"Fairytale of New York" is a song written by Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan and recorded by their band the Pogues, featuring singer Ella Finer on vocals. The song is an Irish folk-style ballad and was written as a duet, with the Pogues' singer MacGowan taking the role of the male character and MacColl the female character. It was originally released as a single on 23 November 1987 and later featured on the Pogues' 1988 album If I Should Fall from Grace with God.
Originally begun in 1985, the song had a troubled two-year development history, undergoing rewrites and aborted attempts at recording, and losing its original female vocalist along the way, before finally being completed in August 1987. Although the single has never been the UK Christmas number one, being kept at number two on its original release in 1987 by the Pet Shop Boys' cover of "Always on My Mind", it has proved enduringly popular with both music critics and the public: to date, the song has reached the UK Top 20 on 17 separate occasions since its original release in 1987, including every year at Christmas since 2005. As of September 2017, it had sold 1,217,112 copies in the UK, with an additional 249,626 streaming equivalent sales, for a total of 1,466,738 combined sales. In December 2020, the song was certified quadruple platinum in the UK for 2,400,000 combined sales.
In the UK, "Fairytale of New York" is the most-played Christmas song of the 21st century. It is frequently cited as the best Christmas song of all time in various television, radio and magazine related polls in the UK and Ireland, including the UK television special on ITV in December 2012 where it was voted The Nation's Favourite Christmas Songs
"Walk Like an Egyptian" is a song recorded by the American band the Bangles. It was released in 1986 as the third single from the album Different Light. It was the band's first number-one single, being certified gold by the RIAA, and became Billboard's number-one song of 1987.
Liam Sternberg, who wrote the song, had finished a demo version by January 1984 with singer Marti Jones. He offered it to Toni Basil, who turned it down. Lene Lovich recorded the first version of the song, but it went unreleased when she decided to take a break from music to raise her family. David Kahne from Peer Southern Publishing was the producer of Different Light; he received a copy of the demo and liked it, especially Jones's "offhand quality".
Kahne took the song to the Bangles, who agreed to record it. He had each member of the group sing the lyrics to determine who would sing each verse; Vicki Peterson, Michael Steele, and Susanna Hoffs sang lead vocals in the final version on the first, second, and third verses, respectively. Kahne disliked particularly Debbi Peterson's leads, so she was relegated to backing vocals. This angered her and caused tension within the group. The situation was exacerbated by the use of a drum machine in place of her drumming, further diminishing her role in the song. She can be seen playing the tambourine during their 1986 performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test. The whistling in the song was performed by machine, not by anyone in the band.
"Walk Like an Egyptian" was released as the third single from Different Light. It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1986. The song reached a peak of number three on the UK Singles Chart in November 1986 and reached number one in the US on December 20, staying at the top of the Hot 100 for four weeks, carrying it over into January 1987. The success of the song and "Manic Monday" propelled Different Light to number two on the Billboard 200 chart, making it the group's most successful album.
The music video for "Walk Like an Egyptian" was nominated for Best Group Video at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards. It features both the Bangles performing the song at a concert and scenes of people dancing in poses similar to those depicted in the Ancient Egyptian reliefs that inspired songwriter Liam Sternberg. Most of these people were filmed on the streets of New York City, although special effects were used to modify photos of Princess Diana, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and the Statue of Liberty. In a popular scene from the video, Hoffs was filmed in a close-up where her eyes moved from side to side, looking left and right. When asked about the scene in an interview, Hoffs explained that she was looking at individual audience members during the video shoot, which took place with a live audience. Looking directly at individual audience members was a technique she used to overcome stage fright, and she was unaware that the camera had a close-up on her while she was employing this technique, switching between one audience member on her left and one on her right.