|Single by Paul McCartney|
|B-side||"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reggae"|
|Released||16 November 1979|
|Paul McCartney singles chronology|
"Wonderful Christmastime" is a 1979 Christmas song by Paul McCartney. It enjoys significant Christmas time popularity around the world. The notable synthesiser riff was played on a Sequential Circuits Prophet-5. The song was later added as a bonus track on the 1993 CD reissue of Wings' Back to the Egg album.
Background and recording
McCartney recorded the song entirely on his own during the sessions for his solo project McCartney II. Although the members of Wings are not on the recording, they do appear in the promotional music video, which was filmed at the Fountain Inn in Ashurst, West Sussex.
"Wonderful Christmastime" can be heard in the 1998 animated film Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie during Santa's takeoff on Christmas Eve. Wings performed the song during their 1979 tour of the UK.
Reception and legacy
Following its release as a stand-alone single in the United Kingdom, "Wonderful Christmastime" peaked at No. 6 on the United Kingdom Singles Chart on the week ending 5 January 1980. Although the song did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the United States, it did chart for two weeks on Billboard's specially designated Christmas Singles chart in December 1984, peaking at No. 10. It also reached No. 29 on Billboard's weekly Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart in early January 1996.
The 1979 release did reach the top 100 in the US music trades Cashbox and Record World.
The song continues to receive substantial airplay every year, although music critics consider it to be one of McCartney's poorest compositions. Beatles author Robert Rodriguez has written of "Wonderful Christmastime": "Love it or hate it, few songs within the McCartney oeuvre have provoked such strong reactions." In 2006, pop-culture website Retrocrush.com voted it "Worst Christmas Song of All Time", and the song tied with “Feliz Navidad” by José Feliciano for the same honour in a 2005 survey by Toronto's CityNews.
Including royalties from cover versions, it is estimated that Paul McCartney makes $400,000 a year from this song, which puts its cumulative earnings for this song at near $15 million.
McCartney performed the song live on the US late night television programme Saturday Night Live on the 15 December 2012 show.
- Martin Sheen, John Spencer and Stockard Channing covered "Wonderful Christmastime" on the NBC Celebrity Christmas album in 2000.
- Barenaked Ladies included a short synthesised instrumental cover of the song on their 2004 album Barenaked for the Holidays.
- Jump5 covered and remixed the song for their Christmas album All The Joy In The World.
- Earthsuit covered the song for Happy Christmas Vol. 3.
- Hilary Duff released a cover of "Wonderful Christmastime" on her Christmas album Santa Claus Lane.
- Tom Mcrae contributed a cover of this song on a various artists album titled Maybe This Christmas Tree.
- Jars of Clay recorded a cover version for their 2007 release, Christmas Songs.
- Demi Lovato did a cover on the 2008 All Wrapped Up! album. This version also appears on the trailers for the upcoming film A Madea Christmas.
- Peter Serafinowicz did a parody of it called "Sexual Christmas Time" in episode 6 of The Peter Serafinowicz Show.
- Family Force 5 covered the song on their 2009 Christmas album Family Force 5 Christmas Pageant.
- Amy Grant covered the song for her primetime Christmas special entitled Amy Grant: A Christmas to Remember, which aired on 15 December 1999 on CBS.
- Rahsaan Patterson covered this song on his 2008 album The Ultimate Gift.
- Helix covered the song on their 2008 Christmas album A Heavy Mental Christmas.
- The Venture Bros. co-creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer released a version of the song, performed as the characters 21 and 24, for the website Quick Stop Entertainment as part of the 2008 holiday season.
- Kelly Rowland recorded a version of the song for the 2010 release Now That's What I Call Christmas! 4.
- Chicago featured Dolly Parton on their own version on Chicago XXXIII: O Christmas Three released in October 2011.
- Eli Young Band covered the song on the 2011 compilation The Country Christmas Collection. Their version peaked at number 33 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in January 2012.
- The Shins covered the song for the Starbucks 2012 holiday cover album, Holidays Rule (McCartney also appeared on the album).
- Eleventyseven covered the song with a synthpop flare for their 2012 Regifted EP.
- Paul McCartney re-recorded the song in 2013 with an acapella group Straight No Chasers for their EP, Under the Influence: Holiday Edition
- "Most Popular Christmas Songs". Retrieved 6 December 2009.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewhine, "Paul McCartney/Wings Back to the Egg (Bonus Tracks)", Allmusic (retrieved 30 December 2012).
- Chip Madinger & Mark Easter, Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium, 44.1 Productions (Chesterfield, MO, 2000; ISBN 0-615-11724-4), p. 251.
- Sawday, Alastair (6 December 2007). "Top 10 cosy pubs". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Ltd. Retrieved 13 December 2009.
- Chip Madinger & Mark Easter, Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium, 44.1 Productions (Chesterfield, MO, 2000; ISBN 0-615-11724-4), p. 254.
- "Official Charts: Paul McCartney". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Christmas in the Charts (1920-2004). Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 48. ISBN 0-89820-161-6.
- Craig Outhier, "Paul McCartney's Worst Songs", Phoenix New Times, 25 March 2010 (retrieved 30 December 2012).
- Robert Rodriguez, Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles' Solo Years, 1970−1980, Backbeat Books (Milwaukee, WI, 2010; ISBN 978-1-4165-9093-4), p. 191.
- Alan Clayson, Paul McCartney, Sanctuary (London, 2003; ISBN 1-86074-486-9), pp 192–93.
- Robert Berry, "The Worst Christmas Song of All Time", retroCrush, 2006 (retrieved 30 December 2012).
- "Paul McCartney Song Named Most Hated Christmas Tune", CityNews, 18 December 2006 (retrieved 30 December 2012).
- "Paul McCartney Continues to Have a Wonderful (Financial) Christmas Time", blogs.forbes.com, 23 December 2010 (retrieved 15 December 2011).
- Jurek, Thom. "Review of The Ultimate Gift". Allmusic. Retrieved 9 December 2009.
- "Holiday Havoc: THE VENTURE BROS.". Quick Stop Entertainment. Retrieved 23 December 2008.
- "Paul McCartney, Straight No Chaser Tackle 'Wonderful Christmas Time'". Rolling Stone. October 16, 2013.