My Christmas song today is, ‘Last Christmas’. This is a song by English pop duo ‘Wham!’ The song was released in December 1984. It was written and produced by George Michael and has been covered by many artists since its original release.
The song reached Number 1 in Denmark, Slovenia and Sweden and Number 2 in eight countries; Belgium, Netherlands, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Wham! donated all their royalties to the Ethiopian famine. In a UK-wide poll in December 2012, it was voted eighth on the ITV television special ‘The Nation’s Favourite Christmas Song’. It was the most-played Christmas song of the 21st century in the UK until it was overtaken by ‘Fairytale of New York’ in 2015.
‘Last Christmas’ had its beginnings in 1984, while George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley were visiting Michael’s parents. It was written by Michael in his childhood bedroom. Michael played Ridgeley the introduction and chorus melody to ‘Last Christmas’, which Ridgeley later called "a moment of wonder".
The song was recorded in August 1984, at ‘Advision Studios’ in London. George Michael had written, performed, produced and played every single instrument on the track. With a Linn 9000 drum machine, a Roland Juno 60 synth and sleigh bells, they began recording the song in the summer. The only people in the studio were engineer, Chris Porter and two assistants. According to Porter, he said, “You’ve got the happiness of the rhythm track, but against that, you’ve got the sadness of the unrequited love".
Many of us have experienced being let down in our romantic ventures. My song today, ‘Last Christmas’ evokes such experiences. There is no fun in ‘giving one’s heart away’, only to discover that the other person didn’t want it. The experience is one that invites humiliation and has a tendency to self-deprecate; it lowers future expectations and sour new experiences.
I have read, that ‘catching romance on the rebound’ is considered by some psychologists to represent the body’s sub-conscious intention of ‘fighting back’ in a bid to maintain self-respect. Anyone who has ever experienced a ‘relationship on the rebound’ will be able to relate with this sentiment. As a marriage guidance counsellor in my past working life, I have met a number of people, whom after discovering their partner’s infidelity with another man/woman has gone out, got drunk and had a ‘one-night stand’ and sex with a stranger. Often feelings of revulsion and revenge go hand-in-hand in the emotional maelstrom of a disturbed heart.
On a much lighter note, as a teenager who had the reputation of being ‘a bad boy’ where young women were concerned, I had a degree of romantic gullibility that would have challenged the credulity of a crab pretending to go straight. Part of me wanted to fall in love with every attractive young woman I met, while another part of me made me end the relationship as soon as it looked like it might start to get serious and lead to a fuller commitment.
As a young man in his late teens, my Christmases were always happiest when I was attending a party or a dance with a beautiful young woman on my arm, while experiencing disappointment on other Christmas occasions when I was without a girlfriend to hand. I must also admit, however, that there are few fond memories of any Christmas, where I was courting the same beautiful girl between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. There were always too many beautiful young women to get to know and not enough time or stamina in a young man’s life to know them all. I told you that I was a ‘bad boy’.
It took me until my late sixties, and the first meeting with my wife, Sheila, in Haworth before I knew for certain that the love I’d found would last until my very ‘last Christmas’. Sheila and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Love and peace Bill xxx