Top 50 Christmas Songs – Part 5: 10-1
And now, as Christmas is practically upon us with the presents bought and the crackers ready to be pulled, here are my ten favourite festive tunes to get you into the mood for food and the mind for wine, and without doubts for sprouts, etc…
10. Mickey’s Christmas Carol – Oh What A Merry Christmas Day (1983)
From the short film ‘Mickey’s Christmas Carol’, Disney’s take on the Dickens classic, this is a very short but beautifully written and sung song, with evocative lyrics but an overhanging sense of gloom that symbolises the darker material from the short story. A lovely, rousing tune that takes me straight back to my childhood. Very touching, exceptionally nostalgic and great to hear again.
09. Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers – Let’s Party (1989)
A Christmas number one song that mashes up some massive Christmas songs to great effect and really gets the party started, from the first play of the March of the Mods to appearances by Slade and Roy Wood from Wizzard. Sadly it does sample one song that has a black cloud over it, but it doesn’t stop this being a medley that really works and kicks off a party perfectly.
08. Billy Mack – Christmas Is All Around (2003)
From the film ‘Love Actually’ this parody of the ‘Wet Wet Wet’ classic was put in by writer Richard Curtis in reply to its over-playing after its appearance in his ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ film. Played with relish by actor Bill Nighy, this spoof is, arguably, better and certainly funnier than the original. The lyrics may revert back to the normal ones near the end, but it’s a funny and enjoyable track that doesn’t take itself too seriously and it’s great to hear the tweaks in the words.
07. Elton John – Step Into Christmas (1973)
Elton John’s contribution to the catalogue of festive songs, this is a happy, driving piano-led Christmas song that is singable like all good festive songs and really catchy. One of the strongest ever made and sums up the more modern understanding of the festival but does have some interesting messages in it and is nicely self-referential at times.
06. Aqua – Spin Me A Christmas (2009)
From the deluxe version of their greatest hits, this proved that Aqua could still tick the pop boxes ten years on from their original fame period. With a highly memorable chorus and great tune, with more modern club stylings in parts, it’s as cheesy as anything but sticks in your head quickly and easily.
05. Wizzard – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday (1973)
Possibly the most honest of Christmas songs as it starts with the ring of a cash register, this is another song that has entered the public psyche. Singable with a catchy chorus and a great brass section, it’s difficult to dislike this tune and again mixes in a children’s choir to give that seasonal feel, with some fun observational lyrics. OK you lot – take it away!
04. Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas? (1984) / Band Aid 20 – Do They Know It’s Christmas? (2004)
Though the 1989 Stock-Aitken-Waterman electronic version is the black sheep of the trilogy, I find it difficult to decide which of the other two I prefer, so here are both. The first is a classic but the third is more detailed and musically interesting, even if the last sixty seconds are redundant and self-congratulatory, going on far too long, plus it’s amazing how many artists have disappeared without trace in eight years. Two great versions of the song, that makes you think no matter how unrealistic the lyrics actually are, but the original highlighted an important cause.
03. Avid Merrion – Proper Chrimbo (2003)
“Craig David, Going to the pub?” / “David Gray, no I’m not, not with you, wearing those antlers!” The best of the Bo Selecta singles by far and a cracking modern Christmas song, it’s perhaps dated a little now with references to Michael Jackson and the video with celebrities singing the chorus don’t do the song justice, but it’s a catchy song in its own right that doesn’t take itself seriously. With a great mix of styles from singing to rapping to a choir, it’s the best of the 2003 singles and very quotable and singable. Brilliant, even if like me you can’t stand Bo Selecta.
02. The Killers feat. Toni Halliday – Great Big Sled (2006)
The first and still the best of the Killers’ Christmas songs, this six-year-old song manages to capture the modern indie rock sound whilst also sounding like Christmas times gone by. With a really strong grandiose opening and some great guitar work and vocal battling between Flowers and Halliday, this is a memorable, singable and fun modern Christmas song that mixes in memories of Christmas well with a low-key downbeat ending.
01. Slade – Merry Christmas Everybody (1973)
It could only really be one track sitting on the top spot. Originally called “Buy Me a Rocking Chair” its lyrics were soon adapted into what we know today. Sure, it might be overplayed and clichéd, but it’s played lots for a reason: it’s rocky, singable, catchy and well composed. It might be nearly forty years old but it’s still the best!
Do you agree or disagree with the top forty? Let us know in the comments below.