Paul’s “Wonderful Christmastime” and other Fab Four holiday songs

As is the case each year during the holiday season, Paul’s Christmas song “Wonderful Christmastime” is in heavy rotation on the airwaves. This McCartney solo song was recorded in 1979 during the recording of McCartney II, with Paul laying down all the tracks himself at the home studio on his farm. Though not a Wings single, all of the members of the final configuration of Wings appeared in the video which was filmed at The Founatin Inn in Ashurst, West Sussex.

“Wonderful Christmastime” reached # 6 on the UK Singles Chart, but did not chart on The Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. Since its debut during the 1979 holiday season, it was estimated by Forbes magazine that the song has earned Paul $15 million dollars. Each holiday season the song rakes him in excess of $400,000.

Beatles fans will remember that McCartney performed “Wonderful Christmastime” on Saturday Night Live on December 15, 2012.

In addition, Beatles fans will remember that there was never an official Christmas song released by the Fab Four. However, members of the official Beatles Fan Club received a record of Christmas song in 1967 that was not released commercially. “Christmas Time Is Here Again” lived on in bootleg records and became more accessible with the advent of YouTube.com.

Ironically, Paul can be heard on Side B of the monstrously successful 1984 charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid. This song knocked out Wings’ “Mull of Kintyre” from having the distinction of being the biggest selling single in the history of the UK. It was on top of the UK Singles Charts in Christmas 1977. For whatever reason, “Mull of Kintyre” was a flop in the U.S., reaching # 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 and cracking the Top 40 for only that one week. “Mull of Kintyre” was a massive international hit that topped the charts in countless countries. Paul has never performed the song in a concert in the U.S. due to its bad performance there; however, there have been instances over the years in which he does a concert one night in the U.S. without performing “Mull of Kintyre” and then two nights later adds it to the playlist for a concert in Canada.

“Mull of Kintyre” still remains the biggest selling non-charity single in UK history.

Check out the songs below…….

It Was 50 Years Ago Today: Sam Cooke, Ringo, and Bonanza

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the tragic murder of Sam Cooke on December 10, 1964 in Los Angeles. The legendary soul singer scored a number one hit in 1957 with “You Send Me”, his first single in the Top 40. He had many Top Ten hits such “Chain Gang”, “Twistin’ the Night Away” and “Another Saturday Night”, in addition to other hits. In all, he scored 29 songs in the Top 40.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon were both Sam Cooke fans, though the Beatles never covered a Sam Cooke song.

On December 10, 1964, the day Cooke died, there was an interesting song sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The Beatles ruled the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964 with six number one hits for a total of 18 weeks in the top slot, in additional to many other Top Ten hits. Believe it or not, in December 1964 there was a number one hit entitled “Ringo”. It was sung by a most unlikely person, actor Lorne Greene. The song was unrelated to Ringo Starr or The Beatles. What were the odds that a song about Johnny Ringo, a legendary cowboy in the American old West, would reach the top of the charts in the same year that an invading British band with a drummer named Ringo would rule the music charts?

Of course, in 1964 Lorne Greene was starring as Ben Cartwright in Bonanza, the famed television series that ran from 1959-1973. Greene was also an unlikely candidate to star as the patriarch of a Nevada ranching dynasty as he was born in 1914 into an Orthodox Jewish family in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. His real name was Lyon Chaim Green and he was the son of two Russian immigrants who migrated to Canada. Greene was the second Canadian to have a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, the first of which was his fellow Ottawa native Paul Anka with “Diana” in 1957 and later with “Lonely Boy” in 1959.

“Ringo” entered the Top 40 on 7 November 1964 and stayed there for ten weeks, reaching the top slot on the December 5. It knocked The Shangri-La’s “Leader of the Pack” out of the # 1 position.

A trained actor, Greene worked in broadcasting early in his career with the Canadian Broadcasting Company; in 1940, Greene replaced Charles Jennings, the father of ABC news anchor Peter Jennings, as the chief newscaster for the CBC. He returned to acting in 1954 and five years later received the role that would define his career. Greene never stopped working after the cancellation of “Bonanza”, starring in shows like “Battlestar Galactica” and countless television movies.

Many people scratched their heads in 1964 with Greene’s # 1 hit that had the title of the famous drummer Ringo Starr whose band The Beatles had invaded and conquered America ten months before. Have a listen to “Ringo”: