Merry Christmas
by Ed Sheeran (featuring Elton John)

Album: The Lockdown Sessions (Deluxe) (2021)
Charted: 1 55
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Songfacts®:

  • "Merry Christmas" finds Ed Sheeran and Elton John coming together to spread some festive cheer. The pair celebrate spending the holiday season with their loved ones after a tough year.
  • Ed Sheeran and Elton John throw in a Santa sackful of Christmas clichés, including December snow, kissing under the mistletoe, and Christmas trees. Both artists have past form with landing a Yuletide hit: John's 1973 song "Step Into Christmas" is a festive staple, and Sheeran claimed 2017's Christmas #1 with the not-so-Christmassy "Perfect."
  • John asked Sheeran to do a Christmas duet with him after marveling at the perennial success of "Step Into Christmas." "Elton rang me on Christmas Day to say Merry Christmas. Elton rings me almost every single day," Sheeran told Dutch radio station NPO Radio 2. "He said, 'Step Into Christmas is #6 in the charts! I want to do another Christmas song – will you do it with me?"

    When John pitched his idea in late 2020, initially Sheeran was cool, but he eventually gave in. "I said to Elton, I was like, 'I don't really want to do a Christmas song unless we're going in. Unless it's like sleigh bells, ding-dong - yeah, it needs to be a proper Christmas song,'" he told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show.

    Sheeran wrote a chorus that same day. Later, he went to stay with John, and they cranked out three festive songs, one of which was "Merry Christmas."
  • Regular Sheeran collaborator Steve Mac ("Shape Of You," "Shivers") produced the track.
  • Many of us annually send "Merry Christmas" wishes to friends and family via cards, social media, or in person. The phrase dates back to at least King Henry VIII's reign ("We Wish You a Merry Christmas" is a traditional English Christmas carol of unknown origin that is believed to date back to the 16th century). However, Sheeran and John's song has a surprisingly rare title. There's "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "Merry Christmas Baby," "Merry Christmas Darling," "Merry Christmas Everybody," "Merry Christmas Everyone," and even "Text Me Merry Christmas," but when Sheeran checked on Spotify, to his astonishment, he couldn't spot any song simply titled "Merry Christmas."
  • All proceeds from the song are being donated to the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
  • Jason Koenig directed the video, which pays homage to scenes from classic Christmas music videos, including Wham!'s "Last Christmas," the Snowman's "Walking In The Air," Shakin' Stevens' "Merry Christmas Everyone," and East 17's "Stay Another Day." Mr. Blobby, Jonathan Ross, Big Narstie, Michael McIntyre and the Darkness all makes cameo appearances.
  • After two weeks at #1 in the UK, another Ed Sheeran and Elton John collaboration toppled "Merry Christmas." Ladbaby's "Sausage Rolls For Everyone" is a comedy reworking of "Merry Christmas" featuring the two megastars.

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