Sunday, December 25, 2005

Wonderful Christmastime

Paul Mccartney released WONDERFUL CHRISTMASTIME in November of 1979 as a solo single (in spite of the fact that Linda, Denny Laine, Steve Holly and Laurence Juber, the then-current members of Wings appear with him in the video. It was fairly roundly ignored in the US although it did chart well in the UK. I remember spotting the single in a department store that year and, being the Macca fan that I am, grabbing it up. A few weeks later, I saw Casey Kasem play the video on television. Paul was all over the news that season as one of the organizers of the Concerts for Kampuchea, a series of fundraising concerts that featured Wings as well as McCartney's "Rockestra." Pete Townshend showed up rather famously drunk for one of this all-star lineup's concert videos. Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, Rockpile, the Pretenders, Robert Plant, the Who and Queen were also featured at the concerts. A bootleg recording from this same period features what I consider to be the most polished version of Wings doing, among other things, WONDERFUL CHRISTMASTIME before a Liverpool audience. It was a busy year for Paul, a good year. That would change a few weeks later when he was arrested and nearly took up a long term residence in a Japanese prison.

Something happened to that song, however. Against the odds, this bouncy little piece of trivia, rather than being forgotten, was discovered and rediscovered year after year by audiences the world over. By this year, 26 years after its initial release, you couldn't go in a department store without hearing WONDERFUL CHRISTMASTIME. It was all over the radio, on compilations and favorites lists. The forgotten little holiday throw-off, recorded in the hot summer of '79 and backed with a throwaway instrumental recorded several years earlier, had finally became a modern Christmas classic.

No comments: