Mistletoe and Wine

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"Mistletoe and Wine"
Single by Cliff Richard
from the album Private Collection: 1979–1988
Released21 November 1988
Recorded6–10 June & 12–13 July 1988
StudioRG Jones, London
GenreChristmas, pop
LabelEMI 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"
Music video
"Mistletoe and Wine" on YouTube

"Mistletoe and Wine" is a Christmas song made famous as a chart-topping 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 The Little Match Girl 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 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, in 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]

It became 1988's Christmas number one single on 18 December 1988, beating the likes of Petula Clark, Kylie Minogue & Jason Donovan (who got 1988's Christmas number two with "Especially for You" and who ended up spending three weeks at number one in January 1989 with that song), Erasure, Phil Collins, U2 and Angry Anderson to the Christmas top spot.

The music video depicts a Christmas setting with Richard singing the song alongside carollers and a marching band.

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Stories of the Christmas Hits". BBC News Online. BBC. 22 December 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
  2. ^ "The Little Match Girl on IMDB". Retrieved 27 December 2011.
  3. ^ John McKie, Mistletoe and Wine's political beginnings, BBC News, 14 December 2013
  4. ^ a b ""Cliff Richard": Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  5. ^ "Cliff Richard – Mistletoe & Wine". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  6. ^ "Cliff Richard – Mistletoe & Wine" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  7. ^ "Cliff Richard – Mistletoe & Wine" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Cliff Richard – Mistletoe and Wine" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts.
  9. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Mistletoe and Wine". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  10. ^ "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. ^ "OLiS – oficjalna lista sprzedaży – single w streamie" (Select week 22.12.2023–28.12.2023.) (in Polish). OLiS. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  13. ^ "SloTop50 – Slovenian official singles chart". slotop50.si. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  14. ^ UK Best Selling Singles of 1988
  15. ^ "Danish single certifications – Cliff Richard – Mistletoe & Wine". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  16. ^ "British single certifications – Cliff Richard – Mistletoe and Wine". British Phonographic Industry.