Christmas… Going For A SongDecember 22, 2010
We are now getting close to that finishing line called Christmas day and those special songs are blaring out of every high street, shopping centre and restaurant in town. If you are heartily sick of being hit by a wall of Christmas treacle as soon as you walk into a store, take pity on the poor workers who have to stay in that store and listen to it on a loop, all day, every day. There will be the usual suspects like Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody, Roy Wood and Wizard’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day and The Pogues and Kirsty Mc Coll’s Fairytale of New York. Those songs I like. Then there’s George Michael’s Last Christmas, Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You and Cliff Richard’s Mistletoe And Wine, all of which I can’t stand.
I’ve been inspired to put together a little Christmas collection here because of three songs I heard recently through the radio and Facebook. This then kicked off a couple of songs in my head that I hadn’t heard since who knows when. Of course I scoured YouTube and found a small selection of more interesting songs, including the ones I heard this week. God bless YouTube. And boo to the big companies who insist on spoiling our fun by banning or restricting what we can watch or share on that site. This means that instead of you seeing some of the videos directly from this blog, you’ll have to click again to get into YouTube. Believe me, I tried to circumnavigate this nonsense, to no avail. So we’re stuck with it. Don’t let this put you off though. They really are rather good.
First up, Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses, which came out in 1981. I’ve always liked the air of “I couldn’t give a toss” in the vocals of the lead singer. A brilliant, fun song, with a light touch of menace, as befitting a New Wave band.
Next up, Christmas rapping by Kurtis Blow. It’s 1980 old skool rap and hip hop, before it became rudderless and eventually smashed onto the rocks of dollars, bling and ho’s. The thing I remember most about this tune is that although it ran for only four minutes, it seemed to go on for a very long time.
Then we have this sixties, psychadelic twist, by a band I’d never heard of. They are called Paul Revere and The Raiders and it seems they had a lot of songs, if YouTube is an indicator. Anyway, this one, called Rain, Sleet or Snow, came to me through Facebook. I post it here for your pleasure.
Sammy Davis Jr can do no wrong in my eyes. He recorded this cute little song called It’s Christmas Time All Over The World for our seasonal ears. Only he can pull a song like this from the brink of that precipice called Christmas Parmesan. Just.
I remember when this song came out. I thought it was brilliant and my friend who had the money bought a copy. The fact that it was on white vinyl made it even more exciting to our teenage eyes. Squeeze’s seasonal effort called Christmas Day was released in 1979 – and tanked, much to our dismay. I haven’t heard it on radio since. Squeeze was a great British band and a little underrated in my opinion (I also say that about XTC, but that’s for another post another time). How can you not like a chorus that goes like this: So where would Christmas be without/Mary and Joseph?/Morecambe and Wise/Laurel and Hardy?/Cracker surprise?/Lights on the pine tree?/And more aftershave?/I’m not forgetting Jesus who was born on Christmas Day!
I heard this one today and thought it was great. It took a while before I realised it was a mash up of The Beatle’s Please Please Me with the old standard carol, Joy To The World. The presenter said it was by a band called the Butties, but this one I found on YouTube is by The Fab Four, a Beatles tribute band who have been going since 1997.
Finally, I heard this one on BBC Radio 2 on Sunday. Well, I caught the last 15 seconds by accident and was breathless by the end of it. It sounded like Barbra Streisand on Speed, so I rooted around and found it. The most bonkers 1 minute and 55 seconds you are ever likely to hear. And she enunciates every single word. I present to you, ladies and gentlemen, Jingle Bells – but not as you know it…
I hope you enjoyed them, even if you only had time to play snippets. I do however, urge you to give Barbra your full attention. It will be worth it, I promise. If you want to point me in the direction of Christmas songs you like (or not), I’d be more than happy to give them a whirl on my seasonal break and maybe give a comment, or two when I return.