‘Didn’t want crass’: The lesser-known Sam Fender Christmas song brilliantly paying homage to North East roots
Sam Fender opted for a lesser-known Christmas track first recorded by his local hero, rather than a huge commercial hit.
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Geordies have been streaming those brilliant Sam Fender hit tracks all year long but, as Father Christmas starts to polish his sleigh, there's a lesser-known song from the North Shields star that all our ears should be enjoying.
It's been another huge year for the 28-year-old. Despite not releasing much new music, Fender has toured the UK, played some huge festival slots and announced those two shows at St. James' Park next year which are set to be historical nights on Tyneside.
Many will be hoping for tickets to catch Fender at a festival next summer, the latest Live at Finsbury Park vinyl or a swanky piece of merch to appear under their Christmas tree on December 25 - you can find our pick of 10 Fender-related Christmas gifts here. It's an exciting image to picture, and there should be one track playing in the background on repeat.
It won't be news to the most hardcore of Fender fans, but for those who have found the charming Geordie over the past year and a half may not know that the star released a Christmas ditty back in 2020.
The singer didn't go for a cover of that infamous Mariah Carey hit and didn't go thumbing through Michael Buble's lengthy discography, rather he chose something much closer to home. Fender put together his own version of 'Winter Song', a track first recorded by Alan Hull and Lindisfarne. The track raised funds to help fight homelessness on its release.
Fender told Radio X: "I wanted to do a Christmas song, but I didn't want to do something that was crass. Winter Song is one of my favourite Christmas tunes and Alan Hull is one of my heroes [...] so I just wanted to do something that was close to home and close to my heart and that's why I picked it.
"If you listen to the song and the original track the lyrics are actually really poignant and relevant for the time. It's basically a Christmas message of trying to be more empathetic about people who are worse off than you."
Shortly after its release Fender also performed the song on stage at the Sage Gateshead with the Royal Northern Sinfonia - a video from which you can watch on YouTube.
Across the world, Fender's version of 'Winter Song' only impacted on charts in Belgium, where it placed 23. And although it still has thousands of streams, flies under the radar compared to his other tracks and big Christmas hits.
The song is on all streaming platforms so, even though your smart speaker might not throw it your way on a Christmas mix, it's there for Fender fans to seek out and enjoy this Christmas.