Today I'm delighted to welcome the fabulous Carmel Harrington back to Little Northern Soul, this time to talk all things festive! (You can read my previous interview with Carmel here). As part of #HarperXmas Carmel has shared with me her Top 10 Christmas songs... if these don't get you in the festive mood, I don't know what will!
My Top 10 Christmas Songs
Here’s the thing, I’d love to be a broadway star. Or a popstar, a proper diva that would give Beyonce a run for her money. Maybe I could have been the 6th Spice Girl. Bookish Spice. Never mind girl power, it’s writerly power! One big problem though. My talents don’t quite back up my ambition. Now, I can hold a note or two, can even do the odd party piece which sounds decent, once a few drinks have been consumed by all listening. But I know my limits.
There’s no better time to practise your vocal acrobatics than at Christmas. I switch on Christmas FM and listen to it 24/7. Well, maybe not all night, but you get the drift.
I adore classic anthems that make me feel warm and fuzzy and full of love for my fellow mankind. The lyrics and melodies tap into my memory bank and bang, I’m back in one of my happy places. Then there’s the big dance songs that make me jump up and throw my best moves around the kitchen table. Some of these are novelty songs, the sillier the better really, that should grate on my nerves, but somehow or other, at Christmas they work! And lastly, there’s the carols, those wonderful songs that make me feel the spirit of Christmas with every note.
Choosing my top ten for you all has been a horrendous task. I could have done a top 100. But I’ve taken it all very seriously. I’ve listened to my short list over and over, whittling it down to 19. I’ve had to drink wine and eat mince pies, to help get me through it all, but I’m ever the trooper.
Are you ready? Right, in no particular order ….
I’ll admit it, I was a huge Wham fan when I was a young wan’! And this song, brings me right back to my teenage years, where I was crushing big time on Andrew Ridgely. Last Christmas is one that stands the test of time and sounds as good today as it did back then. I love that music video too, of them all frolicking in the snow. I have been a fan of the Christmas jumper and wooly festive hats and scarves ever since. Yesterday, Amelia was singing this very song at home. Another generation already a fan.
I’ll Be Home For Christmas
I don’t mind who sings this. Buble, Crosby, Bennett, Hastie, I’ll take any of them. When I hear it, I remember all the years I lived away from home. I counted down the days till Christmas Eve till I got to go home.
FairyTale Of New York
The lyrics are genius. The melody unforgettable. And the chorus one of those that everybody has to sing along to. When I hear this, I think of all the Christmas parties where at the end of the night, everyone is up on the dancefloor, arms wrapped around each other, swaying and bopping to this.
O Holy Night
I think that no matter what our religious beliefs, this carol just connects us in an emotional festive wave. Did you know that it was adapted from a French poem in 1855? I always well up when I hear this song. I’m an awful boohooer, won’t lie. So it doesn’t take much to set me off, but this song, moves me deeply. I love Mariah’s rendition. When I wrote Every Time A Bell Rings, EVERY DAY, before I started to write, I listened to this, to put me in the right frame of mind.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
For me, it has to be Judy Garland’s version. One note in, and I’m back to the 1980’s, in my sitting room, on a Sunday afternoon, with Mam, Dad and my brother and sisters, watching Meet Me in St Louis. Pure nostaliga.
The Christmas Shoes
Now I know that some will argue that this is one of the worst songs ever, but I say bah, humbug scrooge to those! It’s pure cheese on toast, sweet, smaltzy with over the top sentiment. But I ADORE it!
First time I heard it, I was in the car with Mr H and it came on and I literally went into the ugly cry. Now, okay, I was pregnant and hormonal at the time, but still, that little boy just wanted to buy shoes to make his dying mama look beautiful. Oh sweet divine, I am not able. Someone buy those sparkling shoes, someone hug that little boy, someone find a cure for that dying mama! Ah here, now I’m off boohooing again. You see? Told you, I’m a disaster!
Merry Christmas Everybody
Now come on, Slade = It’s Christmas! I can still remember watching Top of the Pops as a kid and seeing these guys belting this out. And in party season, it’s one of those songs that gets us all up on the dance floor, doesn’t it? (Not that I need an excuse. I love a good bop.)
Ring aling, hear them sing … sigh, I’ll admit it, I could listen to Michael Buble singing Rock a Bye Baby and it would make me, well sigh, but I adore this song. I love Dean Martin’s version and Bing Crosby’s, as they were the ones that mam always played. This song is the one I sing the most at home, when I’m just mooching about.
Do They Know It’s Christmas
I still get chills when I hear this song. I know many versions have been tried, but the original Band Aid one is the ONLY one I’m interested in. I know all the lyrics by heart, can tell you who sang which part and can remember where I was and who I was with, the first time I heard it. Which incidentally was mam and dads sitting room with John, Fiona and Shelley, my siblings. I can still remember dad in the background telling us to turn that rubbish down. And mam telling him to be quiet! Ha!
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
The only version of this I want to hear, is the one by this really cute double act called Amelia and Nate. Some might say I’m biased, but as far as I’m concerned it’s pure magic when they belt this number out. And by the way, I believe. Do you?
Wishing you all the merriest of Christmasses, full of love, joy and song!