IF there was any justice in the world, I’d be sitting in my plush 30-roomed mansion this Christmas surrounded by the trappings of untold wealth.
But there’s not…and I’m not.
So where did it all go wrong? Well, I’m blaming several unscrupulous record company A&R types who snaffled five original Christmas songs I’d sent them, gave them a tweak and passed them off as their own.
I’ll be the first to admit my song-writing showed signs of immaturity, but I can put that down to, erm, being immature.
I penned my batch of Christmas tunes as a teenager back in the early 1970s and sent them off to all the big record companies in the hope of getting them recorded.
I never heard anything back, not so much as a rejection slip. Ever since then I’ve suffered in silence as, one by one, the songs have gone on to be huge festive hits worth squillions of pounds.
Not a penny has come my way in royalties down the years and those wounds run deep. Angry? Yep. Bitter? You betcha.
Now I’m not saying these hit songs are exact replicas of the ones I wrote, but there are more than enough similarities to suspect an element of plagiarism is involved.
Anyway, I’ll lay out the facts as I see them for my original songs and let you decide for yourselves.
Slept In To Christmas
Back story: This was my first ever attempt at writing a song and the inspiration was my paranoiac fear of missing out on my Christmas tips by sleeping in for my paper round. I’d knocked my pan in all year, hadn’t shirked a single shift and was relying on the gratuities to pay for Christmas pressies. The lyrics bounce between my thoughts and those of my customers, but I thought it worked well.
Favourite lyric: Welcome to my Christmas song, I’d like to thank you for the year, So I’m leaving you this Christmas tip, To say it’s nice to have you deliver here.
Little Plumber Boy
Back story: A mate of mine had just landed a job as an apprentice plumber and told me how his time-served mentor would always hum away to songs on the radio without knowing the words. This is where the pa-rum-pum-pum-pum part of the song comes in. When I sent off the tune to the record companies I even suggested it should be a double act of an old crooner and a young rock legend.
Favourite lyric: Come they told me pa-rum-pum-pum-pum, A U-bend leak to see pa-rum-pum-pum-pum, Our finest tools we bring pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
Back story: This one came about after one particular Christmas Day when I somehow squeezed in two dinners – one with my family and the other at my girlfriend’s. I was so bloated when dessert came around for the second time that I handed over my serving to my girlfriend. It was intended to be some sort of love token, but it went down like a lead balloon. The whole experience made me think seriously about fasting at Christmas.
Favourite lyric: Fast Christmas I gave you lime tart, But the very next day you gave it away, This year, to save me from tears, I’ll give you some Tartan Special
All I Want For Christmas Is Yule (Log)
Back story: I had long since abandoned any thoughts of fasting by the following Christmas mainly thanks to my mum’s baking prowess. She knocked out a home-made chocolate Yule log to die for and I was smitten enough to write a song about it.
Favourite lyric: I just want you for my own, More than you could ever know, Make my chocolate wish come true, All I want for Christmas is Yule.
Sherry Xmas Everybody
Back story: This was inspired by my grandma who was tee-total all year round but would let her hair down on Christmas Day by having a wee sherry or two. The challenge for us grandkids was to prise her glass away – no mean feat, I can tell you – hold it up for all to see and say: “Whose sherry is this?” Then we’d all shout: “It’s grandmaaaaaa’s”. I even made this the intro to my song as a tribute.
Favourite lyric: Does your granny always tell ya, That Cockburn’s is the best, Then she’s up and drinking Rolling Rock with the rest.
I can’t help feeling I’ve been stiffed and wish I’d known something – anything, in fact – about copyright laws back then. Who knows? It might have been kerchingle bells for me.
Mmm..I feel another song coming on.
(Post by George Cheyne from Glasgow – December 2022)