Although the vast majority of classic Christmas songs were recorded in the early to mid-20th century, Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” is a rare exception.
Written in 1979 during the sessions for his classic 1980 solo album McCartney II, “Christmastime” is an almost pointedly untraditional track. While it features the simple and direct lyrics and uncomplicated arrangement common to many Christmas songs, it’s also a pop-rock number that was made with the synthesizers that were ubiquitous at the time. While that orchestration has made the song less timeless than other holiday tunes, it’s still a charming song that brings joy to millions of listeners every year.
Here are the five best cover versions of “Wonderful Christmastime.”
Although Kylie Minogue and Mika 2016 cover of “Wonderful Christmastime” features the same arrangement as the original, its vocal is very different. By making the song into a duet, the Australian songstress and the English singer-songwriter and made the track warmer, livelier and be more romantic.
4. Demi Lovato
Recorded for the Target-exclusive Christmas compilation 2008 album All Wrapped Up, Demi Lovato’s “Wonderful Christmastime” is very different from McCartney version, but it still succeeds on its own merits. It highlights include Lovato’s soaring vocal and its eminently danceable enjoyable pop-rock arrangement.
Most covers of “Wonderful Christmastime” lean away from the original track synthpop leanings by bringing in live instrumentation. However, pop rock band Eleventyseven went against the grain when covering the song for their 2012 EP Regifted. As it turns out, “Christmastime” works just as well with autotuned vocals.
2. The Shins
Musically, indie rock band The Shins don’t immediately come to mind when making a list of artists who would be likely to cover a song like “Wonderful Christmastime.” Nevertheless, the group’s noise pop-flavored rendition of the track is a delight and the best part of the 2012 Starbucks sponsored compilation album, Holidays Rule.
1. Diana Ross
Predictably, Diana Ross’ version of “Wonderful Christmastime” is simply sublime. The iconic soul singer really makes the track her own with a tastefully muted orchestral arrangement, some delightful vocal improvisations and a life-affirming take on the song’s final chorus.