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Christmas Music Playlists with Cliff Richard Songs
Cliff Sings For The Young Ones And Young At Heart Each Christmas
Factfile - Cliff Richard
- Richard's festive hit Mistletoe & Wine was actually written for a musical called Scraps in 1976. Richard asked to change the lyrics to be more religious in nature when he recorded the song in 1988. It sold over 750,000 copies in the UK that year and spent 4 weeks at number 1.
- In 1990 Richard had another UK Christmas number 1 with Saviour's Day" - a cover of a Chris Eaton song.
- Richard had also been number 1 for Christmas in 1960 with The Shadows' I love you.
There are quite a few artists who have taken Christmas to their hearts but few can match English singer Cliff Richard for yuletide consistency. He may have started out as a teen icon with hits like 'Living Doll', 'Young Ones' and 'Summer Holiday' but in his later career Cliff has firmly established himself as a purveyor of Christmas family favourites.
Cliff's first brush with Christmas came in the form of a 5-track EP in 1967 called 'Carol Singers' which featured his take on well known traditional carols such as ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’, ‘While Shepherds Watch’ and ‘O Little Town Of Bethlehem’. It would be a full 15 years before he would make another Christmas record. ‘Little Town’ certainly sounds of its time, that being 1982, but there is an admirable sense of wonder in Richard’s delivery. It doesn’t have any of the glitter or tinsel of his later Christmas records and is all the better for it. 5 years later ‘Another Christmas Day’ appeared as the b-side to the ‘Remember Me’ single and revealed itself as an another earnest effort with deep religious undertows.
Richard's biggest festive recording remains 1988's 'Mistletoe & Wine' which had originally been written by Jeremy Paul for a musical adaption of the Hans Christian Anderson story 'The Little Match Girl'. Cliff's version was a huge success and became the biggest selling single in the UK in 1988 with over three-quarters of a million sales. The success of 'Mistletoe & Wine' set Cliff off on what was to become his most prolific period as a Christmas evangelist. 'Saviour's Day' duly arrived in 1990. This time Cliff leaned a little bit more towards his Christian self lyrically and the result was another unbridled success as the song made number 1 for Christmas in the UK that year.
A year later and Cliff was at it again with 1991's 'Christmas EP'. This time there were 4 songs with the schmaltzy but totally acceptable 'We Should Be Together' as the lead track. 'Mistletoe And Wine' also made a reappearance and the EP was completed by a pair of acappella’s for 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' and 'The Holly And The Ivy'. By the following Christmas Cliff had switched his attention from the main Christmas market to ‘This New Year’. The results were poor as the song was close to being devoid of a meaningful hook. By 1999 most of the world had focused on what would happen once the time clicked 12 on December 31st. For Cliff it was all about ‘The Millennium Prayer’ which gave him another number one. Some result given that all he did was sing ‘Our Father’ to the tune of ‘Auld Lang Syne’.
The 17-track 'Cliff at Christmas', which was released in 2003, compiled all of Cliff's previous Christmas songs into one place and contained a number of other traditional Christmas standards. The album had one single called 'Santa's List' which was an original and sold well in the UK. It marked a step away from Cliff’s spate of overtly religious efforts and was a breath of fresh air as a result. Other notable renditions included his jaunty ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’, a surprisingly jazzy take on ‘Let It Snow’ (that had a touch of the Michael Buble’s about it) and an appropriately mushy ‘Christmas Is Quiet’. Cliff’s version of ‘Walking In The Air’ is best forgotten however.
After the excesses of his 2003 Christmas album it would be 3 years before Cliff returned to the (snowy) scene with ‘21st Century Christmas’. And the break seems to have revitalised his zest for the season as the song was a hive of energy with the result that it was propelled to number 2 in the British charts during December 2006.
Christmas time, Mistletoe and Wine, Children singing Christian rhyme, With logs on the fire and gifts in the tree, A time to rejoice in the good that we see
Mistletoe and Wine
Cliff Richard Christmas Album & Single Covers