Ten of the Best Christmas Songs
Add Some Christmas Cheer
What would Christmas be like without some Christmas songs to add some festive cheer? Many of the most popular Christmas songs have been out for many years, if not decades. Even songs that were originally not that successful have over the years managed to achieve considerable levels of success as they are re-released and replayed at Christmas.
Very few modern Christmas songs have managed to match the enduring popularity of these older songs - in fact the most recent song listed here was released in 1994 - many artists preferring to cover proven classics rather than try and create something new.
Many of these Christmas songs have been re-released and covered by other artists, and have sometimes achieved more success on the re-releases than they did originally. They are the staples of Christmas album collections, and have started seeing resurgence in individual popularity as singles after downloaded songs were available in MP3 format, allowing them to re-enter the charts without having to press a new CD.
Happy Xmas (War Is Over) by John & Yoko
This was performed and written by former Beetle John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Happy Xmas was released in 1971, reaching number 2 in the UK singles chart. It wasn't actually released in the UK until 1972, missing the Christmas charts, and was originally intended as a protest song against the Vietnam War.
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday by Wizzard
Written and produced by Roy Wood of British glam rock band Wizzard, this song was released in 1973. It only reached number 4 in the UK singles chart and was beaten to the Christmas number 1 spot by Slade's Merry Xmas Everybody. The song featured the choir of The Stockland Green School Bilateral School First Year.
Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade
Written by glam rock band Slade's lead vocalist and guitarist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea, the song was released in 1973. It reached the number 1 spot in the UK singles chart, beating Wizzard's I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday. In a 2007 poll by MSN Music it was voted the most popular Christmas song in the UK.
Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney
Another former Beetle, Paul McCartney released this song in 1979 with it reaching number 6 in the UK singles chart. Substantial popularity and repeated airplay since its initial release makes this one of McCartney's most successful songs. McCartney's group at the time, Wings, didn't perform on this song, although they did appear in the music video.
Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses
Christmas Wrapping was released in 1981 by The Waitresses. It only reached number 45 in the UK singles chart, and neither the single nor the group enjoyed great success originally. In later years the song gained enduring popularity as a Christmas song, regularly played every year and featuring on many Christmas albums. The title of the song is a pun on "rapping" as rap music was in its infancy at the time and the lyrics are rapped.
Last Christmas by Wham!
Written by George Michael and performed by him and Andrew Ridgeley who made up the pop duo Wham!, this was released in 1984, reaching number 2 in the UK singles chart, being beaten to the top spot by Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas (on which track George Michael also sang). The first years royalties from the song were donated to Band Aid.
Fairytale of New York by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl
First released in 1987, this song by Celtic punk band the Pogues featured the vocals of the late Kirsty MacColl and reached number 2 in the UK singles chart and number 1 in the Irish singles chart. Since 2005 it has charted every year due to MP3 sales and also regularly tops polls of the best Christmas songs of all time.
Mistletoe and Wine by Cliff Richard
Originally written for a musical called Scraps based on Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Match Girl in 1976, British pop legend Cliff Richard covered the song and changed the lyrics to make it more religious. Released in 1988 this was Cliff Richard's 99th single and reached number 1, his twelfth, in the UK singles chart, and his only number 1 single of the 80s.
All I Want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey
Co-written by Mariah Carey with Walter Afanasieff, this song was released in 1994 and reached number 2 in the UK singles chart. The song has been re-released and remixed several times and is one of the best selling singles ever, as well as one of the most recent truly popular Christmas songs.