Bad taste and Christmas should not be comfortable bedfellows. But when it comes to music these opposites have attracted: dancing merrily, hand-in-hand towards the UK charts. The relationship has delivered us some quirky musical gems, but has more often been dysfunctional – landing us with some absolute stinkers.
25 Christmas Stinkers
1 – Cheeky Girls “Have a Cheeky Christmas”
The Romanian sisters found notoriety on British TV show “Pop Stars: The Rivals”. Transylvania’s loss was the UK’s misfortune. “Close your eyes and make a wish,” the twins warble in this shocking festive offering. We just did…and yet still this song exists.
2 – The Goodies “Father Christmas Do Not Touch Me”
The Goodies are Tim Brooke-Taylor, Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden and they had TV sketch show success in the seventies and early eighties. They also had hits with novelty songs like “Funky Gibbon”, which reached number four in the UK charts. “Make a Daft Noise For Christmas” made it to number 20 in 1975, but the previous year’s “Father Christmas Do Not Touch Me” – in which key words from its title are annoyingly dropped with each passing chorus – is by far the more irritating.
3 – Chris Hill “Bionic Santa”/”Renta Santa”
British DJ Chris Hill had two top 10 Christmas hits in the seventies. Both are worthy of our list, so we have lumped them in together. “Renta Santa” was his first top 10 Christmas success in 1975. The following year he did it again with “Bionic Santa”. Questionable music taste is never more apparent in the UK than at Christmas. Remember that and you can just about understand these making the top 10. His 1978 record “Disco Santa” didn’t chart. Not even here.
4 – Father Abraham & The Smurfs “Christmas in Smurfland”
Wasn’t it Elvis who sang about a Blue Christmas? This buzz wrecker wasn’t what he had in mind.
5 – Lou Monte “Dominick the Donkey”
Dominick is the Italian Christmas donkey. His song is full of excruciating ee-aws. Lou Monte was an Italian-American singer known for an array of Italian-themed novelty records in the 1950’s and 1960’s. BBC Radio 1’s breakfast show gave this song a new comedic lease of life in December 2011 and it reached number three in the singles charts that Christmas.
6 – Alvin & The Chipmunks “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”
All the high-pitched squeaking really grates. The lyrics include: “I can hardly stand the wait, please Christmas don’t be late.” We can hardly stand this song, for the love of Christmas it’s very wrong.
7 – Justin Bieber “Mistletoe”
Pop-pup-turned-bad-dog Bieber didn’t make a ‘Belieber’ of us with lyrics like “the wise men followed a star the way I followed my heart”. Sick bag please.
8 – George Cole & Dennis Waterman “What Are We Gonna Get ‘Er Indoors?”
Misogynistic Christmas anyone? Cole and Waterman starred in the hugely popular TV series “Minder”. Waterman likes to sing a theme tune or three, but what excuse did he have for this?
9 – The Wombles “Wombling Merry Christmas”
The little furry creatures that cleared Wimbledon Common of litter sprung up as a man-size group thanks to composer and performer Mike Batt. A string of seventies hits followed. Though the creatures are timeless, the songs are not.
10 – Bo’ Selecta! “Proper Crimbo”
“Bo’ Selecta!” was a British TV comedy programme in which Leigh Francis donned his weird celebrity masks – Michael Jackson, Mel B and Craig David included. He performed this song alongside a celebrity chorus. It reached number four in the UK singles charts in December 2003.
11 – The Goons “I’m Walking Backwards for Christmas”
Groundbreaking as Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine were on BBC radio’s “The Goon Show”, this Christmas song will have you reaching for the earplugs sung, as it is, in their strange, nasal, higher-octave way.
12 – Cyndi Lauper “Christmas Conga”
Really Cyndi? Really? “Bonga, bonga, bonga! Do the Christmas conga!” I mean…hold up a dog gone minute, Cyndi!
13 – NewSong “The Christmas Shoes”
A boy wants to buy his dying mother some shoes for Christmas. That’s the theme of this depressing festive offering. Hear it and weep – although the tears will have nothing to do with the subject matter.
14 – Crazy Frog “Jingle Bells”
Replace lyrics of a favourite Christmas song with some irritating noises. Yeah, that’ll work!
15 – Mr. Blobby “Christmas in Blobbyland”
Mr. Blobby had a Christmas number one single in the UK charts in 1993 but this 1995 follow-up only made it to number 36. It’s shockingly bad.
16 –Neil Diamond “Cherry Cherry Christmas”
“In a world of make believe I’m a believer,” sings Neil Diamond. Maybe we can all make believe this Christmas song – in which he has the audacity to suggest our festivities might even include singing his own “Sweet Caroline” – was never recorded.
17 – John Denver “Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk this Christmas”)
Bad, bad idea for a song. Denver sings: “Please Daddy, don’t get drunk this Christmas. I don’t want to see my Mommy cry.” In the early 1990’s Denver managed two drink-driving convictions and sought treatment in a rehabilitation clinic.
18 – Adam Faith “Lonely Pup (In a Christmas Shop)”
Cutesy and very much of its day, this 1960 song reached a UK chart high of number four. Our advice: buy the pup and leave the song alone.
19 – Elmo & Patsy “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”
This shocker was written by Randy Brooks and originally performed in 1979 by husband and wife duo Elmo and Patsy Trigg Shropshire. It had a certain appeal, so we hear, on country stations stateside. It was released in the UK in 1980 on Stiff Records. It was stiffed and did not chart.
20 – New Kids on the Block “Funky Funky Christmas”
A sure-fire Christmas stinker. One line to ponder: “He said you left the fire burning and I burnt my box, so now I’ve learned you’ve got to turn the fireplace down so Santa won’t get burned.” Or maybe we heard it wrong?
21 – Craig Phillips “At This Time of Year”
Television’s first “Big Brother” winner thought he’d give the singing a bash in aid of charity. The song reminds us of a Eurovision entry that’s received ‘nul points’. But it did get to number 14 in the UK charts in 2000 and raised more than £40,000 for the Down’s Syndrome Association, so we’ll let him off lightly.
22 – Dickie Valentine “Christmas Alphabet”
This was the 1955 Christmas number one. A tune very much of its era that should be kept firmly in its era, never to escape.
23 – Ricky Tomlinson “Christmas My Arse”
Ricky Tomlinson expertly plays Jim in “The Royle Family”. His catchphrase is “My Arse”…thus this elegantly titled song. It’s got Christmas clichés like “Nana’s drunk” and “the telly’s crap” and not much to recommend it.
24 – Fountains of Wayne “I Want an Alien for Christmas”
From the 2005 album “Out-of-State Plates”, this song led us to ask one question. Why?
25 – Mr. Hankey “Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo”
The naughty but funny TV series “South Park” gave us Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo. Not one for singing while gathered around the piano with family and friends.