There was only ever one song that would make a suitable finale to our musical advent calendar and it is, of course, Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade. Another titan of glam rock, also from the Midlands and released in the same year as Wizzard’s fantastic effort, Merry Xmas Everybody took the Christmas number one for 1973 and has remained a Christmas tradition ever since.
Britain in 1973 was not having a great time – it was a winter of strikes and political turmoil, and Slade consciously tapped into that in their songwriting. The band themselves had just emerged from an incredibly difficult time – drummer Don Powell had narrowly survived a car crash which had killed his girlfriend ten weeks earlier and was suffering from amnesia by the time recording started. Recorded during a heatwave in New York (another summer recording session – this almost seems to be a Christmas hit tradition) in the studio next door to John Lennon, the song has a very British sense of humour, with dancing grannies, a drunken Santa Claus and children falling off their home-made sleds. Part of the fun of the song is shouting along to Noddy’s line “It’s Christmassssssssssss” as loudly as you can, especially if you can do it in the right accent. And of course any band with a lead singer called Noddy deserves extra credit. There is a great making-of piece here and sadly, there’s no video for this song as one was never made, which makes its runaway number one success all the more remarkable. However, you can still feast your eyes on the glam rock costumes on the Top Of The Pops appearances.
It was last year’s most-streamed Christmas song on Spotify in the UK and it earns Noddy and his bandmates an estimated £500,000 in royalties every year; possibly even less than they deserve for brightening the Christmases of so many people over the past forty years.
Merry Xmas Everybody!