Paul McCartney to Mariah Carey – Huge royalties stars earn from Christmas songs

It's that time of the year when everywhere you go, there's no escaping Christmas songs.

Some love them, some loathe them, but the season wouldn't be the same without the sounds of some of music's biggest stars bringing some festive cheer.

Although the Performing Rights Society (PRS) doesn't reveal how much stars earn from their records, many have tried to guess throughout the years, while some of the stars have also revealed their earnings in interviews and television appearances.

Daily Star looks at what some of the biggest stars are estimated to earn from their Christmas Classics.

Jona Lewie – Stop the Cavalry

Jona Lewie's Stop the Cavalry is instantly recognisable for that iconic brass band melody, which after a few seconds, you'll be singing for the rest of the day.

It's no wonder then that the song is replayed year after year, with Jona raking in a huge £120,000 per year from that song alone.

Jona even revealed to The Express that he had no idea it would be a Christmas hit, despite having lyrics such as "wish I was at home for Christmas".

He said: "It’s great to have a single that’s up there with White Christmas and Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody that gets played every December. Sometimes I hear it in a shop and I’m like, ‘Crikey, that’s me!"

Shaking Stevens – Merry Christmas Everyone

Who could forget Shaking Stevens' dance moves when performing this song on Top of The Pops in 1985, in a brilliant knitted jumper, which also makes an appearance in the music video for Merry Christmas Everyone.

He even told Smooth Radio: "People always remind me of the embarrassing Christmas jumper in the video, but I didn’t have stylists, I just threw something on."

Shaky, whose real name is Michael Barrett, landed a Christmas number one with the hit, which is estimated to generate over £130,000 a year in royalties for Shaky and songwriter Bob Heatlie.

Wham – Last Christmas

Romance, snow, past loves – many have combined the topics in pop records throughout the years, but there is one song of past romances during the festive season that will forever remain a classic – Wham's Last Christmas.

It was one of the biggest songs never to reach number one in 1984, missing out on the top spot to Band Aid's Do they Know it's Christmas, which George Michael also sang lead vocals on.

However, it has since become a Christmas classic, with a report in The Telegraph suggesting that at its peak, the song generated a huge £470,000 in royalties per year.

Wham's frolics in a Swiss Ski Chalet during the video for Last Christmas have become just as famous as the song itself, with model Kathy Hill, who played George's ex-girlfriend fondly recalling her time on set.

She told The Guardian: "He [George Michael] had an amazing sense of humour. There’s a scene when we’re walking up the hill and every time we went up he just fell down, so every time I burst into laughter."

Mariah Carey – All I want for Christmas

Mariah Carey has recorded a few versions of her festive hit, All I want for Christmas, including a collaboration with US pop singer Justin Bieber.

However, the original has always been a fan favourite, topping the charts and generating an estimated £376,000 per year for the star.

In 2020, fans also campaigned to get the Christmas classic to number one, with one tweeting: "No one deserves a UK #1 more than @MariahCarey and so I went on national television to talk about this historic moment & my festive queen!"

Mariah Carey was delighted by the fan's tweet, responding with "Thank youuu Jeff! Now we can only hope to make it happen."

It certainly did happen, and Mariah's festive hit finally reached the top spot on the UK Charts.

Paul McCartney – Wonderful Christmas Time

Not many artists have had the number of Christmas songs that Paul McCartney has.

Not only did he hit the Christmas number one spot with The Beatles in the sixties, but he also released a number of huge chart tracks during the festive season including Pipes of Peace and We All Stand Together, with Rupert Bear and the Frog Chorus.

However, undoubtedly one of the biggest festive hits was Wonderful Christmas Time, which saw him, wife Linda and his band Wings have a great night out at the pub.

Nearly 50 years since its release, not only are people singing along, but the record is also estimated to generate £260,000 a year for the star too.

Cliff Richard – Mistletoe and Wine

Cliff Richard is one of the kings of the Christmas number one, reaching the top spot in both 1988 and 1990.

In 1988, he released Mistletoe and Wine, which is estimated to generate royalties of £100,000.

Two years later he followed up his Christmas success with the 1990 track Saviours Day, which featured Cliff and some of his fans singing the track on top of a cliff side (pardon the pun) by the sea.

Wizzard – I wish it could be Christmas everyday

In 1973 there was a battle for the Christmas number one, when Wizzard and Slade went head to head with their festive offerings.

Wizard's I wish it could be Christmas everyday lost out on the top spot, but it didn't stop it from becoming a festive classic, with the song estimated to bring in around £180,000 per year.

Slade – Merry Christmas Everyone

No list would be complete without a Christmas song that has gone to number one twice and has people instantly knowing what time of year it is when they hear, "It's Christmas!"

Yes, Slade's Merry Christmas Everyone is one of the most well-known Christmas classics and since its original release in 1973, the song is estimated to generate a huge £512,000 a year for the band, and songwriter Jim Lea.

However, on the programme Eamonn and Ruth: A Million Pound Christmas, the estimated royalties for the song are said to be as high as £1 million a year.

It's no wonder that Noddy Holder has previously referred to the song as a 'pension plan', saying to the BBC: "It was never designed to be that way but it has taken on a life of its own, definitely…

"It's been used for adverts, it's been used in movies, it's been used for all sorts of things."

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