Family: Turkeys and Crackers Top Christmas Charts; Phil Gould Delves into the Novelty World of Music's Race for Festive Glory

The Birmingham Post (England), December 15, 2001 | Go to article overview

Family: Turkeys and Crackers Top Christmas Charts; Phil Gould Delves into the Novelty World of Music's Race for Festive Glory


Byline: Phil Gould

Christmas comes but once a year and so do those novelty hits that we love -- then usually end up hating.

Singing aliens, school choirs, blobby monsters, Little Jimmy Osmond and the ever-youthful Cliff Richard can all take their place in the festive musical hall of shame.

But it has not all been bad. The Beatles have topped the charts no fewer than four times at Christmas, while Wham's Last Christmas, Human League's Don't You Want Me and The Spice Girls' 2 Become 1 can all be regarded as true Christmas crackers.

Gennaro Castaldo, HMV music expert, says: ``There's probably only a thin dividing line between what makes a famous Christmas hit a cracker or a turkey.

``Songs we might consider turkeys by acts like Mr Blobby, Renee And Renato and Rolf Harris sold amazingly well and have been played at countless office parties.

``We know most people consider them to be cheesy or naff and at any other time of year they would have little chance of making the No 1 spot. But at Christmas it seems that anything goes -- whether it's because of the office party silly season, or simply the media fascination with the Christmas charts.''

But he admits that not many of these festive follies go on to be regarded as classic pop tracks. Castaldo says: ``Ultimately the great Christmassongs are the ones that stand the test of time, and keep getting played or re-released again and again, whether it's traditional standards like Bing Crosby's White Christmas or classic party songs like Slade's Merry Xmas Everybody and Wiz-zard's I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day. …

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