Noddy Holder – pictured in 1973 – revealed how Merry Xmas Everybody, by Slade, came about (Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images)

It's been 50 years since Merry Xmas Everybody was released and it still generates around £500,000 in royalties every year.

Noddy Holder and Jim Lea wrote the much-loved Slade track that reached the top of the UK singles charts in December 1973.

However, they didn't have a Christmas song in mind when they started writing the lyrics.

Noddy, 77 – who, unsurprisingly, has strangers shouting 'It's Christmas!!!' spoke to him all the time – he wrote the song in 1967, years before its release, and called it Buy Me a Rocking Chair.

He recalled how the song was written in the band's 'hippy dippy psychedelic' days and they discarded it at the time, despite it becoming a huge hit.

Revealing how the group – who had five number ones at the time – were pressured by their record label to release a Christmas song, Noddy recalled how Jim, 74, agreed to revive the track.

Slade – Jim Lea, Noddy Holder, Don Powell and Dave Hill – reached the top of the charts with Merry Xmas Everybody in December 1973 (Photo: Jack Kay/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Noddy told BBC: 'I went to the local pub in Wolverhampton and then went back to my mum and dad's house and stayed up all night with a bottle of whiskey and wrote the full lyrics that night.'

The singer said the label “was making a lot of money off us” after the song sold 500,000 records through pre-orders alone before topping the charts.

He also revealed how the group were inspired to release a festive track after John Lennon and Yoko Ono's big single Happy Xmas (War Is Over) was released in 1971.

Noddy had previously spoken about writing Merry Xmas Everybody in a 2011 interview with PRS for Music's M Magazine.

He said: 'The song that became Merry glass to look me in the eyes.

'One night in 1973 I was staying at my parents' house in the Midlands after a few drinks in the local pub.

'The bottle of whiskey came out when I came in and I rewrote that previous song in two hours, using the same song for the chorus but changing the lyrics and adding verses.'

Noddy Support

Noddy Holder explained how Slade's huge festive track didn't start out as a Christmas song (Photo: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

Noddy added of the song: “I wanted it to portray a typical working-class Christmas – you know, grandma getting up and dancing and worrying about how much space there is with all the relatives around.”

Revealing that they recorded the new version of the song the summer before its release, Noddy shared: 'We recorded it in the US at the end of the hot summer of 1973. The studio was in an office building and we sang the chorus on the stairs. next to the studio to get that echo effect.

'Four Englishmen singing about Christmas… must have thought we were mad!'

Merry Xmas Everybody's 50th anniversary comes after Noddy's wife Suzan Holder revealed in October that the singer had quietly passed treatment for esophageal cancer five years ago – and was given just six months to live.

Suzan wrote in the local magazine Great British Life: “We dealt with it the only way we could, by hunkering down, sticking together and doing everything we could to survive.

“We only told family and close friends and I will never apologize to those we didn't trust, only to those who were forced to suffer pain and anguish alongside us as we tried to navigate this horrible new world.”

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MORE: The 10 beloved festive songs that were never Christmas number one

MORE: Slade star Noddy Holder's secret cancer diagnosis revealed after he was given six months to live



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