It's been months since my last update so I figured I’d go festive. I've set out to find the ultimate Christmas pop and cheese compilation album. There are some songs that must be on the ultimate compilation album and so I’ve merged the worlds of Christmas, cheese and my inherent geekness to create a table of where you'll find them. The album that gets the most ticks in the right places wins the Maverick Christmas compilation award.
Now the list of songs I’m choosing are completely subjective but to attempt to give it a vague basis I’ll start with the first Christmas album I ever listened to, 1985's original "Now - The Christmas Album". To this I’ll add a number of more recent classics and a couple of forgotten pop treasures (helped by this list of 100 top Christmas songs).
I have deliberately left off most of the early 'classics' such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Andy Williams etc as they tend to be on classic Christmas albums rather than pop ones anyway (with the notable exception of the great Bing). Try "Christmas With The Rat Pack" for that sort of thing. Anything else left off there's probably a damn good reason, feel free to argue with me...
The albums I’ll be comparing are as follows. They're mostly 2008 (they all get re-released every year) but i've also chucked in a few almost identical ones from other years just to see how they compare. Most of the images link through to their listing on Amazon.
|1. Now - That's What I Call Music - The Christmas Album|
Format: Double LP
As mentioned above, my original Christmas album that I own on a slightly battered double LP. It also has the dubious honour of being the only album containing Garry Glitter's Another Rock N' Roll Christmas or Queen's Thank God It's Christmas - very different reasons why. You'll find all the Now albums also don't contain any traditional Christmas carols sung by a choir (although they do if sung by a pop star or crooner).
|3. Now XMAS: Massive Christmas Hits|
Label: Virgin TV
The 2005 Now compilation. The only other compilation i own after the 1985 double LP. I do think the original Now logo was a lot funkier.
|4. Christmas Hits|
The second biggest compilation of them all with a bumper 84 tracks. However the last CD of this is carols sung by a variety of cathedral choirs.
|5. Christmas Hits|
Label BMG TV
The 2006 version of the Christmas Hits, doesn't have the 4th CD of carols. The 3 CDs it does have aren't identical to the 2008 one either (although it does have much of the same stuff).
|7. The Best Christmas Album in the World Ever|
As far as i can tell they haven't re-released this album this year so i'm using the most recent - last year's. Also has a few carols
|Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas? (1984)||X||X||X||X|
|Wizzard - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday||X||X||X||X||X|
|Slade - Merry Xmas Everybody||X||X||X||X|
|Wham! - Last Christmas||X||X||X||X|
|Elton John - Step Into Christmas||X||X||X||X|
|Mike Oldfield - In Dulce Jubilo||X||X||X||X|
|Gary Glitter - Another Rock N' Roll Christmas||X|
|Paul McCartney - Wonderful Christmastime||X||X||X||X||X|
|Shakin' Stevens - Blue Christmas||X||X||X|
|John Lennon - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)||X||X||X||X||X|
|Greg Lake - I Believe in Father Christmas||X||X||X||X||X|
|Chris de Burgh - A Spaceman Came Travelling||X||X||X||X|
|Jona Lewie - Stop The Cavalry||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|The Beach Boys - Little Saint Nick||X||X||X||X|
|Queen - Thank God It's Christmas||X|
|Mud - Lonely This Christmas||X||X||X||X|
|Johnny Mathis - When a Child is Born (Soleado)||X||X|
|Bing Crosby - White Christmas||X||X||X||X|
|Pogues & Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale of New York||X||X||X|
|Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping||X||X||X|
|Michael Ball - Driving Home For Christmas||X||X|
|Chris Rea - Driving Home For Christmas||X||X|
|Cliff Richard - Mistletoe and Wine||X||X||X||X|
|Aled Jones - Walking In The Air||X||X||X||X|
|Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas||X||X|
|Bing Crosby & David Bowie - Little Drummer Boy||X||X||X||X|
|Shakin' Stevens - Merry Christmas Everyone||X||X|
So, to summarize this year's Now and last year's Best Christmas Album in the World Ever seem to be the most comprehensive. Both miss absolute classics though, the 2008 Now album not having Wham! and Best Christmas Album in the World Ever not having the Pogues (neither have Maria Carey). However if you accept that you'll have to download a couple of your faves on their own these are the best bet.
Christmas Hits fails to have most of the 70s or 80s classics while 101 Christmas Songs wins the prize for being the worst. Jona Lewie fans can at least rejoice that they could buy any of the 7 albums, dub a dub a dum dum .
So the Maverick Christmas Compilation award goes to 2008's Now That's What I Call Xmas. The fact that it doesn't have Wham! should never be a problem for cheesy music lovers as you all already own Wham! - The Final (their greatest hits), and if you don't, you should. Merry Christmas Everyone.