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20th Nov 2023

The definitive ranking of Christmas songs to hear down the pub

The definitive ranking of Christmas songs to hear down the pub

In partnership with Greene King

What a year we’ve had eh? What a year and now it’s finally teetering to a Christmassy close. The pubs are getting busier, as are our stomachs, and we’re seeing out the year in style.

Think Guinness and ale and rich cheese and mince pies, it’s Noel after all, so let’s celebrate with friends, family, and get some of that good old fashioned Christmas cheer.

But when you’re in your favourite boozer, when the conversation’s flowing, the jumpers are on, your hands are cold, but they’re wrapped around a pint, what songs are you anxiously waiting to hear bellowing through your nearest Greene King’s finest speakers?

Well folks, here we’ve very cleverly listed our very own definitive ranking of Christmas songs to hear down the pub.

You can’t go wrong with these.

No. 10) All I Want For Christmas Is You

Alright let’s start nice and easy. It’s not my favourite, it’s probably not your favourite either, but I think we can all agree that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without over-listening to Mariah Carey wail Yoouuuuuuuuuu baby!

Released just before Christmas in 1994, the song became an instant hit, and has formed the soundtrack to every Christmas over the past 29 years.

No. 9) Feliz Navidad

Now we’re really talking. You don’t overhear it. You might not hear it for weeks but when that moment hits, when you’re standing there in an overcrowded boozer, with your best mates around you and you hear Jose Feliciano’s Puerto Rican tongue begin singing Feliz Navidad, you just know that Christmas is here.

Is it the happiest Christmas song ever written? There’s certainly an argument to be made.

No. 8) Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

The year is 1963 and Phil Spectre’s just dropped Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).

With lead vocals from the heartbroken Darlene Love, the song was not an instant hit but has since cemented itself as a Christmas classic.

It’s the sound of Christmas in the 60s and Love’s emotion and vocal power is absolutely next-to-none.

One for the teary eyed on Christmas Eve thinking about a lover of times gone by but an absolute banger all the same.

No. 7) Do They Know It’s Christmas

“Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you!”

Is it Bono’s greatest line? Does everyone love that line? Or is it just me, screaming alone into the void of The Butchers on December 18th?

Regardless of your hot take on Bono (which I’m sure is massively original), it’s hard not to love Band Aids, Do They Know It’s Christmas.

It was created for a great cause, it’s become part of the furniture for Christmas listening, and other than that it’s just a solid tune.

No. 6) I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday

Wizzard. Roy Wood. December 1973. When yer dad was a lad and a pint of lager cost tuppence and you could get a bag of scraps with yer change after you went the pictures and the baths.

The song was beaten to the number one spot by our next choice but by God have they both stood the test of time.

With Roy Wood singing in a winter-themed studio with a group of school children (all in their 50s and 60s now), the song suggests that Wood wants nothing other than it to be Christmas every day. It’s food for thought.

While the song has stayed popular throughout every Christmas since 1973, it’s never gone higher than number four in the charts. But hey, what a song.

No. 5) Merry Xmas Everybody

Here’s the banger that beat Wizzard to number one but did it deserve to? Yes, absolutely. As the old fable goes “Christmas has officially started, when you first hear Noddy Holder scream ‘It’s CHRISTMASSSSSSSSS!'”

Written by Holder and bassist Jim Lea, the song was the band’s sixth and final number one. As if this wasn’t enough, the song was also ranked third in an ITV special of the nation’s favourite Christmas songs.

It’s a timeless, timeless classic, and long may it echo through the tinsel lined walls of pubs across the country as we get closer and closer to the 25th.

No. 4) Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)

Bit of a curveball here but who doesn’t love The Darkness?

The song, with its cheeky title, follows the typical structure of almost every Christmas song ever.

Its lyrics refer to festivities, bells, and of course the big man himself, Father Christmas, all delivered through the ludicrous falsetto vocal chords of Surrey’s own, Justin Hawkins.

Yes it’s a curveball, but isn’t it a real treat to the ears when you’re least expecting it. Think Thursday the 14th of December. You’re there, Timmy Taylors in hand, Christmas cheer is incoming, it’s imminent, and WHACK: Don’t Let The Bells End.

No. 3) Step Into Christmas

Here he is. The big man. Father Christmas himself, Elton John. Sure, it wouldn’t be Christmas without him.

The best thing about Step Into Christmas is just the vibe that it gives. It’s not miserable, it’s not swanning around in despair or heartbreak, it’s Christmas, it’s coming, and all you’ve got to do is embrace it.

Step Into Christmas is like your favourite cousin who you haven’t seen for a while. You’ve been waiting for the doorbell to ring but it’s getting late out and you wonder if they’ve forgot to call round after all.

But then, just as the darkness of night begins to blackout the white of the snow, there’s a knock at the door and Elton’s there. He stands before you with a big smile on his face and asks you to step into Christmas. And boy do you.

No. 2) Last Christmas

Another sad one, made even sadder by the fact that its singer, the late, great George Michael, actually passed away on Christmas Day 2016.

Released on December 3 1984, Last Christmas spent five weeks at number two in the charts, failing to reach the number one spot which was held captive by Do They Know It’s Christmas.

In the almost forty years which have followed, Last Christmas, has remained a staple of winter listening.

The song, which was inspired by a visit Michael made to his parents’ home, was described by Wham! member Andrew Ridgeley as “a moment of wonder” and how true that is.

The song proved so popular in fact that it was the most played Christmas song of the 21st century until it was eventually overtaken by the song which takes our top spot.

And finally in the number one spot

No. 1) Fairytale of New York

Yeah, we could’ve been edgy and left it out but it’s the only real contender for the number one spot isn’t it.

Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl’s heartbreaking duet of a down and out drunk and drugged up couple on the fringes of society, drowning their misery on the frozen streets of New York.

It’s a poem. It’s a song for the voiceless. It’s controversial, rugged, battered. It’s a testimony to all those who are feeling low and loveless and lost on the build-up to another black and white Christmas. And yet, it remains a song of positivity. A song of hope. It epitomises all Christmas is about for many of us. It’s just the best isn’t it really?

Of course there are many songs which haven’t made our definitive list and while we can’t name all of them, some honourable mentions must go out to: White Christmas, Driving Home For Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock, Rockin Around The Christmas Tree, Frosty The Snowman, Santa Baby, Blue Christmas, Run Rudolph Run, and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

Christmas is finally here folks! So get your boots on, throw on your big coat, and get on down to your nearest Greene King pub to bring in the season with those you love.