Cliff Richard is undoubtedly the king of Christmas songs having managed to reach the number one spot three times over the festive period. In 2003 he even released his very own Christmas album, Cliff at Christmas, which reached number nine in the charts, selling 300,000 copies. He’s been around almost as long as Santa but following the release of his album 75 at 75 this year, Sir Cliff seems to show no signs of bowing out just yet. So, if you’re in need of a little inspiration for your Christmas playlist, here’s a run down of Cliff’s best Christmas hits:
Mistletoe and Wine (1988)
This was best selling single of 1988 and seems to capture the very essence of the Christmas spirit, transporting you to a scene with “logs on the fire and gifts on the tree.” The video however doesn’t recreate this cosy ambience but rather shows Cliff outside in the snow whilst giant toy soldiers march around him, he bangs a big gong and a mixed band of carol singers double up as awkward backing dancers. If you want to dance along to this just remember, it’s all in the arm movements.
Fun Fact: It was originally written for the musical Scraps which is an adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Match Girl.
Saviour’s Day (1990)
Not one for atheists, but a good tune to crack out if you’re despairing at the commercialisation of the so-called season of goodwill. It was Christmas number one in 1990, and is an all round good ballad with some nice flute solos. This time the video has some more awkward zombie-like backing singers (pilgrims?), except there’s about a hundred of them and they surround Cliff at the top of… well, a cliff.
Fun Fact: The video was filmed at the limestone arch of Durdle Door, the same setting used by Tears for Fears in their video for the single ‘Shout’.
The Millennium Prayer (1999)
Again, not one for the atheists. This song brought Cliff’s tally of Christmas number ones to three. It sets the words of the Our Father to the tune of Auld Lang Syne and was originally written for the Share Jesus International production, Hopes and Dreams. It has definitely been a source of controversy with Cliff’s own label EMI refusing to release it forcing him to go to Independent label Papillon records. Many radio stations also refused to play it.
Fun Fact: It was number one for the first three weeks of December but narrowly missed out on being Christmas number one to Westlife’s cover of Abba’s ‘I Have a Dream’.
Walking in the Air (2003)
Most people will be more familiar with the Aled Jones version, but Cliff pulls of a pretty impressive bluesy rock version of the track from The Snowman. Expect electric guitar riffs and drums.
Fun Fact: A dubstep remix of the song was recorded by independent musician Hereldeduke and has over 1 million views on YouTube.
Santa’s List (2003)
This original single was released as part the 2003 compilation album, but failed to bag Cliff another Christmas number one. It’s a nice enough little song but lacks the fun factor of ‘Mistletoe and Wine’, and it isn’t an epic ballad like ‘Saviour’s Day’. Instead it falls somewhere in between with the simple message in the chorus: “the only wish on Santa’s list is peace on this earth.” Hear, hear.
Fun Fact: It was written by Chris Eaton (who also wrote ‘Saviour’s Day’)
White Christmas (1991)
Cliff does a very decent cover of this seasonal classic made famous by Bill Crosby. Again I must also direct you to the video – expect slow motion snowball fights and awkward swaying on a stationary sleigh.
Fun Fact: Bill Crosby’s version is the best selling single of all time with over 100 million copies sold worldwide.