Are you ready children…? (*Fart noise*)… Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a Christmas classic.
‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’, by Wizzard – #4 in December 1973
People complain that few good Christmas pop hits are written these days – though I would argue that The Darkness, Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani (and even Miss Britney Spears) have all added their own classics to the canon this century – and then they look wistfully back to 1973, when two of the most enduring Christmas songs of all time raced up the singles chart.
Slade made #1 – and you can read all about that here – while an even better record got stuck at number four. (I always knew that they came out at the same time, but for years I assumed that Wizzard were runners-up.) Roy Wood’s band had already scored two superlative chart-toppers in ’73 – ‘See My Baby Jive’ and ‘Angel Fingers’ – when they turned on the snow machine and went even heavier on the French horns.
While Slade went quite tongue in cheek – with talk of drunken Santas and dancing grandmas – Wizzard lay the traditional Christmas tropes on thick: When the snowman brings the snow, Well he might just like to know, He’s put a great big smile on somebody’s face… And while Slade toned down the glam, for a Beatlesy ode to the season, Wood chucks everything at this one. It’s every bit as OTT, if not more, than their earlier #1s. And why not? When has Christmas ever been a time for subtlety?
By the end, if the two drummers and multiple brass instruments weren’t enough, the sweet, sweet voices of the Stockland Green School choir are added into the mix. Ok, you lot… Take it! (The full credit for the single is: ‘Wizzard ft. vocal backing from the Suedettes plus the Stockland Green Bilateral School First Year Choir with additional noises by Miss Snob and 3C’, which is every bit as extra as the song itself.) And for the last line, Roy earnestly implores us: Why don’t you give, Your love, For Christmas…?
See, it’s not as wild and anarchic as it sounds. Except, when you actually stop to imagine it being Christmas every single day, when the kids start singing and the band begins to play, and it quickly becomes a dystopian nightmare vision of never ending lights, noise, gift giving and turkey…. Still, I can forgive them, for this is a classic. A song that has been played every December since, but that somehow doesn’t ever inspire in me the feelings of irritation that, say, Slade, the Pogues and Mariah Carey do. As I write this, ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ sits at #16 in the UK Singles charts, and will probably climb even higher next week.
All that’s left for me to do is to wish everyone who reads and follows the UK Number 1s Blog, a very merry Christmas. It doesn’t come everyday – and this year might be different than most – but, still, make it a good one!
11 thoughts on “Should’ve Been a #1… ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’, by Wizzard”
Great article, thanks – and yes, this is arguably the best festive 45 ever, with Slade a very close second. It should have been a third No. 1 for Wizzard, but due to contractual issues it came out a week later than scheduled, and Slade stole a march on them. Wizzard’s contract with EMI/Harvest was about to expire, and this was inadvertently released first on the Warner Bros label, then speedily withdrawn when EMI claimed it was theirs. (If any of you have a copy of the WB pressing, so does nearly every other Roy Wood collector – large numbers escaped and it isn’t rare.) Interestingly, since downloads became eligible for the singles chart earlier this century, almost every year has seen Wizzard peak at a higher position than Slade. Oh, and Merry Christmas all!
Thanks! Yes, it’s interesting that, in my listening lifetime anyway, Slade have slowly slipped down the list of Xmas classics. Back in the 90s it was the most-played hit, along with ‘I Wish It Could Be Xmas…’ (though its still made the Top 20 this year, I see). Maybe Wizzard sound more ‘American’, with the Phil Spector-ish production, and so fit better in to the US orientated playlists?
Merry Christmas and thanks for the ongoing fab features!
This topped my personal charts Xmas 1973 and many times since, but I have only recently found out the version that has been everywhere since 1981 is a re-recording from that year! Seems they lost the original tapes, and re-recorded for the re-issue that year, including with a new set of kids. I had no idea cos I only ever played my original 45 with the gatefold Xmas card sleeve, still precious to me.
Apparently this also applies to my other Xmas chart-topping fave from 1972, Happy Xmas War Is Over, which has been revamped. I knew they’d dropped the “Happy Xmas Julian, happy Xmas Kyoko” whispered intro along the way, but the Official Charts Company considers both as being different versions from the originals and doesn’t include those original runs & reissues in with the stats they quote.
Thanks! Hope you had a good Christmas too.
I had no idea that this wasn’t the 1973 original. How interesting… The version I was listening to was the ‘2006 remaster’, which pushed the saxophone further up in the mix, and so that must be a remaster of the re-record!
I do like this one a lot! Like the Slade song, it’s not played much in America for some stupid reason.
A Merry Christmas to you and your family!
And to you too! This is probably my favourite Xmas song. Or my favourite big Christmas hit, at least
I do agree… this is a great one!
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