Stephenson’s Christmas Light Switch On is fast approaching and I can’t wait. So, with this in mind, I sat down to rank his all time top 10 Christmas Songs and with ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ from Slade missing out it makes for interesting reading!
At number 10, Wizzard cast their artistic spell over this classic when they produced it in 1973 and to this day it still provides joy and wonder to the world whenever it ‘ring[s] out for Christmas’. The truth of this classic’s popularity is that it truly is Christmas in song form with the sleigh bells accompanying a rock band with a brass twist, not to mention a school choir to boot. Indeed, one can’t help but be taken back to a school Christmas fair whenever Rob Wood’s voice begins that first syllable of the four and a half minutes of Christmas bliss. Nostalgia carries this one into the top ten.
If ever a song was to induce good behaviour amongst impressionable youths the world over it would surely this. The Crystals’ have produced arguably the most well known version of this song, however it’s popularity seems to know no bounds with covers from artists such as Frank Sinatra, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, The Jackson 5, Michael Bublé and even Justin Bieber. Although some may find it creepy in parts with the protagonist, a one Mr Claus, reportedly seeing everyone whilst they sleep and knowing when they’re awake, there is no denying that the song is a Christmas classic. Especially with its use in Will Ferrell’s feel-good, family film Elf. Elf’s influence carries this one into 9th place.
Wham!’s Christmas classic saw Michael swap vest top for winter coat and both the outfit and song style change saw Andrew Ridgely and George Michael produce an absolute winner. George Michael’s powerful background singing at the 3:45 mark do really make this something special as he shows off the voice that really did make him a star in his own right! Accompanied by Ridgely’s soft, soothing voice this one really does deserve its place in the top 10 and lands itself a respectable 8th.
Famed for their unique style of rock The Darkness certainly know how to write a catchy tune and this Christmas classic definitely doesn’t deviate from that norm! Electric guitar solos and Justin Hawkins’ voice certainly make this Christmas classic stand out from the other nine on the list. Indeed, after making me believe in a thing called love, the Darkness really do inspire the Christmas spirit with this little jingle and 7th on the list is, if anything, perhaps a tad harsh!
6. Santa Baby
Pick a version, any version. Mine is Bublé’s, but only for the audacity that he has to request from Father Christmas, a grown man who he does not know, a Rolex Watch. With a soothing piano bar melody in the background and brass instruments to boot this song is as much about the music as it is the lyrics and puts a swing in the Christmas step – especially when coupled with Bublé’s undeniable charm! Top 5 worthy for many but it doesn’t quite hit that note for me – six’ll do.
Nobody can say I don’t value this song (I have three versions of it on my itunes) but it comes in at an, I expect, unpopular 5th place. Mariah Carey’s strong vocals and the galloping rhythm are undeniably the selling point for this one and it’s claim for the top spot is strengthened for many by its appearance in the excellent Love Actually. However, it is simply edged out by, in my opinion, 4 better songs. Do note, however, that come Friday I will be prancing around Stephenson Central and blasting out this, and all of the other songs on this list as though they were my number 1.
Songs about returning home for Christmas have long been a staple of the festive season, with Chris Rea’s Driving Home For Christmas’ seen by many as the epitome of such a unique sub-genre. However, Bublé’s modern take on the sub-category of song seems to have knocked Rea off of his metaphorical perch. Indeed, Bublé’s customary big band style and overwhelming charisma seem to take this song to the next level and for me he has thoroughly earned his place at number 4.
Okay, I realise that Michael Bublé is kind of taking over here, but in my defence just listen to the man! Anyway, back to the music. The Spanish from Bublé is certainly, from the perspective of a non Spanish speaker, a very believable pass. Dueting in perfect harmony with Thalia, the two transfer between English and Spanish flawlessly in wishing listeners the merriest of Christmases. Indeed, singing over one and other is not the easiest task and these two have managed to not only make it happen, but to make it work. Number 3 is definitely no overstatement when we explore the skill associated with this beautiful Christmas Song.
From Paul Young’s very first line this song was destined to become a Christmas hit. Phil Collins on the drums, Simon Le Bon, Boy George, Bono, George Michael, Sting, Annie Lennox all providing vocals and so many more fantastic contributors really did allow Geldof to start something really special with this song. Some would say this was the rung on the ladder for Geldof and an inspiration for his Band Aid concert and the humanitarian aspect of this act surely epitomises the Christmas spirit. A number one in the charts and number two on my list – not bad at all Bob!
Initially drawn to the song because my teenage self couldn’t believe a Christmas song had some rude words in it, I have, over the years, come to love this song for its many musical qualities, despite disagreeing with Shane McGowen’s choice of words midway through the song. Political correctness aside, the to-ing and fro-ing between Kirsty McColl and Pogues front man MacGowan entices the listener into wanting more whilst making the perfect karaoke song for any duet. It really is no wonder that this song was recently voted the UK’s favourite Christmas song!
So there you have it – links and all! My top 10 Christmas songs ever, can’t wait to see you all on Friday at 8pm for our Christmas Light Switch On in Central which will be full of free food, entertainment and we’ll even start our advent calendar where we give away a prize each day in term during December to a lucky winner. It’s free to enter, all you have to do is come along on Friday and collect your ticket!