Recorded during the sessions for his solo album McCartney II (1980),‘Wonderful Christmastime’ was released in November 1979 following Wings’ final album Back to the Egg earlier that year. It was Paul McCartney‘s first solo single since Wings formed.
The song charted in numerous countries, including the Billboard Hot 100 and Holiday 100 charts in the United States and in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at number six on the UK Singles Chart and has since been certified Gold. Although regarded as one of McCartney’s weaker compositions by numerous music critics, the song continues to enjoy significant Christmas time popularity around the world, and has been covered by numerous artists.
“Wonderful Christmastime” was added as a bonus track on the 1993 CD reissue of Back to the Egg and on the 2011 “Special Edition” and “Deluxe Edition” reissue of McCartney II; a longer, unedited version was also included on the Deluxe Edition. The track was also mixed in 5.1 surround sound for inclusion on the 2007 DVD release The McCartney Years.
Paul wrote the song in key of B Major, and recorded it entirely on his own during the sessions for his solo project McCartney II. Although the members of Wings are not on the recording, they do appear in the promotional music video, which was filmed at the Fountain Inn in Ashurst, West Sussex. One of the choristers featured in the video bears a resemblance to George Harrison.It also includes footage filmed at the Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne, where McCartney rehearsed his 1979 UK tour. Wings performed the song during their 1979 tour of the UK.
Following its release as a stand-alone single in the United Kingdom, “Wonderful Christmastime” peaked at number six on the UK Singles Chart the week ending 5 January 1980. In the United States the single peaked at number 83 on the Cash Box Top 100 Singles chart and number 94 on the Record World Singles Chart, but did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. “Wonderful Christmastime” would not appear on the Hot 100 until December 2018, when it peaked at number 47.
In December 1984, the single appeared at number 10 for two weeks on Billboard’s Christmas singles chart. It also reached number 29 on Billboard’s weekly Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart in early January 1996.
The song continues to receive substantial annual festive airplay, although some music critics consider “Wonderful Christmastime” to be one of McCartney’s mediocre compositions.
Including royalties from cover versions, it was estimated in 2010 that McCartney makes $400,000 a year from this song, which puts its cumulative earnings at over $15 million.
Personnel: Paul McCartney – vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, guitars, bass, drums, percussion, production.