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Watch: James Dean Bradfield sings stirring version of Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’

25 Dec 2023 2 minute read
James Dean Bradfield covers Last Christmas by Wham! Image: Promo

Stephen Price

Last Christmas by Wham! has taken the Christmas number one spot some 39 years after its release, much to the delight of fans of the festive classic.

Written and produced by George Michael, the song takes on extra significance each Christmas Day following the much-loved singer songwriter’s death on 25 December 2016.

This year’s race to the Christmas number one was left open following LadBaby’s welcome announcement that they were ducking out this year.

And with stiff competition from Sam Ryder and his embarrassing Christmas-song-by-numbers that sounds suspiciously as though the lyrics were written by an AI chatbot (‘what a special time of year, full of joy and festive cheer’) it’s refreshing to have a familiar and not-too-grating song sit atop the throne for once.


Last Christmas was held back from being number one by Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas during its first chance at the peak Christmas chart position but it’s finally got there, not least in part thanks to the song’s popularity on TikTok and a few cheeky plays by those who wish to foil the plans of anyone taking part in Whamageddon.

No doubt because of its current popularity, a video is doing the rounds on social media of Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield covering the song on an episode of TFI Friday that aired on Channel 4 at Christmas time in 1996.

The simple guitar version brings out a poignancy to the track that is perhaps overlooked with the big ‘80s production of the original, and James Dean Bradfield’s unmistakable vocals give the song a different feel to that of George Michael’s, who himself had a voice like no other.

‘Well, it’s been a year..’

Bradfield performed the track one more time over a decade later on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Radio 2 in December 2010, along with a very special duet of Fairytale of New York with KT Tunstall.

After a short chat, Evans makes way for a recreation of the cover, saying: “In many ways we’re getting in a time machine and going back.”

If only we could.

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