It's Official: 'Fairytale Of New York' Is The Ultimate Christmas Song
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We're entering that time of the year once again where you can't turn on the radio, the TV or walk into a shop or a pub without having your ears penetrated by the tinsel-clad party that is Christmas. What? Oh well, I've typed it now.
It's a two-month long aural assault from every angle and it can get pretty tiresome. That is until The Pogues drift across the airwaves and everyone breathes a collective sigh of relief, saying, "Oh, I don't mind this one actually."
OK, maybe not everyone. There will no doubt still be a few miserable bastards among you who are adamant they're not going to enjoy a single thing ever, but the nation has consistently voted 'Fairytale Of New York' by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl as its favourite festive tune and if you don't like it, well, I'm sorry, but you're in the minority.
Several polls over the past few years have ranked the unconventional Christmas song as number one, knocking the likes of Mariah Carey, Wham! and Adele Dazeem feat. Micky Bubbles off the top spot.
So, why do we love it so much? Well, maybe it's because its content is a bit closer to real life than the fluffy nonsense that fills most Christmas tracks.
"It's the distinctly edgier offering from The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl that most appeals to our sensibilities," Sam Sutton, senior lecturer in music technology at London College of Music told the Independent.
"Perhaps the rousing squabble between the two appeals to Brits because it's somehow more real and closer to our actual experience of Christmas - a heady and sometimes tense mix of friends, family and booze."
The hit song was released in 1987, having gone through a troubled two-year development, involving several rewrites and aborted recording attempts. However, despite its popularity, the track was kept of the coveted UK no.1 spot by The Pet Shop Boys.
"Every night I used to have another bash at nailing the lyrics, but I knew they weren't right," says Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan to the Guardian. "It is by far the most complicated song that I have ever been involved in writing and performing. The beauty of it is that it sounds really simple."
However, despite never having got to the top spot, 'Fairytale Of New York' proved an enduring hit with critics and the general public alike, going on to become the most-played Christmas song in the UK in the 21st century, according to the Telegraph.
Love it or hate it, there's no denying it's the sound of Christmas.
Words: Paddy Maddison