Advent Calendar Day 19

It is rare for my Advent Calendar window to open on two rock bands, but that is what is happening today. Plus, as the weekend is now with us, I have another bonus video for you.

Today’s first song is by one of my favourite bands. This lot are totally OTT but have a great deal of fun with their music. I can only guess how good their live shows must be! In 2003 they created their own Christmas song, and I rather like it:

Of course it’s cheesy, with a fairly predictable end, but that makes it just right for Christmas! The song reached #2 in the UK, having been the odds-on bookmakers’ favourite to be the Christmas #1 that year: it was beaten by the Gary Jules cover of Mad World, which, though not a Christmas song, was very good, and was probably the beginning of the trend for slowed down cover versions. The Darkness also reached the top ten in Denmark, Ireland and the Netherlands with this one. Not in the US though: apart from two earlier singles, their chart success there has been limited to lower level placings for their albums. I still enjoy this one now, though, and was a bit surprised when I realised I’d never featured it before in my Christmas songs selections: omission rectified!

Today’s second song is from the band who were, at one time, the biggest rock band on the planet, though I think those days have passed. This is their take on a Christmas oldie:

The song was originally recorded by Darlene Love in 1963 for one of Phil Spector’s Christmas albums. It is believed that she provided backing vocals for the U2 version, but I haven’t found a source that can verify that. U2 recorded this during their 1987 tour, for inclusion on the first of what is to date a nine album series called A Very Special Christmas. These records raise funds to support the Special Olympics, and as this first album has so far sold over 2.25m copies I guess they’re doing a good job: the series as a whole has to date raised more than $100m for the charity. This recording was made in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and it is good to see the less serious side of the band in play.

I promised you a bonus video, didn’t I? If you’ve seen these posts before you have probably noticed that I absolutely adore the Christmas adverts produced by Hafod Hardware, a shop in the mid-Wales town of Rhayader. They have made four of these so far, and I’m sharing them again this year, as they are all lovely. I’ve already given you this year’s and the ones from 2017 and 2018, so I’m now completing the set with their 2019 offering:

That is beautiful, and still brings a tear to my eye whenever I watch it. You may well know the story by now: this one went viral, and gained the store national and international coverage. If you want to know more, I suggest a visit to their website, where you can read some of this. They were also featured on national TV here, too. All four of their ads are accompanied by songs from the beautiful voice of Andrea Von Kampen, who provides a perfect fit. My good blogging friend Jim is also a big Hafod fan, and posted this piece a few days ago for their 2020 ad, in which he kindly quoted me. He linked Hafod, Andrea and me into his tweet for the post, and we were then contacted on Twitter by Tom Lewis Jones of Hafod, thanking us for our support. My tweets in reply were also ‘liked’ by Andrea. As I said to Jim, we have fallen among good people!

That’s it for today, I’m afraid, but any day on which we get to see a Hafod ad can’t be all bad, can it! As always, I depart with my image for the day:

Till tomorrow 🎅🦌🎄