Holiday Music Countdown: Number 8, the admission’s free

I realize some people are weary of holiday music by now — particularly those who work in retail and have been listening to it since well before Thanksgiving. But we’re getting to my very favorite songs now, and the best is yet to come! (Find previous holiday countdown posts here.)

8. Step Into Christmas (The Wedding Present, Elton John)

Cover of A Lump of Coal

Elton John (now Sir Elton Hercules John) released "Step Into Christmas" in 1974 on the underappreciated album Caribou. It’s upbeat and energized, and there’s everything in the world to recommend it. But the version I prefer is by The Wedding Present, a band from England that has a strong post-punk vibe. For this song, they’ve kept the vibrancy, but they’ve dropped a lot of the polish and bounciness, as well as Elton John’s characteristic piano and keyboards; in their place they’ve substituted buzzy, distorted guitars. The singer, David Gedge, has a raspy quality to his voice, and sings with a noticeably more British accent than Sir Elton does. (The Wedding Present is from Leeds, England, much farther north than Elton John’s Middlesex.) The result is a more abrasive song that manages — counter to the standard image of punk and post-punk — to be melodic and happy. Although I grew up in the 70s and still love much from that decade, I lean a bit to the 90s version, the one by The Wedding Present. Which version anyone prefers is a matter of taste, of course. I’d love for you to listen to both and give your opinion. There’s a video of each on YouTube, but the audio quality is so poor for both that I’d hate for you to judge on that basis. (Listen if you like: Elton John and The Wedding Present.) You can check out a sample of the Elton John version, and I suspect you’ve heard it elsewhere. The Wedding Present’s version doesn’t seem to be readily available though, so I’ll share it with you here: "Stepping Into Christmas" by The Wedding Present. Which is your favorite? Leave a comment or send me an email. (Bob, I think I can guess which you prefer, but maybe you’ll surprise me.)

2 replies on “Holiday Music Countdown: Number 8, the admission’s free”

Comments are closed.