Tag Archives: Paul McCartney

11 (New) Christmas Classics Part 2

Chris Rea – Driving Home for Christmas

For a song that was once relegated as a B-side to a 45 in 1986, Driving Home for Christmas was released as an A Side in1988, it has since become a new Christmas classic. Chris Rea originally wrote the song for Van Morrison – as a car version of a carol as he describes it.   Driving seems to be the UK version of Mariah Carey’s All I want for Christmas is You, as Driving Home for Christmas,https://youtu.be/DDt3u2Ev1cI, charts annually in the UK and in 2017 achieved it highest chart position of #14.  The song is ranked in the top 10 of Christmas songs.

Jon Anderson – 3 Ships

Yes frontman released his solo fourth Lp, a Christmas album in 1985.  Though not a critical or commercial success, 3 Shipsis a favourite of mine and it’s played every year. Watch the original video, and try not to cringe at technique in the making of the video, it was 1985 afterall, https://youtu.be/ZSU2TweA6CQ

Sting – Soul Cake

From the album “Winter Song”, Soul Cake is in reality an All Hallows Eve song about souls. The term soul cake goes back to 1893.  There is even a recipe for a soul cake.  I think the lyrics of the song lend itself to a Christmas the tune itself fits nicely into my Christmas mixes. https://youtu.be/qAeTifNBYlo

If you haven’t got a penny
A ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny 
Then God bless you

The Eagles – Please come Home for Christmas

The Eagles recorded this 1960 hit in 1978. Written and recorded and by Charles Brown, the song charted annually eventually hitting #1 in 1972.  The Eagles version topped out at 18 in ’78.  Please come Home for Christmas, https://youtu.be/5LUfDEATQHMhas been a hit 8 other times in the last 25 years, but the Eagles have the definitive version in the modern rock era.

Paul Simon – Getting ready for Christmas Day

Getting Ready for Christmas Dayhttps://youtu.be/bwy6hJULgm0was Paul Simon’s effort to secure the UK Christmas Number One in 2010 (he did not succeed).  But Simon did leave us with a new Christmas song born out of the rhythm of his Graceland Lp and the lyrics that reflect realities of the new millennium. 

Paul McCartney – Wonderful Christmastime

John Lennon and Yoko On wrote Happy Xmas (war is over) in 1972, no one knows if Paul McCartney was just waiting for the right time to write his own Christmas song.  In 1979 McCartney wrote and single handily recorded Wonderful Christmastime, it hit #6 on the UK Charts and #83 in the US. Since ’79, the song has been recorded 25 times; my favourite versions are from the Barenaked Ladies, The Shins and Jimmy Fallon and the Roots (with McCartney) BUT nothing tops the original, https://youtu.be/V9BZDpni56Y 


Everyone has their favourites, these ten, I mean eleven (I could not help myself) are some of mine, I hope you enjoy them and add them to your annual Christmas playlist. I can’t wait for more new Christmas classics in the years to come.

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I read and hear a trend here


I just finished reading Philip Norman`s biography of Paul McCartney “A Life”, and as I always do during and after reading a musical biography I am drawn to listen to more of that artists’ music. In the case of McCartney my interest is towards his later music more importantly “Flaming Pie”, “Driving Rain” and “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard”. The earlier music is very much part of my growing up and early adult years. I hadn’t paid enough attention to those three CD’s and now I have the opportunity to do so. Luckily I have had the almost complete McCartney discography – so no new purchases required.

The most difficult part of the read was working through the Heather Mills era and how different Paul seemed when compared to the years with not only Linda but earlier with Jane Asher. Do some relationships just bring out a totally different person in people? By the time I reached the last page, I got what I expected and enjoyed every page.

35 years ago I read Phillip Norman’s account about The Beatles entitled “Shout! The Beatles in their Generation”. I have few recollections about that book, and thankfully the author in his notes says he did not rely on his research in that book to write McCartney’s life book. The obvious next read is the same author’s Lennon account “John Lennon: The Life” if only to ensure the facts are same between the two books. But that will not take place for a few books as I have Robbie Robertson’s and Bruce Springsteen’s books up next on the read list.

My adventure in a musician’s life ends with the same result, more music to be bought and listened to as an enhanced experience to the words my brain has taken in. In the case of some biographies it can be more expensive than others. I have taken to the pages of Neil Young and Led Zeppelin books, but a case to demonstrate this is Joni Mitchell. After reading “The Creative Odyssey of…” purchasing the early catalogue was a necessity. I had only been listening to the later work of hers, 1988’s “Chalk mark in a Rainstorm” to 1995’s Grammy Award winning “Turbulent Indigo”, I had no personal listening experience to her early work (other than when I worked in Radio from 1982-1990). Listening to “Ladies of the Canyon”, “Blue” and “Court and Spark” helped to appreciate what I already knew of her music.

The two books that brought the largest surprise to me were Keith Richards “Life” and Elvis Costello’s “Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink”. In both these books I was astounded to hear about the musicianship that each had. I had previous been a staunch Beatles over the Rolling Stones person but with his book, Keith Richards won me over (but not totally) to the Rolling Stones side. In fact his 2015 Lp “Crosseyed Heart” remains a favourite of mine.

Unlike my Keith Richards/Rolling Stones experience, I have been listening to Costello for a very long time, likely due to my prime music year being late 70’s onward. I knew that Elvis Costello was a good musician, but how good I had no idea. The book explores a musical background that he shares with his father and mother and provides an insight to the British Punk and New Wave music in the 70’s and 80’s. His song writing prowess is incredible and the range in which he can produce blows me away. Even the manner in which he interviews other musicians is extremely impressive. His run as host of “Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…” showed an intellect and interest in hearing about other musicians. The show was produced by Costello with Elton John and David Furnish and sadly only ran for 2 seasons. The show remains available to purchase and features some wonderful musical performances with his guests.

Beyond Robertson and Springsteen the next pick up might have to be Norman’s “Sir Elton: The Definitive Biography” of Elton John. As a lifelong fan and owner of most of his discography, I might not learn more about his music but I’m willing to see if I will and search out a disc I just have to have. After all I should not rely of the Lp “Captain Fantastic and Brown Dirt Cowboy” as my only biographical reference to Elton John.

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I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.

My Inner Beatle

This morning Liz and I received an email from her daughter that she was on her way home.  Speaking generally they were on their way home to Canada via LAX from Tokyo.  They have been travelling since August starting from Canada’s East Coast to Europe, Africa, India, Everest Base Camp Japan and now home to visit her sister in Vancouver and then make the trek back to Ontario and home by July.  The email came with the audio clip of The Beatles “Two of Us” and …’on our way back home’.  I went for my iPhone and played the song to get Liz and I up on the right side of the bed.  It brought a tear to our eyes; they were on their way home.

Liz asked why liked, no LOVED the Beatles so much.

My love of the Beatles started so many years again, with the release of “Abbey Road”.  My oldest brother Ron would go to a friend’s home and listen the LP, side 1 on one day and then side 2 the next day.  I remember his excitement and the euphoria when he brought his own copy home and probably wear out the first copy within weeks.  I can relate to the idea of having to buy more than one copy of the LP as I myself have 2 copies in vinyl and have the 1st CD version and the latest re-mastered Abbey Road in my library.

Back to Liz’s question, why do I love the Beatles so much?  It is the simplicity in the way the music was played, the honesty in the way the songs were written and the love of hearing these songs now 40 years+ still sounding fresh and new.  When an artist can bring a tear to your eyes, goose bumps on your arm or makes you keep repeating a song while you sing (loudly) in your car – you know they have hit a nerve and connected.

I admit that my favourite Beatle was and is Paul, but John, George and Ringo have all crept in to take over large parts of my inner Beatle self.  I find myself appreciating the little nuances of the Fab Four when I hear more about how they made their music.  This week I learned that the Beatles put together the animal sounds in their “Good Morning Good Morning” from 1967’s Sgt Pepper in the order of the animal food chain.  Simple? Of course, and genius at the same time.  There is probably so much to learn!  Maybe it’s time to earn my PHD in Beatles, http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/jan/27/worlds-first-beatles-graduate.

‘Let it Be’ and “Two of Us” are the Beatle soundtrack of the day, that will probably evolve to ‘Abbey Road’.  But as I write this I have an urge to morph my inner Beatle self to George Harrison’s “What is Life”…to Ringo’s “Photograph” and then to John’s “Whatever gets you through the night”.  As for the next day and what I’ll want to hear…Tomorrow Never Knows.

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