Life & Style

Last Christmas for no. 1 in 2020?

At a party in Delhi recently Jyotsna Gokhale, 50, told people of how she was a part of a group that aimed to make ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham! a no. 1 worldwide hit. “Please do listen to it on repeat,” she announced, to a slightly bewildered audience. Gokhale is part of a worldwide group of people who hope to make the song trend every Christmas – it never has.

Growing up in Kanpur in the 80s, she and many like her remember the great times they’d had with friends and cousins, and ‘Last Christmas’ forms a part of those memories and wonder years. She recalls the 1984 hit being released the same year as Band Aid’s ‘Do they Know it’s Christmas’. The late George Michael (GM) who wrote the lyrics and music for ‘Last Christmas’, was also a part of Band Aid’s charity single to raise funds for the famine in Ethiopia that included other greats like Bono, Phil Collins, Sting and many more. That year ‘Do they Know it’s Christmas’ made it to number 1.

Last year, Gokhale joined the Facebook group Last Christmas for UK Number 1 that has 7.3k members. S Anand, from Maharashtra is one of the group admins, helping out Tanya Davies who initially created the group in October 2018. Anand, 33, who is a part of about 10-15 GM groups, because of his “angelic voice”, recalls her own father belting the song out when she was very young, the large speakers reverberating with bass. “We had a tape then, and it didn’t have a cover, but I remember playing it over many times,” she says, citing three other songs she remembers clearly: ‘Faith’, ‘Careless Whisper’, ‘One More Try’.

The Facebook group mostly has members from the UK, followed by the US and the rest of Europe. Anand’s friends are Justin Bieber fans who cannot understand her passion. “I remember when he died on Christmas day in 2016. My whole body was numb; I couldn’t believe he was no more,” she says, of the irony of losing her icon on a day he had sung about.

This year, there’s also an Annual International George Michael Tribute on Christmas Day on Facebook, where they “hope to set global and national records, for the most streams of a song in one day for ‘Last Christmas’”.

Today, the most competition the group has is from “that horrible Mariah Carey song” as Gokhale puts it, referring to ‘All I want for Christmas is You’. The Guardian thought fit to do a ‘Mariah Carey v Wham! – who should finally get their festive No 1?’ piece where two writers slug it out, one saying Carey’s song “sounds as if it was blessed with the twinkling stardust that seems to be falling in its opening notes,” and another saying, “George’s tale of woe maybe has the edge in the narrative stakes.”

Many musicians have attempted the song after — including Whigfield and Taylor Swift — but fans agree that the GM original was truly the best. Gokhale is already playing ‘Last Christmas’ on repeat across Spotify and Apple Music. She hopes everyone around the world is too.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 6:09:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/last-christmas-for-no-1/article33412105.ece

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