Tissing the Season: Sternberg Clarke's Favourite Christmas Songs

December 08, 2011


 Now That's What I call Christmas has proved to be a contentious choice of Christmas CD in the office this year. That's putting it mildly; there have been howls of disgust as "Driving Home For Christmas" kicks in sans the gravely tones of Chris Rea... The song is meant to be grunted! Do they not understand Christmas? And who picks the 2008 version of "Do they know it's Christmas" over the gloriously overwrought original?

As an Entertainment Agency, it's our job to be discerning when it comes to Christmas music for parties but it seems like that's spilled over into our tastes in our choice of innocuous hold music. Why, for instance, is "Would you like to swing on a Star" on there? Is it really a Christmas song just because it mentions the word "star"? Unacceptable.

Could we do any better? Would 'Now That's What I Call Sternberg Clarke's Christmas Album' be the first thing you reach for as a soundtrack to untangling Christmas Lights and overcooking turkeys? A quick sweep round the office revealed some interesting answers to the immortal question What is your favourite Christmas Song?

Adam Sternberg - Stop the Cavalry by John Lewie

My pick would be Stop the Cavalry by Jonah Lewie.  I was 17 when this was released and therefore this song has a great deal of nostalgic value for me. The song only got to number 3 as John Lennon was murdered a week after this song was released and numbers 1 and 2 in the charts were rereleases of his songs.


Duncan Clarke - Frosty the Snowman from the Phil Spectre Christmas Album

For me, its "Frosty The Snowman" from the Phil Spectre Christmas Album - I'm not quite sure who sings it and we can't really ask Phil as he's behind bars. I like it because my children dance to it and I used to play it when I was a singer-pianist at the Hyatt Carlton Tower back in the late 80's.


Hayley Hannam - Fairytale of New York by The Pogues

Cliché? Maybe, but clichés are clichés for a reason; there’s normally some truth to them. To me, this song sums up Christmas; a bit dysfunctional at times, imperfect even, but 3 minutes in and you can’t help but smile and feel just a little festive.


Samantha Rika - A Winters Tale by David Essex

My favourite Christmas song of all time is A Winters Tale because I fancy David Essex in this video. No particular sentimental reason, just pure animal lust.


Garreth Owen - Purple Snowflakes by Marvin Gaye

Christmas  and Motown have been inseparable in my head ever since I first heard Purple Snowflakes by Marvin Gaye; it sounds like it was recorded in a rush (probably because it was, I've heard rumors it was a repurposed non-festive song with the words changed) and it has a  slightly distorted crackling, fizzing sound throughout that sounds more Christmassy than 100 choirs of angelic children shaking sleigh bells.


Jane Moore - I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus

I was always a fan of I  Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus. I remember I heard it first when I had just discovered the evil truth about father Christmas. And it all just made a bit more sense. I have to say I had thought my mum would have had a bit better taste in men frankly. I mean having a cheeky snog with Santa, well it's just plain wrong.


Alice Chorley - All I Want For Christmas is You by Mariah Carey

My Favourite Christmas Song would be Mariah Carey - All I Want for Christmas is You; it's loveable but quite embarrassing... which is probably how I'd describe myself. Maybe I shouldn't admit that kind of thing on the internet?


Charlotte Ward-Caddle & Sarah Thorniley Walker - The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole

Charlotte: Well since Hayley sneaked in there first with The Pogues which is the song that flings me into the Christmas spirit, I’m going to instead choose a warming with mulled wine in front of a lovely fire whilst it’s snowing outside type of song and throw Nat King Cole’s Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire into the equation.  You can’t go wrong with a good old crooner!

Sarah: I wouldn’t know how to go about roasting chestnuts on an open fire, but this is a Christmas classic – Nat King Cole’s smooth vocals are synonymous with Christmas.


Ben Lloyd-Evans - In the Bleak Midwinter by John Taylor

Look, I wanted to choose full on cheese for my Christmas song choice, but our list so far seems to be brimming with the stuff, so I’m going for something I genuinely love in the form of jazz pianist John Taylor’s arrangement of In The Bleak Midwinter. The actual tune itself only arrives after about 3 minutes of stunning improvisation, so when it finally settles on such a well know tune it feels somehow completely right.


Thomas Gorton - Walking in the Air by Aled Jones

My favourite Christmas song would be Walking In The Air as it was the first Christmas song that I learnt to play on the piano and I also performed a solo of it in a breathtaking nativity performance that ‘really made the hairs stand up’ on the arms of those in attendance. In fact, last year was one of the most successful nativities I've ever been in...


Sophie McCarthy - Little Drummer Boy by Bing Crosby and David Bowie

Oh hello are you the new butler It's been a long time since I was the new anything What's happened to Hudson I guess he's changing Yeah he does that alot doesn't he I'm David Bowie I live down the road Sir Percival lets me use his piano when he's around he's not around is he I can honestly say I haven't seen him but come on in...


So is Sternberg Clarke's Christmas Playlist a cracker? Or is it a Turkey? Let us know your picks in the comments!