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  1. ITV Report

Christmas classic thought up 'during 20 minute shower'

Slade during their touring days in the 1970s Credit: Picture by Hardy Schiffler DPA/PA Images

Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody is the most-played pop classic in the world, bringing in royalties only second to Happy Birthday.

It guaranteed lifelong security for songwriters Noddy Holder and Jim Lea, and a long career for Dave Hill and Don Powell.

But Lea, the Black Country band’s bass player has admitted that it was something he knocked up in 20 minutes during a shower.

Jim Lea says he thought up 'Merry Xmas Everybody' in the shower. Credit: BPM

Lea, now 67 and a qualified psychotherapist, is still making music, having long ago established his place in pop history.

He recalls that the smash has inauspicious beginnings, and claims the rest of the band didn’t even want to do it.

“Our manager Chas Chandler told us, ‘The golden goose needs to lay a golden egg, it would be nice to have a No 1 at Christmas’,” he says.

“It took me 20 minutes in the shower to come up with that song.

“Nod had some lyrics about watching the world go by, but I put the song together.

“There was a problem. The phrase ‘So here it is, Merry Christmas’ meant the timing had to be changed – it had to be shoehorned in.

“But Nod wouldn’t change the timing, and he didn’t want to do a Christmas song.

“None of the band wanted to do a Christmas song, in fact.

“It has more royalties from more countries than any other song in publishing history.”

It isn't to early to have a little listen... is it?