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Either way, Christmas carols are a staple to the holiday season. Here's a closer look at the stories behind some of your favorite holiday tunes. Inspiration can strike you anywhere, even on a subway.

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While traveling to a music publisher's office in , the tune's songwriters John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie sat in a subway car and penned the song on the back of an envelope. It started off with Donald Gardner asking a group of second-graders to complete the sentence, "All I want for Christmas is But when Gardner listened to their wishes, some of the students' lisps gave him the inspiration for his hit.

He went home that night and wrote the song in 30 minutes.

Christmas traditions: Advent calendars, mince pies and the story of Santa Claus

Who cares about the provenance, however, when the beats are this big? If the idea of a modern-day Christmas song makes you recoil in horror, then you clearly haven't heard Leona Lewis' take on child-like pre-Christmas excitement. It's got everything a good festive fave should have: too many bells, a yearning twinge directed at a distant lover on their way home for Christmas Day and vocal acrobatics that you're bound to recreate after too many bubbles on the big day. This is Christmas cynicism at its most tuneful.

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Intended as a denouncement of the increasing commercialisation of the festive season, Greg Lake inadvertently crafted a folk-prog Christmas classic. Singer Elizabeth Fraser could have plumbed the aching sadness of snowman existence but instead her vocals are all shimmering colours and dancing forest fairies.

Best Country Christmas Songs all time - Top Classic Country Christmas Songs Carols Playlist 2018

When the overlapping harmonies come in around you know that this Christmas is going to be pretty magical. Ye raps about unwrapping removing the knickers from his Christmas present, Jim Jones proposes we party till dawn and Big Sean says… well, not much at all. But with a slick soul-sampling beat from Hit Boy and bags of braggadocious charm, this is a head-bobbing holiday treat.

The True Story Behind the Greatest Christmas Song Ever Written - Maxim

Give it a listen anyway, though, because with that irresistible Motown swing and a harmonica solo thrown in this is ahem a cracker. Noddy Holder and his troupe of platform-wearers continue to blight our television screens each December with their frightening fashion sense. The sound of a man beating his chest! Crammed full of sleigh bells and lyrically sparse it may be, but somehow indie rockers Low managed to do the unthinkable in create a genuinely cool Christmas song. Sometimes the old tunes are the best.

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Oh, and her high note towards the end is a moment. Yeah, go on, put a little love in there. You could do that. Scary Christmas.

Today it retains a towering presence in the Christmas canon, as synonymous with the holiday as tinsel and paper crowns. Think you had a bad Christmas last year when you burned the turkey?

Cliff Richard

The results are No one does Christmas quite like our Sufjan. This could be a good one to change up the vibe from Christmas lazing to some Christmas loving. Despite not even managing to break the top fifty when it was first released, it has become an enduring holiday favourite and spawned plenty of covers. A fine achievement.

The song is nostalgic, with Berry singing about being far away from home, far away from loved ones, and dreaming of wrapping Christmas presents. Berry, backed by old friends from his St Louis days, including Jules Blattner guitar and Brian Hamilton saxophone , offers a reminder of how good he was at singing ballads. Brown, whose delicate slow-paced style influenced blues performances for two decades, said he helped Lou Baxter with the composition. Follow the Christmas playlist for the best Christmas songs of all time. A must have on any Christmas playlist. A great animation using this version —.

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