The 1970s was undoubtedly and indisputably the Golden Era of the Christmas Hit Single. Of course there had been Xmas hits before then, stretching back to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” in the 1940s and then courtesy of Dean Martin and Nat King Cole in the 1950s and Brenda Lee and the Ronettes in the 1960s. However Christmas time in the 1970s saw a “snow avalanche” of Christmas hit singles, the like of which we have not witnessed before or since!!
It all started quite innocuously in 1972 when John Lennon and Yoko Ono released “Happy Xmas, War is Over”, which ostensibly was an anti Vietnam War song. Little did the arch innovator Lennon know what he was unleashing. For the following year 1973 saw Slade release “Merry Xmas Everybody” and Wizzard “I Wish it could be Xmas Everyday”, which were fantastic feel good songs, the perfect antidote to the Miners’ Strikes annd resulting misery in the UK caused by power cuts and blackouts and the industrial three day week!!
In 1974 Mud, having seen the success the previous year of fellow Glam Rockers Slade, matched them by holding the Christmas No1 spot for four weeks. From then onwards throughout the rest of the decade, it became almost mandatory for the leading pop acts to release a festive ditty!! For me, the best Christmas hit song came in 1975, when quite unexpectedly Greg Lake of Prog Rock band Emerson Lake & Palmer found himself a wise man’s camel hair’s breadth from being the Christmas No1 with “I Believe in Father Christmas”. He was only denied the rare achievement and status of “One Hit Wonder No1” by the equally sublime song “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.
So let’s celebrate the 1970s Golden Era of the Xmas Hit Single, with another MyFirstRecord.co.uk Top 15 –
TOP 15 Christmas Songs from the 1970s Golden Era of the Xmas Hit Single
1) Greg Lake – “I Believe in Father Christmas” (1975)
This song perfectly captures the essence of the magic of Xmas as a child. Any other year, this would have been a deserved Xmas No1, but sadly it came up against an immoveable object in the form of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”
2) Slade – “Merry Christmas Everybody” (1973)
The Glam Rockers capitalized on their popularity with this million single seller
Like Slade and the Glam Rock scene as a whole, this song has a real feel good factor
4) Mud – “Lonely This Christmas” (1974)
Les Gray’s vocal parody of Elvis told the story of the desolation of lost love
5) Steeleye Span – “Gaudete” (1973)
This folk number has a real traditional Xmas feel to it
6) Wombles – “Wombling Merry Christmas” (1974)
Behind the fluffy façade, Mike Batt’s composition is a belter
7) Jethro Tull – “Ring Out, Solstice Bells” (1976)
Another song with a traditional Christmas feel to it
8 ) David Bowie and Bing Crosby – “Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy” (1977)
Bowie crooned with the best of the crooners on this one
9) John Lennon / Yoko Ono – “Happy Christmas – War is Over” (1972)
Lennon’s anti Vietnam War song chimes well with the “Peace on Earth” sentiment of Xmas
This song has a clever twist on Bing’s “White Xmas”
11) Showaddywaddy – “Hey Mr Christmas” (1974)
The band’s third hit re-christened Father Xmas
12) Dana – “It’s Gonna be a Cold, Cold Christmas” (1975)
Nothing to do with the boiler breaking down at Dana’s house
13) Boney M – “Mary’s Boy Child” (1978)
The German disco group did a re-working of the Harry Belafonte standard to end their most successful year
14) Johnny Mathis – “When a Child is Born” (1976)
The 1950s easy listening artist had his biggest UK hit with this spiritual number
15) Goodies – “Father Christmas Do Not Touch Me” (1974)
Daftness personified, the Goodies cashed in on the success of their BBC TV series. Nowadays this song would be banned as it would be regarded as politically incorrect
Which are your all time favourite 1970s Christmas songs? Let us know in the Reply Box below.
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