Mistletoe and Wine

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"Mistletoe and Wine"
Mistletoe & Wine - Cliff Richard single cover.jpg
Single by Cliff Richard
from the album Private Collection: 1979–1988
B-side "Marmaduke"
Released 21 November 1988
Format 7" Single, CD-Single
Recorded 6–10 June & 12–13 July 1988 RG Jones Recording Studios/Wimbledon
Genre Christmas, pop
Length 4:11
Label EMI 203024
Songwriter(s) Jeremy Paul, Leslie Stewart and Keith Strachan
Producer(s) Cliff Richard
Cliff Richard singles chronology
"Two Hearts"
"Mistletoe and Wine"
"The Best of Me"
"Two Hearts"
"Mistletoe and Wine"
"The Best of Me"

"Mistletoe and Wine" is a Christmas song made famous as a single by Cliff Richard in 1988.

The song was written by Jeremy Paul, Leslie Stewart and Keith Strachan for a musical called Scraps, which was an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl" set in Victorian London.


Scraps was first performed at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, London in 1976.[1] The musical was renamed and adapted for television by HTV in 1987, and featured Roger Daltrey, Paul Daneman, Jimmy Jewel and Twiggy.[2] As originally conceived, "Mistletoe and Wine" had a different meaning from that for which it has come to be known. The writers wanted a song that sounded like a Christmas carol, intending it to be sung ironically while the little matchgirl is kicked out into the snow by the unfeeling middle classes. By the time the musical transferred to television, the song had become a lusty pub song sung by the local whore, as played by Twiggy.[1]

Cliff Richard version[edit]

Richard liked the song, but changed the lyrics to reflect a more religious theme (which the writers accepted).[3]

Richard's ninety-ninth single, it became his twelfth UK number one single, spending four weeks at the top in December 1988 and selling 750,000 copies in the process. In the short six-week period since its release, it became the highest-selling single of 1988. Simultaneously, it also spent four weeks at the top of the Irish Singles Chart. In December 2007 the single re-entered the UK Singles Chart by virtue of downloads, peaking at number 68.[4]

One of the record breaking statistics often cited about Cliff Richard is his achievement of number one hit singles in five consecutive decades.

Richard's version of the song was also used in a British public information film about drink driving. The film was part of the Drinking And Driving Wrecks Lives campaign, which films were shown during ad breaks over the Christmas period.[citation needed] This version also appeared in BBC Two's 2015 comedy-drama A Gert Lush Christmas in the scene where Dan (Russell Howard), his girlfriend Lisa (Hannah Britland) and his family are having Christmas Dinner.[citation needed]

The boy singing a high solo in the end of the song is James Rainbird.[citation needed]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

With lyrics in Swedish by Ingela "Pling" Forsman as Juletid ("Christmastime"), Carola Søgaard and Christer Sjögren recorded the song on the 1991 Christmas album Jul.[14]


  1. ^ a b "The Stories of the Christmas Hits". BBC News Online. BBC. 2008-12-22. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  2. ^ "The Little Match Girl on IMDB". Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  3. ^ John McKie, Mistletoe and Wine's political beginnings, BBC News, 14 December 2013
  4. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Cliff Richard – Mistletoe & Wine". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  6. ^ "Ultratop.be – Cliff Richard – Mistletoe & Wine" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  7. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Cliff Richard – Mistletoe & Wine" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Musicline.de – Cliff Richard Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  9. ^ "Irish Singles Chart". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 2016-12-26. 
  10. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Cliff Richard – Mistletoe & Wine". VG-lista. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  11. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  12. ^ UK Best Selling Singles of 1988
  13. ^ "British single certifications – Cliff Richard – Mistletoe & Wine". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Mistletoe & Wine in the search field and then press Enter.
  14. ^ "Jul" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. 1991. Retrieved 6 August 2016. 
Preceded by
"First Time" by Robin Beck
UK number one single
(by Cliff Richard)

3 December 1988 – 31 December 1988
Succeeded by
"Especially for You" by Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue