This post, and tomorrow’s, were written before the sad news of the death of Status Quo’s Rick Parfitt today. Obviously I’m gutted, too gutted to write anything new. I’ll put something together about him next week, but I just wanted to thank those of you who have sent me messages over the last few hours.
Traditionally (well, I posted it last year, and if I’m still here, will post it again this time next year) I share this every Christmas Eve.
Oh ok, I admit it then. I’m not Father Christmas. I’m a very naughty boy.
So back to the tuneage, and I figured that after yesterday’s feast of festive forlornness, I’d liven things up with a couple of songs by your actual crooners.
For me, Christmas is a perfect time to revisit some of these easy-listening idols, so here’s a couple to get us in the mood. First up is walking talking Grecian 2000 advert (on this album sleeve anyway), Andy Williams:
And then there’s Dean “King of Cool” Martin, member of The Rat Pack and provider of the next song; so iconic was he that you can just picture him, tuxedo on, bow tie undone, his trademark glass of scotch in his hand:
I think he must have drawn those baubles himself, using his tumbler holding hand with the tumbler still in place.
Next on my list of easy-listening, velvet on the ear crooners, is…er….Billy Idol.
What do you mean you never knew Billy Idol had recorded a Christmas song? Course he did. He only went and recorded a whole album of the ruddy things back in 2006. Don’t believe me? Well, with a sleeve straight out of a family round robin card, here you go:
Actually, that leads me rather nicely on (slightly disingenuous of me that, I totally planned it) to a couple of rock legends for some songs about that old fella who’ll be breaking into your house later, necking your sherry, scoffing your mince pies, and treading reindeer crap right the way through your house:
I have to admit that I had no idea until I was writing this that that hadn’t been a single in its own right, but rather was tucked away on the B-side of his My Hometown single. See, it’s an education for us all this, isn’t it?
And it seems that at some time or another, every grizzled old walnut faced warbling misery guts has got in on the Christmas record act:
Bob Dylan in bouncy Christmas record shocker? What next – Morrissey covering “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells”? Leonard Cohen doing “While Shepherds Washed Their Socks By Night?” (Actually, I’d happily buy both of those.) Van Morrison teaming up with Cliff Richard? Oh wait…that one actually happened….:
How was that allowed to happen?
But it’s not just weird Christmas collaborations that have me scratching my head though:
Er…doesn’t Santa come down the chimney. He can’t mean…no…he doesn’t….can he??? Dirty boy.
Moving swiftly on, a song from a Christmas Peel Session which, as far as I’m aware, never got commercially released, although as always I’m open to correction about that. For example, for some reason I had it in my head that this was recorded at Peel Acres, but a little digging on that there internet tells me that it was just done at the normal Maida Vale studios, and transmitted to an expectant nation back on 18th December 2002. Two years later, Peel was dead. I’m not saying the two things are linked, but I don’t think we should rule it out just yet:
(I’ve no idea who photo-shopped that, but whoever you are, I salute you.)
By 1978, The Kinks were no longer the force they were back in the 60s, and that’s fairly evident from this single which, to be honest, could just have easily featured in yesterday’s post, telling as it does the story of a department store Father Christmas who is beaten up by a gang of poor kids demanding that he gives them money instead of toys, which he should give to “to the little rich boys” instead:
To round up things on this Christmas Eve, a song which I think has to go down as one of the weirdest Christmas records I own. Years ago, whilst trawling through the second hand section of Andy’s Records in Peterborough, I stumbled across a compilation album of alternative versions of Christmas songs. It includes a prototype version of “Step Into Christmas” by The Wedding Present, “The First Noel” by Test Crash Dummies, “Silent Night” by The Primitives, a load of other (possibly Australian, since the album came out on Aussie label Dead Line Records) acts, but which culminated in the definitely not Australian but definitely not to be fucked with Henry Rollins: