Hello and welcome to the the start of what promises to be an epic 28 days of Christmas based blogging taking you all the way up to Christmas Eve.
The premise is simple: I will be counting down my top 25 Christmas number one singles of all time, while also adding in a couple of miscellaneous blogs on other Christmas music based wonder. I was going to use the word ‘cheeky’ instead of miscellaneous just now, but thankfully realised I wasn’t a complete joke.
Each song in the countdown will be accompanied by some wonderful commentary on the songs, as well as some useful YouTube videos to aid your viewing pleasure and to break up the often quite stark wall of text.
Some of the most beloved Christmas songs of all time did not reach the top spot, and thus won’t be featuring in this countdown, although rest assured, if you’re a fan of the likes of Last Christmas, Fairytale of New York or All I Want For Christmas Is You they will be discussed before December 25th.
To keep up to date with the tracks on a day by day basis, here’s a handy Spotify playlist you can enjoy and subscribe to.
If you’re reading this and wondering what on earth the Christmas number one phenomenon is about, just click here and read the Wikipedia entry explaining its importance and majesty in the British psyche. If you’ve read it and still aren’t sure, this probably isn’t the page of the internet you want to be on.
I have used incredibly detailed statistical analysis in formulating my list, which started and ended with listening to all of the number one Christmas classics, and then deciding which were my favourites. This tactic narrowly beat out my other idea of putting all the songs into a hat and then picking a “favourite” at random. However, by doing that it felt like I would be cheating myself and the potentially millions of readers.
So, here we go then, the preamble is nearly over and the countdown is set to begin. Just before we start, let’s have a look at the logo again, because it makes me laugh every single time I glance at it. Shout out to @celibatewives for his genius in a time of tinsel. Who else would have used Mike Reid in his classic Frank Butcher persona, naked but for a bow tie and his classic winning smile. Nothing says Christmas quite like it.
#25 – Saviour’s Day by Cliff Richard
If nothing says Christmas like Pat Butcher salivating over her Frank freezing down to his billy bollocks adorned in nothing but a dickie bow, then nothing says CHRISTMAS quite like Sir Cliff Richard, the nations favourite Harry Webb.
Before I go on about the majesty of Saviour’s Day, I just want to clear up a nasty, some would say vicious rumour that has haunted Cliff for many a year, and has made people question not just his credibility, but also his mindset, his home life and his friendship base.
Take a deep breath before you read this, because the next statement will reveal the truth you’ve always wanted to know about Cliff Richard.
No, he didn’t “make it rain” at Wimbledon in 1996, thus causing a series of events which started with his impromptu acapella concert which delighted the Center Court crowd and ending with the unheralded Richard Krajicek winning the men’s Wimbledon title having deposed the king of Wimbledon Pete Sampras in the quarterfinals.
So there you go, glad we could clear that up, no matter what this photo might allegedly say.
Onto Saviour’s Day then, a track which hit the top spot in December 1990, the year of my birth for any fact fans out there.
Number two in the charts in 1990 was Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice which, great song though it is, isn’t really in the Christmas spirit we all know and love.
This was Cliff’s second solo Christmas number one coming two years after Mistletoe And Wine, and at 4:55 is actually quite long for a song when you think about, especially when you consider that the phrase ‘Saviour’s Day’ is used 16 times in it. If they had cut down on that, perhaps it would have come in a lot lower down in my countdown, and Cliff’s ambiguous secret could have been kept a little while longer.
The music video is classic early nineties, with Cliff rather appropriately spending most of his time on an actual cliff swaying his arms in a Jesus Christ pose.
One noticeable aspect of the video is the swaying crowd who appear towards the end of the video dressed in their winter gear.
Two incredibly reliable sources indicate a remarkable story to this swaying mass. The video was filmed in September 1990, and the adoring crowd were told to dress warmly. Quite incredibly, it turned out to be a warm day, yet they toiled on, the Christmas – or dare I say the Cliffmas spirit pulling them through. This breathtaking story is not only verified on Wikipedia, but also via the magic of YouTube, in the comments section of the Saviour’s Day video.
The only way that comment could be more legitimate would have been if it were the tennis player James Blake, or even the electronic music artist of the same name, but this bald chap with the sunglasses will do as a reliable source. After all, if you can’t trust Wikipedia or the YouTube comments section, who can you trust?
Another remarkable fact about the song? This was Cliff Richard’s 100th top 40 hit in the UK popular music charts. Another? This signified Cliff having number one hits in five different decades.
One more? Cliff initially wasn’t going to record the song after being presented with it as his 1990 recording schedule was packed full of future hits. However, Richard is nothing if not a kind man – you all saw his serenade to the crowd at the aforementioned Wimbledon miracle, and so he took the tape, listened to it in his Rolls-Royce and instantly fell in love with the track.
Cliff Richard is never going to appeal to everybody, and indeed his eternal quest to remain youthful, and the sheer shocker that was The Millennium Prayer have given his critics plenty of well aimed ammunition, but the man has been a legend since the fifties, from Congratulations to Devil Woman with a sprinkling of Wired For Sound added to the mixture.
I can only assume that the start of this countdown has been your own personal Saviour’s Day of sorts, but this is just a mere taster. There are 24 number one hits to go, plus some other special articles until the big day hits.
So, that was Cliff, that was number 25. But I don’t want to end this beginning with more words from me. I’ll leave it to two other people who saw fit to comment on the YouTube video for Saviour’s Day. Feel free to add your own comments and thoughts in the section below, or on twitter if you would prefer @martinhines.