What songs do Ed Sheeran and Elton John parody in the 'Merry Christmas' music video?

3 December 2021, 11:32 | Updated: 16 November 2022, 16:07

Ed and Elton's 'Merry Christmas' single
Ed and Elton's 'Merry Christmas' single. Picture: Asylum/Atlantic

By Tom Eames

Ed Sheeran and Elton John channel the likes of Wham!, East 17 and Shakin' Stevens in the video for 'Merry Christmas'.

Would you believe it, but Sir Elton John has never had a Christmas number one, so he has teamed up with someone who has (Ed Sheeran) to see if he can right that musical wrong.

In doing so, Ed and Elton have looked back at various Christmas classics of the past to create a super-fun festive music video for their new duet, 'Merry Christmas'.

Ed Sheeran & Elton John - Merry Christmas [Official Video]

The song is out now, and is a serious contender for 2021's festive chart-topper, but which songs does it pay homage to?

  1. David Bowie & Bing Crosby - 'Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy'

    Ed and Elton channel Bing and Bowie
    Ed and Elton channel Bing and Bowie. Picture: Asylum/Atlantic
    Bowie and Bing
    Bowie and Bing. Picture: RCA/YouTube

    Elton and Ed first take on a previous duet between a then-young popstar and an ageing icon of music: Bing and Bowie.

    The current duo use their predecessors' famous video as a backdrop to a party, presumably hosted by the party king, Sir Elton.

  2. Mariah Carey - 'All I Want for Christmas is You'

    Ed goes all Mariah
    Ed goes all Mariah. Picture: Asylum/Atlantic
    Mariah Carey's iconic video
    Mariah Carey's iconic video. Picture: Columbia

    We're assuming Ed is going all Mariah Carey for this little segment, in which he proudly dances about in a somewhat familiar Santa dress.

  3. Shakin' Stevens - 'Merry Christmas Everyone'

    Ed and Elton love a bit of Shaky
    Ed and Elton love a bit of Shaky. Picture: Asylum/Atlantic
    Shakin' Stevens' classic music video
    Shakin' Stevens' classic music video. Picture: Epic/YouTube

    Ed and Elton hop onto a sleigh, with Ed wearing a very familiar red scarf.

    Sadly, we didn't see him go full Shakin' Stevens by grabbing a vintage Christmas jumper by the fireplace.

  4. The Snowman/Aled Jones - 'Walking in the Air'

    Ed goes walking in the air
    Ed goes walking in the air. Picture: Asylum/Atlantic
    The Snowman's classic scene
    The Snowman's classic scene. Picture: Channel 4

    Ed is perfectly cast as an adult version of the boy from the classic TV special The Snowman, as he goes walking in the air with an Elton-ified version of the title character.

  5. Wizzard - 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday'

    Ed and Elton wish it was Christmas everyday
    Ed and Elton wish it was Christmas everyday. Picture: Asylum/Atlantic
    Wizzard's festive favourite
    Wizzard's festive favourite. Picture: Wizzard/Rhino

    We really love the effort involved here. The guys behind the video has really studied the classic Top of the Pops performance of Wizzard's festive favourite, even down to the outfits and hairstyles of each band member.

    Plus, the creepy big snowman in the background is back. Plus, a certain glam band from the 2000s (more on them in a minute).

  6. Wham! - 'Last Christmas'

    via GIPHY
    via GIPHY

    There had to be a call-back to this iconic video of 'Last Christmas' by Wham!

    Ed arrives at a ski chalet, where some of his friends, one of which has the gorgeous locks of a young George Michael, have arrived.

  7. Ed Sheeran - 'Perfect'

    Ed remembers his 'Perfect' video
    Ed remembers his 'Perfect' video. Picture: Asylum/Atlantic
    The original snow angels
    The original snow angels. Picture: Asylum/Atlantic

    Yes, Ed channels himself!

    The music video for Ed's 2017 Christmas number one had already paid homage to 'Last Christmas', and Ed goes full circle by bringing back the cute cat, wooly hats and snow angels.

  8. East 17 - 'Stay Another Day'

    Ed, Michael, Jonathan and Big Narstie go all East 17
    Ed, Michael, Jonathan and Big Narstie go all East 17. Picture: Asylum/Atlantic
    East 17's classic video
    East 17's classic video. Picture: London/YouTube

    Ed joins up with Michael McIntyre, Jonathan Ross and Big Narstie (we're pretty sure he found them while they were filming a recent episode of The Wheel), and chucked on East 17's legendary white furry hooded coats.

    Even Elton passed on that ridiculous get-up.

  9. LadBaby

    "I love sausage rolls!"
    "I love sausage rolls!". Picture: Asylum/Atlantic

    There's a little mention of perhaps Ed's biggest rival, LadBaby, and his love of sausage rolls. Can Ed stop him from landing a fourth Christmas number one in a row?

  10. Wings - 'Mull of Kintyre'

    Paul McCartney's nod in the video
    Paul McCartney's nod in the video. Picture: Asylum/Atlantic
    Mull of Kintyre
    Mull of Kintyre. Picture: Capitol/YouTube

    There's a very small nod to Ed's other hero Paul McCartney, as we see a lookalike in Macca's 'Mull of Kintyre' (the 1977 Christmas number one) getup playing guitar, while a dragoon guard appears behind him.

  11. The Darkness and Mr Blobby cameos!

    The Darkness and Cherry cameo
    The Darkness and Cherry cameo. Picture: Asylum/Atlantic
    Mr Blobby cameos too!
    Mr Blobby cameos too! Picture: Asylum/Atlantic

    Blink and you'll miss them, but The Darkness appear at the end of the video, harking back to their Christmas number two track 'Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)'.

    Next to the Darkness is Ed's wife Cherry, and if you squint hard enough, you'll also see 1993's Christmas number one champion Mr Blobby!

  12. Wizzard (again)

    The end
    The end. Picture: Asylum/Atlantic
    Wizzard's homage
    Wizzard's homage. Picture: Wizzard/Rhino

    The whole thing is wrapped up in the same manner of Wizzard's famous video.

    Nice touch, lads.