Paul McCartney – Wonderful Christmas Time
|Single by Paul McCartney|
|B-side||“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reggae”|
|Released||16 November 1979|
|Format||7-inch 45 rpm|
|Recorded||30 August 1979, Lower Gate Farm, Sussex|
|Paul McCartney singles chronology|
“Wonderful Christmastime” is a 1979 Christmas song by Paul McCartney. It enjoys significant Christmas time popularity around the world. The song was later added as a bonus track on the 1993 CD reissue of Wings‘ Back to the Egg album.
The track was subsequently added as a bonus track to the 2011 reissue of the McCartney II album, with both full and edited versions included. The track was also mixed in 5.1 surround sound for inclusion on the 2007 DVD release The McCartney Years.
Background and recording
McCartney recorded the song entirely on his own during the sessions for his solo project McCartney II. Although the members of Wings are not on the recording, they do appear in the promotional music video, which was filmed at the Fountain Inn in Ashurst, West Sussex.
“Wonderful Christmastime” can be heard in the 1998 animated film Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie during Santa’s takeoff on Christmas Eve. Wings performed the song during their 1979 tour of the UK.
Reception and legacy
Following its release as a stand-alone single in the United Kingdom, “Wonderful Christmastime” peaked at No. 6 on the UK Singles Chart the week ending 5 January 1980. In the United States the single peaked at No. 83 on the Cash Box Top 100 Singles chart and No. 94 on the Record World Singles Chart, but did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
In December 1984, the single appeared at No. 10 for two weeks on Billboard‘s Christmas singles chart. It also reached No. 29 on Billboard‘s weekly Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart in early January 1996.
The song continues to receive substantial airplay every year, although some music critics consider it to be one of McCartney’s poorest compositions. Beatles author Robert Rodriguez has written of “Wonderful Christmastime”: “Love it or hate it, few songs within the McCartney oeuvre have provoked such strong reactions.”
Including royalties from cover versions, it is estimated that McCartney makes $400,000 a year from this song, which puts its cumulative earnings at near $15 million.
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- Martin Sheen, John Spencer and Stockard Channing (all parts of the cast of TV series The West Wing) covered “Wonderful Christmastime” on the NBC Celebrity Christmas album in 2000.
- Barenaked Ladies included a short synthesised instrumental cover of the song on their 2004 album Barenaked for the Holidays.
- Jump5 covered and remixed the song for their 2002 Christmas album All the Joy in the World.
- Earthsuit covered the song for Happy Christmas Vol. 3 in 2000.
- Hilary Duff released a cover of “Wonderful Christmastime” on her 2002 Christmas album Santa Claus Lane.
- Tom Mcrae contributed a cover of this song on a various artists album titled Maybe This Christmas Tree released in 2004.
- Jars of Clay recorded a cover version for their 2007 release, Christmas Songs.
- Demi Lovato did a cover on the 2008 All Wrapped Up album. This version also appears on the 2012 compilation album Now That’s What I Call Today’s Christmas and in trailers for the 2013 film A Madea Christmas.
- Family Force 5 covered the song on their 2009 Christmas album Family Force 5 Christmas Pageant.
- Amy Grant covered the song for her primetime Christmas special entitled Amy Grant: A Christmas to Remember, which aired on 15 December 1999 on CBS.
- Rahsaan Patterson covered this song on his 2008 album The Ultimate Gift.
- Helix covered the song on their 2008 Christmas album A Heavy Mental Christmas.
- The Venture Bros. co-creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer released a version of the song, performed as the characters 21 and 24, for the website Quick Stop Entertainment as part of the 2008 holiday season.
- Kelly Rowland recorded a version of the song for the 2010 release Now That’s What I Call Christmas! 4.
- Chicago featured Dolly Parton on their own version on Chicago XXXIII: O Christmas Three released in 2011.
- Eli Young Band covered the song on the 2011 compilation The Country Christmas Collection. Their version peaked at number 33 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in January 2012.
- The Shins covered the song for the Starbucks 2012 holiday cover album, Holidays Rule (McCartney also appeared on this album).
- Eleventyseven covered the song in a synthpop style for their 2012 Regifted EP.
- Paul McCartney re-recorded the song in 2013 with the a cappella group Straight No Chaser for their EP, Under the Influence: Holiday Edition.
- Leeds band Cowtown recorded a cover on a seasonal split 7″ with Menace Beach released in 2015.
- Nottingham based writer and artist Steve Oliver has announced that it will feature on the 2016 release Another Kazoo Christmas with Steve Oliver.
- Jimmy Buffett covered the song on his 2016 Christmas album ‘Tis The SeaSon.
- Kylie Minogue and Mika covered the song for Minogue’s 2016 album Kylie Christmas (Snow Queen Edition).
- “Most Popular Christmas Songs”. 9 January 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewhine, “Paul McCartney/Wings Back to the Egg (Bonus Tracks)”, Allmusic (retrieved 30 December 2012).
- Chip Madinger & Mark Easter, Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium, 44.1 Productions (Chesterfield, MO, 2000; ISBN 0-615-11724-4), p. 251.
- Sawday, Alastair (6 December 2007). “Top 10 cosy pubs”. The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Ltd. Retrieved 13 December 2009.
- Chip Madinger & Mark Easter, Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium, 44.1 Productions (Chesterfield, MO, 2000; ISBN 0-615-11724-4), p. 254.
- “Official Charts: Paul McCartney”. The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- Whitburn, Joel (2015). The Comparison Book. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 333. ISBN 0-89820-213-2.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Christmas in the Charts (1920-2004). Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 48. ISBN 0-89820-161-6.
- Craig Outhier, “Paul McCartney’s Worst Songs”, Phoenix New Times, 25 March 2010 (retrieved 30 December 2012).
- Robert Rodriguez, Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles’ Solo Years, 1970−1980, Backbeat Books (Milwaukee, WI, 2010; ISBN 978-1-4165-9093-4), p. 191.
- Alan Clayson, Paul McCartney, Sanctuary (London, 2003; ISBN 1-86074-486-9), pp 192–93.
- “Paul McCartney Continues to Have a Wonderful (Financial) Christmas Time”, blogs.forbes.com, 23 December 2010 (retrieved 15 December 2011).
- Jurek, Thom. “Review of The Ultimate Gift“. Allmusic. Retrieved 9 December 2009.
- “Holiday Havoc: THE VENTURE BROS.”. Quick Stop Entertainment. Retrieved 23 December 2008.
- “Paul McCartney, Straight No Chaser Tackle ‘Wonderful Christmas Time'”. Rolling Stone. October 16, 2013.
- Steve Oliver (2016-09-03). “Steve Oliver: Part Website, Part Blog”. Thesteveoliverblog.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-15.