Paul McCartney ‘Wonderful Christmastime’: The Mood Is Right

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The picture sleeve of the 1979 original

Paul McCartney originally wrote “Wonderful Christmastime” during his sessions for 1980’s McCartney II album. The song was actually released in 1979 as a holiday single but wasn’t included on the album. It reached #6 in the U.K. but with U.S. charts, er, frozen, at year-end, it was only a modest chart hit stateside at just #28. It’s since become a modern holiday standard.

He was asked about the song decades later in 2022. “When I was writing ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ I was trying to capture [the party aspect of the holiday season]. I did hope it would keep coming back – which it has. Sometimes people will go into a shop and hear it a little too much, but I don’t care! I’m happy!

“And you know what, I’m thinking about Liverpool Christmas parties, that’s really all I’m doing with that song. ‘The mood is right, let’s raise a glass, the spirit’s up’ – you know, all the stuff you do at Christmas. Particularly with my old Liverpool family parties.”

Forbes reported that the songwriting and performance royalties earn McCartney somewhere in the neighborhood of $400,000 per year.

Watch the 1979 original, our classic video

When McCartney tours, tickets are available here and here.

NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon unveiled an updated, a cappella rendition of the modern holiday classic on its Dec. 20, 2016 broadcast, featuring the cast of the animated movie Sing, which opened in theaters the next day. The pre-taped piece was set up like the opening credits of The Brady Bunch, with Fallon appearing in the center square surrounded by members of The Tonight Show‘s house band, The Roots.

As the song begins, though, some of the celebrities who voice the characters of the family film appear in various squares. There’s Reese Witherspoon! Hey, that’s Scarlett Johannson! Is that Matthew McConaughey? Sure is.

Then, as the humans are replaced one at a time by their animated counterparts, they switch back to the actors. There’s Seth MacFarlane! And at around the 1:00 minute mark, the song’s author appears… Sir Paul McCartney, to help finish things off.

Bah Humbug! The clip has been removed from YouTube!

Related: Gift Guide: Classic rock Christmas albums

On Dec. 15, 2012, McCartney appeared on Saturday Night Live in a holiday sketch with Martin Short, offering a surprise performance of his song.

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  1. the Septic Avenger
    #1 the Septic Avenger 23 December, 2021, 14:50

    If Paul ever gets around to finishing that demo he might have something there. Such a shame that the person who wrote Yesterday, Let It Be, Hey Jude and so many other fantastic songs couldn’t come up with something befitting such a special, fun time of year. Compare this to his former songwriting partner’s Happy Christmas: War Is Over and you just have to wonder.

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