It’s December at last. Are you looking forward to the big day?
I hope so, let’s hope you’re unwrapping the marvellous iFi xDSD or xCAN – I know that’s what I’ve asked for.
Hopefully, my wife will have noticed the dozen or so post-it notes I’ve left lying round the place.
However, there’s still time before Father Christmas brings us everything on our lists. So, over the next three weeks, I’ll be talking about Christmas No. 1’s from years gone by – starting with the 1970s.
How many do you remember?
And how many are actually Christmassy?
Join me on a musical voyage to the ’70s and remember to hold on to your brown flares!
How Many 1970s Christmas No. 1’s Do You Remember?
Dave Edmunds – I Hear You Knocking
If you’ve never heard this, well, you can’t come in.
Dave Edmunds topped the Christmas charts in 1970 with ‘I Hear You Knocking’, a song previously sung by music legends Smiley Lewis, Bill Haley & His Comets and Fats Domino.
It remained at the top for six weeks – yes kids, that used to happen – and was praised by Beatles legend, John Lennon, who said:
“I always liked simple rock. There’s a great one in England now, ‘I Hear You Knocking’“
High-praise indeed from a guy who once sang about being an egg man.
Me too, John. I’m a scrambled kinda guy myself.
Benny Hill – Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West)
Benny Hill’s surprise Christmas hit was an innuendo-laden parody about his time as a milkman in the 1950s.
The song tells of the exploits of Ernie Price, a 52-year-old milkman who drives a horse-drawn milk cart and his feud with the bread delivery man, Two-Ton Ted over winning the affections of Sue, a widow who lives alone at No. 22, Linley Lane.
Now Ernie loved a widow
A lady known as Sue
She lived all alone in Linley Lane
At number twenty-two
They said she was too good for him
She was haughty, proud and chic
But Ernie got his cocoa there
Three times every week
Nowadays it’d be seen as politically incorrect. However, this was the 1970s, and it didn’t stop it from topping the charts for four straight weeks.
Jimmy Osmond – Long Haired Lover From Liverpool
California-born Little Jimmy Osmond was just nine years and eight months old when he tried to con us all into believing he could be your long-haired lover from Liverpool (I’m norravin’ tha’).
In topping the Christmas charts, he became the youngest singer to reach number one, where he stayed for five weeks in 1972.
The single sold over one million copies in the UK – but I bet he’s still never had a Lolly Ice.
Slade – Merry Xmas Everybody
Yes, it took until 1973 before the decades first proper ‘Christmas’ No. 1 and, like the four to follow, has remained a stone-cold Christmas classic.
Like it or loathe it (we know you’ll be listening to it through your Ear Buddy this week), it’s become a British way of life to have this song drilled into us in every shopping centre and card shop from mid-October onwards.
It topped the charts for five weeks and was Slade’s sixth No. 1 hit.
The song also gave us one of the greatest philosophical questions of our time:
What will your daddy do
when he sees your mamma kissin’ Santa Claus
Considering she’s going deaf and shouts a lot when she’s talking, he’d probably be glad of the peace.
Mud – Lonely This Christmas
Everybody was feeling blue at Christmas in 1974 thanks to Mud’s melancholy number.
Don’t believe me?
Each time I remember the day you went away
And how I would listen to the things you had to say
I just break down, as I look around
and the only things I see
are emptiness and loneliness
and an unlit Christmas Tree
it’s no wonder people were in pieces.
It topped the charts for four weeks and is a firm Christmas favourite. It also reminds us Christmas can be a lonely time too.
Please, someone, pass me a tissue, I’m falling to bits here.
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
People had had enough of being Christmassy by 1975 and with good reason. Queen’s masterpiece, Bohemian Rhapsody, hit like thunderbolts of lightning and took the country by storm.
It’s a song that has remained a favourite with music lovers the world over since its release and topped the charts for nine whole weeks.
Sometimes you have to sit back, listen and applaud complete and total genius.
It reached number one again sixteen years later following the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991.
By the way, does anybody know how to do the fandango?
Asking for a friend.
Johnny Mathis – When A Child Is Born
Following Queen’s 1975 tour de force, 1976 made us feel all Christmassy again with ‘When A Child is Born’ by Johnny Mathis.
The song never mentions Christmas and only alludes to the birth of a child. It’s assumed this is Jesus Christ but again, this isn’t actually specified either.
It could be about a kid called Derek born in Dundee for all we know.
Probably not though.
However, it’s a beautiful little song that makes you want to wrap up warm in front of the fire.
It stayed at number one for only three weeks, a relatively short time for the era. And considering what was coming just twelve months later, I find that a travesty.
Wings – Mull Of Kintyre
The comedy character Alan Partridge once said:
“Wings? They’re only the band The Beatles could have been.”
We wish, Alan, we wish.
If one song is guaranteed to bring me out in hives, it’s Mull of Kintyre. If I’m honest, I find it a droning dirge not even an iFi product can save.
And it was number one for nine weeks.
It was also the first song to sell over two million copies nationwide.
How and why I still can’t fathom.
However, It’s a song that’s stood the test of time and is still played today. Although, if you love this song, feel free to say ‘Pfft’ and ‘Pah’ to my moany ramblings.
Boney M – Mary’s Boy Child
Mary. Jesus. Christmas.
Boney M’s cover of Harry Belafonte’s ‘Mary’s Boy Child’ hit Christmas No. 1 in 1978. And while Jesus being born on Christmas Day isn’t technically true (wasn’t it around October due to the position of the stars?), it’s a bonafide Christmas classic.
It clung onto No.1 for four weeks before dropping out completely four weeks later, but it’s a much-loved song that’s a staple of most ‘Christmas Hits’ CDs.
Pink Floyd – Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)
Long before Donald Trump was obsessed with walls, Pink Floyd ended the decade with a song about one.
Another Brick In The Wall – Part 2 is a protest song against rigid schooling and was the bands only UK No. 1 hit. It may not have been Christmassy, but in a turbulent era, it was deserving of its five-week stint at the top of the charts.
So, how many do you remember?
Next time I’ll be reminiscing about Christmas No. 1’s in the 1980s – including what topped the charts when I was just three days old.
Oooh – what could it be?
See you then!