Fairytale of New York, 25 years on

The most moving Christmas pop anthem is 25 years old. Fairytale of New York. As the Guardian’s Dorian Lynskey put it this week:

“Once upon a time a band set out to make a Christmas song. Not about snow or sleigh rides or mistletoe or miracles, but lost youth and ruined dreams. A song in which Christmas is as much the problem as it is the solution. A kind of anti-Christmas song that ended up being, for a generation, the Christmas song.”

I fell in love with this wonderful song in the mid 1990s. I was determined to play it at a Christmas party I was hosting, and spent hours searching shops around Swindon for a CD or tape featuring it, without success. Yet when I got home, I found I already had a tape with it on. Life is easier now, with instant music downloads and streaming.
All these years later, I still relish in hearing Fairytale for the first time each Christmas season. I sing loudly in the car when the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl sing “And the bells were ringing out for Christmas Day” – and especially for the classic lines:

“I could have been someone/Well so could anyone..”

Tragically, Kirsty MacColl died in an accident just before Christmas 2000. But her memory lives on in one of the greatest Christmas anthems ever created.

4 thoughts on “Fairytale of New York, 25 years on

  1. I´m planning to write about this song in my song of the week blog too. It´s one of the few Christmas songs I can stand, along with Lennon´s Happy Christmas (War is Over). I came across your link while randomly searching in the music part of wordpress. I´m gonna look into the background of it, and see if I can find anything about the writing and recording process. Cheers for sharing.

  2. Well, that’s 2 members of the family singing loudly in cars to this!
    I love it and it sends a tingle down my spne every time. My other “must play” christmas song is jethro Tull’s Solstice Bells.

    And signs of Christmas coming? Certainly not the tinsel and cards in the shops in October. For me as well as the first play of Fairytale in New York it’s the Coca Cola advert (the “Holidays are coming” one) and the visit of the actual truck to Swindon; and the Famous Grouse ads which always make me smile!
    Then there’s the blow up Father Christmas on our roof – we try to get him up there on the forst December weekend.

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