For all the Christmas songs out about mistletoe and merriment, there seems to be just as many, if not more, about loneliness and loss (’tis the season!). While this week’s Christmas-themed episode of “Glee” was heavy on the warm, fuzzy aspects of the holiday, things were anything but for newly split couple Rachel (Lea Michele) and Finn (Cory Monteith). And in the midst of a tree-shopping excursion, the crestfallen duo (with some backup help from their fellow “Glee”-mates) sang Wham!’s 1984 classic “Last Christmas.”
Michele and Monteith are hardly the first to cover the wistful pop song, but no artists could have ever put their own touch on it without its originators, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. The English duo released “Last Christmas” as an A-side with “Everything She Wants” on Epic Records in December 1984. It would eventually appear on the pair’s third and final album, Music From the Edge of Heaven.
George Michael may have been mending a broken heart with this song, but the release of “Last Christmas” (which he wrote) marked a banner year for the musician. Earlier in the year, Wham! released two other Billboard chart-toppers, “Careless Whisper” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.”
The song, which was released not soon after the Band Aid fundraiser smash “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (which also features Michael), has the dubious distinction of being one of the biggest songs in U.K. chart history that never actually reached #1. But it has proved to have staying power and currently ranks at #14 on the Billboard Holiday Songs list.
“Last Christmas” has since shown up on several Christmas compilations (including All Time Greatest Christmas Songs and Now That’s What I Call Christmas!: The Signature Collection) and is a radio go-to throughout the holiday season.
So, it’s no surprise that other artists have jumped on the opportunity to cry, “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart/ But the very next day, you gave it away/ This year, to save me from tears/ I’ll give it to someone special.” Taylor Swift, Jimmy Eat World, Ashley Tisdale, Carrie Underwood, Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay, Hilary Duff, Manic Street Preachers, Cascada, Whigfield, Billie Piper, Travis and Crazy Frog are just a select few of the notable names of those who left a note saying “I love you” and meant it.
Now, the “Glee” cast is part of the ever-growing list, and as expected, it’s already spun some gold. The show’s Christmas album , which also features covers of other classics such as “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “Jingle Bells” and “O Holy Night,” is #10 on this week’s Billboard 200 and climbing to #4 on next week’s.
Which was your favorite holiday song on this week’s “Glee”? Talk about it in the comments.