What is it about Christmas songs that make them so infectious? I can normally remain calm in the face of most tunes, but stick rocking around the Christmas tree on the gramophone and I’m singing along before you can say Winter Wonderland. Maybe it’s the memories that they bring back, all I need is a few bars of that Nina and Frederick classic Little Donkey and I’m back in the living room of a sixties council house watching cartoons on a black and white television with the big light on.
The thing about these songs is that an awful lot of them should be (are) totally naff, but somehow we forgive them their jingling bells, background choirs, brass bands and silly jumpers. Of course it ain’t Christmas until Noddy screeches it is like some demented Santa, but when he does we all screech along with him. If Roy Wood says that he wishes that it could be Christmas every day who are we to disagree with him and if Greg Lake believes in Father Christmas then we all do, don’t we.
Cliff has his very own Christmas smorgasbord of Christmas ditties; Millenium Prayer, Saviour’s Day, Mistletoe and Wine; he really knows how to get God into my non-denominational Winter Solstice. David and Bing (the most unlikely pairing of all time) croon away about a little drummer boy, Paul McCartney pipes on about some plumbing problem that needs fixing, The Pogues belch out a sweary fairytale and John and Yoko claim that war is over, which it patently isn’t.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Bing dreaming of a white one, the Wombles womblimg a merry one, Shaky shaking up a merry one as well, Bruce bringing Santa to town, The Goodies warning Santa not to touch them, Aled (who’s obviously high) walking in the air and Chris Rea probably just about to set off on the long drive home for Christmas.
I don’t know about you, but I love and loathe these tunes simultaneously. I understand (yes it’s the money) why everybody from Elvis to Mrs Costello, Micky Bubbles to Bobby Zimmerman, James (The Godfather) Brown to the not so summery Beach Boys and even Alvin and the Chipmunks have all released Christmas albums which repeatedly perpetuate the same twenty songs or so, but I do so wish that they wouldn’t.
Lastly the worst Christmas song of all time in my view is Do They Know it’s Christmas? Despite it being very worthy and doing a lot of good it leaves me feeling depressed. The best on the other hand would be well…. IT’S CHRISTMASSSSS! Right Noddy?