Driving Home for Christmas

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"Driving Home for Christmas"
Chris Rea - Driving Home for Christmas Cover.jpg
Single by Chris Rea
Released 10 December 1988
Format 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl, cassette, CD
Recorded 1986
Genre Pop rock, Christmas
Length 4:33
Label Magnet
Songwriter(s) Chris Rea
Producer(s) Chris Rea, Stuart Eales
Chris Rea singles chronology
"String Module Error: Match not found"
"Driving Home for Christmas"
"Working on It"

"Fool (If You Think It's Over)" ('88 Remix)
"Driving Home for Christmas"
"Working on It"
Music video
"Driving Home For Christmas (2009 video in aid of Shelter)" on YouTube

"Driving Home for Christmas" is a popular Christmas single written and composed by Chris Rea and released in 1988.[1] The song peaked at #53 in the UK Single Chart in 1988, and re-entered the chart in 2007, peaking at #33. It reached a new peak of #14 in 2017.[1] Although it had modest charting, the single has a brief chart appearance every year in the Top 40,[2] and is featured among the Top 10 Christmas singles.[3][4][5][6]


In interview for the BBC Radio 4 programme Today in 2009, and The Guardian in 2016, Rea said he wrote "Driving Home for Christmas" many years before its first recording; this was in 1978, and Rea needed to get home to Middlesbrough from Abbey Road Studios in London. His wife had come down to drive him home in her Austin Mini to save money because it was cheaper to drive than travel by train, as Rea was just out of record contract and the record company was not willing to pay for the rail ticket. The inspiration for the song came as they were getting stuck in heavy traffic, while the snow was falling. He started looking at the other drivers, who "all looked so miserable. Jokingly, I started singing: "We're driving home for Christmas ..." Then, whenever the street lights shone inside the car, I started writing down lyrics". Rea said "Driving Home for Christmas" is a "car version of a carol",[7][8] and that he wrote it for Van Morrison, but did not manage to get it to him.[9]

Rea never played the song live until one year at Hammersmith Odeon, he recalls: "the gig was on 21 December, so the road crew kept badgering me to do it. I went, 'If I’m going to sing this fucking song, we’re gonna do it properly.' So we hired 12 snow cannons. When we started the song, you couldn’t hear it for the noise of the crowd, and we let go with the machines. We put three feet of artificial snow in the stalls. The venue charged me £12,000 to clean it up".[8]

It was used in Christmas commercials for supermarket chain Iceland in 1997, 1998, and 2011 respectively, with the latter featuring a cover by Stacey Solomon.[10] An alternative version of the single was released in Japan as "Snow".[11]


Rea never planned to write a Christmas song. It was several years later that during testing pianos with keyboard player Max Middleton found a tune which fitted the lyrics. Initially, it was released as a B-side (in 1986s single "Hello Friend"[12]), but afterwards was re-recorded with some strings, Middleton played the distinctive jazzy intro, and they did a typical 1950s Christmas carol-type arrangement.[8]

Music video[edit]

A video clip was broadcast on 25 December 1986 by Dutch pop music TV show TopPop.[13]

In 2009, twenty-one years after the song was first released, an original video was made in aid of Shelter; all proceeds from digital download were donated to the charity. The celebrities who featured in the video were David Coleman, Mike Read, David Hamilton, Martin Shaw, Kristian Digby, Gail Porter, Ian St John, Jimmy Greaves, Lizzie Cundy, Ewen MacIntosh, Carol Decker, Matt Di Angelo, Mark Brennan, Giles Vickers-Jones and Lionel Blair. (Andy Abraham, Mark Chamberlain and Kirsten O'Brien were scheduled to appear but did not make the final cut). Of the project, Rea stated "I wanted to do something special this Christmas and what better way than to help keep a roof over people’s heads when they need it most – at Christmas. By teaming up with Shelter we can hopefully make a difference".[14]

Track listing[edit]

1."Driving Home for Christmas"4:33
2."Hello Friend" (Re-Record)4:21

Charts and certifications[edit]

In recent years it charted: in 2008 on Netherlands Digital Songs (#4), Euro Digital Tracks (#8), in 2009 on Norway Digital Songs (#3), on Billboard Japan Hot 100 in 2012 (#18) and 2014 (#23), while on Denmark Digital Songs in 2016 (#9) and 2017 (#5).[15]

Stacey Solomon version[edit]

"Driving Home for Christmas"
Single by Stacey Solomon
Released 18 December 2011
Format Digital download
Recorded 2011
Genre Pop
Length 4:01
Label Conehead Management Ltd
Songwriter(s) Chris Rea

Singer and television presenter Stacey Solomon covered the song in 2011 and it was released on 18 December 2011 as her debut single. Originally intended to be used solely in commercials for supermarket chain Iceland and cabins, it was later released as a single due to popular demand.


The single was released on 18 December 2011 on iTunes with all proceeds going to Alzheimer's Research UK and children's hospice charity Together For Short Lives. Solomon has performed the song on This Morning and Daybreak.[10]

In an interview with the British newspaper The Sun, Solomon said that she was nervous about going head-to-head with the winner of that year's series of The X Factor, "If I got Christmas number one it would be the best feeling in the world," she said. "I'd be ecstatic. I don't know if I'd be able to look Simon Cowell in the eye! No, I don't think he'd talk to me!"[10][34] She subsequently said that she was not disappointed that the single did not make it into the UK top 20.[35]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download
1."Driving Home for Christmas"3:55
2."Driving Home for Christmas" (Alternative version)3:16


Chart (2011) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[36] 27

Other versions[edit]

Other artists who have covered the song include:


  1. ^ a b c "Official Charts > Chris Rea". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 30 December 2017. 
  2. ^ James Masterton (21 August 2013). "Top 40 Annual 2012". James Masterton. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Rob Hastings (13 December 2010). "All we want for Christmas is an old festive song". The Independent. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Media Monkey (2 December 2010). "Mariah Carey top of the tree at Christmas". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Lauren Kreisler (19 December 2013). "Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You tops 1 million sales!". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Rob Copsey (12 December 2014). "I'm streaming of a white Christmas: Mariah and The Pogues set to enter Christmas Number 1 race?". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Today: Wednesday 16th December". BBC. 16 December 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c Dave Simpson (19 December). "Chris Rea: how we made Driving Home for Christmas". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 December 2017.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ Henry Yates (1 December 2015). "An Interview With The Straight-Talking, No-F**ks-Given Chris Rea". TeamRock. Retrieved 10 December 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c Blackburn, Jen (2011-11-26). "Stacey Solomon in Xmas No1 race | The Sun |Showbiz|TV". The Sun. Retrieved 2011-12-20. 
  11. ^ "Chris Rea - Snow on Amazon.co.uk". 
  12. ^ "Hello Friend". Discogs. Retrieved 10 December 2017. 
  13. ^ "Chris Rea - Driving Home For Christmas • TopPop". TopPop&YouTube. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2017. 
  14. ^ "Chris supports Shelter this Christmas". Shelter. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2011. 
  15. ^ "Chris Rea chart results". Billboard. Billboard. Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  16. ^ "Chris Rea – Driving Home for Christmas". AustrianCharts.at. Retrieved 5 January 2018. 
  17. ^ "Chris Rea – Driving Home for Christmas". Ultratop.be. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  18. ^ "Chris Rea – Driving Home for Christmas". DanishCharts.com. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  19. ^ "Track Top-40 Uge 50, 2017". Hitlisten. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  20. ^ "Chris Rea – Driving Home for Christmas". FinnishCharts.com. Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  21. ^ "Chris Rea – Driving Home for Christmas (In German)". MusicLine.de. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  22. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". IRMA. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2011. 
  23. ^ "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 30 December 2017. 
  24. ^ "Driving Homse For Christmas - Japan Hot 100". Billboard. Billboard. Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  25. ^ "Chris Rea – Driving Home for Christmas". DutchCharts.nl. Retrieved 30 December 2017. 
  26. ^ "Chris Rea – Driving Home for Christmas". NorwegianCharts.com. Archived from the original on 9 November 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  27. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  28. ^ "SloTop50 – Slovenian official singles chart". slotop50.si. Retrieved 25 December 2016. 
  29. ^ "Chris Rea – Driving Home for Christmas". SwedishCharts.com. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  30. ^ "Sverigetopplistan – Sveriges Officiella Topplista". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 30 December 2017. 
  31. ^ "Chris Rea – Driving Home for Christmas". HitParade.ch. Retrieved 31 December 2017. 
  32. ^ "Chris Rea "Driving Home For Christmas"". IFPI Denmark. December 19, 2017. Retrieved January 3, 2018. 
  33. ^ "British single certifications – Chris Rea – Driving Home For Christmas". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 15, 2017.  Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Enter Driving Home For Christmas in the search field and then press Enter.
  34. ^ Published Saturday, 26 November 2011, 09:35 GMT (26 November 2011). "Stacey Solomon to release Iceland track as single - Music News". Digital Spy. Retrieved 20 December 2011. 
  35. ^ Sperling, Daniel (1 November 2012). "Stacey Solomon: 'Simon Cowell could win I'm a Celebrity'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  36. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  37. ^ Christmas with the Bachelors
  38. ^ Michael Ball Christmas
  39. ^ Album: Joe McElderry, Classic Christmas (UCJ)
  40. ^ A Glimpse of Stocking
  41. ^ The High Kings Last FM
  42. ^ Lucy Rose BBC
  43. ^ [1]
  44. ^ [2]

External links[edit]