Noddy Holder credits Whisky for iconic Slade festive song Merry Xmas Everybody
slade – merry christmas everybody
To mark 50 years since he co-wrote it, the Slade frontman has told the true story behind his beloved song.
Released in 1973, his hit still dominates the airwaves in November and December.
Noddy, 77, admits a few glasses of whisky after a trip to the pub helped him finish it.
He told the members’ magazine of royalties body PRS: “The idea for a Christmas song came from [co-writer] Jimmy Lea’s auntie, who suggested we do a perennial-type song like Happy Birthday.”
“The song that became Merry Xmas Everybody was written in 1967. It was hippy-trippy and the chorus went: ‘So won’t you buy me a rocking chair to watch the world go by / Buy me a looking glass to look me in the eye-eye-eye…’”
“Anyway, one night in 1973 I was at my parents’ in the Midlands. After a few drinks down the local the whisky came out and I rewrote that song in two hours, using the same music for the chorus but changing the words and adding the verses. I wanted to paint a picture of a working-class Christmas.”
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“I played it to Jim and he didn’t really say much but I knew he secretly liked it.”
“We cut it in the US at the end of the hot summer of 1973. The studio was in an office block and we sang the chorus in the
stairwell to get that echoey effect.”
“Four English blokes singing about Christmas…the office workers must have thought us mad!”
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“We played it to Polydor, and they flipped. It sold one million in the first week.”
Covered many times, it became the band’s sixth UK No1.
In 2009, PRS for Music announced up to 42% of the world’s population could have heard it.
Noddy calls the song his pension and in 2015 it was estimated to generate £500,000 of royalties every year.
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