Christmas is wedded to nostalgia, in the UK it’s often a nostalgia for a white Christmas. Which is weird when you look at the numbers and see there’s been something like 16 since 1960, and even a good number of those won’t likely be more than a dusting of snow on a nearby hilltop. Christmas is normally just wet. But snow is where Shakin’ Stevens start off – “snow is falling, all around” – and so begins one of my personal Christmas nostalgia fixes – well unless you’ve chanced upon the “directors cut” of the video where we have a weird overlong intro with a little girl called Samatha checking in and travelling on “Air UK” to Santa World. Nearly a full minute until it all gets going.
My Christmas musical nostalgia is mostly shaped by two things. One is family Christmases, this was one I can regularly remember my dad singing, and one of the few that he got all the words right to. The second, and probably the bigger factor, is a double cassette compilation of Christmas hits, that old that it very likely didn’t have “All I want for Christmas” on it. I’m not sure when or where this cassette came from, probably Woolworths, but it was the soundtrack to many festivities for me. I’d be listening on my headphones from early December and very occasionally to add to the festive mood I’d be allowed to put the cassette on in the lounge for everyone to get in the Christmas mood.
So Shakey would come round on the cassette and whilst over the years I have at times tired of the staples of Wizzard and Slade – Shakey has never worn on me. Maybe because he never quite got the same air play levels of some others. It’s a simple song, like so many Christmas hits – just listing the stuff people enjoy, a tried and tested lyrical formula. Adds in the bells, all set to a simple singable melody – what else do you need?
It feels self referential now but it is nice to see that “Merry Christmas Everyone” has added itself to the list of “old songs we love to hear”.
Room is swaying, records playing
All the old songs, we love to hear