We’ve skipped a couple of days because of Life Stuff, so it’s probably a good thing that today’s song is the most uncomplicatedly uplifting of the lot. (If you ignore Creepy Santa.)
Shakin’ Stevens’ Merry Christmas Everyone is like the ur-Christmas chart hit. It’s from the eighties, like all the best music; it features bells and electronica; the video is cheesy and set in the snow; someone is dressed as an elf; it features Father Christmas, children, Shakey in a Christmas jumper, a snowball fight, a sleigh ride and, at 3:19, a key change. There’s also a beautiful moment at 3:44 where Shakey sings “children playing, having fun” whilst standing behind two children who are very evidently doing neither.
Merry Christmas Everyone is the song Cliff would have made if he hadn’t insisted on making Christmas all about Jesus. It’s a jaunty slice of electronic rock’n’roll perfection and it should be on every Christmas compilation, including this one.
Meanwhile, I’m delighted to introduce you to Kathleen Saville and Olive Woodward, both 89, who are paving the way for Shona and me, who plan, as they have done, to move into the same care home after being friends for seventy-eight years.
There are many things wrong with this video: the faceless Father Christmas; the snowman who isn’t made from snow and chases small children; the terrifying expression on the face of Shakey’s sledging partner; the choice of an eight-year-old girl as the recipient of his kiss under the mistletoe. But it’s all done with such innocent joy that he gets away with it. This is as Christmassy a video as there is, although my once-held belief (based on nothing at all) that it was filmed in Wales is, I think, incorrect. Never did a snow scene scream “studio shot” so loudly.
This was Christmas number one in 1985, which was just before my time as far as listening to the charts goes, which is a shame because I think I would have loved it when I was nine. But I still like it very much at thirty four.
Check out how everyone in this video bar Shakey himself looks like there’s something a bit wrong about them.