Today’s song is a ballad written by Depeche Mode’s Vince Clarke, but wasn’t released until his post-Depeche Mode days when he formed the band Yazoo with Alison Moyet. Only You then became their first single. Its association with Christmas came in 1983 when The Flying Pickets released an a cappella version which promptly became the Christmas No. 1 in the UK that year. Only You has since been covered in Spanish by Enrique Iglesias, and this year Kylie Minogue’s Christmas album features it as a duet with none other than James Corden.
Today’s song is Paul McCartney’s 1983 Christmas #1, Pipes Of Peace. The video accompanying this single saw McCartney playing the roles of a British and German soldier in the 1914 Christmas truce between troops fighting in World War I. During the football match in No Man’s Land, the two soldiers exchange photos of their loved ones. A shell blast forces both sides to withdraw, and the two men realise they still have each other’s photos. If it sounds familiar from more recent times, it’s because the 2014 Sainsbury’s Christmas ad took its inspiration from this video! You can compare the two here: here’s Pipes Of Peace, and here’s the Sainsbury’s ad.
Today’s Christmacious tune is Wham’s 1984 classic Last Christmas with my own ‘piano ballad’ reworking. This song was kept firmly at the #2 spot as a result of Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas, which also involved George Michael and Andrew Ridgley. However, Last Christmas has made it into the best selling UK singles in the Christmas charts in 1985, 1986, 1987 and then every year since 2007! It’s been covered by everyone from Whigfield (of Saturday Night fame, a song I don’t think I’ll ever include in my 365songs project!) to Crazy Frog, with Joe McElderry and Ariana Grande somewhere in between.
I was wondering which song to play this morning and I discovered a friend had had a real fairytale evening last night in New York: she and her boyfriend watched NYC ballet perform The Nutcracker at the Lincoln Center and then her boyfriend proposed to her in Central Park! I thought Fairytale Of New York would be a good choice for today’s 365Song. ¡Muchísimas felicidades a Teresa y a Jorge!
The 1987 song by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl apparently came about as the result of a bet by their producer at the time, Elvis Costello, who wagered that the band would not be able to come up with a Christmas song. Fairytale Of New York was born and promptly topped the Irish charts. It was kept off the #1 spot in the UK by The Pet Shop Boys’ Always On My Mind.
Today’s festive tune is Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s The Power Of Love, dating from 1983. Holly Johnson, who co-wrote the song with the rest of the band commented: “I always felt like The Power Of Love was the record that would save me in this life. There is a biblical aspect to its spirituality and passion; the fact that love is the only thing that matters in the end.” The Power Of Love was covered by Gabrielle Aplin in 2012 and this version was used to accompany the John Lewis Christmas advert that year.
If it’s your first time on the site, find out more about the 365 Songs project or for more Christmaciousness, see all of my December songs here. And if this is not the version of The Power Of Love you were expecting, I played Huey Lewis’ version back in October!
Or should I say Never Gonna Give You Up, ever so slightly mashed up with Here Comes The Hotstepper! This one is for Julie who celebrates her birthday today. Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up was recorded in 1987, though I’m not sure if this helps my claim that 1987 was the best musical year of the 80s! It topped the charts in no fewer than 25 countries, but more recently has been the subject of the Rickrolling internet meme. The idea is that internet users are baited into clicking on a link which has nothing to do with the Rick Astley classic, but on clicking on the link they end up seeing the video for Never Gonna Give You Up. Unfortunately Rick Astley hasn’t benefitted from this meme, earning only $12. It has, however, succeeded in ensuring that this wonderful Barack Obama Rickroll video was seen by over 7 million YouTube viewers:
I don’t know a lot about this song. The Trip To Bountiful (When The Rain Comes) is an album track from The Adventures’ 1988 debut album The Sea Of Love and since I first heard it I’ve loved it, and it has one of the best modulations in any song I know, going from the dominant E major chord of a steady A major down into the dominant C# major, resolving into F# major for the rest of the song.
As far as the meaning of the song goes I’m not quite sure. There was a 1985 film of the same name, but as far as I can tell there isn’t necessarily a link between the two. Please let me know if you know any more about this song or film!
Today’s song is the beautiful Fairground Attraction song The Wind Knows My Name. It was an album track from their 1988 debut album The First Of A Million Kisses. Here’s a live performance if you’re interested in hearing the original:
After the past few days’ focus on Neighbours-themed songs, and a request from a friend who will rename unidentified, here’s the theme from the Australian soap Home And Away, to balance things up a bit! The theme song was written by Mike Perjanik and over the years seven different versions have been used, gradually getting shorter with verses and choruses cut to fit time restrictions. The original version of the sung was sung by Karen Boddington and Mark Williams and was released as a single in the UK in 1989, peaking at #74 on the UK Singles Chart.
After yesterday’s Neighbours retrospective, here’s another song from that era: Kylie and Jason’s Especially For You. I hope this brings back memories of school Christmas parties in 1988!