WRITTEN one morning and recorded the following afternoon, Elton John’s Step Into Christmas is a perennial festive favourite.
The first song written by Elton and Bernie Taupin to be a stand alone single, it was something of Christmas present to thank fans after a successful year for Elton.
He’d already had hits in 1973 from albums Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road when he decided to do something a little different.
“The Christmas single is a real loon about and something we’d like to do a lot more of” he explained in an interview with Melody Maker.
Along with the interestingly titled B-side, Ho, Ho, Ho (Who’d Be A Turkey At Christmas), the Christmas record was all one day’s work – that day being Sunday November 11 1973 at Morgan Studios in London.
“We wanted to make an homage to Phil Spector. Part of what made Phil Spector records were the rooms, the musicians and the ambience,” said Elton of the song, which also features Kiki Dee on uncredited backing vocals.
The video sees Taupin cameo playing tubular bells and Elton proudly holding his Watford FC supporters’ card aloft (he’d become the club’s chairman just a few years later, and now has a stand named after him at Vicarage Road.)
The song was released just a couple of weeks later on November 23 1973.
It peaked at number 24 in the UK charts on a seven week run and reached number one in the US Billboard Christmas Singles chart.
Sir Elton stars in this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert, with a biopic on his life set for release in cinemas next year.
He’ll also be heading on his ‘farewell’ tour, including dates in Glasgow and Aberdeen.