With the festive season upon us and Christmas just round the corner many of us will have been dusting down those compilations of Xmas songs and revelling in the classics, while cringing at some of the awful hits we would rather forget. To get into the festive spirit I’ve compiled my ten favourite Xmas songs which I’ll be posting daily in the run up to Christmas Day. Many will have you shaking your heads in disbelief, I am sure, but others will hopefully have you singing along. As always, I’d welcome feedback and would be interested in hearing your top 10s.
Jona Lewie – Stop the Cavalry (1980)
Released in November 1980, Jona Lewie’s hit peaked at no.3 in the British charts and was kept from no.1 by Imagine and Woman that dominated the top 2 spots following the tragic murder of John Lennon. Stop the Cavalry was never intended as a Christmas song but has become a favourite on compilations because of one line, “Wish I was at home for Christmas,” accompanied by the jingling of bells. The song itself speaks of a soldier at war but mentions different periods of conflicts, despite the music video seeming to be set in the trenches of the First World War. The “cavalry” of the title could cover many periods of history going back to the heavy cavalry of the Middle Ages but the opening lines are addressed to Winston Churchill, while later mention is made of the “nuclear fall out zone.” I think Jona Lewie’s song is generic of all conflict in history and though the soldier wishes to be home for Christmas I think the overwhelming message is just a longing to be away from war, wherever that may be.
Stop the Cavalry may seem like a strange choice for my no.1 Christmas song. I love it not just because it’s a great song but because of the subject matter. While Christmas is a time of enjoyment and festivities it is important to have a moment of reflection and remember the important things, especially those in less fortunate positions than ourselves. Whenever I hear the song I think of soldiers throughout the ages whose Christmases were spent dodging bullets and wishing they were home. Such tales as the temporary peace in World War I between the British and the Germans in the trenches during Christmas or the football match they played together are always heart-warming to hear, and reassure me none of those men wanted to be there but instead home with their loved ones. Jona Lewie’s song brilliantly captures the plight of the brave men and women that fight for the good of their countries and face unimaginable horror in the fulfilment of their duties. It exposes the pointlessness of war. At Christmas the soldiers long to just be home, something I hope our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will have the pleasure of sooner rather than later.
Final Top Ten:-
1) Jona Lewie – Stop the Cavalry
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