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Christmas Special - 21st December 2010

Christmas is a wonderful season & the 70’s was arguably the decade that produced most of the Christmas songs we all know & love, so that’s what we played…

In 1979 I went to see Paul McCartney at Wembley Arena when Santa descended from the roof of the stadium as Wings played “Wonderful Christmastime”. That concert was exactly one year before John Lennon died: At the beginning of “Happy Xmas (War Is Over), John & Yoko whisper happy Christmas to their children Kyoto & Julian – not to each other (listen carefully)…

Greg Lake’s seasonal offering is one of the best but it protests against the commercialism of Christmas, even though it’s remarkably commercial. Mike Oldfield sung about riding his horses, but gave the song all the right ingredients to make it a festive goodie, while Shawn Phillips tells the story of Jesus in a jolly way – Shawn was the first choice to play the lead role in the original stage production of “Jesus Christ Superstar”, but turned it down…

Neil Young sang of the “Star Of Bethlehem” & then we had a bunch of songs to remind us of all the ingredients that seem to sum up Christmas. We had PEACE from Cat Stevens, BELLS from Jethro Tull, a BIG TREE from Golden Earring, a roaring FIRE from Steely Dan, LIGHTS from Journey, SNOW (& a GOOSE) from Camel, HOLLY from 10cc, Lone Star & Black Sabbath sang of FAIRIES in boots…

The tradition of decorating trees began in Livonia, Germany in the 16th century, coming to the UK in the early 19th century & growing in popularity during Victoria’s reign. And did you know there are some 600 species of holly, but the berries are not edible for humans. Jesus of Nazareth was so called because that’s where Mary & Joseph lived – He wasn’t in the group Nazareth, even though their “Broken Down Angel” sounds like it really ought to be a Christmas song…

The Kinks is, shall we say, an alternative Christmas song (about robbing Santa), but we got back on track with the true spirit of the season as Debbie Harry & Blondie told us how touched they are when receiving gifts [I think lol]…

1973 gave us three of the best ever Christmas songs: Elton, Wizzard & Slade & the next year gave us four more – Showaddywaddy, The Wombles, The Goodies & Mud. Les Gray’s crooning of “Lonely This Christmas” was more than a passable impression of Elvis, but we also played the King himself, featuring the brilliant & bluesy “Merry Christmas Baby”…

And to end, we strayed quite a way from the rock path, but we can be excused because it’s Christmas. The best selling single ever (some 50 million copies worldwide), the best known Christmas song & the only record to reach the top of the US Billboard chart three times, Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” was first a chart hit in the UK (the charts started in 1953) in 1977, the same year Andy Williams had a hit with “Happy Holiday”…

So, happy holidays everyone – Merry Christmas & we hope you're not lonely this Christmas! Next week is another special show, as we’ll have the “70’s Rock Party” show that was unavoidably not broadcast last week, so please join me between Christmas & New Year…

The full playlist for this weeks show was as follows:

1 Paul McCartney Wonderful Christmastime
2 John Lennon Happy Christmas (War Is Over)
3 Greg Lake I Believe In Father Christmas
4 Mike Oldfield On Horseback
5 Shawn Phillips A Christmas Song
6 Neil Young Star Of Bethlehem
7 Cat Stevens Peace Train
8 Jethro Tull Ring Out, Solstice Bells
9 Golden Earring Big Tree Blue Sea
10 Steely Dan Fire In The Hole
11 Journey Lights
12 Camel The Snow Goose
13 10cc Somewhere In Hollywood
14 Lone Star Spaceships
15 Black Sabbath Fairies Wear Boots
16 Family In My Own Time
17 Nazareth Broken Down Angel
18 Elton John Step Into Christmas
19 Wizzard I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
20 Slade Merry Xmas Everybody
21 The Kinks Father Christmas
22 Blondie (I'm Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear
23 Showaddywaddy Hey Mr. Christmas
24 The Wombles Wombling Merry Christmas
25 The Goodies Father Christmas, Do Not Touch Me
26 Mud Lonely This Christmas
27 Elvis Presley Merry Christmas, Baby
28 Bing Crosby White Christmas
29 Andy Williams Happy Holiday

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