The Story of... 'Merry Christmas Everyone' by Shakin' Stevens

5 December 2022, 17:21

Shakin Stevens
Picture: Epic/YouTube

By Tom Eames

"Snow is fallin', all around me..."

It's one of the cheesiest songs of all time, but we can't help but love it every Christmas.

Shakin' Stevens was one of the most popular singers of the '80s, and this gave him a huge hit in December 1985. Here's all the fascinating facts behind the classic tune:

  1. Who wrote 'Merry Christmas Everyone'?

    Bob Heatlie wrote the song specifically with Shakin' Stevens in mind. Heatlie had previously written for Shakey before, and also scored a number one with Aneka's 'Japanese Boy'.

    He wrote it in the height of summer, telling the Guardian: "I wrote the song in summer, during a heatwave. It was so hot I was wearing shorts, dripping in sweat, standing there recording with jingling bells, thinking: 'This is crazy!'"

    It was produced by Welsh guitarist and singer Dave Edmunds, who himself scored a Christmas number one in 1970 with 'I Hear You Knocking'.

  2. It was delayed a year to avoid Band Aid

    It was originally supposed to be released for Christmas 1984, but when Shaky heard about Band Aid and Wham!'s big Christmas songs, he decided to wait a year.

    "I thought the song deserved to be No 1 and didn’t want it to be a No 2, but in 1984, Band Aid released 'Do They Know It’s Christmas?'," he said.

    "There was no way we could compete with such a high-profile charity single, so we held our song back for a year."

  3. Where was the video filmed?

    Shakin' Stevens - Merry Christmas Everyone (Official Video)

    The video features a young girl named Samantha travelling by plane to a place called 'Santaworld', where she meets up with Shakey, who met her on a bus.

    Filmed in Sweden, the children in the video included Shaky's son, daughter, and their friends including child actor Sarah J Price.

    Shakey later said: "The young girl starring in it had won a competition to go to Lapland. My son was one of the kids in the log cabin full of toys. Making it was such fun.

    "The Santa was an actor – you’d see him in the canteen having a cigarette and a sherry and he couldn’t get his ’tache off.

    "Because it wasn’t snowing, we had to hire snow machines. It was the same when I did the video for 'It’s Raining', we used rain machines and I ended up absolutely soaked."

  4. What about that jumper?

    via GIPHY

    Shakey later said of his famous festive jumper in the video: "People always remind me of the embarrassing Christmas jumper in the video, but I didn’t have stylists, I just threw something on."

  5. How did it perform in the charts?

    The song reached number one in the UK in 1985, claiming that year's Christmas number one, and giving Shakey his fourth chart-topper.

    From 2007 to 2021, the song charted in the UK at peak positions 22, 36, 49, 47, 42, 46, 54, 38, 26, 17, 10, 9, 6, 6 and 6.

  6. He re-recorded it in 2015

    Shakin' Stevens - Echoes of Merry Christmas Everyone

    In 2015, Shakin' Stevens released a new version of the song as a charity single for The Salvation Army.

    The revamped version had a folk and bluegrass sound, with all proceeds going to The Salvation Army.