Monday, 30 November 2009

26...25...24 Days to Christmas!

Unfortunately, due to other events over the weekend, I missed two days on the Countdown, so today, it's time to catch up as it's the last day of November, and so to celebrate that - I've included three top Christmas tunes on today's Countdown to Christmas!

Firstly, an absolute belter - well to be fair they all are, but let's start with this one....

A song that actually was written to protest at the commercialism of Christmas, yet this proved to be one of the biggest tunes to appear on Christmas CD's and albums since it's release in 1975, and became a Christmas Number 2.

Greg Lake was one of the trio Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and the video came under fire as it contains scenes from the Vietnam war, not what you'd associate with a festive tune!

Anyway here it is:

The second tune for today is one of my own personal favourites, as it always gets me in the mood for Christmas, one of those bouncy songs that keeps you coming back for more!

It's Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmastime, and it's the 30th anniversary of the song this year, it actually only made Number 6 in the UK Charts, but is still one of the most played Christmas songs around.

Here it is then:

Finally for Day 24, we have what most consider to be the best Christmas song ever, and completes the countdown of the 50 Best Christmas songs.

It was McCartney's fellow Beatle who released this one, the late John Lennon, along with his wife Yoko Ono, in one of the most powerful songs for this time of year.

It was actually written in 1971, and was actually a protest song at the Vietnam War, and contained the Harlem Community Choir's vocals.

"War is Over" adverts found their way around the world thanks to John & Yoko, who rented billboards in eleven cities across the world, which included New York, Tokyo, Rome, Athens, Amsterdam, London, Paris, and Toronto.
So, it was actually released in the US in 1971, but was delayed until 1972 in the UK thanks to a publishing dispute, after it was released, it made No.4, but was then re-released in December 1980, and made it to the top of the charts for 3 weeks.

So then, here is the classic, Happ Xmas (War is Over) from John & Yoko:

Enjoy all the tunes as November comes to a close!

Friday, 27 November 2009

27 Days to Christmas!

Okay a real classic today!

No more words needed....


Thursday, 26 November 2009

28 Days to Christmas!

If you could put money on which programme would be on TV on Christmas Eve, you can guarantee that it would be The Snowman!

The half hour animation is such a classic, that it just simply HAS to be on, and I'm sure there are numerous reasons why people want to tune in to it.

It could be to spread the magic of Christmas to the young children who get hooked on the story, or it could even be to get that Christmassy feel for yourself too, as it tends to warm the cockles!

It could even be to hear the song that makes it such a famous animation, the song being of course, "Walking in the Air" by Aled Jones, the famous choirboy from Wales.

All get ready to join in now...


If you actually want to watch The Snowman, then here it is below:

Part 1:

Part 2:


Wednesday, 25 November 2009

29 Days to Christmas!

So, we drift in to the 20's on the Countdown, and an absolute belter of a tune for today's song, with just a handful remaining on the countdown of 50 best Christmas tunes.

1984 was a massive year, many great new bands found their way into the charts, and many came together to release the charity record that has done so much for the world, and even been recorded two more times no less.

Live Aid took place in July 1984, and was followed up witha song called "Do They Know it's Christmas" by Band Aid, and was of course produced by Midge Ure & former Boomtown Rat, Bob Geldof.

Together they got a brilliant array of stars to feature on this song, and it became the biggest selling chart single at the time, selling one million copies in the first week alone, and remained there for five weeks.

Here it is...


Tuesday, 24 November 2009

30 Days to Christmas!

The Countdown progresses, and it;s the final day of the 30's, and we have just nine songs to go on the 50 Best Christmas tunes, so here we go with today's effort!

It's one of my own personal faourites this one, as it must be the only song that contains the words, "scumbag, maggot, cheap lousy faggot" - yes, it's Shane McGowan & The Pogues, who teamed up with the sadly now departed Kirst MacColl.

The song was released in 1987, yep, 22 years ago, wow, and made it to number one in the irish cahrts, but number 2 in the UK charts, and was voted the Best Ever Christmas song three years running from 2004-2006 by VH1 viewers!

So, here it is...


Monday, 23 November 2009

31 Days to Christmas!

A real Christmas Cracker for today, quite possibly one of the most, if not, the most played Christmas song ever!

Slade released "Merry Xmas Everybody" in December 1973, and held the UK number one spot over Christmas, and in to mid January for good measure!

Written by the legendary Noddy Holder, this was the group's 6th number one, and probably the most popular too, and was certainly the first Christmas rock song!

The sad thing is, following this single, most fans tended to associate Slade with Christmas only, and was the band's last number 1 single.

They can live in comfort of the fact that it has been released every decade since it was released, and always featurss on Christmas albums around the world.

Anyway, here it is...


Sunday, 22 November 2009

32 Days to Christmas!

We are one day closer to the magical day of the year, and today, we have a song that everyone will know, as we head towards the final 10 days of the 50 Best Christmas tunes, which is in no particular order!

Today's then is a song that was released on 1984, which was written by George Michael, but was a hit for the group Wham, in which he was of course featuring in.

The song "Last Christmas" didn't actually make it to number one in the UK, it only peaked at Number 2, behind frankie Goes to Hollywood's 'Power of Love' song.

At that time it was the biggest selling single in the UK not to make it to number one, but it will certainly feature on most Christmas albums that you'll see in the shops!

Anyway here it is...


Saturday, 21 November 2009

33 Days to Christmas!

Another day passes on the Countdown to Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year, and that, surprise surprise is the choice for today!

Andy Williams was of course the singer of this song back in 1963, and has been around on plenty of compilation albums linked to Christmas.

Recently, it was used by British shopping giants, Marks & Spencer's, who used it on their advertising campaigns.

Here it is, sadly no proper video, but the song is just great!


Friday, 20 November 2009

34 Days to Christmas!

Another golden oldie for you today on the Countdown, one of those songs that you just love to hear at this time of year, unless of course your area is already brought to your knees by snow!

It was actually recorded in 1945, yep 64 years ago, and is still a timeless classic, added to the fact that it featured in the Die Hard films, some of my all time classic films there!

There have been several covers of this one, and sadly there is no official video based on the fact that nothing was ever recorded that long ago, but just have some fun singing along to the tune!


Thursday, 19 November 2009

35 Days to Christmas!

Countdown is progressing nicely, and we have another 14 tunes left in the countdown of the best 50 tunes (in no particular order), and today we have a belter without words!

Mike Oldfield has always come up with classics like Tubular Bells - who could forget that, but another pearl was the tune you can hear below, and let's get the name right... In Dulci Jubilo!

This one though, is in fact an instrumental version of the Christmas carol "Good Christian Men Rejoice", and Oldfield played all the instruments himself!

This version made number 4 in the UK charts back in December 1975, so altogether now...


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

36 Days to Christmas!

Today on the countdown, we have a song that was never intended to be a Christmas song, but it's firmly in there as a festive tune alright, appearing on most Christmas CD's around!

Apparently this is one of the most requested holiday songs in America, and does feature the line "Wish I was at Home for Christmas" - and that line guaranteed you'd hear it everywhere at Christmastime!

It made number three in the UK charts, being beaten by John Lennon's two released songs following his murder, and Lewie had the no 3 spot in December 1980.

So here it is then...


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

37 Days to Christmas!

The Countdown continues, and today, one of my favourite tunes, that I just love to sing, in fact not just at Christmas, but any time of the year!

It's the video that makes it a Christmas tune, and good to watch too, as it has a story attached to it.

The Power of Love was released in 1984, and was the third single to be released by the group from Liverpool, who were famous for "Relax" and "Two Tribes" and those "Frankie Says Relax" t-shirts!

It did make the number one spot in December, but was beaten to the Christmas number one by the original Band Aid song, and interestingly Godley & Creme directed a nativity themed video.


Monday, 16 November 2009

38 Days to Christmas!

Bringing the countdown in to the 1980's again now with a song that everyone just loves belting out at some stage over Christmas, never mind what's happened to the actual singer since - this tune is a Christmas Cracker!

Released in 1984, the song only made no 7 in the UK charts, but saw the resurgence of Glitter, who had previously had success in the early 70's with "Leader of the Gang", "Rock & Roll", and "I Love You LOve Me Love", but this one is certainly a brilliant festive favourite!


Sunday, 15 November 2009

39 Days to Christmas!

We're now into the 30's, and continuing the theme of the oldie songs, we have another one that is pretty much a classic...

Released in the year, 1976, by Johnny Mathis, this was his only UK number one, where it stayed in that position for three weeks, and sold over 850,000 copies.

The bizarre fact on this one is that it doesn't actually make any mention of Christmas in the song, but is thought to make reference to it via the words "A tiny star" and "lights up way up high" - a reference to the star of Bethlehem.

So, here we go then, with ths classic "When a Child is Born"


Saturday, 14 November 2009

40 Days to Christmas!

Time for another blast from the past today as the 40's come to and end - that's the countdown through the 40's, and the choice for today is a joint effort between David Bowie & Bing Crosby.

This song was recorded in 1977, and just a month after it was released, Bing Crosby sadly died, but the song certainly lived on, even though, Bowie initially hated the idea of singing it!

The song actually charted at No 3 in the UK.

Here it is then...


Friday, 13 November 2009

41 Days to Christmas!

Well the last couple of days have seen a couple of classics from Bobby Helsm & Bing Crosby, in the countdown to Christmas, and it's time to bring the countdown into a more modern era, as we feature the second Paul McCartney song in the best 50 Christmas tunes so far...

This one was from the film Spies Like Us, but has stuck as a Christmas song ever since, and was around in 1983, where it made number one for two weeks in the UK, and the video actually depicted the truce between British & German troops during Christmas 1914.


Thursday, 12 November 2009

42 Days to Christmas!

Yesterday, there was the Bing Crosby classic, today, another belter form the past, in fact all the tunes in the "50 Christmas Songs" list are all crackers - no pun intended there!

So, today, the song that everyone has a sing-a-long to, and one that is normally the tune that those Singing Santa items in decorations and hardware stores seem to belt out when you are looking at their decs...

It is of course Booby Helms with Jingle Bell Rock, the song that featured in Home Alone, that top top Christmas film, and was released originally in 1957, and has been performed by many singers since, including Brenda Lee, who also sang Rockin Around the Christmas Tree...


Wednesday, 11 November 2009

43 Days to Christmas!

Well it's a major classic on today's countdown as the song chosen for today was a number one three times in the US, and is arguably the greatest Christmas song of all time, I did say arguably!!

The song was first a number one in 1942, then 1945, and then again in 1946, and has sold over 50 million copies, the most ever for a Christmas song.

Bing Crosby did of course have this song featured in the film Holiday Inn, I wonder when they will do the remake Travel Inn???

Anyway, here it is, the video from the movie, Bing Crosby - White Christmas...


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

44 days to Christmas!

It’s time for today’s Countdown to reach day 44, and we have an absolute belter here, not sure if it originally fell into the Christmas tunes list, but was pretty much the band’s only big hit, and so they were labelled as a one hit wonder – but what a song!

It made the top 15 in the uk during 19** but can be found on many Christmas albums, and I just love the tune – I remember when 7” singles were still the order of the day, I found this and bought it for 20p in a record sale long after the song had been released.

The band, from Germany, and were called Freiheit, and the song is “Keeping the Dream Alive”

It’s a quality tune!


Monday, 9 November 2009

47? 46? Nope, it's 45 Days to Christmas!

Sadly, my weekend in London meant that I missed a couple of days on the old Countdown, so to make up for it today, here are 3 more Christmas tunes, starting with:

Day 47:
This one made the Christmas Number 1 thirty one years ago, and it was a cover of a song first recorded in 1956 by Harry Belafonte, and this effort by 70's Dicso group, Boney M is also a bit of a must for Christmas CD's to include:

Day 46:
You can't have Christmas without the Elton John classic, Step into Christmas, and that's the tune for Day 47 on the Countdown.

This was released in 1973, but the bizarre fact of the day for this one, is that it was originally released as a stand alone single, with the B side being "Ho! Ho! Ho! (Who'd be a Turkey at Christmas)" - a mad title if ever there was one!

Another strange fact is that it was covered later on by The Business, for their Bollocks to Christmas EP!

Anyway, here it is:

Day 45:
So, to today's classic on the Countdown, and one for the London crew here, as the band East 17 had a hit called Stay Another Day, which was released in 1994, and became the band's first number one.

It was actually at the number one spot for 5 weeks, and the bizarre fact for this one was that it was used in one of the British soaps, EastEnders, when the dog "Wellard" was put down!

Anyway, here's the christmassy tune complete with lots of bells:

Enjoy all three!!!

Friday, 6 November 2009

48 Days to Christmas!

Not sure if this latest one is one that would have made it across the shores to America, but over here it's guaranteed that you'll hear this on the radio, and in shops over the festive period.

One of Wales' greatest singers, other than Tom Jones, was Shakin Stevens, and was due to be released in 1984, but was postponed until 1985, the reason being the release of Band Aid's "Do They Know it's Christmas" song which smashed the chart to pieces of course.

So, 1985 was Shaky's year, and it made the Christmas Number 1 spot too, proving that the right decision was made a year earlier to postpone, and it is surely one of the most infectious Christmas Tunes ever made!

It actually made the charts again in Christmas 2007, as downloads were included in the UK charts, and it made number 22 over Christmas week.

Sadly, the YouTube copy of the video is unavailable to post on here, but here he is on Christmas Top of the Pops...


Sadly, I'm unable to throw any tune on here tomorrow, but I'll do days 47 & 46 on Sunday afternoon!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

49 Days to Christmas!

Yesterday, we reached the half way mark on the countdown to Christmas, and today we continue that countdown, as the days get ticked off the chart, and today, it's 49!

So, what's the tune for today?

Well, I thought we'd have one that everyone likes to go laaaa la la laaa la la laaaaa la la laaaa..." to, what I am on about I hear you cry?

Well, if you know the song, you'll know what I'm on about, if you don't know the song, well have a listen, it's a classic, and then you'll know what I'm on about!

The song, A Spaceman came travelling, by Chris De Burgh - yes, the one who sang "Lady In Red" also sang this belter in 1975, hard to believe that it's actually 34 years old!

The story behind it is actually quite funny, as it retells the story of how the Angel Gabriel came to give a message to the shepherds, but with aspaceship and a spaceman instead!!!

In the song, the lyrics refer to a second coming of Christ, "The stranger returned and said 'now I must fly. When two thousand years of your time has gone by. This song will begin once again, to a baby's cry..." - well sorry Chris, but we passed the Millenium, and I don't think we've seen the rebirth of Christ since!

Ah well, we'll all just have to believe that the son of God is indeed David Icke!

Anyway, here's the song...

I couldn't let this pass without putting another link in, as this version is pretty cool too...


Wednesday, 4 November 2009

50 Days to Christmas - Half Way There!!!!

We have reached the half way mark on the Countdown to Christmas, and now the Countdown really starts to hot up, or get colder - whichever way you want to look at it!!

It's from this point onwards that you start to see lots of decorations being put up in shops & bars, and also the time that late night shopping starts up, which also means the Christmas lights switch on in various places across the world!!!

So, with the countdown progressing, time to head back to the best 50 tunes, remember these are in no particular order, but the latest one for today is a bit of a Christmas Anthem, and may very well return before the countdown is out!

Sadly, now, this song is used in the UK for a sofa company to promote their products, and they have already begun advertising with the song on it, long before we got to half way on this countdown!

So, here we go then, it's Mariah Carey's All I want for Christmas, a song that was in the top 10 during Christmas 1994, and it really does get you up for Christmas - it's also one of those songs that you need on when putting the christmas decs up in your house!!

It was also the song that became the first holiday song to sell one million digital downloads in the US.

Here it is then...


Tuesday, 3 November 2009

51 Days to Christmas!

We are so very nearly at the 50 day mark, amazing to think that 49 days ago, I began this countdown, but it's progressing well, and right now we're in the middle of a chain hold on, that's a Diana Ross song, and nothing to do with Christmas either!!

What I meant to say was we're in the middle of a Christmas Songs countdown, in no particular order, it's just 50 Christmassy tunes which I believe form the 50 best Christmas songs.

So, what's today's festive treat?

This song is legendary, it's as simple as that, and this song was actually released in 1944. yep, 65 years ago, whilst the second world war was still taking place, and here we were singing Christmas songs!!

The legendary lyrics, "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" were sung by the Nat King Cole Trio just two years later before Nat then re-released it himself in 1953, and then again in 1961, and this is the one commonly used on the radio.

So, here it is Nat King Cole's version of The Christmas Song:


Monday, 2 November 2009

52 Days to Christmas!

Here we go again, as the Countdown to Christmas continues with a classic from 1953, yep, hard to believe that this one is actually 56 years old this year, from the legendary Eartha Kitt.

I won't mention the fact that her name is known as slang for something else over here in the UK, let's just say watch The Royle Family to find out!!


Sunday, 1 November 2009

53 Days to Christmas!

Well, we're now officially into November, and the countdown gets cranked up from here on in, so with it being 53 days to Christmas, here's today's big christmassy tune.

In the UK, two things were always a certainty for Christmas, the first being that a James Bond film would be on over the Christmas holiday, and the second, there would be a Christmas song released by Cliff Richard!!

So for today, a treat for all Cliff fans, as we sing that "yuletide classic"...Mistletoe and Wine, which made Number 1 in 1988 - yep, 21 years ago - wow, is it really that long???

It was also Cliff's 99th single, and spent four weeks at the top of the charts, and sold 750,000 copies in the process!

Note: It looks like YouTube is having a moment, so hopefully this will be visible below sooner rather than later!