It’s that time of year when Noddy Holder’s voice perennially screeches in our mind. That’s right, it’s Chriiiiiiiiistmas! This means it’s the time of year when consumerism reaches its saturated peaks and along with it, comes the saturation of Christmas music. But we’re still in mid December, so we’ve not yet felt the shiver of dread that comes with hearing the morally dubious “Baby its Cold Outside” for the thousandth time in the space of a month.
However, it very much isn’t all doom and gloom! There is a certain nostalgic warmth to Christmas music that warms even those of us with the grinchiest of hearts. This nostalgia is something of interest to us here at Solid Steel, as we’ve come to reflect on which era is the best home for Christmas music.
Blinkbox conducted a study in 2014 into Britain’s favourite festive songs – and while referencing a poll created in 2014 may seem incredibly retro of us, bear in mind there hasn’t been a decent Christmas song produced in the past 20 years. In this poll, 36% of people voted for the 80s as the decade that produced the best seasonal classics, with the 70s coming as a close second at 25%. The 90’s came third with 10%, The 60s earned 7% and the 50s got a measly 5%.
The poll saw The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s 1987 hit “Fairytale Of New York” take top spot as the UK’s favourite Christmas song, with other ’80s songs – Wham!’s “Last Christmas”, David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s “Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy”, Chris Rea’s “Driving Home For Christmas” and the original Band Aid single – also making the Top 10.
Sam Sutton, Senior Lecturer in Music Technology at London College Of Music, said of the findings: “The nation favours feel-good Christmas pop songs with distinctive, festive musical elements. These generate emotional resonance and carry the listener on a wave of feel-good nostalgia.”
He continued: “But despite the Top 10 being dominated by such upbeat tracks, it’s the distinctly edgier offering from The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl that most appeals to our sensibilities. Perhaps the rousing squabble between the two appeals to Brits because it’s somehow more real and closer to our actual experience of Christmas – a heady and sometimes tense mix of friends, family and booze.”
And considering the fact that it’s not unheard of to hear “Fairytale of New York” outside of the Christmas Season, it’s no surprise the 80s have been voted the best era for Christmas music in the UK. The younger members of us at Solid Steel personally have an affinity for the 90s – S Club 7’s “Perfect Christmas” is up there, but obviously our vote goes to Queen Mariah.
Here’s our cover of “All I Want for Christmas is You” (renamed “All I Want 4 Christmas is Pan”), and we don’t mind telling you Mark’s pan sounds sweeter than Christmas Pudding with Brandy Sauce on this one!