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|"Mistletoe and Wine"|
|Single by Cliff Richard|
|from the album Private Collection: 1979–1988|
|Format||7" Single, CD-Single|
|Recorded||6-10 June & 12-13 July 1988 RG Jones Recording Studios/Wimbledon|
|Writer(s)||Jeremy Paul, Leslie Stewart and Keith Strachan|
|Cliff Richard singles chronology|
The song was written by Jeremy Paul, Leslie Stewart and Keith Strachan for a musical called Scraps, which was an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl" set in Victorian London.
Scraps was first performed at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, London in 1976. The musical was renamed and adapted for television by HTV in 1987, and featured Roger Daltrey, Paul Daneman, Jimmy Jewel and Twiggy. As originally conceived, "Mistletoe and Wine" had a different meaning from that for which it has come to be known. The writers wanted a song that sounded like a Christmas carol, intending it to be sung ironically while the little matchgirl is kicked out into the snow by the unfeeling middle classes. By the time the musical transferred to television, the song had become a lusty pub song sung by the local whore, as played by Twiggy.
Richard liked the song but wanted to change the lyrics to reflect a more religious theme, to which the writers agreed. As a first party I can confirm this information. Around August 1988 Peter Gormley, Cliff's manager, (or possibly it was Stuart Ongley his publisher) rang me to say that Cliff loved the song and had already recorded it but had made a few minor changes to the lyric to make it more personal. It was emphasised that Cliff was not asking for any credit or royalty for his contribution. Before hearing the recording, Leslie Stewart the lyricist had concerns that the amended lyrics didn't fit the tune. On hearing the recording Leslie's concerns were assuaged even though the sense of the lyric had been altered. (Keith Strachan 2013)
Richard's 99th single, it became his 12th UK number one single, spending four weeks at the top in December 1988 - selling 750,000 copies in the process. It was the best-selling single of 1988 in the UK. In December 2007 the single entered at number 68 on the UK Singles Chart by virtue of downloads.
One of the record breaking statistics often cited about Cliff Richard is his achievement of number one hit singles in five consecutive decades, and Mistletoe and Wine is important to this record in being his only number one hit of the eighties.
Richard's version of the song was also used in a British public information film about drink driving. The film was part of the Drinking And Driving Wrecks Lives campaign, which films were shown during ad breaks over the Christmas period.
"First Time" by Robin Beck
|UK number one single
(by Cliff Richard)
4 December 1988 – 1 January 1989
"Especially for You" by Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue