Happy Holidays! Since it’s the first year of my blog, and since it’s the last year for my Annual Holiday Show on my little 20-year-old 80s radio program, STUCK IN THE 80s (on WMPG community radio in Portland, Maine), I wanted to present to you THE 31 DAYS OF 80s XMAS SONGS, or, 31 of my favorite 80s holiday musical treats.
The song for Day 9 of the 31 DAYS OF 80s XMAS SONGS is by one of my all-time favorite recording artists, who is on track to picking up her first No. 1 album in her U.K. homeland in almost 30 years – the lovely Kate Bush.
On 11.25.2016, Kate Bush released a three-disc live recording called BEFORE THE DAWN, encompassing a series of acclaimed live shows she performed in London in 2014. If it reaches No. 1 on the U.K. album chart, it will be her first chart-topping album since 1988’s THE WHOLE STORY hits compilation, which was certified 4x platinum there.
By Xmas 1980, a then-22-year-old Kate Bush already had three Top 10 U.K. albums to her credit, including her No. 1 U.K. album from that year, NEVER FOR EVER. In between NEVER FOR EVER and her fourth album, 1982’s THE DREAMING, Kate released a 5-minute holiday single (as many recording artists in the U.K. strive to do), “December Will Be Magic Again.”
Originally recorded in 1979 at Abbey Road Studio 2 London, “December Will Be Magic Again” was released for the Xmas holiday in mid-November 1980. It prolly would have charted higher than No. 29 on the U.K. singles chart had it been released closer to Xmas, but regardless of its chart peak, it remains a holiday staple. It also reached No. 13 in Ireland.
Another version of “December Will Be Magic Again” exists, a different mix from around the same time that features slide whistles, and congas played by Kate’s drummer, Preston Heyman. The closet version to this was performed live on Kate’s 1979 Xmas special (the video link is below). Both versions have found their way to appear on several holiday compilations. While I am a fan of both versions, I prefer the shorter version with the congas, because that’s the first version I heard (on a 1989 U.K. Xmas compilation called IT’S CHRISTMAS), and it’s the first version I fell in love with.
Whichever version you choose to enjoy this time of year, and wherever you choose to enjoy your holiday season, this song indeed reminds you that December WILL be magic again, or at the very least, it’s a good idea…