From the vantage point of 2018 it’s hard to piece together exactly who or what Shakin’ Stevens actually was. Pop’s eras blur as the decades go by, but basically he was around in the 80s, and pretended he was from the 1950s. He was probably that era’s Jack White. This is what he looked like.
Anyway, his main relevance these days involves the annual dusting off of Merry Christmas Everyone, which was Christmas Number One in 1985. Turns out he actually recorded it in the summer of 1984.
From a festive edition of the Guardian’s How We Made:
“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? There was no way we could compete with such a high-profile charity single, so we held our song back for a year.
The Radio 1 “sleighlist” – the Christmas playlist – only lasted three weeks then, so you didn’t have long to get to No 1. Merry Christmas Everyone went from 38 to 10, then 2, and then it hit the top spot, by which time the rereleased Band Aid single was at No 3. I’m thrilled that people still play our song every year. It’s nice to be part of Christmas.”
The balls on that man! Not just the idea that only a charity juggernaut packed with the country’s biggest recording artists could possibly stand in the way of Number One, but the absolute certainty that Shaky’s pop currency would still allow a Christmas Number One bid twelve months later. He was right though.