Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Music: The year the second-greatest Christmas song beat the greatest to number one

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  • Gareth,

    Clarence Carter:

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth,

    And because we should never forget the man:

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    Mariah Carey and caterwauling - such an appropriate juxtaposition. She's alright when she's not doing the really annoying vocal acrobatics, but I don't think she's managed an entire song without them.

    I vote for Boney M as well. Disco and Christmas go campily-well together.

    As for a "vinyl-only mix" promoted via digital means, I'm afraid my eyes rolled a teeny bit. I am contemplating buying a turntable, but mainly to play my remaining few vinyl records - Joan Armatrading's Whatever's For Us, the White Album, and Split Enz being highlights. Can't see the point of vinyl only these days.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Right now I'm being amused by Bob Rivers and Spike O'Neill, who pulls off the perfect Bon Scott impersonation:

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    One advantage of a southern hemisphere Christmas is that the mall muzak tends to start later - compared with the UK, anyway (there are other countries, it says here). So by today I'm only irritated by these songs, not borderline homicidal as I was back there and then. (The disadvantages include all the winter-themed absurdity, but I won't start that rant, or else homicidal might return).

    But my preferred playlist would be 3) a few carols 2) The Waitresses, doing the only really good one and 1) silence. I was in Newmarket today and would happily have paid over the odds for a jingle-free flat white. It was hard to find.

    "Siiiim-ply haaa-ving a wonderful Christmas time ..." (and ... load, fire).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • kw,

    I was too young for Slade and Wizard at the time, but both of those songs are great fun. It's a toss up between the two, isn't it?

    A couple of months back, there was a charming piece in the Guardian about Noddy Holder - "people think I live in a cave all year and come out in December shouting It's Chriiistmaaasss".

    I won't hear a word against Snoopy's Christmas either. On the other hand, that monstrosity about grandma and reindeer and Wonderful Christmastime...no excuse.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2014 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Win, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    For the near decade I lived in the UK, it never seemed like Christmas until I heard Snoopy's Christmas, which no-one had heard of. Every year I'd try to introduce it around the office, but they just didn't get it! Maybe shows how much more influence American bands had over here than the UK, I don't even know how popular the song is in the US now, but it is still one of my favourite Christmas songs. Judging by the annual work Christmas trivia quiz question I included at last week's Christmas party, quoting the lyrics for them to finish, other kiwis really love it too, as it was one of the few questions they all got right!

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2015 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Trevor Nicholls,

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 325 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Angela Win,

    it never seemed like Christmas until I heard Snoopy’s Christmas,

    Ditto...
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher, in reply to Angela Win,

    For the near decade I lived in the UK, it never seemed like Christmas until I heard Snoopy’s Christmas, which no-one had heard of.

    It’s actually most popular in New Zealand, one of those weird cultural moments!

    Curiously enough, I never heard it until 1997, and that was via slightly younger friends who’d grown up with it and couldn’t imagine Christmas without it. It charted at No.9 in 1988, which was probably the moment for Gen Y kids to bond with it.

    A few years ago the Royal Guardsmen recorded a new Snoopy song, the super strange “Snoopy vs Obama”. That’s right, it’s Snoopy taking down bin Laden.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    Joseph Spence and Santa Claus is comin' to Town.

    Thanks for the reminder, you can never have too much Joseph Spence. He's like a cross between Popeye the Sailor and Thelonious Monk.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    Snoopy vs Obama

    Snoopy as as icon of the Tea Party? Good Grief....

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Seeing as how we've got a new (and very good) Star Wars film out, we should probably give the Star Wars Christmas album a whirl:

    Or there's always the Megadeth Christmas album:

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Personal favourite:

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    If we must do Christmas (Bah Humbug), the only song that springs to my mind is this one...

    there is a story here...https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huron_Carol which leads to this

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huron_Carole

    which is kinda what its all about.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report Reply

  • Biobbs, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    In a Xmas miracle, McGowan gets new teeth

    http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/dec/20/shane-macgowan-a-wreck-reborn-new-teeth-tv-special

    - as long as he can still sing this with his new chompers, we're all happy for him.

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    Apologies if anyone posted this one already. Gotta be one for we soul freaks .
    Only Xmas song with a bit of 7/4 timing , and the BEST voice:-

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth, in reply to Biobbs,

    The Pogues: definitely in my Christmas top ten - as is this one...

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Phil Spector may be a full-service douche canoe, but come on... Darlene Love is the Queen of Christmas. Let's not argue about it. :)


    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Howard Edwards, in reply to Trevor Nicholls,

    Thanks for posting that, I have been an ELP fan for almost 50 years but didn't know about this particular song. Interesting to read about its release on Wikipedia:

    "The song was recorded by Lake in 1974 and released separately from ELP in 1975, reaching number two in the UK charts.[4] The song was kept from number one by Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody". Lake has commented: "I got beaten by one of the greatest records ever made. I would’ve been pissed off if I’d been beaten by Cliff (Richard)." However, orchestrator Godfrey Salmon was less charitable: "I was surprised the single wasn’t more successful. I thought 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was rubbish, and still do. When it got to No 1 before we’d even brought ours out, I thought it would be long gone by Christmas. How wrong can you get?"

    Albany • Since Apr 2013 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Unlike the rest of you grinchy bastards, I really like (good) holiday music and my current Christmassy Spotify playlist is at about 500 songs, none of which will make you want to stab anyone and are all on the gently groovy, kitschy, soulful or twangy tip. I promise. Here is a beautifully tender James Brown, from Funky Christmas:

    The incomparable Nancy Wilson is asking you for a date. You can't possibly refuse.

    For the Jewish, Jewish-adjacent and general fans of what Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings can be relied upon to provide (get well soon, Sharon):

    Peggy Lee, an early adopter of the war on Christmas (but not as early as Irving Berlin, who wrote this song in the 40s):

    Julie London wants to keep you warm in December. I haven't got the heart to tell her about the whole southern hemisphere thing, because it's JULIE LONDON and if she wants to snuggle up to you you don't say no.

    I could go on. I mean, seriously, I could go on for hours. Days. But the pav needs baking. Merry Chrimble!

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    PS That Mariah song has always reminded me of some sort of Darlene-Love-Phil-Spector-type thing and I’ve had a soft spot for it for some time as a result. I’d like to hear it done in a different style. (In my mind it’s lumped in with Beyonce’s “Love on Top” as a song I was surprised to learn was a cover because I liked the retro vibe of it so much.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Apologies if anyone posted this one already. Gotta be one for we soul freaks .
    Only Xmas song with a bit of 7/4 timing , and the BEST voice:-

    Chip Matthews just played this on Base FM (maybe, possibly because he saw it here). Farmer Green, you're trending in Ponsonby!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

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