Remembering the great Christmas songs - and the bands who wrote them - of 1973

Posted by ap507 at Dec 22, 2015 09:30 AM |
As we bid goodbye to the year, we remember Students' Union performances by festive household names
Remembering the great Christmas songs - and the bands who wrote them - of 1973

Source: Wikimedia Commons; Wizzard in AVRO's TopPop (Dutch television show) in 1974

Are the old Christmas songs still the best? It's often been said that modern attempts at creating festive tunes tend to last a year and then fade into the ether, suggesting that a song often isn’t for life – it’s just for Christmas.

But there are the timeless few Christmas songs that have become synonymous with the season of giving, and play out as the quintessential soundtrack to the month of December, jingling as they do on a seemingly endless loop in supermarket aisles and on radio stations.

One such notable track that has worked its way into the public consciousness is “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” by glam rock band Wizzard. British audiences from Land’s End to John o' Groats know of Roy Wood’s Santa-like beard in the music video and can sing along to the children’s choir section of the song from memory.

Slade
Source: Wikimedia Commons; Slade in AVRO's TopPop (Dutch television show) in 1973
Originally released in 1973, the song was famously beaten to the Christmas #1 position of that year by Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’, which has also resonated with audiences since its initial release and remains a Christmas classic.

2013 marked the 40th anniversary of both tracks, and serves to remind us of the enduring strength of truly great Christmas songs that stand the test of time and cling to our festive repertoire.

But that’s not all. 2013 was also a strong reminder of the illustrious musical talent that the Students’ Union at the University of Leicester has hosted over the years. Wizzard played at the Students’ Union 10 March, 1973 - the same year in which they released their merry opus.

Interestingly, Slade also performed at the Students’ Union, albeit in January of 1972, as did Elton John of ‘Step into Christmas’ fame in 1971, suggesting that Leicester has a reputation for attracting stars that would ultimately write Christmas classics.

wizzard2.jpg
Source: Wikimedia Commons; Publicity photo of Elton John from a 1974 ABC-TV special

While it would be presumptuous to imply that performing in Leicester motivated these three great artists to make considerable Christmas tunes, the University of Leicester does seem to have set a trend. After all, The Pretenders performed at the Students’ Union in February of 1980, and went on to release “2000 Miles” - widely considered a Christmas song due to its lyrical content - a mere three years later.

Jesting aside, it is encouraging that our city and, in particular, the University of Leicester’s Students’ Union, has hosted artists that have successfully captured the essence of Christmas so perfectly in their songs. 1973 was one of the best years for Christmas music, and while the songs will soon fade into the ether again, we shan't miss them for long – they’ll be back again next year, ready to put us in the Christmas mood all over again.

Watch the Students' Union Christmas video, which features Wizzard's "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday", below:

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