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Thursday, 7 December, 2000, 10:09 GMT
Should Christmas songs be scrapped?
One of Britain's biggest retail chains has banned two of the most popular Christmas songs from its stores after a revolt by customers.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
Electrical retailer Dixons found that shoppers were sick and tired of having to put up with Slade's Merry Xmas Everybody and Wizzard's I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday.
Do you wish that you could do your shopping without having to put up with the usual Christmas songs playing in the background?
Are there any Christmas songs you wish were never played again? Or does the sound of Slade and Wizzard get you into the Christmas spirit?
Andy Brown, England
The song "Twelve Days of Christmas" is one of the most annoying Christmas songs I've every heard in my life. It's somewhat too nauseating. And about a month ago, my mother ordered some cassettes featuring the Christmas carols from the legendary R&B and soul artists. (Believe me, all, they sound good!)
Let shops play whatever Christmas songs they like. Just ban them from doing it before 15th December.
I object to John C's comment about people who hate Christmas records automatically being those who hide from charity collections. I give to charities regularly and I think that every saccharine-loaded, insincere Christmas single is a heap of offal. Is there any reason why pop-stars feel the need to roll out some abysmal drivel in order to "celebrate" Christmas? If they were so sincere about it, they'd give the proceeds to charity. If they don't, then according to John C they must hate Christmas records...
Alex Xeman, NZ
Whilst Dixons are at it, perhaps they will remove their latest fatuous advert from the TV which has a very nasty jingle to accompany its fatuous limbo-dancing buyers.
Nothing can beat London during the Christmas holidays. After living there for close to ten years, I can't seem to forget those wonderful times sitting in a pub listening to Slade, Wham and Sir Paul's Christmas tunes.
Cheers/ Happy Holidays!
I could listen to "Do They Know
It's Christmas" 9,000 times in a
row and it wouldn't bother me a bit.
I get all misty and bursting with
goodwill for those less fortunate
when I hear those bells kick in on
the chorus. The more carols and
songs, the better! (except for
that drummer boy dreck.
It not the songs that are nauseating but retail outlets who think Christmas starts in September or October.
Liss, Ex-pat, Australia
Ever wonder why your waitress looks so strained at Christmas time? Well speaking for all people working in the service industry, listening non-stop to the same 10 Christmas 'songs', looped, from October to February is the fast route to insanity. Please, please make them stop!
I ADORE Slade's Merry Xmas Everybody. As I'm usually the first one up Christmas Day, I immediately dust down my cotton-wool wrapped 45 and play it full blast. EVERYBODY gets up then, and usually with a smile on their face!
I am a religious sceptic but still love the Christmas season. Certainly it is over-exploited, ironically often by non-Christians who wrote the songs or own the shops. But the kids love it and even if it does create a false sense of euphoria in most of us, let's just join in or tune out according to our own tastes.
John C, Warwick, England
As I am of Italian decent, I want to draw and quarter the genius who wrote Dominic the Italian Christmas Donkey. I agree also about Springsteen wheezing Santa Claus is coming to town. I would like to reserve a special room in hell for Mariah Carey, Cristina Aguilerra, and any other packaged bimbette who decides the world is empty without their destruction of every decent Xmas song on one album along with a bonus track new holiday song that is so sickeningly sweet that you develop diabetes.
I'll STRANGLE the person who puts on "I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" by Michael Jackson. Please let these old songs die with grace.
I agree that Christmas has turned into a season of commercialism and greed, but surely hearing a Christmas song such as Slade or Wizzard can at least put a smile on our faces as yet another credit card is being swiped through yet another till.
Mike H, Bristol, England
If you want "proper" Christmas music, it's just
gotta be some of the old Phil Spector produced Motown stuff;
anything else is as welcome as yet another pair of socks.
You people don't realise how lucky you are. I live in the Middle East and Christmas is banned here. I love Christmas carols and everything about Christmas. I just hope all the miseries out there don't ruin the festival for those who still have the spirit to enjoy it. It's only since being deprived of it that I realise what a special and lovely time Christmas is. So enjoy it, music and all.
It is surprising what constitutes a Xmas song nowadays. I have been looking for a Xmas CD to play whilst the kids open the presents and we entertain visitors on the day. There is a large number recently released for the occasion, but be careful to look at the contents. Some include Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Power of Love" and Chris de Burgh's "A Spaceman Came Travelling", hardly festive stuff.
I'm sick of Xmas songs that go on about snow, mistletoe and wintry things when it's 40 degrees C.
There is only one Christmas song worth listening to:
The Pogues: Fairytale of New York. Please throw every other Christmas song in the recycle bin where they belong.
There is nothing nicer than traditional Christmas songs; they bring on feelings of days gone by, at least for me. Overall I think that retailers play them more for pecuniary interest than in the true spirit of the season. Christmas is now too commercialised.
Peter Haslett, Australia
Anything has got to be better than carol singers.... apart from Westlife.
"Grandma got run over by a reindeer". Aaargh!
I found it amusing the first time I heard it years ago but it went downhill from there. Ditto the barking dogs.
Personally I find the build up to Christmas an awful bore. Please can we ban all music, lights and commercialism until say the 23rd of December so that we do not have to have our lives interrupted by the those who believe Christmas is the time ordained by God for them to rip more money off me.
Who cares? It's Christmas for goodness sake! Stop moaning and put up with it! Is it really an important issue to anyone?
To all the bores out there who are not lovers of music and Christmas, I can only say if you don't like it, don't listen to it! It is very easy to close your ears. These are the same people who are totally deaf when asked for a charitable donation! I know that in Germany and Holland they celebrate St. Nicholas on 6th December and then they have Christmas on the 25th as well. What a splendid scheme! Merry Christmas to all my readers!
Try being over here! We get "Grandma got run over by a reindeer"! Bring back Slade, Wizzard, I'll even take Mud! Christmas starts just after Halloween here, its like they wish there lives away. I'll be glad to be back home and I will listen to those old songs again and smile.
Regarding Phaedon USA's comments on Christmas songs being written in either Major or Minor and the note we should be listening to Byzantine Christmas hymns - I've only one thing to say to you -SLADE. I don't care about the depth of the music I want to listen to SLADE and Wizard, eat too much, drink too much open all the present (even the awful one's) and actually wish "it could be Christmas everyday"!
I can cope with Noddy H and Wizzard - But I REALLY cannot stand Cliff Richard's 'Mistletoe and Wine' - truly horrendous, puke-inducing stuff! I worked in a shop for while as a student, and I must admit, after 6 weeks of Christmas tunes on a loop I still wince each time I hear Mariah Carey whining on about all she wants for Christmas... Good for Dixons for listening to its staff and customers!
With more than half the country no longer practising Christians shouldn't we just ban enforced Christmas and let us choose when and where we celebrate our holidays? It's a violation of my human rights to be forced to celebrate a festival for a religion I am not a part of.
Most of the complaints seem to be on grounds of taste, or of the excessive commercialisation of Christmas. I would suggest traditional carols sung by real musicians such as the choir of Kings College Cambridge, as the solution to both these problems.
Well done Dixons! It's good when a major retailer realises that some Xmas music really irritate customers.
They should find that customers will stay longer to browse their goods and their sales figures might improve too.
"Santa Baby" by Eartha Kitt is the only Christmas song that should be allowed.
Keep the songs and scrap Xmas.
Please no more Cliff Richard's Mistletoe & Wine. Yesterday I was blasted out in Asda with Cliff but the one that has not stopped ringing in my ears is Rolf Harris' Two Little Boys with Two Little Toys....
I might sue him. Help...
The main problem is that Christmas starts earlier and earlier each year. People would probably enjoy it more if we returned to celebrating intensely from Advent to Epiphany as we used to. As it is, we are all sick of Christmas by the middle of December and the original meanings (both secular and religious) are lost.
And whilst Dixons are at it, perhaps they will remove their latest fatuous advert from the TV which has a very nasty jingle to accompany its fatuous limbo-dancing buyers.
I currently live in France. This morning I woke up to the sound of 'La musique est bonne' by Jean-Jacques Goldman. Some people over here actually like CÚline Dion!!!!! What wouldn't I give for Slade or Wizzard??
Slade and Wizzard ARE Christmas.
Cliff Richard, on the other hand, I can do without. Why does he have to bring religion into everything?
I'm glad I'm not showered with the same old Xmas songs for months on end here. But I'll still be tuning in to Radio One via the Internet on Christmas Eve to listen to them. It's just part of Christmas for me. By the way, the best one ever is "The 12 days of Christmas" by the Muppets!
Stella Howell, UK
I disagree with Saleem. Britain is a Christian country, Christmas carols and songs are part of the British way of life. If Dixons are boycotting Slade then I'm happy to boycott them and buy presents for my family at another electrical retailer....
Jona Lewie. I remember working in a supermarket and having the tape loop every half hour through the same few songs. All grated but this one the most!
No more "Last Christmas" by George Michael please.
Pete Whitby, USA
The entire "Jingle Cats" CD is incredibly irritating after the novelty wears off but the top honours have to go to the country-western "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer".
I thought I hated the usual tunes until today! In a local garden centre they had a low budget cover version of the Christmas pop album blasting out. What a horrible row!!!
No, carry on Slade, at least you are original
That blasted Little Drummer Boy.
THRUM THRUMMY THRUM THRUM
Drives me completely round the twist!
Picture this scene in sunny multi-racial, multi-faith Singapore:
Apart from hearing those Xmas songs - traditional as well as cover versions - ad nauseam on radio stations beginning mid-November without fail, I have to put
up with the same while putting on hold calling companies.
Please no "I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"! AAAHHH! Christmas songs start here in the US before Halloween.
The best thing about Christmas is that when you get there, you know it's nearly over and it's a whole year until it comes around again!
Having lived in Spain for the past 11 Christmas' we've had to put up with the VERY annoying tones of 'FELIZ NAVIDAD' by Boney M. My local Spanish bar actually played this song during August!!
Slade and Wizzard are Christmas classics and other bands have yet to produce something to surpass both of them. The problem is, (as many have said) is that they are played way too early.
For me it isn't Christmas until I've heard Slade, Roy Wood, Wham and the Waitresses several times, and they all put me in the mood for the festive season! I moved to Canada in September and I bet many of my favourite Christmas songs won't be played as much on the radio as they are in the UK, so I'll have to dig out the tapes I have the songs on. The Christmas songs rule at Christmas time, and by the end of Christmas Day you'll be lucky to hear them all again three times. Enjoy the run up to Christmas with these classic Christmas songs - I know I'll be driving my family mad with my favourites!
Everyone misses the point. The problem is that western music is built on two inherently bland modes (major and minor) and any tunes such as Christmas songs written in these limited scales will bore people. May I suggest listening to some Byzantine Christmas hymns, or folk carols from Cappadocia or the Black Sea? Their superior musicianship and fascinating modes would be a great way to alleviate the boredom created by the Western Christmas carols.
The only Christmas song I can bare is John Lennon's, at least it is trying to achieve something (peace forc those that don't know it). All the others seem to be played from August onwards...
"Christmas" here starts at the end of the September school holidays, so by the time Christmas arrives you are absolutely fed up with taped Christmas music which you have heard the year before and the year before that and so on. It is obvious that the music is provided by musicians who were going through the motions rather than playing with some feeling.
There appears to be very little NEW Christmas music around, maybe because its cheaper to keep recycling the old stuff.
Happy Christmas everybody.
I personally think that the two records in question are grossly underated.
They have a certain depth of quality not found in many records, hence their popularity so many years after their original release.
Shame on Dixons.
Bruce Springsteen moaning Sa-a-a-a-a-anta claus is co-o-o-o-o-o-oming to town is enough to set my teeth on edge.
C.S, White, USA
I see from the comments so far that people are asking not to start Christmas before December 1st. For goodness sake, Christmas isn't until the 24th and hearing those same old tunes for 25 days is still too much for me.
I am a peripatetic music teacher and have been teaching Christmas songs to children since the end of October. I will then be involved in concerts until Christmas itself. I believe that the music helps to make Christmas heart-warming and although I'll have been involved with Christmas music for over 2 months I still won't get bored.
It's not just the Christmas songs that are being played too early - is it me or have people put their decorations up earlier this year? While on the bus on the 29th of November, I noticed that there were houses bespeckled with twinkling lights and trees (and those horrendous plastic Santas and Ruldolfs) - why? Christmas is actually one day!
As someone who dislikes shopping I find Christmas a trying time. Hearing Slades and Wizards songs completely changes my mood, puts a great smile on my face and I tend to shop longer!! Christmas wouldn't be the same without these songs but should not be played before early December.
Maybe they should do at home what they do here, keep the Christmas songs to one radio channel, then if you want them you know where to find them. Haven't heard Slade or Wizzard for donkeys years, they didn't make it across the Atlantic. I wouldn't mind hearing them again, that's what happens when you live abroad, all the old hokey stuff becomes fun again. My solution for the agony, move oversees for a few years!!
The main problem with the Christmas festivities is that they start too early. Perhaps if lights, songs, and trees came on line early December, not before, then people would get less fed up. Less commercialisation would help too, and remembering the more traditional spirit of Christmas, rather than I want.
David Saxby, England
Slade and Wizard Christmas hit records have the same appeal as last year's turkey. Christmas songs are a natural expression for the time of year but to have them rammed into our Christmas, like last year's turkey, just makes everyone I know sick.
The biggest problem is that in a country like like there is only one festival, Christmas. Living in a country with 3 main races, the whole event is multiplied by 3. So we are used to it. Business have also started exploiting festival seasons and its only about making money and not appreciating the true meaning of Christmas.
C Y Howells, England
What? Christmas without Noddy Holder's soothing tones would be like a gin without tonic! Slade make the whole dreadful event worthwhile.
The songs have an uneasy cheeriness about them with which I can cope. It is the fact that I hum away for the rest of the day which drives me up the wall. They should be banned for sanity's sake.
Please no more Cliff Richard or Shakin Stevens!!!
Steve Hunt, UK
Slade's Merry Christmas Everybody is the classic Christmas hit and will probably never be surpassed. What I can't stand, is as someone has already said, is hearing it in November. There are some songs I dread. One example is East 17's number one from a few years back, Stay Another Day. Not a real christmas song, but given that so called Christmassy feel by shoving a few sleigh bells into the mix shooting the video wearing big furry winter jackets. Horrible.
Anthony Andersen, Australia
Chri$tma$$! Ba Humbug!
The music starts too soon, and more often than not it's that inane musak pop drivel. There is this assumption (apparently) that the louder it is, the more meaningful and personal it is. Which is ok for late night clubbing, but not all the time!
Give us a break. Don't play the stuff until December has started, and then play music appropriate to the time of day, we do not live in nightclubs!
They are great songs, otherwise we wouldn't be talking about them. However, hearing them almost every day for nearly two months is enough to drive anyone bonkers.
Mike James, England
Whoa! Hang on a minute! I guess if you hear the same damned song time and again it's going to get on the ol' nerves, especially if you work in the store. I guess the ban is better for the poor, long-suffering staff as well.
For myself, I'd ban the schmaltzier 'trad' christmas carols, played on dire elctronic organs - Christmas lift music.
Cliff Richard's Mistletoe and Wine is the most irritating record EVER. Its one saving grace is that it is a Christmas record and cannot be played throughout the year.
I am fed up with Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer!
Having been in the USA for the past year I've been very grateful that they can't start Christmas until after Thanksgiving is finished.
The Christmas songs are just as dreadful over here, but they don't start until the beginning of December.
I worked in a UK shop leading up to Christmas one year and it actually caused me discomfort to hear the looped hour-long tape of So This is Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock, Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time and Last Christmas. Aaaaargh!
Whilst we are blasting away at the same old songs, why do we have to put up with the same old stale Christmas shows and films where those stars are also getting richer. It does get rather tedious, doesn't it?
People need cheering up at Christmas, and them songs certainly do that. There's nothing wrong with a bit of Christmas cheer.
From December 1st onwards I love Christmas songs. All of them. Trouble is shops have already been playing them too long so of course we become fed up.
In Egypt we have Ramadan at the moment. After four decades, Umm Kulthoum's hits have become total bores, even though they play them in the Sainsbury's nowadays. Greatest remedy, sell earplugs near the entrance, personally I never go to the supermarket without walkman.
I am sick of hearing the same old rubbish each year. The greed of the system lets record companies, put out trash to get people in the mood for spending.
Instead of Christmas songs, I wish they'd replay some of those classic American Halloween songs like the Monster Mash and Beware of the Blob. They only start playing these a couple days before Halloween and right after, on 1 November, begin gourging on the Christmas carols. It would also better match the true holiday spirit since I'm scared at how much I'm going to spend on presents this year.
I really like all types of Christmas songs but cant everybody just wait until December !!
Tell you what, we'll gladly swap you Willie Nelson for Roy Wood. And as a bonus you'll get Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer. It's a nice trend to hear the Medieval carols revived, and the "real thing" recorded by Loreena McKennitt - To Drive the Cold Winter Away.
What annoys me most is the turning of magnificent traditional Christmas music into mindless, thumping pop tunes which all sound the same. A disco version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town is bad enough, but a pop version of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear is enough to cause one to shout Bah, humbug" in public!
Can't have Christmas without Noddy Holder. It wouldn't be right.
These Christmas songs are classics. The reason they are annoying is because no-one has been able to surpass them for the past 30 years. It shows the crud that is put out by the music industry when last year's number one was a talentless boy band with a cover that has no mention of christmas. When was the last number one that was actually Christmassy, remember Michael Jackson's Earthsong for heavens sake. Until some people who can actually write music are allowed to give us some new christmas songs, we'll have Noddy and Roy for the rest of eternity.
When I think of Christmas songs I mentally connect the words "Christmas" and "Cliff Richard" and like too much turkey it makes me feel ill.
Isn't Noddy Holder's place next to Rudolf? He is in my book, long may he reign my dears!
Sorry, Merry Slademas!
For me, Merry Christmas Everybody is a classic and the only reason Dixons are banning it is that they are putting their staff before costumers. I for one won't visit Dixons this year! Ba humbug
Graham Cameron, Scotland
I've taken to doing my Christmas shopping in November in an attempt to avoid the usual records. It's too much - walking around the shops in Bristol at the start of this week (still in November) I must have heard Slade twice, John Lennon about 4 times and all the others once or twice - thankfully no Cliff though, if I could only ban one record then it would be Mistletoe and Whine (sic).
Can we not have a cessation of the festive audio onslaught until about the 7th or 8th? That way Christmas fatigue may be postponed until the day itself, instead of setting in mid-December. Surely by now these people must be able to retire on the annual royalties from the airplay, and compilation albums?
Bridget Kik, United Kingdom
YES..!! I can only speak for myself, but I find Christmas songs a dreadful bore, and as annoying as fingernails on a blackboard. Holidays or not, muzak is still muzak.
Silent Night- I don't think so! It wouldn't be the same without Wish it Could be Xmas Everyday!
The Little Drummer Boy gets my vote. Pa rump pa pum pum! Ad nauseum.
The main reason that classics like Slade and Wizard are churned out each Christmas is that nobody nowadays produces any decent Christmas records If this situation remains then long live Slade and Wizard!
Christmas isn't Christmas if I don't get to hear Merry Christmas Everybody or (It's Gonna Be a) Punk Rock Christmas. What is Christmas but a revisiting with old friends and long unseen relatives? Itttttttt'ssssss Chrisssssssssttttttmas!
Oh please scrap them. We live in a multi-faith society and why do we have to put up with Christmas songs? If people really want to hear them, then I suppose few days before Xmas should be OK. Well done for Dixon in taking the initiative and responding to their customers. I wish the rest would follow.
The twelve days of Christmas is easily the most annoying Christmas song available.
Slade, Wizard, Macca, Elton, Cliff, whoever, I don't mind. But please, not Last Christmas by George Michael...
Christmas songs are one way that people try to con each other into thinking they are happy. I live in Asia and I'm happy all year round. My ideal winter time is no Christmas songs and no Christmas. On second thoughts keep the songs and dump everything else about Christmas.
If you've ever been subjected to strains of Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer (Dear God no, I would not make up such a thing) you would put this song at the top of the ban list, possibly for the title alone.
Why have any music at all. Even a normal visit to the supermarket is spoiled by recurrent boring music. Please have some peace and quiet, there is enough noise pollution as it is!
Here in Sydney, some retailers started playing Christmas music in August to try to cash in on the Olympics and at least one McDonalds store started playing Christmas music the same month. I love Christmas music because I don't celebrate Christmas in a commercial way. But please no more versions of Twelve Days of Christmas!
Actually I dread all Christmas songs played in supermarkets or department stores. It's the use of Christmas songs in shopping centres that makes me sick.
If you think think Christmas is coming early in England, you should be here. The shops have had Christmas music and promotions going on since late September!
The Slade and Wizzard songs are FUN and they're about enjoying yourself at Christmas and having a good time. All the other songs seem to be so earnest, about goodwill to all men and peace and harmony and other worthy stuff.
This is my first year in Canada after moving from the UK. Toronto is delightfully devoid of those awful 70's/80's Christmas pop hits. I am coming home to East Sussex this Christmas. If I hear anything to do with Wizards, I'll be back in Toronto before you can blink
My special hate is Silent Night. It's a piece of maudlin sentimentality that reeks of Austrian beer.
I dream of hearing Slade and Wizard at frequent intervals here in Phoenix. Better than the trash they put on the radio here! If they all listened to good old-fashioned British 70's pop music rather than sentimental clap-trap, then perhaps they could hold an election properly!
I cannot stand the tunes that were banned. I'll be back in London at Christmas and will make a point of thanking a staff member in Dixon's for sparing us this irritating noise.
Play every Christmas song ever written and recorded that is known to humankind. Play one, play them all.
Christmas would be Christmas without its songs, but listening to good songs add to the sparkle of the holiday season. Stop slagging Boney M. I could listen to the Eurthymics, Winter Wonderland 50 times a day and still hear it 50 more the next. Listen to A Very Special Christmas. It's absolutely brilliant! Bob Seger's rendition of Little Drummer Boy, Sting with Gabriel's Message, and Stevie Nicks Silent Night. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
I love Christmas songs. It comes only once a year and I am happy to hear them all. Even the ones I hate!
Why are we turning in to a nation - a world, even, of complainers. I, for one, enjoy Christmas songs when I'm doing my Christmas shopping. However, I have to agree that these "Christmas" songs don't capture the real spirit and the real meaning of Christmas. Nothing beats the carols that tell the story of the REAL reason for Christmas.
We need some new Christmas tunes to brighten up our retail therapy, When are the popular beat combos of today going to release such timeless classics. Come on Westlife and S-Club 7, the nation awaits.
Don't be so miserable you lot! Christmas wouldn't be christmas without the songs.
However, I'm glad I'm coming back to the UK this year so I can REALLY celebrate. The USA does not understand Christmas - in an attempt to be totally neutral to all religions, Christmas is dead and all we're left with is a mediocre and pointless Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings. How pathetic.
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