Belfast Telegraph

Where are the real Christmas hits?

By Gail Walker

Another Christmas, another X Factor uprising. Last year, Rage Against the Machine's Killing In The Name Of kept Joe McElderry's The Climb from the number one spot. This time round Matt Cardle's painful sounding (in every way) When We Collide withstood the challenge from modern classical composer John Cage's 4,33 ... four minutes and 33 seconds of total silence.

But wouldn't it be great to have a Christmas No 1 actually about, well, you know, Christmas? Indeed, it's been so long I can't remember the last "proper" Crimbo No 1. (Answer: Band 20's execrable version of Do They Know It's Christmas? in 2004. Thanks, Wikipedia.) Slade, Wizzard, Jona Lewie, even Wham's Last Christmas - all, in their own way, classics to buck up any Christmas party faster than the office lech with a sprig of mistletoe.

David Essex's A Winter's Tale, Johnny Mathis's When A Child is Born, The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl's Fairytale of New York ...

And before them, the golden age of classic singers: Bing's White Christmas and Judy Garland's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Or Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Frostie the Snowman and Let it Snow, belted out by proper crooners like Frank, Dean and Nat. Real Christmas music, in other words. Now? A pathetic choice between the latest huge but soporific juggernaut from Cowell Inc, or an almost equally predictable "anarcho protest" effort. Yawn!

Am I the only person to want our cheesy Christmas hits back?

Maybe that's why I've a soft spot for The Killers' Boots, a glorious and tuneful celebration of all the simple pleasures of Christmas, from cinnamon candles to snowball fights ... to a homeless man welcomed back into the bosom of his family, and all set against a brilliant It's A Wonderful Life motif.

A "Christmas hit" isn't a hit at Christmas; it's a hit in, of and about Christmas time.

Even Noddy Holder understood that. It shouldn't be beyond the skills of high intellectuals like Simon Cowell.

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