December 21: White Christmas

This is, tragically, the last entry for this year from Ringo’s seminal 1999 album I Believe In Santa Claus, and if you thought the ones we’ve already heard had a lot of percussion, you’ve got a treat in store. There is a bit of guitar and some fun backing vocals on this, but what there mostly is is REALLY A LOT OF DRUMS, of about every type you can think of, although I don’t think there are any bongos in there, which seems like an oversight, Ringo.

I can’t believe I didn’t find this when I was scouring the internet for twenty-four different versions of White Christmas back in 2013. It is quite the oddest thing I’ve ever heard, and would have been given a novelty spot somewhere towards the beginning of the month. I am very happy now to be able to rectify the omission. Tomorrow: a Christmas single by the Beatles that is an actual song! I know!

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December 19: Lily The Pink

The Beatles only released three singles in 1968, though since one of them was Hey Jude it probably still counts as a good year. Fortunately it was also a good year for another McCartney – Paul’s brother Mike, who with The Scaffold had a Christmas number one with Lily The Pink. There is nothing Christmassy about it, but it’s very jolly, so it’s an excellent way to perk up the first day of the busiest week of the year (though actually it looks as though I have a couple of hours to spare on Thursday, so let me know if you need anything).

I’ve also included a photo of Paul and Mike as toddlers, because why wouldn’t you?

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December 18: Christmas Eve

No, I know it isn’t Christmas Eve today, but traditionally we celebrate Advent Sundays with a bit of crooning, and this is as close as Ringo gets to that. He even holds back on the drums, a bit. Not much. (But he makes up for his restraint in the first half of the song by coming in with an extended solo at about the two and a half minute mark.) This is a sweet song, though! I hope you enjoy it too.

December 17: We All Stand Together

I said EYE was excited and that you SHOULD be, not that you WOULD be. But you should, because this song is adorable, and the animation that accompanies it even more so (if you have quarter of an hour to spare you should go and watch the full-length version). This wasn’t a Christmas number one, because in the same year it was released Band Aid and Wham’s Last Christmas occupied the number one and two slots, which seems reasonable, but it did make it to number three – and all three songs, having occupied the top of the charts in 1984, attained the peculiar feat of re-entering the charts a year later, so that Christmas 1985 sounded almost exactly like Christmas 1984, if you weren’t listening carefully. Only with extra Aled Jones. Happy last weekend before Christmas!

December 10: Twin Rudolphs

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer isn’t anyone’s favourite Christmas song, is it? Or is it? If it isn’t your favourite Christmas song neither of these versions is likely to change your mind, but it’s the only Christmas classic that has been recorded by multiple Beatles and so it gets a starring Saturday spot here.

Version 1 is the 1979 b-side to Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmastime and is optimistically entitled Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reggae, which makes it sound quite good, doesn’t it? It’s really not, although the very last note is quite nice. Version 2 is (of course) from Ringo’s Christmas album, and as well as being definitely better than Paul’s, features a voiceover, a mistake which they just left in, and (of course) a key change. And the backing vocals are really good! The lead vocals still sound like Ringo. Do keep listening to the end, which is everything you are hoping it will be.

December 7: Dear Santa

So much drumming. I like this one, though, because it sounds ever so slightly like the best song from the second-best* Christmas film of all, Mud’s Lonely This Christmas. This, like last week’s Little Drummer Boy, is from Ringo’s 1999 album I Wanna Be Santa Claus – an album with which I fear we will all be better-acquainted by Christmas Eve.

*The second-best Christmas film of all is of course Bernard and the Genie, which is only slightly easier to find than the best Christmas film of all, Until The Lights Come Back, which you will only be able to watch by coming over to my house on Christmas Eve (or importing it at great expense from Hong Kong).

Advent 2016: The Festive Four

There very nearly wasn’t a gladallover musical advent calendar this year, because awful things kept happening (I am referring to world events more than celebrity deaths, mostly, though one or two of the latter knocked me for six a bit), and then last month I resolved that in the face of awful things it is essential to still have nice things, and in a rush of inspiration I decided on a theme that would be a fitting celebration of what I thought would be the tenth annual gladallover musical advent calendar, (but turns out to be the ninth, because I can’t count).

And then, just last week, I lost a friend unexpectedly (to me; he and his family knew he was ill, but he didn’t want it widely known), and then I thought I couldn’t possibly go ahead with frivolous Christmas nonsense, until a subsequent Facebook conversation between friends of his resulted in a long list of songs to play at the wake, music being one of the things we all had in common and late nights with Sweeney playing the guitar while the room sang along a memory we all shared. And if you knew Sweeney you will know that there’s only one theme that we can possibly go with in his honour, and it’s The Beatles, and so that’s what we will do, which is a challenge because there aren’t that many Christmas Beatles songs and of the ones that there are, some of them are rubbish, but we will employ some poetic license and see where it takes us, and if I run out of songs we can have some jokes instead. See you tomorrow.

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