Two beautiful Christmas songs here; 1983's 2000 Miles by The Pretenders, and 1994's Stay Another Day by East 17. But there's something else that links them beyond the fact that they're both 'Christmas songs'.
Do you know what it is?
The answer is death.
Many actually believe 2000 Miles is the long distance between two lovers, missing each other over the holidays, but it was actually written by Hynde in memory of the group's original guitarist, James Honeyman-Scott who had died of heart failure caused by cocaine intolerance the previous year aged just 25. His replacement in the band was his friend Robbie McIntosh who Chrissie believes played beautifully on the track, adding "anything to avoid listening to my voice and my stupid words"
Stay Another Day wasn't even intended as a Christmas song. Set for release at the end of 1994, East 17's record company elected to add the sound of bells and shoot a video featuring the band in white coats and snow for the Christmassy vibe that ultimately secured them that year's coveted Christmas number one. However, the song was written as therapy by band member Tony Mortimer, who was coming to terms with the recent suicide of his brother Ollie. Just this week Mortimer has revealed that, whilst the song may earn him an estimated £97,000 in royalties per year, the deeply personal meaning behind it is hard for him and his family to ignore and ultimately he avoids the song that arguably became his biggest hit. Like Hynde before him, his relationship with the song seems difficult.
It's kind of fitting in a way that these songs concern bereavement. After all, Christmas is a time to recall those who mean so much to us who are no longer around just as much as it is a time to enjoy those loved ones closest to us now.