I was originally going to save this song until last – because it is my favourite and reminds me of Christmas as a child – but when I heard yesterday that Greg Lake had died, then I had to bring it forward.
Aged 69, Greg Lake died on Wednesday this week of cancer. He was born in Poole, Dorset and started playing guitar at the age of 12. He was one third of the group Emmerson Lake and Palmer and was a founder of progressive rock which consisted of poetic lyrics, complex instrumentals and psychedelic stage shows. He was a talented musician and singer and producer and originally formed the group King Crimson followed by ELP. He continued to perform until he became too ill to play.
It was in 1975, whilst still a member of ELP, that Greg Lake had a number two hit with the song ‘I Believe in Father Christmas’. Coincidentally, he was interviewed by the Guardian about the song last month and said that he and Pete Sinfield wrote the track to show how Christmas had deteriorated and was in danger of becoming yet another victim of crass corporate financial exploitation. He said that it was more important to make some spiritual human contact, or visit someone lonely. I have always felt that message inside this song and it has stuck with me.
I can distinctly remember when I first really listened to this song and felt it’s total and utter magic. I was sitting in the car waiting for my younger sisters to finish their riding lesson in Horsell, Surrey. By that point I was no longer allowed to join in as they were Shetland ponies and I was too tall for my age! As it was very cold, I decided to stay in the car with the radio. As soon as this came on, it made me cry. I can remember trying hard to imagine Father Christmas flying through the sky! It has forever been my most favourite Christmas song and I think it is only right that I share it for this week’s Christmas Song for the Weekend.