In the Christmas Spirit: Greg Lake | Beaufort County Now | I have long felt that Greg Lake / Pete Sinfield 's "I believe in Father Christmas" is one of the more creative modern Christmas songs created in my lifetime. I have never been a huge fan of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but I am a big fan of Greg Lake's ode to the British Santa.
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Greg lake performing "I Believe in Father Christmas"
I have long felt that Greg Lake (melody) / Pete Sinfield's (lyrics) "I believe in Father Christmas" is one of the more creative modern Christmas songs created in my lifetime. I have never been a huge fan of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but I am a big fan of Greg Lake's carol, which is much more than just an ode to the British Santa Claus.
The song is a short statement on the Commercialization of Christmas juxtaposed against the known world conflicts of that time: Vietnam War, Six Day War," various Communist influenced halocausts, etc. It was a most difficult period as evidenced in John Lennon's "So this is Christmas" as well. A significant component of this song is the "Lieutenant Kije Suite" by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, born 1891, died 1953. This short movement was borrowed from the public domain, which included his fine work, as well as others. If Greg Lake is well remembered, maybe one day some measure of his library of
Peter Sinfield wrote the lyrics.
creative work will be borrowed from the public domain as well.
An inconsequential side note: I saw Emerson, Lake and Palmer at a music festival held at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Summer, 1974, just one year before the creation of this song, "I Believe in Father Christmas." Emerson, Lake and Palmer, the band, was the headline act, with a Duane Allman-less-Allman Brothers second on that bill.
Emerson, Lake and Palmer had some interesting special effects, like a spinning baby grand piano, with Keith Emerson continuing to play. I left that big show, with so many other fantastic acts earlier during the day, thinking Emerson, Lake and Palmer could sure use a good guitar man. I considered well that the Allman Brothers were amazing, even with Dickey Betts picking up his pace to compensate for the loss of the legendary Duane Allman. Also, that band's newest member, Pianist Chuck Leavell, was absolutely on fire that night, especially in his treatment of their new instrumental colossus, "Jessica," from their recently released "Brothers and Sisters, 1973." The Allman Brothers really rocked me to my core that night.
This video below is the best I could find, of any quality, of "I Believe in Father Christmas," which was released Christmas, 1975. Remember, this was long before music videos on MTV, which might explain the lesser quality: Below.
This second video is of Greg performing the song about twenty years later. Better quality, and in a concert setting, and aren't we all getting older ... thank God: Below.
This third video is a short documentary on this fine Christmas project: Below.
I Believe in Father Christmas
Greg Lake / Peter Sinfield
They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the Virgin's birth
I remember one Christmas morning
A Winters light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire
They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me a fairy story
'till I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in Father Christmas
And I looked at the sky with excited eyes
'till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise
I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave new year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on Earth
Hallelujah Noel be it Heaven or Hell
The Christmas you get you deserve
Interestingly, I happened upon this video of Greg Lake explaining his thoughts of the creation of his Christmas Classic: Below.
Publisher's note: If you are really in the Christmas spirit, or just in the need for more, please click here to access all of the holiday spirit in melody and narrative that BCN can harness and offer for this Yuletide Season.