December 12th, 2014

Blue Red

63 UK Christmas No.1s - 1985

Shakin Stevens - Merry Christmas Everyone
1985


"Merry Christmas Everyone" is a popular festive song by the Welsh singer-songwriter Shakin' Stevens.

Written by Bob Heatlie and produced by Dave Edmunds, this was Shakin' Stevens fourth, number one on the UK Singles Chart. Originally it was to be released in 1984, but was postponed a year so it would not clash with Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas".

It was finally released in early December 1985 and was the Christmas number one for that year. Ever since it has been included on many top-selling Christmas collections and received airplay every Christmas. In 2007, the song re-entered the UK top 30 and reached number 22 on the Christmas chart. This was because downloads now make up the UK Singles Chart; in past years this would have been impossible unless there was a physical re-release of the song. From 2007 to 2011, the song charted in the UK at peak positions 22, 36, 49, 47, and 42 respectively.

Blue Red

63 UK Christmas No.1s - 1986

Jackie Wilson - Reet Petite
1986


"Reet Petite (The Sweetest Girl in Town)" (originally subtitled The Finest Girl You Ever Want to Meet) is a song made popular by Jackie Wilson. It was his first solo hit after leaving the Dominoes and, over the years, has become one of his biggest international chart successes.

The song was written by Berry Gordy and Wilson's cousin Roquel "Billy" Davis (though credited under his pseudonym Tyran Carlo on the record) and produced by Dick Jacobs, and its title was taken from the Louis Jordan song "Reet, Petite and Gone". It was Jackie Wilson's first recording as a solo artist. The song peaked at #62 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1957 and reached #6 on the UK Singles Chart. With the success of the song, Gordy was able to fund the launch of Motown Records.

The song was reissued in 1986 following the showing of a clay animation video on the BBC Two documentary series Arena. The video was directed by Giblets, a London-based animation studio.

The reissued version proved so popular that in December 1986, almost three years after Wilson's death, the song became a No. 1 in the UK for four weeks, some 29 years after its chart debut. This was the record for the longest time between a song's debut on the chart and it reaching number one, until it was overtaken by Tony Christie's "(Is This the Way to) Amarillo" in 2005.

Blue Red

63 UK Christmas No.1s - 1987

Pet Shop Boys - Always On My Mind
1987


"Always on My Mind" is an American country music song by Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson, recorded first by Gwen McCrae (as "You Were Always On My Mind") and Brenda Lee in 1972.

Wayne Carson said that he wrote the song in 10 minutes at his home in Springfield at his kitchen table and completed the song in studio with the assistance of Johnny and Mark.

Carson, who had the song about a year and one day, was finishing a recording session. Producer Chips Moman asked about recording "that mind" song, but added it would need a bridge. Wayne went upstairs to the studios old piano, where he was trying to work out a bridge, when Johnny and Mark walked in the door, and he asked for their help to complete his song.

The trio felt that the song was finished and at first could not get anything to add, but Wayne explained that Moman was insisting that a bridge be added. So between them, the two-line bridge was created.

In 1987, Pet Shop Boys performed a synthpop version of "Always on My Mind" on Love Me Tender, an ITV network UK television special commemorating the tenth anniversary of Presley's death, in which various popular contemporary acts performed cover versions of his hits. Their performance was so well-received that the duo decided to record the song and release it as a single. This version became the UK's Christmas number one single that year, topping the charts for four weeks in total, and reached number four on the US Billboard Hot 100.

The Pet Shop Boys version introduces a harmonic variation not present in the original version. In the original the ending phrase "always on my mind" is sung to a IV-V7-I cadence (C-D7-G). The Pet Shop Boys extend this cadence by adding two further chords: C-D7-Gm7/B♭-C-G (i.e. a progression of IV-V7-IIIb-IV-I).

In November 2004, The Daily Telegraph newspaper placed the version at number two in a list of the fifty greatest cover versions of all time. In October 2014, a public poll compiled by the BBC saw the song voted the all-time best cover version.