FANFARE please! Yes, my (and Carolyn’s) all-time favourite Christmas song is Greg Lake’s one and only major solo hit. This has it all – a sample of Prokofiev’s Troika (number 24 in this countdown, if you recall), beautiful guitar work, thoughtful lyrics…
Ah, yes, the lyrics…
Not very Christmassy, are they? “They told me a fairy story, till I believed in the Israelite…” This is basically a hymn to atheism, a cynical view of Christianity and Christmas. But you can’t deny the power of the final line:
“Alleluja, Noel, be it heaven or hell
The Christmas we get, we deserve.”
So if the Christmas message has been distilled, diluted, de-religionised (is that a word? It is now), then surely Lake is simply reflecting that fact, while reminding us that we still have a responsibility to each other. Or is that reading too much into a catchy Christmas ditty?
Now, I know that whatever I chose as my number 1, many (most) readers would disagree with that choice. But look at it this way – at least it’s not Cliff Richard.