12 Favorite Holiday Pop/Rock Songs, #10: XTC – “Thanks for Christmas”

Quintessential UK pop gods XTC deliver the happy, seasonal melodies, effortlessly.

Originally released in 1983, it didn’t come out under the band’s name, but rather, under a pseudonym, “Three Wise Men.”  From the original Virgin Records press release for the song:

Three Wise Men turn up on Virgin, not Mary, but Records

“On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me a partridge in a pear tree … ”

Yes, Virgin enters into the festive spirit with this seasonal offering, ‘Thanks for Christmas’ by The Three Wise Men. The song was penned by well-known writing team Kaspar/Melchior/Balthazar, the Far East’s answer to Holland/Dozier/Holland. Production was by The Three Wise Men and the Good Lord himself. (released Nov 21st Virgin VS642)

Not surprisingly, the release hits the decks shrouded in mystery, intrigue and much speculation. The ‘What’s On In Bethlehem’-style sleeve may well proclaim ‘The Three Wise Men’, but this non-de-plume cunningly conceals the identity of one of Virgin’s top pop groups! Not that we’re telling you which band. Could it be Culture Club, Human League, Heaven 17, China Crisis or even Slapp Happy? Over to you! Just good clean Virgin fun to keep you guessing right into the New Year. It’s certainly countdown to Christmas party time. Cheers!

November 10th 1983 [1]

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