In terms of the catchiest Christmas number ones of all time, Mary’s Boy Child would be a bonafide top five contender. The song was written in 1956, and first reached Christmas number one in 1957 sung by legendary American crooner Harry Belafonte.
Belafonte’s version is a serene lullaby, telling the story of the birth of Jesus Christ with all the smoothness of Des Lynam sipping a particularly delicious glass of Merlot. It’s a tranquil interpretation of the song, beautifully sung and wonderfully orchestrated.
Alas, conventionality doesn’t win a seat at the table in my own Christmas countdown. 21 years after Belafonte hit the top spot, four Caribbean born singers based in Britain released their own version of the song, which made old Harry’s version seem like the most boring song in the world.
Boney M were a sensation in the seventies, with singles like Daddy Cool and Rivers Of Babylon achieving huge chart success all over the world. By 1978, the band had enjoyed their first number one album, and finished off the year with their version of Mary’s Boy Child achieving the Christmas number one of that year, keeping Y.M.C.A by The Village People off the top spot.
The Boney M version took the calypso feel of the original, but increased the Caribbean feel, with the music pumped up and the vocals starting acapella, before fitting in with the beats superbly. This was a medley of sorts, with the original Mary’s Boy Child being mixed with an entirely new song called Oh My Lord.
Upon release in 1978, the song sold over a million copies, and to this day is one of the best selling singles in UK chart history.
One notable aspect of the music video was the fashion. The quarter were adorned in white outfits with big fluffy hoods giving the audience an indication of serenity and warmth.
I can only assume they inspired another Christmas number ones fashion choices in their own video…
Mary’s Boy Child was also covered in the latest episode of Glee, though why I know that I have no idea…
Just remembered it’s because I have watched every single episode of Glee.
As you have probably gathered already by the lack of genuine enthusiasm in this post so far, this is another of the dreaded filler blogs, as I have picked yet another song where I haven’t actually got much to say about it. Instead take the time you would have spent reading my wisdom to do something good for someone you quite like.
And if you can’t be arsed to do that, listen to the rest of the countdown here:
And catch up on the rest of the countdown – CLICK HERE