On these twelve days before the 25th I’ll be selecting my twelve favorite Christmas tunes that may not be obscure but are rarely on Christmas compilations or piped through shopping center speakers.
Greg Lake, a founding member of prog rock pioneers E-L-P recorded this superb song in 1975. It’s very unusual for a Christmas song to be both celebratory and critical. Lake certainly makes it clear that the underlying subtext of commercialism and crassness is built on his pure love for the spirit of Christmas. There’s also some nice little touches like the Prokofiev inspired instrumental break. I especially love the reference to the “Christmas Tree smell”, as that’s one delightful aspect of Christmas rarely acknowledged in music.
Maybe the themes of commercialisation and the loss of childhood innocence makes it less palatable for shopping centres. This could be why it’s not a song you hear all that often. With the passing of Lake this month it’ll no doubt receive more airplay and rightly so. That’s why I originally planned to use the Gaz Coombs version with Adam Buxton instead. I was all ready to unapologetically repeat myself as I had mentioned it in a previous article. But I decided to use the original in tribute to the late Greg Lake.