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Christmas Classics – TOP 10 XMAS SONGS

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Here is my list of what I feel are the top ten quintessential Christmas Pop hits…

10. The Little Drummer Boy – David Bowie and Bing Crosby (1977)
This collaboration earns its place simply due to it bizarreness. Renowned rock star Bowie, famous for trans-gender extreme drug taking in Berlin (which was an extreme sport until roller blades became popular) singing Katherine K. Davis’s Christian themed “Little Drummer Boy” with supposed clean living Bing “the kids walked into a door” Crosby. It’s a weirdly soothing rendition, broken up with their occasional uttering’s about world peace and how swell that would be. Definitely, worth a download.

9. Happy Christmas (War is over) – John Lennon (1971)
Nine years before his death, former Beatle John Lennon had a dream of writing a commercially successful Christmas tune and he did just that with “Happy Christmas”, he even got in some crap about stop killing each other into the mix as well. Stupendous, I’ll remember to cut back on the killings John.

8. I wish it could be Christmas – Wizard (1973)
Seminal Christmas classic by English band Wizard reached only number 4 the year it came out, knocked out by Slades’ “Merry Christmas Everyone” what a year for oddly dressed 70s glam prats to be singing Christmas tunes!

7. Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End) – The Darkness (2003)
There is going to be some dispute over this, perhaps as a standalone tune it should not be any of the predecessors on this top ten so far…However, this Darkness tune which only reached no. 2 on its debut deserves a higher place due to the fact that it brought back the classic rock Christmas track. It wrestled from the hands of Cowel production lines and forgettable “R & B” acts some radio space and for that we are grateful. Interesting side note, the single’s cover was designed by our own Jim Fitzpatrick this was mainly due to the Hawkin brothers’ complete obsession with Thin Lizzy who Fitzpatrick had worked for previously.

6. Stop the Calvary – Jona Lewie (1980)
A war protest song that was never conceived as a Christmas hit but that’s exactly what it became when it first was released. The song is written from the perspective of an embattled solider, initially it appears he is fighting in the First World War but as the song progresses he takes on a more eternal role. Plain talking, beautiful conceived with a catchy melody, fantastic song.

5. Last Christmas – Wham (1984)
Another one of those department store songs, you know the ones, when you were a child dragged into Cleary’s into an uncomfortably hot atmosphere with a stressed out mother. The camp hit with a sweater adorned George Michael and Andrew Ridgedly mischievously playing in the snow (aw bless it is Christmas isn’t it?). It’s catchy, and while a German winter market covered in snow is not exactly around the corner, this tune always brings Christmas home.

4. Merry Christmas – Slade (1973)
ITS CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!! Well there you are there isn’t much more to say than that.

3. Walking in the Air – Howard Blake (1982)
Often talked about for its tragic ending, I think the possibility of the snowman surviving winter was more terrifying, a solider of such size, with the ability of flight and that could be created with such ease could make the snow covered northern countries military powerhouses. At least this way we know that they have a weakness and milder climates need not be afraid of their Nordic brothers and sisters. David Bowie makes a second guest appearance, in this haunting piano led soprano master piece.

2. Feed the World (Do they know its Christmas time?) – Band Aid (1984)
Our first of two Irish contributions to this chart, the Geldof led contribution to African Aid was truly a global phenomenon and it started with this simple yet brilliant piece. It’s 80s charm and litany of pop greats doing their best to control their egos, yet they do and it all sits together perfectly.

1. Fairytale of New York – The Pogues (1987)
It was never going to be anything else! The Irish punk legends most famous ballad “Fairytale of New York” has to be thought of as the greatest Christmas song thus far in existence. Rather than using the same old clichés of togetherness and family, this gritty tune tells the story of an Irish immigrant suffering from alcoholism remembering an old love. It contains real human sentiment, while he remembers the bickering there is a bridge seems to demonstrate genuine affection. It covers a lot that is often looked over, the rise and fall of relationships is the corner stone of any pop song but rarely is it convey with such feeling that you actually think the singers are involved. The song also deals with the grim realities of life and while at Christmas we try to forget these things, I don’t think the beauty of the tune is impeded too much with sorrow.

Fantastic melody, great lyrics, legendary song!

Well that’s it. I hoped you enjoyed my countdown.

Note from editor: This was originally published as part of our December 2011 ‘Fountain News’ digital newsletter. We have re-published it under the current date because it’s been offline for a considerable amount of time, it remains relevant, and with Christmas coming, we thought you folks may enjoy it!

IMAGE: Santa Claus with (not a very big) Guitar! – image credit: JMT Images/Flickr

Fountain News DigitalThis article was originally published in:
Fountain News Digital – December 2011 (Issue 7)

We are re-publishing all articles from our past newsletter, Fountain News Digital, and you can view all completed newsletters here. There were nine issues published in total between 2010 and 2012.

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