ROCKING AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE – Well that’s my Christmas Do done and dusted and I have escaped unscathed for another year, well apart from a 3 day hangover. Cards have been sent, Dec’s are up and the end of the shopping is nigh. The shops at this time of year are a fear to behold. Hot, packed, irate shoppers getting stressed. All these things done, to a back ground of obligatory Christmas music. I worked in a supermarket as a teenager and will never forget the constant re run of Christmas songs piped through to the shop floor. I always feel sorry for anyone working in retail this time of year. They must want to fist Wham and Wizard in the face. However much we hate it we really love it. It’s all part of the build-up and well those songs have memories attached. It seems to me that everyone knows the words to these yuletide tunes I find it quite funny that the younger generation know the words but haven’t a clue who sings them or how old they are. There are some awful Christmas songs. David Bowies and Bing Crosby’s Little Drummer Boy makes me cringe and I love Bowie, he’s my hero. I can’t stand Cliff Richard and his Christmas songs, sorry Cliff but they aren’t my bag! Many artists have tried their hand at a Christmas Tune, many have pulled it off and like any song its personal taste. Cliff has been at No1 many a Xmas so it seems although he isn’t my cup of tea he must be doing it right for a lot of people.
I did a little research and as far as I can find the first Christmas song in the UK charts was back in 1951 and was Perry Como singing ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas’. A song I know and like. I did a little game to test my theory that everyone is brainwashed by Xmas tunes and it seems I was correct. My 13 year old son, 19 year old daughter and 18 year old trainee at work could all sing the words. None of them knew who sang it to realise that it was released 40+ years ago. So we are brainwashed
So someone sitting reading this now will be thinking Christmas songs are rubbish, bah humbug to you. I beg to differ there are some really good ones and I’ve picked 5 that I particularly like for my own reasons. You may not agree but let’s be honest Christmas wouldn’t be the same without them. So get the Santa hat on turn the volume up and enjoy
STEVIE WONDER – SOMEDAY AT CHRISTMAS
Stevland Hardaway Morris (born May 13, 1950, as Stevland Hardaway Judkins) known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. Early life Stevie Wonder was born in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1950, the third of six children. He was born six weeks premature, which, along with the oxygen-rich atmosphere in the hospital incubator, resulted in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a condition in which the growth of the eyes is aborted and causes the retinas to detach, so he became blind.] When Wonder was four, his mother left his father and moved to Detroit with her children. She changed her name back to Lula Hardaway and later changed her son’s surname to Morris, partly because of relatives. Wonder has retained Morris as his legal surname. Wonder began playing instruments at an early age, including piano, harmonica, drums and bass. He formed a singing partnership with a friend, calling themselves Stevie and John, they played on street corners, and occasionally at parties and dances. A child prodigy, he has become one of the most creative and loved musical performers of the late 20th century. Wonder signed with Motown’s Tamla label at the age of 11 and continues to perform and record for Motown as of the early 2010s. He has been blind since shortly after birth. He has recorded more than 30 U.S. top ten hits and received 22 Grammy Awards, the most ever awarded to a male solo artist, and has sold over 100 million albums and singles, making him one of the top 60 best-selling music artists.Wonder is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a holiday in the United States. In 2009, Wonder was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart’s 50th anniversary, with Wonder at number five.
Someday at Christmas is a Christmas album by Stevie Wonder, released on November 27th, 1967 under Motown Records. It was his eighth studio album release. It would also be re-released in 1978 with different cover art. This is a favourite of mine I love Stevie and this is a great Christmas track with a poignant message asking for freedom, no poverty and a world at peace.
DO THEY KNOW IT CHRISTMAS – BAND AID 1984
Band Aid is a charity super group featuring mainly British and Irish musicians and recording artists. It was founded in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for anti-poverty efforts in Ethiopia by releasing the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” for the Christmas market that year. On 25 November 1984, the song was recorded at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, and was released in the UK four days later. The single surpassed the hopes of the producers to become the Christmas number one on that release. Two subsequent re-recordings of the song to raise further money for charity also topped the charts. The original was produced by Midge Ure. The 12″ version was mixed by Trevor Horn. It was announced on 7 November 2014 that a new version of the song will be recorded by artists under the name of Band Aid 30.
In my opinion the best version and they should have stopped there. However it is for charity.
SINEAD O’CONNOR – SILENT NIGHT
Sinéad Marie Bernadette O’Connor born 8 December 1966 is an Irish singer-songwriter who rose to fame in the late 1980s with her debut album The Lion and the Cobra. O’Connor achieved worldwide success in 1990 with a new arrangement of Prince’s song “Nothing Compares 2 U”. Since then, while maintaining her singing career, she has occasionally encountered controversy, partly due to her statements and gestures—such as her ordination as a priest despite being a woman with a Roman Catholic background—and her strongly expressed views on organised religion, women’s rights, war, and child abuse.
In addition to her nine solo albums her work includes many singles, songs for films, collaborations with many other artists and appearances at charity fundraising concerts
“Silent Night” (German: Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht) is a popular Christmas carol, composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. It was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in March 2011. The song has been recorded by a large number of singers from every music genre. This is my favourite Christmas carol and I’ve chosen it because Sinead sings it in a favourite film of my kids. It’s the best bit of the film when Fred Claus has finished delivering all the presents to children across the world. I’m a big softie and well if this doesn’t melt your heart a tiny bit, there is something seriously wrong.
THE POGUES AND KIRSTY MACCOLL – FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK
The Pogues are a Celtic punk band from London, formed in 1982 and fronted by Shane MacGowan. The band reached international prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. MacGowan left the band in 1991 due to drinking problems but the band continued first with Joe Strummer and then with Spider Stacy on vocals before breaking up in 1996. The band reformed in late 2001, and has been playing regularly ever since, most notably on the US East Coast around St Patrick’s Day and across the UK and Ireland every December. The group has yet to record any new music and, according to Spider Stacy on Pogues.com, has no inclination to do so. Their politically tinged music was informed by MacGowan and Stacy’s punk backgrounds, yet used traditional Irish instruments such as the tin whistle, cittern, mandolin and accordion.
Kirsty Anna MacColl (10 October 1959 – 18 December 2000) was an English singer-songwriter who wrote and recorded several pop hits between the early 1980s and the 1990s. In addition, she sang on hit recordings produced by her then-husband Steve Lillywhite, notably on tracks by The Smiths and “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues. MacColl was killed by a power boat while swimming with her children at Cozumel, Mexico. She was the daughter of songwriter Ewan MacColl.
“Fairytale of New York” is a Christmas song written by Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan and first released as a single on 23 November 1987 by their band The Pogues, featuring singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl on vocals. The song was written as a duet, with the Pogues’ singer MacGowan taking the role of the male character and MacColl the female character. It is an Irish folk style ballad, and featured on The Pogues’ 1988 album If I Should Fall from Grace with God. “Fairytale of New York” has been cited as the best Christmas song of all time in various television, radio and magazine related polls in the UK and Ireland. Although the single peaked at number two in the UK Singles Chart when it was first released (kept from the number one position by the Pet Shop Boys’ cover version of “Always on My Mind”), its popularity as a Christmas song has endured. To date the song has reached the UK top twenty on eleven separate occasions since its original release in 1987, including every year since 2005, and was certified platinum for achieving one million sales in 2013.In the UK it is the most-played Christmas song of the 21st century.
This is my personal favourite Christmas tune. The Irish, great at insulting each other and wrapping it up as an obscure love song. What more could you want?
SLADE – MERRY XMAS EVERYBODY
Slade is an English rock band from Wolverhampton/Walsall. They rose to prominence during the glam rock era of the early 1970s with 17 consecutive top 20 hits and six number ones. The British Hit Singles & Albums names them as the most successful British group of the 1970s based on sales of singles. They were the first act to achieve three singles enter at number one; all six of the band’s chart-toppers were penned by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea. Total UK sales stand at 6,520,171, and their bestselling single, “Merry Xmas Everybody”, has sold in excess of one million copies. A number of diverse artists have cited Slade as an influence, including grunge icons Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins, punk pioneers the Ramones, Sex Pistols, the Undertones, the Runaways and the Clash, glam metal bands Kiss, Mötley Crüe, Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot, Poison and Def Leppard and pop-rock stalwarts the Replacements, Cheap Trick and Oasis. The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Music tells of Holder’s powerful vocals, guitarist Dave Hill’s equally arresting dress sense and the deliberate misspelling of their song titles for which they became well known
“Merry Xmas Everybody” is a 1973 song by the English rock band Slade. Written by lead vocalist and guitarist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea, and produced by Chas Chandler, it was the band’s sixth number-one single in the UK. It earned the UK Christmas Number One slot in December 1973, beating another Christmas-themed song, Wizzard’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”, which reached fourth place. By mid-January it was still at number one; it stayed in the UK Singles Chart well into February 1974. Based on melodies from discarded songs written six years before, “Merry Xmas Everybody” was Slade’s best-selling single, released at the peak of their popularity, and sold over a million copies upon its first release. It is Slade’s last number-one single, and by far their most successful. It has been released during every decade since 1973, and has been covered by numerous artists. In a 2007 poll, “Merry Xmas Everybody” was voted the UK’s most popular Christmas song.
Well takes me right back every time to the Christmas Party at school. Flares and huge collars. Love Noddy’s gravelly voice and well its nostalgia isn’t it.
and here is the golden oldie Perry Como 1951
and few more I like
Please have a Christmas dance for me, bye x
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