Paul McCartney Santa Square

Simply having a wonderful Christmas Time?

Share

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email

AT THIS TIME of year, every year, our ears and good taste undergo a determined and persistent assault from what have come to be called “Christmas favourite” songs. They drive many of us to distraction, enough to put one off enjoying the season altogether, some would say. But for others they seem to have an enduring popularity, unfathomable though it may seem.

Perhaps they are now so firmly embedded in our collective psyche that they have become as much part of Christmas as Santa and his reindeers, so we may be condemned to endure them ad infinitum. But, if we have no choice in the matter short of self-isolating in the middle of the Amazonian rain forest to avoid the seasonal din, then let us at least have a debate about which Christmas-themed tunes are the least bad, if you see what I mean.

I am embarrassed by the choice of awfulness that confronts me, but nonetheless am going to try to rank at least some of them from the lowest “wouldn’t mind if I never heard it again” right up to the other end of the spectrum signifying “if we must then these might be just bearable”. Further than that I am not prepared to go, except for possibly one or two exceptions.

An early entry to the “worst ever” category has to be Sir Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” (sic). How the writer of “Hey Jude” and most of the second side of Abbey Road could come up with such nonsense is completely beyond me. Following closely behind must be Roy Wood and Wizzard’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”, of which the less said the better. Roy Wood was once in The Move, by the way, and they were a decent outfit. And then there’s Wham’s “Last Christmas”, whereupon words fail me. Truly terrible every one.

The middle ground – that is that part of the spectrum in which songs do not immediately have you reaching for the Mess Webley and bottle of whisky – is occupied by merry tunes like “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee, familiar to everyone who has watched Home Alone, and arguably not a bad wee tune at all, but hugely overplayed. Here also you might find Slade’s “Merry Christmas Everybody”, currently playing in every supermarket across the land but which, to be fair, has some nice lyrics and chord progressions.

In the final “just about tolerable” category John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” just sneaks in, with The Pogues “Fairytale of New York” featuring the late and lamented Kirsty McColl besting it in my opinion. Plus we cannot forget Bing Crosby and his “White Christmas” rendition which has been part and parcel of our lives every Yuletide since time began, and a nice wee song to boot. Let me also commend to you “The Wassail Song” by Fairport Convention, a little known tune from their vast traditional repertoire. Look it up.

Two now that I suggest are exceptions to the general rule of mediocrity and cringeworthy. The first of these is Jethro Tull’s truly wonderful “Ring Out, Solstice Bells” from their album Songs From The Wood, which you still hear occasionally on the wireless and being broadcast in more upmarket and cerebral establishments in gentrified towns and villages across Britain and of special appeal to those of us of, ahem, a certain age wearing red cords.

The clear favourite in my home this Christmas, however, is an upbeat tune that oozes optimism and fun when we’re just about to be closed down again by the Covid MacStasi and face a slightly bleaker than anticipated New Year. I am talking about, of course, Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolf Run”, absolutely top hole in his initial interpretation but, for me, even better when covered by Dave Edmunds and assisted by Bonny Tyler. I’ve posted a link below so confident am I that you’ll enjoy this one!

Dave Edmunds and Bonnie Tyler – Run, Run Rudolph – YouTube

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

© Stuart Crawford 2021

Share

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on print
Share on email
Scroll to Top