I set out to write a Christmas song because I wanted to write something that would live on forever, as Christmas songs do.
I’d already written Cry Just A Little Bit and Breaking Up My Heart for Shakin’ Stevens, so I had an opportunity to write something Christmassy for him.
Merry Christmas Everyone was written in the middle of a heatwave - which is unusual up here in Scotland. I produced the demo standing in my shorts, sweating away in a stifling hot, airless studio, rattling jingle bells in front of a microphone. It certainly didn’t feel like Christmas!
I spent a lot of time working on the song. It started with the chord thing at the beginning as I was sitting at the piano. I’d been playing about with a rhythm, a bit like the bass and drums on Nutbush City Limits and suddenly there was the start of the song.
It all came together and sort of did the trick. I reckon I was lucky in that it was probably the last ‘traditional’ pop Christmas song out of the door. They don’t tend to happen like that anymore, but at the time, you’d expect a Christmas song to be in the charts. We went to number one for Christmas 1985, knocking Whitney Houston’s Saving All My Love For You off the top spot.
A couple of years ago I was in a shopping centre where the song was playing and there were two girls in front of me singing along to it. I thought that was great. And whether you like the song or not, I achieved what I set out to do with it. The song lives on, it still gets played and people still enjoy singing it. It’s become part of Christmas and I created it. You can’t help but get a wee buzz from that.