"Although Peel failed to offer the same warm reception with which he'd received the 1995 Festive Fifty, it could scarcely be cause for any disappointment that 1996's fifty tracks were spread among forty artists, easily the most ever at that time, though this would be bettered in 1998....An enormous twenty-six bands or artists among the forty featured had never figured in a Festive Fifty before. Among those who had, Half Man Half Biscuit returned to the chart after a ten-year gap, beating a record set by Chumbawamba in 1993, and in doing so creating a new one that would stand until 2003." (Whitby, M., The Festive Fifty, Nevin Publishing 2005, p. 44)
Top scoring artists were the Fall with three entries. Dick Dale became the oldest artist to have a Festive Fifty entry (he was by now 59), thereby beating his own record set the previous year. Famously, Peel could not locate the number 43 record, a session track by the aforementioned HMHB, and had to play it the following weekend. Kenickie's number one entry was the shortest track ever to achieve this feat.
22 December 1996 marks the first time since 1994's Christmas recordings by the Fall and Elastica that a session had featured alongside the chart rundown, and only the second time in the Festive Fifty's history that a brand new one was included (1976-92 had all been repeats).
Note that the number 30 entry is not by Force And Stars, an error originating from the Rocklist Festive Fifty listing.