The Christmas hit they never had
Breakfast with: Alan Williams – The Rubettes
Echos of better late than never – but after 40 years, that seems ridiculous, I know. If there has ever been one regret over the years, it’s the fact that we never recorded a Christmas single.
Unlike ‘Slade’ and ‘Mud’ and ‘Wizard’ – and the list goes on – the Rubettes, for some reason, never got around to it. As a result, at the end of every year through November and December, we are conspicuous by our absence from the airwaves.
So – no time like the present to put that right, and who knows, maybe it will turn out to be the Christmas hit we never had? Stranger things have happened.
I have thought long and hard these past years about releasing something new but the time never felt right. Mainly because we haven’t been around on the UK gig scene so much lately, having been touring mainly in mainland Europe, and having not toured here for the past five years or so. But that is, I’m happy to announce, all about to change.
Not only are we touring the UK on the ‘Glitz Blitz & 70s Hitz’ with Sweet and Mud 2, this Christmas (what better time to have a Christmas single out), but we also embark on our first-ever solo UK tour next year.
Called ‘An Evening With The Rubettes featuring Alan Williams’, we will be visiting about 60 theatre venues throughout England, Scotland and Wales. It’ll be a two hour show, during which we’ll be playing songs from the early days, before and during the hit period, some of which we haven’t played live before. And we’ll share some stories around the songs and the early days, maybe even revealing one or two secrets.
I can’t wait to hear the secrets, especially as John Richardson and Mick Clarke, both members of the original Rubettes line up, will be there. I’m sure they never told me everything.
Naturally all the Rubettes’ hits will be featured plus a few surprises as well.
Now, where were we? Oh yes, the single. It’s called ‘Plastic Christmas’ and is our adaptation of a classic 70s hit, but with a change of lyric which was necessary because the original was in French.
Have you guessed it yet? We called it ‘Plastic Christmas’ as a tribute to the original artist ‘Plastic Bertrand’ who is, incidentally, a good friend of mine and the Rubettes, having worked together in France and Belgium on many occasions. You must know the song now! Last clue: the original was called ‘Ça Plane Pour Moi’ and if you haven’t sussed it yet, I guarantee you’ll know it, within hearing just the opening bars.
Why pinch somebody else’s song? Well! Plastic Bertrand himself once admitted to me that he pinched the idea for the high vocal part in ‘Ça Plane Pour Moi’ from the Rubettes.
Fair exchange, I say. ‘Plastic Christmas’ is taken from an album called ‘Let there be Christmas’ originally released by me last year under the pseudonym ‘Santa and his Christmas Crackers’, but, unfortunately, to no avail.
Most of the current band played and sang on the album, so in reality it’s our album anyway, and it would be a shame to see it just disappear without trace, which it might do anyway of course, but not for lack of trying.
Making the album was the best fun I’ve had in years, especially recording our versions of some of the established classic 70s hits; for instance Shakin Steven’s ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ and also, like with ‘Plastic Christmas’, we changed the lyrics of some other hits as well, ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ became ‘Christmas Shopping’, and so on. Totally nuts!
We also wrote some new songs, so it’s an interesting mix. Unfortunately the album isn’t available in the shops, as it seems we’re not current enough, but it will be available on the Glitz Blitz tour or from our website. ‘Plug Plug’.
Hope to see you on tour and if you’d like to see us in the Christmas charts you’ll have to download the single. Should be available on all the usual download web sites or visit our website www.rubettesfeaturingalanwilliams.com
How blatant is that!Merry ‘Plastic’ Christmas.