I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for rock n’ roll Christmas music. It’s such a wonderfully weird sub-genre that, for better or worse, few bands seem unable to resist—as my 19th Happy Medium Christmas Compilation attests to this year. Picking a favorite is almost impossible for me. However, I am a visual guy, and picking a favorite with an accompanying video is a little easier. So for the next few days leading up to the 25th, Christmas will be the theme and music and video will be the (happy) medium.
In 1973, at the height of their popularity, Slade released “Merry Xmas Everybody” as a non-album single. The song went straight in at #1 in the UK, selling over 300,000 copies on the day of its release, making it, at the time, the fastest ever selling record in Britain. It eventually became Slade's best ever selling single in the UK, selling over a million copies. Not bad for a song that was purportedly written after a night out drinking in the pub. In 2009, PRS For Music, the copyright collection society and performance rights organization in the UK, estimated that 42 per cent of the world's population had heard this song. Lead singer and songwriter Noddy Holder has referred to it as his “pension scheme” because of its longstanding popularity and the royalties it continues to generate every year.
The band never had time to produce an “official” music video for the song, but there are a number of live performances from shows like Top of the Pops that reflect the song’s immense popularity and good time Christmas vibe. You can make fun of the bad hair and even worse glam outfits all you want, but no Christmas compilation or celebration is complete without the raucous joy of “Merry Xmas Everybody” by Slade shaking the needles off the tree. (Feel free to use the recently updated comment box to share your thoughts.)