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19# The true story behind Last Christmas

4 min read

Here’s the surprising history behind your favorite Christmas Carols!
What if “The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, Frosty and the “One Horse Open Sleigh” had nothing to do with Christmas?
Singing Christmas songs goes hand in hand with baking Christmas treats, listening our favorite Christmas tales, watching our favorite Christmas movies, and not only.
Like everything around this period of the year, everything has a story.
From songs that have been saved from being erased forever to not really knowing for sure where a song came from, here is the history of a few Christmas Carols you know and sing still today!

Enjoy our Advent Calendar 2022!

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🎄🎅🏻 THERE ARE ONLY 6 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS 🎅🏻🎄

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Wham!’s “Last Christmas” is absolutely a Christmas classic, and we always love hearing it every year in this period of the year.
You sure love it too, and fans have tried to get it to be Christmas song number one, in tribute to George Michael, who passed away on Christmas Day in 2016.

But do you know the fascinating history of the song?
What inspired it?
Well, George Michael both produced and wrote the song, and it became part of a double A-side single with ‘Everything She Wants’.
The song actually has very little to do with Christmas, and It’s mainly about a failed relationship, and coming face to face with them a year later.
Only the phase ‘Last Christmas’, when the relationship comes to a head, actually refers to the festive season.

The iconic video sees George and Andrew Ridgeley join their girlfriends to see friends at a ski resort, with some scenes filmed at Saas-Fee, Switzerland.
Andrew is dating a girl, the model Kathy Hill, who was previously with George, and the song is in fact aimed at her. A flashback shows George giving her a brooch, while in the present day Andrew is now wearing it.
How dare she!
The video features also the duo’s backing singers Pepsi and Shirlie, as well as a very brief appearance from Spandau Ballet bassist Martin Kemp, the boyfriend and future husband of Shirlie Holliman.
And It was also the last time George had no beard!
The video marked the last filmed appearance George in this way, as he sported a beard in the video for ‘Everything She Wants’, and he kept the look going for the rest of his career.

Andrew later revealed that the song came about when they were visiting George’s parents.
They were sitting together relaxing with the television on in the background when, almost unnoticed, George disappeared upstairs for an hour or so. When he came back down, he had the song.
Interestingly, although It was a huge hit, it never reached number 1 (at least…for 36 years).
Originally, the Christmas number one battle of 1984 looked to be between Wham! and Frankie Goes to Hollywood with ‘The Power of Love’.
However, the Band Aid big project from Bob Geldof and Midge Ure came about, meaning that Wham! had to settle for second place that year.
George also took part in Band Aid!
Wham! donated all of their ‘Last Christmas/Everything She Wants’ royalties to the Ethiopian famine.

In any case, for 36 years, Last Christmas was the best-selling UK single ever to not hit the top, with over 2 million copies sold.
In 2017, it reached number 2, equalling its highest peak, after George Michael fans began campaigning for it to get the Christmas number 1 in tribute of the singer, after his death on Christmas Day, 2016.
And It FINALLY reached number one in 2021!
It felt like it was never going to happen, but Wham! finally achieved the number one with ‘Last Christmas’ in the first week that year.
Thanks to heavy Christmas Day streams and downloads in the final week of 2020, Wham! overtook LadBaby and Mariah Carey to grab the number one single, after 36 years of waiting.

But did you know that George Michael was even accused of plagiarism?
On behalf of the writers of the song ‘Can’t Smile Without You’, made famous by Barry Manilow and The Carpenters, publishing company Dick James Music sued George in the mid-1980s, claiming that ‘Last Christmas’ used the same melody.
However, the case was dismissed.

Among the covers of the years are Whigfield, Billie Piper, Coldplay, Kylie Minogue, Jimmy Eat World, Joe McElderry, Crazy Frog (yes), Cascada, Ariana Grande, Carly Rae Jepsen, Taylor Swift, Glee Cast, and Gwen Stefani and, in2017, it was announced that a film inspired by the song was being made. Emma Thompson’s co-writer Bryony Kimmings also revealed that the late George Michael collaborated on the concept for Last Christmas before his death in 2016.

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🎄🎅🏻 THERE ARE ONLY 6 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS 🎅🏻🎄

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MORE STORIES
🎄 ADVENT CALENDAR 2018
🎄 ADVENT CALENDAR 2019
🎄 ADVENT CALENDAR 2020
🎄 ADVENT CALENDAR 2021

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