Saturday, 5 December 2015

Top Ten Christmas Songs

Christmas is approaching and radio DJ’s will push aside their terrible playlists in favour of the same old Christmas songs that we hear at this time every year. Supermarkets and shopping malls will turn up the volume loud and play the same songs. Every pub will crank up the volume of their jukebox and play endless streams of Christmas dirges.

And worst of all, I will have to endure these songs at every Christmas party I go to, starting tonight.

I may sound like Scrooge in his deepest humbug moment but the truth is that most Christmas songs are dreadful.

However, I am not Scrooge really and there are a few of these seasonal ditties that I actually like. So here, for the benefit of readers who love their Christmas songs, are my top ten seasonal offerings.

10. The Pretenders – 2000 Miles

A Christmas song doesn’t have to be a happy clappy affair and that’s the main reason I like this song. It combines the seasonal feel with a hint of melancholy. Also, I like Chrissie Hynde’s voice.

9. Jonah Lewie – Stop the Cavalry

Continuing the theme of melancholy, Jonah Lewie’s song didn’t go down well in Walsall in 1980 with a guy I knew who was in the army. The line “Wish I was at home for Christmas” brought it home to his fellow soldiers who were away for Christmas. That said, I’ve added this to the list because it was played in every pub I went into in December 1980. I had just turned 18 and this was the first time I had the taste of true party atmospheres in the run up to Christmas. It holds a special place in my heart for that reason.

8. Queen – Thank God It’s Christmas

I’ve always loved Queen and when they finally released a Christmas song, I knew it would be a bit special, with the elements that make their songs memorable with a hint of the theatrical that the band loved to inject into their songs. Again, there is a hint of melancholy in the tune. I like that.

7. Elton John – Step Into Christmas

Now it’s time for a happier song with no hint of melancholy whatsoever, from the time when Elton was actually good, in the 1970’s, just to prove to you, dear reader, that I don’t just like songs with a dark and sad undertone. This song is a lot of fun.

6. The Darkness – Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bell’s End)

Talking of fun, let’s take a little bit of cheesiness, add a little naughtiness and a good dose of rock and the result is this daft little song from The Darkness, complete with schoolboy choir, electric guitar and a little innuendo. This is my kind of Christmas song.

5. John Lennon – Happy Xmas (War is Over)

I always get goosebumps when I hear this song, particularly at a time when there is trouble in the world. The message is absolutely clear and sums up exactly what Christmas should be about, people coming together with joy and happiness and not, for once, trying to blow each other to bits.

4. Greg Lake – I Believe In Father Christmas

Apparently this song was written as a protest to what Christmas has become over the years and was not really intended to celebrate Christmas but to point out how marketing has over-commercialised it. I don’t care; this is an epic progressive rock masterpiece and exactly what I would have expected from my favourite musical genre.

3. Wizzard – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day

Let’s get serious now. Way back in the early 1970’s, when I was a kid who really looked forward to Christmas every year, one of my favourite bands at the time were Roy Wood’s Wizzard. Their music had a distinct 1970’s feel that I still feel nostalgic for.

This song whisks me back in time to December 1973, when I was an innocent 11 year old.

 In my last post I described the inner youth within me and how I loved to unleash him on the world. This song, releases the child in me, stirring that excitement about waiting to tear the Christmas paper off all of my presents and tuck into a beautiful Christmas dinner. Another song has a similar effect …

2. Slade – Merry Christmas Everyone

There is no song that epitomises what Christmas meant to me as child, more than this wonderful song that was released at the same time as the previous one from Wizzard. Noddy Holder, the lead singer of the band, is from my home town of Walsall so it has a special significance for me. And what Christmas would be complete without Noddy screaming:


Actually, I suggested some alternative lyrics to the song a few years ago. You can read them here.

1. The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale of New York

A Christmas song with swear words? Whatever next? When I first heard this song many years ago I thought it was a work of genius and I still think so to this day. I love songs that stir a little emotion, particularly at this time of year, and this one does just that, stripping down the cheese factor to a bare minimum to produce my favourite Christmas song of all time.

And Finally …

I hope you like my choices, dear reader. I will almost certainly post again before Christmas but if I don’t get chance to, I’ll take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas. If I do get chance to, then you will be lucky enough to get a second “Merry Christmas” in due course.

Lucky you.

Now over to you.

What are your favourite Christmas songs – and why?


Anji said...

Greg lake. That was the Christmas where we dipped Mars Bars into our Guinness. I put Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) Christmas is all around on my Facebook page today. Just for the fun of it.

Have a great count down to Christmas!

Pandora Behr said...

We agree on something - "Fairytake of New York" is the best xmas song, evah. Just like Diehard is the best Christmas movie ever :) Alan Rickman at his best.

Good post.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Anji,

Mars Bars and Guinness? Whatever turns you on I guess ;-)

Have a great Xmas.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

You have some taste then.


Only kidding!

yes - I love Die Hard too.




River said...

I don't know that I have a favourite Christmas song, I like quite a few, by bands or people that might never be seen here on your blog. Boney M, Alan Jackson, George Strait.
We do have John Lennon in common though.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I've only heard of Boney M - and guess what? I can't stand their Xmas song.