We Brits are an odd bunch. We really are. We seem to love buying the same Christmas records year after year and looking at the latest charts, one week before Christmas, I see the old favourites are back in there again.
In descending order in the Top 40 we have :
Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You
The Pogues - Fairytale Of New York
Wham - Last Christmas
Wizzard - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
Andy Williams - It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
Slade - Merry Xmas Everybody
Shakin' Stevens - Merry Christmas Everyone
Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas
Chris Rea - Driving home For Christmas
John Lennon & Yoko Ono - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
So a quarter of the songs in the charts are ones we've bought before...and before....and before.
All we need is Cliff Richard and Mud and we'd have the set.
But where is THE Christmas song - White Christmas by Bing Crosby ?
Maybe we've finally grown tired of it and so in decades to come, we may grow tired of all the ones I've mentioned above.
Are we alone in this strange annual ritual of buying Christmas records we surely must have bought in the past ? Well I've looked at the charts from various nations and it would seem......yes we are. Ok many other countries have one or two of these regular oldies in their charts this week but nothing like as many as we have.
Wham's foot-tapping little effort seems to be popular in a lot of European countries. Those snow loving Finns and Danes have it in their charts (maybe they like the video that goes with it) but it's a little harder to understand why Germans and Austrians are buying it in droves too. Well I guess we know why the Austrians are yet again doing whatever their bigger neighbour is doing but lets not get all political here.
Actually several European countries MAY have their own versions of re-released Christmas songs in their charts right now - I wouldn't have a clue. I mean the No.1 in Belgium this week is "Kom Dans Met Mij" by Laura Lynn & Frans Bauer and for all I know, this translates to "Lets Have An Expensive But Delicious Specialist White Chocolate Christmas" and this little Belgian treat could be a regular visitor to the charts at this time of year.
I mean I'm not insular enough to think that the efforts by Wham, Wizzard and Slade will be loved by Christmas music fans all over the world.
And sure enough one country stands out as not having a single Christmas song in their charts this week - the US of A. No original song. No re-released song. Nada. They do have a Christmas ALBUM at No.1 one however and herein may lie the clue to why there are no singles.
The No.1 album by Josh Groban has been out for 9 weeks now. Singles and albums take so long to climb the charts over here that it's almost impossible to release them so that they may get to the top spot by a particular date.
In the UK it's time for everyone to ask "who will be no.1 in Christmas week" ? It used to be quite exciting in the days when we all found out together by listening to the chart countdown on a Sunday afternoon on BBC Radio 1. Sadly that tradition has gone and thanks to computerised listings and the internet etc, we seem to know the outcome over a week in advance.
Another tradition gone forever.
But artists and their record companies only had to release their songs about 2 weeks before Christmas and given how few actual sales were needed to get into the Top 10, a popular act could pretty much relax in the knowledge that they'd be on top of the pile by 25th.
To do that here in America, I suspect they'd need to have their record in the stores by Independence Day !!
We all like our tried and tested Christmas songs at this time of year. I have about 400 of them on my laptop and MP3 player ranging from good old Bing to Bon Jovi and from Burl Ives to Sinead O'Connor. I love them all. Yes I've even got Wizzard and Wham and Slade and all of the 10 in the current UK charts.
What can I say. I'm British.