Merry Christmas: Top 10 Christmas Songs You Need On Your Playlist

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Christmas Songs
Merry Christmas: Top 10 Christmas Songs You Need On Your Playlist

As Christian faithful across the world celebrate Christmas, Brand Spur Nigeria has compiled top 10 classical Christmas songs for your playlist.

Merry Christmas: Top 10 Christmas Songs You Need On Your Playlist

1) “Winter Wonderland” – Bing Crosby

Richard (Dick) Smith was suffering from tuberculosis, an illness which had plagued him since a child, from his bed in a sanatorium in Philadelphia. Gazing longingly out of his window at the snow, he wrote a poem describing all the things he would do when he was well again. He was inspired by the views of people playing in the park across the street from his family home on Church Street, where he’d lived with his mother, brother and two sisters.

His father had died when he was a child. After he was finished, he took the lyrics to his friend Felix Bernard, a professional pianist. A copy of “Winter Wonderland” found its way to Joey Nash, lead singer of the Richard Himber Orchestra, who recorded it in 1934. Guy Lombardo heard Nash’s recording and made a record of his own, which became a hit that December. Smith died in 1935 before “Winter Wonderland” became a Christmas hit again for Ted Weems, and long before Crosby recorded his, and arguably the most famous, version. RO

2) “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues

“Fairytale of New York” is a drunken hymn for people with broken dreams and abandoned hopes. Its narrator, an Irish immigrant, is thrown into a drunk tank to sleep off his Christmas Eve binge. Hearing an old man sing the Irish ballad “The Rare Old Mountain Dew”, he begins to dream about the past, and so begins the story of two people who fell in love in America, only to see their plans of a bright future dashed.

Shane MacGowan’s slurring, bitter delivery of those opening vocals is played out over romanticised piano chords, then to those wonderful, jaunty strings and Terry Woods’ mandolin. RO

3) “Last Christmas” – Wham!

George Michael wrote, performed, produced and played every single instrument on this song, where the narrator looks back with sadness on a past relationship.

As with “Fairytale of New York”, you have an upbeat, cheerful rhythm and chirpy instrumentation, against the melancholy of unrequited love in the lyrics, with the suggestion that it was given away too hastily (“This year, to save me from tears/I’ll give it to someone special”). RO

4) “All I Want for Christmas is You” – Mariah Carey

One of the best moments on American Idol in 2014 was an exchange between judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, who famously did not get on during the series.

As a contestant/Mariah stan [“stalker fan”] told the star he loved “All I Want for Christmas is You“ and hailed it as the “best modern-day Christmas song”, Minaj threw a little shade by saying: “It sure was, wasn’t it?”, emphasis on the ”was“ very much intended.

Carey’s response was immediate and dismissive: “Still is, dahling!” She earns a reported £4000,000 in royalties from the track each year, with its lasting popularity testament to just how good a song it is. Its unyielding Christmas spirit and those diminished (infectious) C minor chords combine for the ultimate experience of festive cheer, with a perfect mix of nostalgia and pop sentimentalism thrown in for good measure. RO

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5) “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” – Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra’s version of this classic Christmas song opens on his isolated vocals before gradually introducing the swooning choir and tender strings section. And the lyrics: “Have yourself a merry little Christmas/Make the Yuletide gay / From now on your troubles will be miles away/Here we are as in olden days/Happy golden days of yore/Faithful friends who are dear to us / Gather near to us once more.”

6) “Driving Home for Christmas” – Chris Rea

In 1978, Rea thought it was all over. His record contract was done, and his manager had just told him he was quitting. Rea wanted to get home from London’s Abbey Road studios to Middlesborough, but his record company wouldn’t pay for a ticket.

“My wife got in our old Austin Mini, drove all the way down from Middlesbrough to Abbey Road studios to pick me up, and we set off back straight away,” he told The Guardian. “Then it started snowing. We had £220 and I was fiddling with it all the way home. We kept getting stuck in traffic and I’d look across at the other drivers, who all looked so miserable. Jokingly, I started singing: “We’re driving home for Christmas…” RO

7) ‘Stop the Cavalry” – Jona Lewie

It was “just another anti-war song” until Jona Lewie threw a kazoo into the mix. The English singer-songwriter never intended “Stop the Cavalry” to become a Christmas single, but the festive mention in the line “I wish I was at home for Christmas”, along with the addition of a Salvation Army brass band and tubular bell, was enough to convince listeners.

The song sold 4m copies upon its release and was only kept off the top slot that Christmas because of John Lennon’s death and consequent position at numbers one and two on the UK singles chart. Lewie told The Guardian in 2015 that he earns more from “Stop the Cavalry” than the rest of his songs put together. RO

8) “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – Andy Williams

Andy Williams’ classic brings to mind the kind of big, brash Christmas’s you see in American films – lots of presents, blazing fireplaces and a huge feast – but also plays heavily on the importance of spending time with your loved ones.

It consistently appears in the top 10s of Christmas song rankings, and more than 50 years in, the 1963 staple shows no signs of wearing out. RO

9) “I Believe in Father Christmas” – Greg Lake

This Mel Torme composition was originally written, according to Torme, with Bob Wells as a mind-over-matter attempt to stay cool during a stifling summer day in 1945.

It’s one of Cole’s most enduring hits, and one of the most beloved of all Christmas songs. RO

10) “The Christmas Song” – Nat King Cole

This Mel Torme composition was originally written, according to Torme, with Bob Wells as a mind-over-matter attempt to stay cool during a stifling summer day in 1945.

It’s one of Cole’s most enduring hits, and one of the most beloved of all Christmas songs. RO

Please note this Christmas Song list was not first published by Brand Spur Nigeria but edited where needed.