The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins: 10 Christmas songs that changed my life

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The Darkness know a thing or two about Christmas songs. But which ones have inspired, angered and moved Justin Hawkins? Let’s find out…

The Christmas song that soundtracked my childhood…

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (1982)

The boss of the blue collar Christmas! You’d better be good, for goodness sake’ are clearly words to live by. This song has been around since the 1930s, but I just read on the internet machine that it was also released by Stringbean et al as part of a Sesame Street Christmas compilation album in 1982. No-one does Christmas like Mr Snuffleupagus!”

The first Christmas carol I ever sang…

Good King Wenceslas

There was a kid at my school called Eden, and he always had an imaginatively stocked lunch box – and for once with me, that’s not a euphemism. I used to watch him devour his Penguins – the chocolate bar, not the flightless birds – and guzzle his Panda – the brand of soft drink, not the endangered bear – and wish that I were a modern day King Wenceslas with the power to force Eden to kneel before me and surrender his feast… As it were.”

The non-Christmas song that somehow makes me feel festive…

Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters (1984)

It appeared on a greatest hits of 1985 album, which my family listened to religiously after its release in November of that year. I can remember my dad carving the goose to White Wedding by Billy Idol. But I also remember my nan unwrapping the gloves that I had chosen for her just as Ray Parker Jr. delivered the line bustin’ makes me feel good,’ which sounds like Justin makes me feel good.’ You’re welcome, nan.”

The most annoying Christmas song ever…

The Hawkins Family – Christmas Hat (On My Head)

One of my uncles used to sing this song to us at Christmas when we were children. In response we would duly provide a chorus of groans and protestations in his direction. The refrain he came up with was so bloody irritating that even just thinking about it now makes me wish the last 2,000 years of human history hadn’t happened. Awful.”

The best rock Christmas song of all time…

The Darkness – Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) (2003)

Well, this one is easy. And obvious. I should know, because I sang it! It had to be ours. This is a proper Christmas song and it was built as such from the foundations up. It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios. It was produced by Bob Ezrin. It has Christmas bells on it. It has a children’s choir singing on it. It even has a robot in the video. Really, what more do you want?”

The Christmas movie with the best soundtrack…

The Muppet Christmas Carol – One Sleep ‘Til Christmas (1992)

Marley and Marley… Ah, I can’t wait for the day my child will sit with me while I watch The Muppets Christmas Carol on Christmas day. I’m really hoping for a breakthrough this year – this is the year! – otherwise I’ll just have to watch it alone as I usually do.”

The Christmas song most likely to cause an argument in the Hawkins household…

Cliff Richard – Mistletoe And Wine (1988)

Because Dan [Hawkins, guitar] and I invariably argue over who gets to take the high harmony. It’s my turn this year. He can do the ballet stuff at the end. Oh wait, is that a different song?”

The Christmas song I wish The Darkness would cover…

Aled Jones – Walking In The Air (1985)

We used to play this in rehearsal, but we have gradually prioritised other songs as our sense of wonder has yielded to despair. Years of dull drudgery has revealed to us the true meaninglessness of all existence. Also, when we do it, it’s a bit shit.”

The Christmas song most likely to make me cry…

Mud – Lonely This Christmas (1974)

[Songwriters Nicky] Chinn and [Mark] Chapman wrote brilliant songs that were catchy and moving at the same time. It chokes me up every time. It mentions an unlit Christmas tree – what could be sadder than that?”

My favourite Christmas song…

The Wombles – Wombling Merry Christmas (1974)

[Songwriter] Mike Batt is a genius and I’ll spit eggnog into the stupid faces of anyone who disagrees with me. The world would be a better place if we could all channel our inner Womble this Christmas.”

Posted on December 15th 2020, 12:00p.m.

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