November 1979: Paul McCartney Unleashes "Wonderful Christmastime"

McCartney Christmas Cover Art
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There are few contemporary holiday tunes that elicit the extreme reactions that typically come with a spin of Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime."

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The song started simply enough: McCartney had retreated to his Scottish farm in the summer of 1979 to work on what would become the McCartney II album. He'd taken some new gear with him, including the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 keyboard. It produces many of the unique sounds heard on "Wonderful Christmastime."

Released as a standalone single in November 1979, "Wonderful Christmastime" quickly found its way onto radio playlists around the world. It wasn't long before the tune became a holiday standard, one that gets rolled out heavy during every holiday season since its debut.

"The song is what we in the industry call an evergreen, because it gets played all the time," entertainment attorney Bernie Resnick told Forbes back in 2010. "[McCartney's] publishing royalty check every fourth quarter probably has a lot of zeros on the end."

While the song's popularity is enduring, so is the intense hatred that it generates with seemingly just as many listeners. Social media is awash with commenters battling over the merits of lack thereof in regards to "Wonderful Christmastime."

One fan who stands in support of the song is pop star Harry Styles, who's shown a penchant for classic rock throughout his solo career. The singer performed a cover of the track last year for BBC Radio 1. Listen to his version below.

Last year also saw a new theory that "Wonderful Christmastime" is actually about practicing witchcraft until being caught. No, really. It's a thing.


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David Redfern/Redferns; Michael Putland/Getty Images
Such a long way to go...
The album considered by many to be the band's crowning achievement was released on February 24, 1975.
video screenshot/Touchstone Pictures
His minute-long cameo is one of the film's highlights.

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