November 1973: Elton John Gets Into the Holiday Spirit with "Ho, Ho, Ho (Who'd Be a Turkey at Christmas)"

English singer-songwriter Elton John performing in a shower of confetti during his Christmas show at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, 21st December 1973. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
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English singer-songwriter Elton John performing in a shower of confetti during his Christmas show at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, 21st December 1973. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

The year 1973 was a good one for Elton John. The star had released two chart-topping albums that year--Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. His tour dates included sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden and the Hollywood Bowl. The artist had even seen one of his singles--"Bennie and the Jets"--hit #15 on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart.

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So when we woke up on the morning on November 11 with a song in his heart, he rallied the troops and headed over to London's Morgan Studios to commit it to tape. The results would be Elton John's first Christmas song, "Step Into Christmas."

"The Christmas single is a real loon about and something we'd like to do a lot more of," John told writer Susan Black in her book, Elton John In His Own Words. "We've never written a song especially tailored to be a single."

Released on November 23, 1973, "Step Into Christmas" would go on to peak at #24 on the UK charts, hitting the top slot on Billboard's Christmas Singles chart.

Elton John Christmas Ad

The song has serious staying power. Just last year in 2018, "Step into Christmas" would get as high as #10 on the UK Singles chart. It also came with a goofy B-side, "Ho, Ho, Ho (Who'd Be a Turkey at Christmas)," which was so silly that many critics at the time felt it hindered the song's chart success. Who's the turkey now, "critics"? Interestingly enough, the song's intro sounds a lot like the intro to Michael Jackson's "Beat It."

 

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