The Strokes, Paramore, Manic Street Preachers: 23 Bands On Their Favourite Christmas Music

Everyone's got their favourite Christmas song or album: the one no festive break is complete without. Musicians are no different. We asked 23 of them - from Albert Hammond Jr to Natasha Khan aka Bat For Lashes - what their Yule-time classics are. Here's how they answered...

  • Oliver Sim, the xx
    “I remember The Pogues' ‘Fairytale of New York’ being on a lot in my house when I was growing up. It’s an amazing tune. I wouldn’t rule the xx out of doing a Christmas song at some point, and this song is a pretty good model of how to do it. Never say never…”

    Photo: Tom Oxley/NME

    Added: 18 Jan 2011

  • Natasha Khan, Bat For Lashes
    “‘The Jig’ by The Snowman always reminds me of being really small and excited. It’s really joyous. It reminds me of a time when I wasn’t aware of the commercialization of everything – when it wasn’t all Argos adverts every two minutes on the telly. For me it’s about the magic and believing in it.”


    Added: 13 Feb 2013

  • Carson Cox, Merchandise
    “I’ve just downloaded both of Mariah Carey’s Christmas albums. The production is pretty insane. And there’s Eazy E’s ‘Merry Muthafucking Christmas’. A real filth party record. Hip-hop and R&B Christmas albums are pretty good!”

    Photo: Press

    Added: 19 Dec 2014

  • Yannis Philippakis, Foals
    “I do actually like Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’. I like George Michael. I’m not an avid fan but the world would be a sadder place if he hadn’t made those songs.”

    Photo: Amy Brammall/NME

    Added: 17 Apr 2014

  • Hayley Williams, Paramore
    “Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’. I’m a fan of that entire album [1994’s ‘Merry Christmas’]. I grew up on it – not iTunes, the CD, the real thing. It’s not Christmas until I put it on.”

    Photo: Wunmi Onibudo /NME

    Added: 22 Aug 2014

  • Dev Hynes
    “’Wonderful Christmastime’ by Paul McCartney. I like the verses more than the rest of the song. The verses are just cool with the synths – it’s simple and kind of fun. I probably first heard it when I was about five or six on Top of the Pops or something. It makes me think of being in my parents’ living room in Essex.”

    Photo: Charlotte Patmore/NME

    Added: 09 Jun 2014

  • Tom Fleming, Wild Beasts
    “Phil Spector, ‘Silent Night’. It’s pretty incredible. He gives a monologue about getting together with his family and stuff… considering what he went on to do, it’s a little bit sinister but I think he means it. It’s got huge harmonies and sleigh bells – it’s brilliant.”

    Photo: Emilie Bailey/NME

    Added: 25 Nov 2011

  • Albert Hammond Jr, The Strokes
    "Alvin and the Chipmunks’ ‘The Chipmunk Song’ is the one that leaps to mind... ‘Christmas With The Chipmunks’ was the first vinyl I had as a kid.”

    Photo: Pooneh Ghana/NME

    Added: 09 Jun 2014

  • Christopher Owens
    “Bing Crosby’s ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’. It’s a song about a soldier at war who tells his friends and family that he’ll be home for Christmas to visit them all, but obviously he might not make it ‘cos he might die, so at the end he sings “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.” It’s a very sentimental film.”

    Photo: Press

    Added: 01 May 2014

  • Sara Quin, Tegan and Sara
    “I actually listen to ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ all year round, sometimes in July in total fucking sunshine.”

    Photo: Press/Lindsey Byrnes

    Added: 08 May 2014

  • Gareth, Los Campesinos!
    “‘Lonely This Christmas’ by Mud is one of my favourite songs full stop. It’s so cheesy – the whole thing’s a terrible Elvis impersonation but done with such fantastic aplomb. It’s so very miserable, it doesn’t even try to be uplifting. There’s something to be admired in that. Our version is a terrible impersonation of a terrible Elvis impersonation.”

    Photo: NME

    Added: 19 Dec 2014

  • Brody Dalle
    “Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’ is pretty awesome. Although I don’t like him – he was a bad man. I can’t help but thinking of him beating the shit out of kids.”

    Photo: Jenn Five/NME

    Added: 23 Aug 2014

  • Ellas Ronnenfelt, Iceage
    "'Fairytale of New York'. It taps really well into the melancholy of Christmas time. The chances of Iceage writing a Christmas song are extremely slim to zero."

    Photo: Sophie Harris Taylor

    Added: 24 Nov 2014

  • Nicky Wire, Manic Street Preachers
    “I think the last decent attempt was The Darkness [‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’]. It was a proper Christmas record. I think it’s demoralizing now ‘cos you know you’ve got no chance of it being a Christmas number one now. It seems unless you get a John Lewis ad or something, it’s just pointless doing it.”

    Photo: Ed Miles/NME

    Added: 24 Jul 2014

  • Jamie MacColl, Bombay Bicycle Club
    “I have to go with the Pogues, ‘Fairytale of New York’, because my aunt [Kirsty MacColl] is singing on it. It was probably the first song I ever heard someone swearing on.”

    Photo: Tom Oxley

    Added: 22 Sep 2014

  • Scott Hutchinson, Frightened Rabbit
    “My favourite Christmas song is definitely ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ [by Cliff Richard]. I could probably say something cooler than that, but if you’re picking Christmas songs I think you’ve got to go all out and plump for something old and cheesy.”

    Photo: Danny North/NME

    Added: 28 Jun 2010

  • Mark Kozelek, Sun Kil Moon
    “I first got Low’s ‘Christmas’ album at a show of theirs at the Mermaid Lounge in New Orleans, October 1999. It’s my favourite Christmas album. What was even better was singing ‘Little Drummer Boy’ and ‘Do You Hear What I Hear’ with Alan Spearhawk recently in Duluth, Minnesota. Low’s live Christmas shows are even better than their Christmas record.”

    Photo: Press

    Added: 24 Nov 2014

  • Brian Fallon, the Gaslight Anthem
    ‘One Christmas Eve they played [‘Fairytale of New York’ by the Pogues] on VH1. I called my local record store to see if they still open and they had the tape of [‘The Pogues’ 1988 album] ‘If I Should Fall From Grace With God’. So I ran there and bought it. They’re a great band.”

    Photo: Press

    Added: 17 Jun 2014

  • Laurent Brancowitz, Phoenix
    “Old Italians’ ‘An Old Italian Song’ is a Christmas song by a choir from the Italian side of the Alps, who were founded by a group of very clever classical musicians. To me, what I like about it is the feeling of hope and of festive spirit, and a very profound sense of beauty and joy.”

    Photo: James Perou/NME

    Added: 28 Aug 2013

  • Andrew Hung, Fuck Buttons
    ‘I love Low’s ‘Christmas’ album and still listen to it an awful lot – all year round, actually. It’s properly good, perfect for nighttime.”

    Photo: Emilie Bailey/NME

    Added: 31 Jul 2012

  • Liam Fray, The Courteeners
    “I don’t think you’d call it a Christmas song it the traditional sense, but 'No Christmas While I'm Talking' by The Walkmen definitely reminds me of the nights getting darker in December. This would be the song to play on your iPod as you walk home alone on Christmas Eve, stumbling through the crisp snow – whiskey hip flask in hand and a tear in your eye.”

    Photo: Press

    Added: 06 Sep 2013

  • SS, Hookworms
    “Working in retail, you can be driven absolutely nuts by the compulsory eight weeks of the same Christmas chart songs over and over, as if your workplace wasn’t irritating enough already. Thank you, Low, for granting 30 minutes of respite with 'Christmas'.”

    Photo: Steve Gullick

    Added: 03 Sep 2014

  • Jacob Graham, The Drums
    “[‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’] invokes all those feelings you had when you were younger during Christmas time that are really special. I remember singing it once in a nursing home. It’s one of those songs you feel like always been in your life.”

    Photo: Press

    Added: 16 Jul 2014