Emerson Lake & Palmer: I Believe in Father Christmas Meaning
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Song Released: 1975
I Believe in Father Christmas Lyrics
They said there'd 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 winter's light and a distant choir
And the peal of a...
anonymous Dec 23rd 2020 report
‘A Picture-postcard Christmas with morbid edges” is how co-writer Peter Sinfield described the song. In an interview with Mojo Magazine, Gregory said about the song: “I find it appalling when people say it’s politically incorrect to talk about Christmas, you’ve got to talk about ‘The Holiday Season’. Christmas was a time of family warmth and love. There was a feeling of forgiveness, acceptance. And I do believe in Father Christmas.” In another interview with ‘Uncut’ Gregory told the story of this Christmas song, he said: “I wrote it in my house in west London. I’d tuned the bottom string of my guitar from E down to D and got this cascading riff that you hear on the record. But I couldn’t really place what the song was about. I was out driving one day and it was playing on my mind, and, all of a sudden, it occurred to me that the tune of ‘Jingle Bells’ fitted over it. And I thought, ‘Ah, I wonder if this could be a song about Christmas! At the same time, I was working with Pete Sinfield on my solo side of the Works album, and I said to Pete, “I’ve been working on this melodic idea. It could be a Christmas song. Some of it was based on an actual thing in my life when I was 8 years old, and came downstairs to see this wonderful Christmas tree that my mother had done. I was that little boy. Then it goes from there into a wider thing about how people are brainwashed into stuff. Then I thought, ‘This is getting a bit depressing. I’d better have a hopeful, cheerful verse at the end.’ That’s the bit where me and Greg would’ve sat together and done it. And then I twisted the whole thing, with the last line, ‘The Christmas you get, you deserve,’ which was a play on ‘The government you get, you deserve.’ I didn’t necessarily explain all the politics or the thoughts behind it. It’s not anti religious. It’s a humanist thing, I suppose. It’s not an atheist Christmas song, as some have said.”
anonymous Dec 5th 2012 report
This is a song about losing the illusion of Christmas as a child, but Lake himself said this is not an anti-religion song. The last verse is actually an indication of hope, albeit veiled.
This is the quintessential anti-Christmas, anti-Christian song.
It's about a man who stopped believing in Santa Claus AND in God a long time ago. He remembers how happy Christmas made him as a child, when he believed in both the birth of Jesus ("the Israelite") and in Santa Claus (or, as he's known in Britain, "Father Christmas"). But one year, he caught someone (probably his father) putting presents under the tree, and realized that Santa Claus wasn't real. He was just a fairy tale his parents told him, so that he'd behave.
And over time, the man came to believe that Jesus and God were just another fairy tale his parents told, to trick him into being good.
Even as an adult, the man remains bitter at being lied to. He wishes he could still believe in God, as he once believed in Santa, but he can't.
He envies people who still do.
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