Every year we whack on the same Christmas songs, from the radio to the department store elevator, throughout December (And sometimes November too!) You’d have to be living under a very Grinch-like rock not to have heard these festive favourites! Even as far back as 1954 when Bing Crosby was dreaming of a white Christmas, you wont find a Christmas compilation without such classics! But how much do these songs make year in, year out?
1. Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade
First on our list is Merry Christmas Everybody by Slade. The song was penned by lead vocalist Noddy Holder and was released in 1973. The song was so popular it remained at the top spot for nine weeks, into February 1974. And every year since it has made an eye-watering £500,000!
2. Fairytale of New York – The Pogues feat Kirsty McColl
Released on 23rd November 1987, the song had already undergone several rewrites since its initial conception in 1985. When it was finally released as a duet with Pogues lead vocalist Shane Macgowan and Kirsty McColl it became one of the most beloved Christmas songs in history. Perhaps this is why it still continues to rake in £400,000 a year in royalties!
3. All I want for Christmas – Mariah Carey
Released on 1st November 1994, Mariah Carey wrote the christmas classic herself alongside Walter Afanasieff. It was the lead single from her first holiday album “Merry Christmas”. In 2016 Mariah released a cartoon movie of the same name, based on the original song. Not that she needed to, since royalties are still bringing in £376,000 a year!
4. White Christmas – Bing Crosby
Originally sung by Irving Berlin in 1942, it wasn’t until Bing Crosby leant his vocals to the song that it became a christmas hit. The version sung by Bing is the world’s best-selling single with estimated sales in excess of 100 million copies worldwide. So it will come as no surprise that the royalties still make £328,000 per year!
5. Last Christmas – Wham!
Written and produced by the late great George Michael, his christmas classic was released in 1984 as a double A-side with “Everything she wants”. In Germany, the song is the most successful Christmas single of all time, having spent 124 weeks on the German Singles Chart and attained a peak position of number 4. It has charted every year since 1997. In January 2008, the song fell from number 4 to number 64 there, also making it the biggest fall out of the top 10 on the singles chart. But it still makes £300,000 each year in royalties!
6. Wonderful Christmas Time – Paul McCartney
Wonderful Christmas Time is the 1979 McCartney classic, due to the many cover versions the ex-Beatle singer makes around £400,000 a year in royalties. £260,000 from his version alone!
7. Stop the Cavalry – Jona Lewie
The song peaked at number three in the UK Singles Chart in December 1980, at one point only being kept from number one by two re-issued songs by John Lennon, who had been murdered on 8 December. Despite this, Stop the Cavalry still makes a very respectable £120,000 a year in royalties!
8. 2000 Miles – The Pretenders
Considered a Christmas song, it has been released on various Christmas compilation albums. While most people believe the title to refer to the distance between two long-distance lovers who miss each other over the holidays, it is actually meant to be for James Honeyman-Scott, the group’s original guitar player, who died the year before the song was released. £102,000 a year in royalties!
9. Mistletoe & Wine – Cliff Richard
Although Cliff himself didn’t write the song, he made it the christmas hit that it still is to this day. The song was written by Jeremy Paul, Leslie Stewart and Keith Strachan for a musical called Scraps, which was an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl” set in Victorian London. Thanks to Cliff, £100,000 a year goes into the writers pockets!
10. Stay Another Day – East 17
Again, not technically a Christmas song but released at Christmas time in 1994. It was the only UK number 1 for 90s boy band East 17. The Christmas bells at the end of the song were added at the very last moment in order to cash in on the lucrative Christmas singles market, and it paid off. Quite literally as the song still brings in £97,000 a year for the bands lead singer and song writer Tony Mortimer!
So there we have it! It just goes to show all you need is one good song at Christmas, and you’ll never be skint again!