It’s Christmas! That wonderful time of year where you give presents to your loved ones (and some that aren’t so loved) in the hope of receiving some of your own in return; eating as much glazed ham, roast turkey and pavlova as you can before being rolled away from the table; and listening to cheesy Christmas tunes while you fight with hundreds of other shoppers in shopping centres across the city. I love this time of year!
Making my way through a surprising number of midnight shoppers, I started thinking about the Christmas songs that really make my holiday season. Let’s face it – the ONLY time of year it is acceptable to listen to such kitsch songs with awfully catchy choruses is this time of year. You cannot help getting caught up in the joyfulness of the occasion, and I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been known to hum along while pushing a trolley down the frozen food aisle in the hunt for the perfect roasting bird. But some tunes stand out more than others, so living up to ‘being festive’, I thought it fitting to share my Top 10 Christmas Songs. Perhaps some of these little gems are on the iPod in preparation for Christmas lunch this year??
10. Last Christmas, Wham. George Michael, his 80s hair, and some awful winter sweaters make this one a must-add.
9. Do They Know It’s Christmas, Band Aid. I’ll be honest, Bob Geldof shits me. But ‘rallying the troops’ to put this Christmas tune together as a means of raising funds for the less fortunate in Ethiopia was a fantastic idea, which is why this song makes the list. The original version, 1984, is definitely the best with the voices of George Michael, Bono, Sting, and others blending together beautifully.
8. Carol of the Bells. There is something mysterious about this Christmas song. It’s only a short song, but there is a great rhythm to it and then there are these tinkling bells in the background with this seeming urgency to them. It’s great! A full choir belting this one out does the trick.
7. Angels We Have Heard on High. A traditional religious Christmas carol that can be traced back to AD 129, but was only translated into English in 1862. The verses are short and bursting with energy and life, but that chorus ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo’ is a killer. If you want to know what I’m talking about, have a listen to Andrea Bocelli’s version.
6. It’s Christmas, c’est Noel, Jordy Lemoine. Who? I hear you ask. Frenchman, Jordy Lemoine became the youngest singer ever to have a No. 1 single in the charts when he released ‘Dur dur d’être bébé!’ (It’s tough to be a Baby) at four and a half years of age. The following year he released this Christmas tune, and it featured in the movie Look Who’s Talking Now. It’s damn catchy and there is something so adorable about it.
5. Merry Christmas (War is Over), John Lennon. It’s been 30 years since Lennon died, and hearing those first few words of this Christmas tune – ‘So this is Christmas, and what have you done…’ has always prompted me to reflect on the year that has been. The lyrics are moving, and hopeful that one day Lennon will get his wish, and the war will be over.
4. O Holy Night. Another traditional religious Christmas carol. Composed in 1847, this song has been covered by so many artists. Originally in French, the carol was translated into English in 1855. I think Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo do one of the best covers. When they sing ‘Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angels’ voices!’ I get a shiver running up my spine; such powerful voices singing such powerful words.
3. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Frank Sinatra. It wouldn’t be a list if ol’ Blue Eyes didn’t get a mention. The man had an amazing voice, and while he released an album highlighting his love of the festive season, it is this tune that really demonstrates how smooth his vocals were and how cool it is to have him at your Christmas party.
2. Please Come Home for Christmas, James Brown. Narrowly beating Frankie into second spot is the Soul Man himself. Why? Well, that’s simple – Brown’s raspy, pleading version of this tune rips at your heart and commands your attention. There is so much passion to this song, you could almost be forgiven for forgetting it is a Christmas carol at all.
1. Santa Baby, Kylie Minogue. It’s an old classic that has been given a revival by ‘our Kylie’, and doesn’t she do a Bang Up job?! Seriously, she just oozes sex appeal from the first raunchy note of this little number. I bet Santa struggled as to which list she’d end up on when she released this song. All I know is it’s good, good, good.