And so the run-up to Christmas really begins, with the cover of Smash Hits for the fortnight ending 15th December 1987 showing Wet Wet Wet enjoying some festive fun. “We are here to ‘discuss’ the meaning of this thing they call Christmas, to fondly recall those cherished past memories, to conjure those visions of Old Aunty Mildred being sick in the ‘plum’ pudding, etc,” explained Sylvia Patterson in the introduction to the article inside. Most of the memories the band shared with her were about childhood Christmas gifts, seasonal television programmes, and a little about music: family singsongs, hymns at midnight mass, carol singing (and Tommy Cunningham’s family playing his drum kit at four in the morning).
Elsewhere in the magazine there were other yuletide references. Adverts for new singles included Christmas In Hollis by Run-DMC (“Xmas chill,” as London records described it) and releases by Five Star (Somewhere Somebody, available in a special gatefold advent calendar sleeve) and Samantha Fox (True Devotion, available in a box with a Christmas card, a balloon and bedside calendar). The singles reviewed included Bad News’s Cashing In On Christmas (well, at least they admitted it); Rick Astley’s cover of When I Fall In Love (he wasn’t admitting cashing in, despite the poster of him on the back page all but roasting his chestnuts on an open fire); The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s Fairytale Of New York; and the song that would be that year’s Christmas #1, Always On My Mind by Pet Shop Boys. The charity compilation album A Very Special Christmas (from which the Run-DMC single was taken) was also reviewed in the same issue.
All the singles mentioned were already in the shops before this issue of Smash Hits had gone to print. The run-up to Christmas led to a period of winding down for the record industry in the UK during the 1980s, the major labels having put out their best shots at the top of the charts earlier in the month. Accordingly, there are a number of days during this month where there are no releases to list, this being one of them.
NEW SINGLES on sale from Dec. 15
No release scheduled for this date.