Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Xmas (War is over)

Well, Christmas time is here again, it comes but once a year.... that sounds like the first line of a naff Christmassy song doesn't it? It probably exists if I wanted to spend enough time to dig it out. Talking about Christmas songs (the non-naff variety, this time) I just want to write about what I consider to be undoubtedly the best Christmas song. Ever. It is of course John and Yoko's Merry Xmas (War is Over)

And these are the reasons why this is the song I reach for every Yuletime ahead of any other Christmas tune anyone may care to record.

1. It's another classic John Lennon song.

Yes, it's got a great and instantly recognisable guitar chord progression and the first line of John Lennon's distinct vocals launches you straight into 3 and a half minutes of pure unadulterated joy.

2. It's produced by Phil Spector.

The legendary producer of so many classic songs including the 1963 Christmas Gift For You album took the helm as producer and he's done a splendid job once again, despite Yoko Ono barging in and applying her own, erm, unique vocals to the master tape. Imagine the honour, joy and prestige to be told that none other than John Lennon wants YOU to produce his next single. Now imagine being told Yoko wants to sing on it too. Imagine no Yoko singing (it's easy if you try). Without being too unkind on her, all I can say is that at least Linda McCartney (rest in peace) was able to vaguely sing in tune on his ex-Beatle husband's songs. So what does ol' Phil decide to do? Bring in a load of schoolchildren to sing the chorus behind Ms Ono so that it almost drowns out Mrs Lennon's warbling AND also adds a superb new angle to the anti-war message of the song. Ge-ni-us.

3. The lyrics

Rather than having twee lyrics about chestnuts roasting by the fireside and people dressed up like snowmen, and other idealised images of a non-realistic mid-winter paradise that only exists in Richard Curtis' mind, this song injects a political message that blends exceedingly well with the classic Christmas message of peace on earth and goodwill to all men. It's a message that was very apt in 1971 against the backdrop of Vietnam. It's still very apt now.

4. It's not yet another piece of manufactured rubbish from the bl**dy X Factor.

Need I explain any more? Thanks to Simon Cowell and his stooges, the music charts have now become even more predicatable and boring than the English Football Premiership.

And on that note I'd like to wish everybody on this Earth a fantastic Christmas and a very peaceful 2009. Except for Simon Cowell that is.

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