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers after hundreds more spectators were permitted to enter the terrace than could safely be accommodated, resulting in 38 injuries, including broken arms and ribs. Police believed there had been a real chance of fatalities had swift action not been taken, recommended the club reduce its capacity. In a post-match briefing to discuss the incident, Sheffield Wednesday chairman Bert McGee remarked: "Bollocks—no one would have been killed".
The incident nonetheless prompted Sheffield Wednesday to alter the layout at the Leppings Lane end, dividing the terrace into three separate pens to restrict sideways movement. This 1981 change and other changes to the stadium invalidated the stadium's safety certificate; the safety certificate was never renewed and the stated capacity of the stadium was never changed. The terrace was divided into five pens when the
We Built This City
"We Built This City" is a 1985 song written by Bernie Taupin, Martin Page, Dennis Lambert and Peter Wolf, recorded by US rock group Starship and released as their debut single on their album Knee Deep in the Hoopla. Commercially, the single reached number one in Australia and the United States, it has appeared on several "worst song" lists, topping a 2011 Rolling Stone poll of worst songs of the 1980s by a wide margin. What exists of a narrative in the song consists of an argument between the singers and an unidentified "you" a music industry executive, marginalizing the band and ripping them off by "playing corporation games". In response to this injustice, the singers remind the villain of their importance and fame: "Listen to the radio! Don't you remember? We built this city on rock and roll!" A spoken-word interlude explicitly mentions the Golden Gate Bridge and refers to "the city by the bay", a common moniker for Starship's hometown of San Francisco. Starship's predecessors, Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, were prominent members of San Francisco's psychedelic rock scene in the late 1960s and into the 1970s.
However, the interlude rapidly refers to the same city as "the city that rocks", a reference to Cleveland, Ohio and "the city that never sleeps", one of the nicknames for New York City. Capitalizing on the ambiguity, several radio stations added descriptions of their own local areas when they broadcast the song or added their own ident in its place; the album's title Knee Deep In the Hoopla is taken from a lyric in the first verse of this song. The song was arranged by Bottrell and Jasun Martz; the song features Mickey Grace Slick sharing lead vocals. MTV executive and former DJ Les Garland provided the DJ voice-over during the song's bridge. Additionally, some radio stations, with the help of jingle company JAM Creative Productions in Dallas, inserted their own opening line to promote their stations. "We Built This City" received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group in 1986. The magazine Blender's ranking of the song as the worst song was in conjunction with a VH1 Special of The 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs...
Ever. In order to qualify for the distinction, the songs on the list had to be a popular hit at some point, thus disqualifying many songs that would by consensus be considered much worse. Blender editor Craig Marks said of the song, "It purports to be anti-commercial but reeks of'80s corporate-rock commercialism. It's a real reflection of what killed rock music in the'80s."However, an article in the Sydney Morning Herald pointed out that "Blender's list—compiled via an arbitrary and anecdotal data collection process and ranked by Marks—included several whimsical criteria. One was to go easy on novelty songs. In a discussion with the band's manager, Bill Thompson, he was surprised at the ranking, but "thrilled" because of the other high-profile groups on the list, saying, "I wish Blender had called us for a group shot. I'd love to have my picture taken with Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney." Mickey Thomas, one of the singers of Starship, said in 2010 regarding the review from the by-then folded Blender magazine, From what I heard, they got so much flak about it that they sort of retracted their statements in a way about the song.
And not only that, but Blender's folded, we're still here. When asked about why the song was listed as #1 on the review, the editor of Blender magazine, Craig Marks, referenced the line of the song "Marconi plays the mamba" by asking, Who is Marconi? And what is the mamba? The mamba is the deadliest snake in the world, so he must have meant the mambo, but it sounds so much like'mamba' that every lyric web site writes it that way, it makes sense neither way." The Richmond Times-Dispatch listed other songs by Starship that would have made more sense for being on the top of the list than "We Built This City," concluding, No, no. They chose the song that references the father of the radio; the song that inserted a cool snippet of DJ chatter from the band's beloved San Francisco. The song that found Grace Slick enunciating the phrase "corporation games" with nutty abandon. In 2011 a Rolling Stone magazine online readers poll named "We Built This City" as the worst song of the 1980s; the song's winning margin was so large that the magazine reported it "could be the biggest blow-out victory in the history of the Rolling Stone Readers Poll".
In August 2016, Gentlemen's Quarterly magazine declared this song as the worst of all time, referring to it as "the most detested song in human history". The article covered Bernie Taupin's role in writing an early version of the song, the backlash against a video that no one liked and Grace Slick's inconsistent statements about whether she liked it or not. Following their 2013 FA cup final win over Manchester City, in which midfielder Ben Watson scored a 90th minute winning goal for'The Latics', Wigan fans adopted the song changing the chorus lyrics to'We beat Man City with a Watson Goal'. In December 2018, the blogger LadBaby released a comedy version of the song with a sausage roll theme as a charity single whose profits went to The Trussell Trust, it debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, beating Ava Max's "Sweet but Psycho" and Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next" to the 2018 Christmas number one. List of music considered the worst Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics Tannen
Boney M. is a Euro-Caribbean vocal group created by German record producer Frank Farian. Based in West Germany, the four original members of the group's official line-up were Liz Mitchell and Marcia Barrett from Jamaica, Maizie Williams from Montserrat and Bobby Farrell, a performing-artist from Aruba; the group was achieved popularity during the disco era of the late 1970s. Since the 1980s, various line-ups of the band have performed with different personnel; the band has sold more than 80 million records and is known for huge international hits such as "Daddy Cool", "Ma Baker", "Sunny", "Rasputin", "Mary's Boy Child – Oh My Lord" and "Rivers of Babylon". German singer-songwriter Frank Farian recorded the dance track "Baby Do You Wanna Bump" in December 1974. Farian sang the repeated line "Do you do you wanna bump?" in a deep voice as well as performing the high falsetto chorus. When the record was released as a single, it was credited to "Boney M.", a pseudonym Farian had created for himself after watching the Australian detective show Boney.
He said: I turned on the TV one day and it was the end of a detective series. I just caught the credits and it said Boney. Nice name, I thought – Boney, Boney... Boney M. Boney, Boney M. Nice sound. Simple. After a slow start, the song became a hit in the Belgium, it was that Farian decided to hire performers to'front' the group for TV performances. Farian found Maizie Williams, who brought in a male exotic dancer from Aruba. Singer Marcia Barrett joined the group, who brought in Liz Mitchell, former member of the Les Humphries Singers and Boney M. was finalised. Boney M.'s first album, Take the Heat off Me, was released in 1976. It contained tracks that Marcia Barrett had recorded with Farian, including the title track and "Lovin' or Leavin'", both of which were recorded in German by another Farian act, Gilla; as Maizie Williams' voice was not considered suitable for recording purposes by Farian, a try-out with Bobby Farrell performing "No Woman No Cry" did not work, Farian decided to use only Liz Mitchell and Marcia Barrett along with his own studio-enhanced voice to create the Boney M. sound.
The album's commercial performance was lukewarm. However, the group rigorously toured discos and country fairs to earn a reputation for themselves; the group's big break came when, at the end of summer 1976, German television producer Michael'Mike' Leckebusch requested the group for his show Musikladen. Boney M. appeared on the live music show on 18 September 1976, after 10 pm and in their daring stage costumes, where they performed the song "Daddy Cool". The song went to no.1 in Germany, with the album following the success of the single. Another single, "Sunny" gave the group their second no.1 hit. The group's popularity had grown throughout Europe, with "Daddy Cool" reaching no.1 in Switzerland, Sweden and Austria. Both singles were Top 10 hits in the UK, which would become one of their biggest markets. In 1977, Boney M. released their second album, Love for Sale, which contained the hits "Ma Baker" and "Belfast". The group embarked on their first major concert tours with a live band of musicians called'The Black Beauty Circus'.
Love for Sale was certified Gold a year after its release in the UK. Both singles from the album reached no.1 in Germany and the UK Top 10. 1978 was the group's biggest year. They released a new double A-sided single, "Rivers of Babylon/Brown Girl in the Ring", which became a massive hit all over Europe, reaching No. 1 in several countries as well as becoming one of the biggest selling singles of all time in the UK. It became their most successful single in the United States, peaking at No. 30 on the U. S. pop singles chart. Following this came their biggest-selling album, Nightflight to Venus, which spawned further hit singles with "Rasputin" and "Painter Man". Continuing with their success, they released "Mary's Boy Child – Oh My Lord", the 1978 Christmas number one single in the United Kingdom and became another of the biggest selling singles of all time there. During 1978, Boney M. made a much publicized promotional visit to the Soviet Union, one of the few Western acts along with Elton John to do so, although tracks like "Rasputin" were not released in the Soviet Union due to their lyrics.
While it had never been a secret that Bobby Farrell never sang on the group's records, in 1978 it became public knowledge that Maizie Williams did not sing on the studio recordings either, since "her voice wasn't suited for this kind of music" as Farian stated in an interview with German teen magazine Bravo. Since this had become common practice within the disco genre of the late 1970s, few people cared – unlike when Farian did the same thing with Milli Vanilli in the late 1980s. While only two of Boney M.'s official members contributed to the band's records, all four members of the group, including Williams and Farrell, performed the vocals live at Boney M. concerts. The band's live sound was augmented by several backing vocalists, which served to mitigate any vocal deficiencies the group may have had compared with the studio productions. 1979 saw Boney M. release a brand new single, "Hooray! Hooray! It's a Holi-Holiday". In the year they released their fourth album, Oceans of Fantasy, containing two hit singles – "Gotta Go Home"/"El Lute" and "I'm Born Again"/"Bahama Mama".
The album included a "Lead" and "Backing Vocals"
Joseph McElderry is an English singer and songwriter. He won the sixth series of the ITV show The X Factor in 2009, his first single "The Climb" reached number one on both the UK Singles Chart and the Irish Singles Charts. He was crowned the winner of the second series of Popstar to Operastar in 2011 and the first series of The Jump in 2014. In 2015, McElderry played the lead role of Joseph in the touring production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. To date he has released five top 20 albums – three of them reaching the UK top three, a record for a solo X Factor winner, he was the first X Factor contestant to release a fourth album. As of 2014, McElderry has sold over 2 million records worldwide. Born in South Shields, England, McElderry is the only child of Eileen McElderry; the couple separated. He was raised in a small flat on Tyneside. McElderry attended Harton Technology College in Lisle Road, South Shields, before joining South Tyneside College to study AS level school qualifications, Newcastle College to study performing arts.
He was the Pride of South Tyneside's Young Performer of the Year in 2008. He studied for BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts at Newcastle College Performance Academy, he took the role of'Danny Zuko' in Grease performed at Harton Technology College. McElderry auditioned for The X Factor in 2007 and made it to bootcamp, he felt he was too young compared to the other contestants and opted to walk away, he auditioned again in 2009 in Manchester and sang Luther Vandross's "Dance with My Father". Mentored by Cheryl Cole, he made it through to the live finals and was announced the winner on 13 December 2009, beating runner up Olly Murs with his version of "The Climb". McElderry's prize, as winner, was a recording contract with Simon Cowell's Syco record label, whose parent company is Sony Music Entertainment; the contract had a stated value of £1 million, of which £150,000 was a cash advance and the remainder allocated to recording and marketing costs. The single "The Climb" was released as McElderry's debut single.
Along with The X Factor finalists, McElderry recorded vocal for featured on a charity single, a cover of Michael Jackson's hit "You Are Not Alone". It was released in aid of London's Great Ormond Street Hospital; the finalists premiered. The single reached number one in the UK Singles Chart. PerformancesMcElderry performed the following songs during the contest: McElderry's debut single, "The Climb", was available to download at midnight on 14 December 2009 and was released physically on 16 December 2009. According to industry sources 100,000 copies of the single were sold on the day of its release but it was not enough to knock Rage Against The Machine off the spot in the UK in its opening week. On 18 December 2009, it was announced that McElderry secured the top spot in the Irish Singles Chart for 11–17 December 2009."The Climb" was a contender for 2009's UK Christmas number one, competing against, losing to, Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name". McElderry's single sold 450,000 compared to Rage Against the Machine's 502,000 after a Facebook-based campaign was started in protest of The X Factor's dominance of the Christmas number one title.
This was the first time since 2004 that the X Factor winning single was denied the top spot for Christmas in the UK Singles Charts. Simon Cowell stated, but I have to congratulate Jon and Tracy." McElderry's single stayed at number one on the Irish charts for a second week securing him the Irish Christmas number one, the song moved up to the top spot in the UK Singles Chart on 27 December. The single had the fifth highest sales of all UK singles released in 2009 staying one week at No. 1, was the top-selling Irish single of 2009, where it remained at the top spot for four consecutive weeks. "The Climb" was nominated in the British Single category at the 2010 BRIT Awards but lost out to fellow X Factor contestants JLS. McElderry performed "Don't Stop Believin'" and presented an award at the 15th National Television Awards in London on 20 January 2010. In January 2010, he participated in the Helping Haiti charity single, a cover of "Everybody Hurts" arranged by Simon Cowell in order to raise money for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
McElderry took part in the Great North Run half marathon 21.0975-kilometre race on 19 September 2010 raising money for Teenage Cancer Trust. McElderry and seven other finalists, Olly Murs, Stacey Solomon, Danyl Johnson, Lloyd Daniels, John & Edward, Jamie Archer and Lucie Jones, appeared in the X Factor Live tour which began on 15 February 2010 at the Echo Arena Liverpool and concluded on 4 April at the SECC. McElderry performed the songs "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", "Love Story", "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word", "She's Out of My Life", "Don't Stop Believin'" and his debut single "The Climb" on the tour. On 15 March, it was reported, he performed on Radio 1's Big Weekend on 22 May 2010, singing an acoustic version of "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Telephone" in the Live Lounge tent and he performed "Don't Stop Believin'" and his single, "The Climb" on The 5:19 Show. In 2010, McElderry recorded his debut album Wide Awake released on 25 October 2010. Producers of the album included John Shanks.
He launched the album with a performance at G-A-Y. The first single released from
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
Little Mix are a British girl group formed in 2011 during the eighth series of the UK version of The X Factor. They were the first group to win the competition, following their victory, they signed with Simon Cowell's record label Syco Music and released a cover of Damien Rice's "Cannonball" as their winner's single; the members are Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jesy Nelson. Little Mix released their debut album DNA in 2012, which peaked inside the top 10 in ten countries including the UK and US; this made Little Mix the first girl group since the Pussycat Dolls to reach the US top five with their debut album, as well as earning the highest debut US chart position for a British girl group's first release, breaking the record held by the Spice Girls. The group's second album Salute became their second album to debut inside the top 10 in both the UK and US, their third album Get Weird was released in 2015. Their fourth album Glory Days became their first number one album in the UK, achieved the longest-reigning girl group number one album since the Spice Girls' debut album 20 years earlier, the highest first week UK album sales for a girl band since 1997.
In the UK, the group has earned four number-one singles, including "Wings", "Black Magic" and "Shout Out to My Ex". Their fifth studio album LM5 was released in 2018 to favourable reviews; the group won Best British Single for "Shout Out to My Ex" at the 2017 Brit Awards and they won Best British Video for "Woman Like Me" at the 2019 Brit Awards. As of August 2018, the group has achieved four platinum certified albums and sixteen certified singles in the UK. Little Mix appeared on Debrett's 2017 list of the most influential people in the UK. In 2011, Thirlwall and Nelson individually auditioned as soloists for the eighth series of the UK version of The X Factor, but failed the first challenge of the "bootcamp" section, they were allowed another chance to compete when they were placed in two separate ensembles by the judges during the "group bootcamp" stage, with Edwards and Nelson in four-member group Faux Pas and Thirlwall and Pinnock in three-member group Orion. Both groups failed to make it through to the next stage.
A decision recalled two members from each group to form the four-piece group Rhythmix, sending them through to the "judges' houses" section. They were mentored by Tulisa Contostavlos. During the first live show on 8 October 2011, Rhythmix performed Super Bass by American recording artist Nicki Minaj, their rendition was praised by the judges with Gary Barlow calling them the "best girl band that's been on The X Factor." On 26 October 2011, the band announced that they would change their name following a dispute with Rhythmix, a Brighton-based children's music charity of the same name, after the programme tried to trademark "Rhythmix". A spokesman for The X Factor said, "At the request of the charity Rhythmix, the members of the girl group Rhythmix have decided to change their name, a decision which has the support of Syco and TalkbackTHAMES." It was reported that the group decided to make the change, with no legal requirement to do so, to avoid any difficulties for the charity. On 28 October 2011, it was announced that the group's new name would be "Little Mix".
On 20 November 2011, Little Mix became the first girl group in the show's eight-year history to progress past the seventh live show. The previous longest-surviving girl groups were The Conway Sisters and Hope, who had both lasted until week 7. Through the remaining course of the competition the group received positive feedback. During the semi-final stage of the show, Little Mix performed The Supremes's "You Keep Me Hangin' On" as well as Beyoncé's hit "If I Were a Boy", their performance of "You Keep Me Hangin' On" received negative feedback from the judges with Louis Walsh stating that they "lost their mojo" and Kelly Rowland telling the girl group she had seen them do "better vocal performances." Their second performance of the night, "If I Were a Boy", was acclaimed by the judges with Walsh telling them they have "amazing potential" and calling them the "next big girl band." Rowland told them they could be "incredibly dynamic" and "change the world" when they find the strength within each other.
The group advanced through to the final live shows along with Marcus Collins and Amelia Lily following the public vote. On 11 December, Little Mix were announced as the winners, the first time a group had won the British version of the show and the second in the worldwide franchise, their winner's single was a cover of Damien Rice's song "Cannonball", released via digital download on 11 December 2011, on CD on 14 December 2011. The Xtra Factor: The Winner's Story was shown on ITV2 on 17 December 2011, their debut single topped the UK Singles Chart on 18 December 2011. They made the Christmas number one spot on the Irish Singles Chart, beating novelty songs by The Saw Doctors and Ryan Sheridan. On 25 January 2012, Little Mix made an appearance at the National Television Awards and performed the En Vogue song "Don't Let Go", they accompanied fellow judges Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos on stage to receive the Best Talent Show award, won by The X Factor. In May 2012, Little Mix signed a deal with Vivid and Bravado to release