“Everyone Wants to Know How Much I Make”: Noddy Holder on Merry Xmas Everybody | Music

II’m about halfway through my interview with Noddy Holder – like in Slade’s “It’s Chrissstmass” Noddy Holder – and I really need to ask him. this question. Except, isn’t that a little rude? A man’s finances are his personal kingdom …

“I bet I know what you’re going to ask,” Holder laughs. “You’re going to ask me… how much money do I earn each year?” Everyone wants to know how much money we make!

Not a day goes by without someone shouting “It’s Chrisssstmass! »To me at the top of their voice

It is certainly a valid question. Merry Xmas Everybody was released in 1973 (Slade’s third No.1 after Cum On Feel The Noize and Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me) and has been on the charts eight times in the ’80s, twice in the’ 90s, and every year since. 2006.

It is currently number 30 on the charts, has been streamed 88 million times on Spotify, and was released for the first time this year with a video, an animation that has had over 150,000 views and is counting. Should the royalties certainly roll Holder in top hats, platform shoes and luxury shampoo for sideburns?

“Well, I can’t give a number, because it’s just different every year,” Holder says cryptically. “Some years it is used in an advertisement or a movie. There were all kinds of covers, Spice Girls, Tony Christie and Oasis ”- Noel Gallagher recorded an acoustic version for The Royle Family Christmas 2000 special. “I will get my annual PRS [Performing Right Society] statement and the range of artists who perform it on their Christmas tours is incredible. The original four Slades share the performing rights, but it turns out that Jim [Lea] and I were the main writers, so we make more.

Oh, come on, give me a number, I’m pleading. “It’s like having a successful record every year. So it’s a great pension plan, I say so, ”Holder smiles. The PRS cited £ 512,000 a year, but the Daily Mail estimates it to be more like £ 1million.

Merry Xmas Everybody was born out of a challenge from one of Jim Lea’s elderly parents and was written in one sitting after a night at the pub.

From left to right: Jim Lea, Don Powell, Noddy Holder and Dave Hill in 1973. Photograph: Features of Roger Bamber / Rex

“Jim’s mother-in-law said, ‘How come you never wrote a song that could be played every year for a birthday, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day? The first song I wrote, in 1967, was this hippie, psychedelic song called Buy Me a Rocking Chair to Watch the World Go By, but the rest of the band said it was rubbish. Jim had this melody spinning around, so he put my hook and my chorus in his verse and played it for me in his house. That night I was drinking with the locals and my best mate, our tour manager, Graham Swinnerton – Swinny – at this jazz pub called the Trumpet in Wolverhampton. I went back to my old room with my mom and dad, quite happy, and wrote the lyrics all in one go.

Slade had just completed a major European tour in July 1973; the very first band to play at Earl’s Court. Four days later, Slade’s drummer Don Powell was in a car crash, killing his girlfriend and putting him on life support for six weeks.

“The doctors said if he had to play the drums again, he had to get behind a drum set as soon as possible,” says Holder. “Our manager, Chas Chandler, decided that we had to go to New York, out of the spotlight, to record Merry Xmas Everybody. The studio was in an office complex, so we went up the stairs to add echo to the backing vocals. People went about their business with these four crazy Englishmen screaming Christmas at the top of their lungs. It was a hot summer in New York in August, so not really Christmas. Also, Don didn’t remember the drums part, so we had to record it in small pieces.

With 600,000 pre-orders, Merry Xmas Everyone went straight to No. 1 for six weeks, having sold over a million across Europe.

“So we did TV shows in Scandinavia, Germany, France and Belgium,” Holder continues. “The biggest one was Christmas Day Top Of The Pops 1973. We beat Wizzard’s I Wish It Could be Christmas Everyday to Christmas No 1 – Brummie friends and good friends – so they snuck into the audience and hit me. bombarded with cream pies. So that’s the performance I remember.

So is Holder surprised that Merry Xmas Everybody is still so loved almost 50 years later?

“We never dreamed that he would always be so popular. I coined the phrase “Look to the future now, it’s only just beginning”, because the country at the time was in terrible shape with electricians, bakers, miners and gravediggers all on strike. It is just as valid today because of the state of the country. Look to the future, it is really just beginning.

“People associate me with Christmas, as if I were Santa’s little helper. I’m sure they half-expect to see me walking down the street in wedge shoes and a top hat shouting “It’s Chrissstmass!” They forget that we had about 40 other hit singles. Not a day goes by without someone shouting “It’s Chrissstmass! To me at the top of their voices. When I do my Christmas shopping, I probably get it 40 times a day. But after 50 years, it still makes me smile.

Watch the official Merry Xmas Everybody video here.

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