Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade…the Stories Behind Modern Christmas Songs

Slade: Top- Dave Hill, Bottom- Don Powell, Noddy holder and Jim Lea.

When people think of the best and/or most successful bands of all time, not many include Slade near the top of the list. But, the truth of the matter is that for a while at the start of the 1970s, Slade was one of the biggest bands in the world. In a period that lasted less than five years, Slade had six hit songs, 18 consecutive Top Twenty singles and sold over fifty million albums worldwide. Their climb to the top of the musical mountain was made possible by classic rock tunes such as “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” and “Cum On Feel The Noize” (which, in turn, became big hits for a US band called Quiet Riot). But Slade’s most popular and memorable song by a country mile is a song that never appeared on any of their albums. It was a song that was a one-off special recording for the holiday season called “Merry Xmas Everybody”. This song has sold over one million copies and is consistently ranked near the top of every UK poll regarding the most popular British Christmas songs of all time. In fact, it has become a tradition on the BBC Radio 1 station for “Merry Xmas Everybody” to be the final song played just as the clock is striking midnight and Christmas Day is to begin.

Slade was a rock n’ roll band who rose to fame during the period known as Glam Rock. Lead singer Noddy Holder had curly hair that cascaded down to his shoulders and a deep, rich voice for belting out the tunes. He, along with guitarist Jim Lea, were the principal songwriters and arrangers. It was Jim Lea’s mother who actually challenged the band to write a seasonal tune which ended up being “Merry Xmas Everybody”. After the success of their holiday song, the members of Slade felt as though they were ready to tackle bigger markets, so they left the UK and moved to America. However, as many good bands from abroad have discovered, America is a fickle mistress, embracing some bands (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones) while ignoring others altogether. Unfortunately for Slade, they fell into the latter category. Slade released several albums in the US, but none achieved the level of success that they were used to in the UK. Eventually, tensions arose within the band and Slade actually broke up. Aside from one brief moment of glory when they were asked to fill in for headliner Ozzy Osbourne at the 1980 Reading Musical Festival, Slade faded away from the limelight. Noddy Holder went on to star in several popular television shows on the BBC. However, he and Jim Lea have no worries about paying their bills because the royalties they earn from “Merry Xmas Everybody” each year often total over $50,000. Holder calls the song “his pension fund”. Just about everyone else calls it one of the most enjoyable Christmas songs ever!

I want to end this final holiday post of 2022 by thanking all of you who read my words and chime in with a comment or two from time to time. I appreciate your presence here on my blog. This will be my final post until family holiday time ends after the first week in January. So, with that in mind, I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday season and a safe, healthy and happy new year to come. I will see you all again in 2023. Merry Xmas Everybody! Bye for now.

The link to the video for the song “Merry Xmas Everybody” by Slade can be found here. ***Lyrics version is here.

The link to the official website for Slade can be found here.

***As always, all original content contained within this blog post remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this post shall be reblogged, copied or shared in any manner without the express written consent of the author. ©2022

Author: Tom MacInnes

Among the many characters I play: husband, father, son, retired elementary school teacher, writer, Cape Bretoner, lover of hot tea and, above all else, a gentleman. I strive to make a positive difference in the lives of others. In Life, I have chosen to be kind.

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