In this year’s Christmas Feature we thought we’d showcase some of the local talent with their festive jingles….but whilst you’re listening to some of Northant’s finest have a butchers at these little known Christmas facts we’ve compiled!
Did you know that Christmas music/carols can be traced right back to 1350!! But most of today’s carols were written in the 18th century! In 1847, the music for “O Holy Night” was written by French composer Adolphe-Charles Adam, who also wrote the ballet Giselle. Now a mainstay for church celebrations and carolers, the song was first denounced by church authorities for its “lack of musical taste and total absence of the spirit of religion.”
The biggest selling Christmas Tune of all time is ‘White Christmas‘ by Bing Crosby with estimated sales in excess of 50 million copies worldwide. Other versions of the song, along with Bing Crosby’s, have sales over 100 million copies!
John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote ‘Happy Xmas (War is over)‘ in their New York City hotel room and recorded it during the evening of October 28th and into the morning of the 29th 1971 at the Record Plant in New York. It was released in the US for Christmas, but didn’t chart. The next year, it was released in the UK, where it did much better. Although John & Yoko wrote the song, the melody was taken from an old folk song about a racehorse called “Stewball”.
Here is the first Christmas song written by one of our very own local bands ‘Let’s have an Indie Rock Christmas’ by Final Clearance a five-piece band based in Milton Keynes. The band are Tom Simpson on vocals and guitar, Ellie Preston on bass, Trevor Morley on drums, Sarah Scott on violin and Lewis Simonds on guitar. From a debut gig in a school canteen in 2007, they have gone on to play live gigs around the UK, including club nights in London (Barfly, The Dublin Castle, Hope & Anchor and The Bowery). The band are currently working on an album of genre-switching sounds, with ‘The Party Line’ being the first single release from the collection. The inclusion of Sarah Scott’s violin in the mix shakes up the sound and differentiates Final Clearance from their peers. With four releases under their belt ‘Window Cleaners of Amsterdam EP (2008), Teenage Dreamland (2009) No Love Lost (2010) and Ashes EP ( 2012), the band are looking forward to releasing their third album of original material.
In the song ‘The Twelve Days Of Christmas‘ the fifth gift of “five golden rings” doesn’t mean jewellery – it refers to ring-necked birds such as the pheasant. The meaning has gotten a little skewed over the years. Also, it wasn’t originally “four calling birds” it was “four Colly birds” which is a rather old-fashioned term for a blackbird.
‘Killing In The Name‘ by Rage Against The Machine is not predominately a Christmas Tune but in 2009 the song was the focus of a successful Facebook campaign to prevent The X Factor’s winner’s song from gaining the Christmas Number One spot in the UK for the fifth successive year! The campaign provoked commentary from both groups and other musicians, and gained coverage in both national and international press. The song became the first single to reach the Christmas number one spot on downloads alone. The campaign also spread to Ireland, and although less successful, it helped Killing In The Name become the Christmas number two in the Irish Charts. The campaign made Killing In The Name the group’s highest charting single in either the UK or Ireland.
Whilst we’re all in a shouty sweary mood next up we have another local band ‘The Breakdowns‘ with their festive tune ‘Merry Xmas You XXXX’ The song will be available on Itunes December 15th through ‘Cherry Red Records’ The Breakdowns Punk Rock from Buckinghamshire originally formed in 1994 now after nearly twenty years are back and ready to finally release their first LP.
The Musical ‘Billy Elliot’ features a song called ‘Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher‘ Written by Elton John & Lee Hall. The song kicks off the second act where a scene depicts the miners strike of 1984-85. The strike affected the British coal industry & was the background for the 2000 film upon which the award-winning musical is based. There was much controversy about the song being included because it contains the lines “We all celebrate today ’cause it’s one day closer to your death” whilst the miners are having a party!! It was included in the performance as normal after the audience voted “overwhelmingly” to keep it in.
The ol’ favourite country Singer John Denver released a song in 1975 called ‘Please Daddy (Don’t get drunk this Christmas)‘. The Colorado Laureate sings the tale of a seven-year-old boy pleading with his father not to pass out under the Christmas Tree. From the album Rocky Mountain Christmas and it featrures the lyrics:
You came home at a quarter past eleven
Fell down underneath our Christmas tree
Please Daddy, don’t get drunk this Christmas
I don’t wanna see my Mumma cry
Ironically, the words backfired on Denver, who was charged with driving under the influence in 1993. Denver pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of driving while impaired, reportedly after too much Bailey’s Irish Cream.
BBC Northampton created this next tune as a cry out for the frustrated Northamptonians eagerly awaiting the new £20 million pound railway station which has still yet to be opened! Have a listen to their festive ditty!
Finally, we’ll end this Christmas special with something lovely and a little bit special…….there’s nothing better than seeing our future generations singing their hearts out and embracing music. Have a listen and enjoy, Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!
Cross The Border, featuring the Spratton Church Of England Primary School Choir, doing ‘Winter Song‘ (the single from the Winter Songs EP) Proceeds from the song go to Spratton School to hopefully give a lasting legacy of good equipment for years to come.
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