• An offbeat pitch for Christmas number 1

    [A dedicated blog has been set up for this campaign – keep an eye on it for more information and get buying online on the 14th of December! Thanks for your support!]

    Even though I was never a big pop-music fan I always remember being entranced by the race for Christmas number 1 as a child. It was never about wanting one song or another to win but simply about the heightened excitement of the race that surrounded the whole exercise. None of the other 51 weeks of the chart topping year seemed to matter nearly as much as what song was number 1 for the 25th of December.

    Nowadays it’s different. For a start we can be pretty sure that the winner of X Factor will be number 1 in Ireland as well as the UK. How sad is it that the favourite for Number 1 is an as yet undecided artist singing an as yet unknown song?

    If it’s not X-Factor it will probably be Westlife and whoever it is they’re unlikely to have an actual Christmas song – at best it will be remotely “wintery”, thanks largely to the addition of bells to an otherwise neutral song (see East 17’s “Stay” for further information).

    So here’s my idea to counter this boring, dull trend. I want to get Tom Waits’ “Christmas card from a Hooker in Minneapolis” to number 1 for Christmas.

    If you’ve not heard this song before let me say this before you do – it is the absolute antithesis to what generally gets the Number 1 slot in Ireland nowadays.

    For a start it’s not a manufactured song sung by a manufactured artist. Secondly it’s extremely funny and not a drab, safe ballad. Finally it’s actually packed full of real emotion – it’s tragic, beautiful and hilarious all at once.

    It’s absolutely perfect as a protest against everything that’s wrong with music today and it even has some real humanity in it to boot.

    And let’s not beat around the bush – it would also be very enjoyable to hear the song on mainstream radio, or even to hear its title read out as part of a chart line up.

    Getting it into the charts will be tough but not impossible. The song is available on iTunes, Eircom’s music service and Sony’s Connect – all of which are counted in the IRMA charts. Next week will be the one sales need to be made on, so there’s a short time frame to get the job done but selling a few thousand songs (that’s all that’s needed) at around €1 each a pop is more than do-able.

    So who’s up for it? At the very least it will be a bit of fun. I’ve started a blog here to be the campaign’s ‘Hub’ and have also started a Facebook group for anyone looking to join – more info on the blog.

    Here’s a live version of the song, by the way, but it’s worth checking out the studio version for the full impact (on his Blue Valentine album):