50 Years Later, Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ & Wizzard’s ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ Are Still Brilliant Holiday Bangers

image of British rock group Slade performing on a Christmas TV show in the Netherlands in December 1973. Left to right are members Noddy Holder, Don Powell, Dave Hill and Jim Lea, dressed in glam rock attire of the era, including flashy bright green suits and tall boots.
Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns/Getty Images
(L-R) Noddy Holder, Don Powell, Dave Hill and Jim Lea of Slade perform on a Christmas TV show in the Netherlands in December 1973.

Late in 1973, a couple of holiday singles by two British rock bands were released in the U.K., becoming instant hits at the time and remaining perennial Yuletide favorites across the pond for the past half century.

“Merry Xmas Everybody” by Slade, and “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” by Wizzard, are certainly not unknown here in the States, but they obviously aren’t as omnipresent on terrestrial/satellite radio or over the speakers in department stores once November/December rolls around as Mariah Carey‘s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” or holiday songs from other English artists, like Wham!‘s “Last Christmas”or Paul McCartney‘s “Wonderful Christmastime,” are.

I don’t believe that either song was originally released as a single in America, so of course that’s one reason why they haven’t seemed to have become deeply embedded in the Christmas playlists of radio stations and individuals here. Maybe that’s been changing with the advent of more ways to find and listen to music, but I’d at least like to do my part to spread the good word on these joyous and rockin’ Yuletide tunes as they turn 50.

During the 1973 holiday season in Britain, Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody,” written by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea, edged out Wizzard’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday,” written by Roy Wood, who had founded the glam rock group after leaving Electric Light Orchestra, on the U.K.’s Christmas singles chart. Slade’s song remained at No. 1 for five weeks in December 1973-January 1974, while Wizzard’s peaked at No. 4, where it stayed for four weeks during that stretch.

Likewise, my personal preference, if I had to pick a favorite between the two, leans a bit toward “Merry Xmas Everybody.” But you cannot go wrong with either; these holiday bangers are both as fun and festive today as they were 50 years ago.

You can tell that the bands have had as much fun performing these songs over the years as fans have had listening to them, like in this video of Slade’s performance of their hit on Britain’s Top of the Pops program in 1973:

And here are Holder and Lea about a decade later, performing an acoustic version on an ’80s British kids’ program that had the terrific title of Razzmatazz:

On a Christmas countdown show (unsure of the date):

And their official music video:

While Slade seemed to have had one foot in the glam rock realm and the other more in hard rock, Wizzard looks like they more fully embraced the weird, art rock side of things, as you can see below in the photo of Roy Wood performing with the band on Top of the Pops in 1973, and in the fun videos for “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” that follow.

black-and-white image of Roy Wood, frontman for glam rock group Wizzard, performing on the Christmas Day 1973 broadcast of the BBC's "Top of the Pops." He has very long and shaggy hair and beard/mustaches, and is holding a French horn by his side in his left hand as he sings.

Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images

The official music video:

A 1973 performance on Top of the Pops:

And, like Slade and every other music artist who has had a big Yuletide hit, Wood and Wizzard have continued giving fans just what they want for Christmas in subsequent holiday seasons.