• David Bentley

A Fairytale of New York – classic Nordic cover by Kaztenjammer and Ben Caplan


Ok, this is a bit of filler; there aren’t many new releases around at Christmas and New Year. But I hope it’s an entertaining one.


I received an interesting email from journalistic.org detailing the most popular Christmas song in the UK and throughout the world as measured by OnBuy, using searches on Spotify. It isn’t Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’, which is in third place in the UK, nor Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ which ranks well down the list. Slade are nowhere to be found.


Globally it appears to be ‘Feliz Navidad’, the Spanish bilingual hit by José Feliciano although Mariah has done well with her song on the global stage to be fair.


OnBuy’s top three most popular songs for each of the 12 countries they looked at individually.

In the UK, the winner, just pipping José, is The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’

The UK’s Most Popular Christmas Songs, Ranked

In the UK, the winner, just pipping José, is The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’.


Not surprisingly perhaps, and we’ve all seen the dramatic video of it, highlighting the respective talents of Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan.


But there are covers of it, and this is possibly the best, from 2011 and featuring Norwegian all-girl band Katzenjammer who teamed up with Canadian folk baritone Ben Caplan to record the song.


I thought of linking the studio recording of it with the Trondheim Soloists, which can easily be located on YouTube. In some ways that would have been preferable mainly because Turid Jørgensen gets as close to the Kirsty MacColl character in her cameo as anyone can do. But on the other hand they’d obviously been roped in at short notice to record it and had to sing the lyrics from crib sheets.


Moreover, the example I ultimately selected is a live version recorded at pretty much the same time and as there have been precious few live gigs this year that’s probably more appropriate.


Just in case you have any difficulty identifying genders, Caplan is the one who looks like his head is on upside down. The order of singing in the Katzenjammer corner is; (1) Anne Marit Bergheim; (2) Marianne Sveen; (3) Turid Jørgensen (Honerud, as she now is); (4) Sol Heilo.

We did a ‘Down Memory Lane’ feature on Katzenjammer back in September. Read it here.

Thanks again to OnBuy for the info, and Katzenjammer can obviously be found here,

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