Tuesday Night Christmas Music Byte

Wikipedia informs us that “I Believe In Father Christmas” is a song by Greg Lake (most famously a member of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer). Although it is often categorised as a Christmas song this was not Lake’s intention. Lake wrote the song in protest at the commercialisation of Christmas.

The song is often misinterpreted as an anti-religious song and, because of this, Lake was surprised at its success. As he stated in a Mojo magazine interview:

“I find it appalling when people say it’s politically incorrect to talk about Christmas, you’ve got to talk about ‘The Holiday Season.’ Christmas was a time of family warmth and love. There was a feeling of forgiveness, acceptance. And I do believe in Father Christmas.”

The song was recorded by Lake in 1974 and released separately from ELP in 1975, becoming the Christmas number two in the UK charts. It is currently his only hit solo release. A second recording done by the full trio, with a more stripped-down arrangement, was included on the 1977 album Works Volume II. It was recorded a third time in 1993, for the ELP box set The Return of the Manticore. The song has also appeared on several other ELP and Christmas compilation albums. Mostly notable of these re-releases is the 1995 album titled I Believe in Father Christmas, which includes Lake’s original single as well as the Works Volume II version.

The video for this song, the bulk of which was shot in Palestine and Jordan, contains shots of the Vietnam War, which has led to complaints from some that it should not be shown with light-hearted Christmas songs. These images of rocket barrages, air strikes, and mobile artillery are a violent backdrop to a peaceful-sounding song and create a hard-hitting message.

The instrumental riff between verses comes from the “Troika” portion of Sergei Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kij√© Suite written for a 1934 Soviet film, Poruchik Kizhe.

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Posted on December 16, 2009, in Songs, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thanks Lynn,

    I love that song but never saw the video.

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