First of all, Merry Christmas from Mott the Dog and Meow the
Cat. Christmas is always such a good time of the year. Happiness to all humans
Here is Mott’s top ten Christmas crackers to liven up your
At Number Ten we have ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’
which was written by Bob Geldof (of course now Sir Bob) and Midge Ure. It was
number one all over the world at Christmas in 1984, raising money for children
in need, and featuring just about every top pop artist from the United Kingdom
from ‘Status Quo’ to ‘Bannanrama’. It may not have been the greatest
song ever written, but it was certainly the one with the biggest heart and the
best intentions. Over the years it has raised over fifty million pounds for
worthy children’s causes. A song that warms your heart when you hear it.
On the last ever Bing Crosby Christmas show there was a
wonderful duet between the man himself and David Bowie singing ‘Little
Drummer Boy’, which comes in at number nine. The two stars’ voices
compliment each other superbly, and the spectacle of them standing at the
fireplace together is heartwarming, although it is quite apparent that Bing
Crosby is not actually sure who the young skinny chap with the bad teeth is
that is singing with him.
To give the Christmas chart a bit of street cred is the Boss
himself Bruce Springsteen, who with the E Street Band gives us a raucous live
version of ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’. The band have a very festive
time blowing the cobwebs off this old chestnut, with solos from all the
musicians blasting out all over, whilst Springsteen himself roars out the
vocals. Worthy of a Christmas number eight placing.
At number seven is the Father Christmas of Pop Elton John
with ‘Step Into Christmas’ from 1995. A typical Elton John rocker, it is
the perfect vehicle for Elton to make his mark on Christmas, and of course give
him one more chance to dress up. For all the charity work that he has done over
the years who could possibly begrudge Reginald Dwight a place in the Christmas
Number six, probably the most unusual entry, is the
Christmas smash hit from 1975 with Greg Lake and ‘I Believe In Father
Christmas’. Who would have thought that the voice and bass guitar from heavy
progressive rock giants King Crimson and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer would have
come up with a Yuletide hit? This is not some novelty song, but a great song,
with a wonderful tune, brilliantly executed musically, particularly showing off
Greg Lake’s rock throat.
As we move into the top five, Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’
may not exactly be very rock ‘n’ roll, but you cannot deny that it is very
Christmassy, and a real toe tapper to boot. What exactly Andrew Ridgley did on
this song I am not sure, but these days I am sure he is glad of the royalties.
George Michael turns in one of his vocal performances, which showed why he
remains to this day one of the pop world’s leading superstars.
Glam Rock in the early Seventies produced many a fine
Christmas tune, and at number four I have put Mud’s ‘Lonely This
Christmas’ from 1974. Not, I will admit, the most cheerful of ditties, as
Christmas is certainly not the time of year to be on your own. But Les Grey’s
wonderful Elvis Presley impersonation on vocals is simply irresistible, and
perhaps this song adds a bit of balance to the gaiety of all the others of its
After being a member of both The Move and The Electric Light
Orchestra, Roy Wood blew into Glam Rock with a vengeance when he form his own
band Wizzard. Like a multi-colored Santa Claus, Roy Wood led the band through
many hits, the best of which was probably ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every
Day’ with its fantastic chorus and Phil Spectrish wall of sound. Even though
it was a massive hit the single was still supposed to have lost money and split
up the band, such was Roy Wood’s insistence on perfection and multi-layering
the sound time and time again. But in the end it was certainly worth it.
A Christmas song that was released from the heart, and
certainly plucks a few strings, is John Lennon’s ‘Happy Xmas (War Is
Over)’. At any time of year this song would have been a huge hit, and
delivered a very strong message. You cannot help feeling that John Lennon threw
all his musical ability and strong personality into this song; the fact that it
is regarded as one of the all time classic songs is a great testament to its
writer. The message of ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ is as relevant now as it
was when it was written.
Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ reached the top
spot in 1973. It has since been released almost every year, and always makes it
towards the top of the charts. In 1973 Slade were probably the biggest pop band
in the British Isles, and the fact that they wrote the all time Christmas party
record only enhanced their status. With Noddy Holder’s infectious loud hailer
vocals, the screaming guitar of Dave Hill, and the thundering rhythm section of
Jimmy Lea on bass and Don Powell on drums, it is guaranteed to bring any party
up on its feet and dancing. Whenever Slade play these days, even on a mid
Summer day in July, they have to bring along their own snow machine so they can
have a quick run through their most famous song.
There are of course plenty of other jolly good Christmas
songs; this is merely a selection of Mott’s favorites. One song that should
be in there, at the top of the tree is Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’
but I just could not make up my mind which category to put it in.
Once again, as Noddy Holder finishes off, “Merry Christmas