Twisted Sister star Dee Snider has revealed he's the songwriter behind Celine Dion's festive tune The Magic Of Christmas Day - and even she didn't know his identity when she recorded the track. Snider reveals he wrote and recorded the song he titled God Bless Us Everyone as a Christmas gift to his wife and was stunned when he learned Dion wanted to record it for her 1998 album These Are Special Times.
He urged song brokers not to reveal his identity, because he feared Dion would change her mind if she discovered the man behind the tune was more Satanic rocker than Santa Claus.
He tells the Talk is Jericho podcast, "The first thing I said was, 'Does she know who wrote it...? Do not tell her Satan wrote a Christmas song! Seriously, dude, just put it on the frigging album.'"
Dion's production team changed the title to The Magic of Christmas Day, and asked Snider's people if he minded.
He adds, "(I said), 'I don't care if she calls it This Song Is A Pile of Dog S**t, just put it on her album!'"
The album was a hit and Snider made a fortune from his contribution: "Eight million copies later, then it was on Rosie O'Donnell's Christmas album and sold another two million. We call our house the House that St. Celine built!"
And ironically, Snider, a classically trained counter-tenor, struggles to sing the track he wrote all those years ago - because "it's out of my range".
He reveals Celine has since discovered the identity of the man behind her Christmas song, adding, "I heard that she found out years later and was very confused."
Actor Steve Carell helped make kids’ holiday wishes come true by playing Santa’s right hand man while working as a postal carrier in Massachusetts. The Foxcatcher actor had a brief seven-month stint as a mailman in his home state when he was younger, and he admits that when he noticed mail addressed to Santa Claus waiting to be picked up, he left special messages for the senders on behalf of St. Nick.
In a recent interview with comedienne Ellen DeGeneres, Carell recalled, “Around Christmas time, kids would mail letters to Santa. And I wasn't privy to the super secret Santa sending, but I would write a note and put it in the mailbox and (it) would say, ‘Your letter to Santa has been picked up by a special reindeer courier.
“I just thought I would have loved that to have that acknowledgement of 'it’s on its way! It’s gonna get there!’"
Chris Brown's rendition of Donny Hathaway's This Christmas has been named among the least popular festive tunes in a new poll. The new AccuRadio list also includes The Chipmunks' Christmas Don’t Be Late, Rosemary Clooney's (Let’s Give) a Christmas Present to Santa Claus, Enya's My! My! Time Flies! and Snoop Dogg's New Year’s Eve.
Meanwhile, the five most popular tunes on the Christmas countdown include Bing Crosby's version of It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Brenda Lee's Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, and The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole.
Shock rocker Marilyn Manson hates the festive season so passionately he once burned a Christmas tree, painted another black and wants to shoot Santa Claus. The star's birthday falls in the festive period which he attributes to his loathing of the merry time of year.
Manson, real name Brian Warner, tells NME.com, "Christmas is a holiday that I really don't like. It's right before my birthday so as a child I was forced to accept one gift rather than two and I've had much more fun at non-religious holidays... I have burned a Christmas tree before, I have painted one black.
"I also like to tell people what their gifts are before I give them to them... I hate giving gifts... If Santa Claus came down my chimney I'd shoot him as a burglar. The end."
One Direction joined U.S. TV host Jimmy Fallon on his talk show The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Monday (22Dec14) to perform a unique version of holiday song Santa Claus is Coming to Town. The boyband and Fallon's house band The Roots performed the tune using nothing but makeshift instruments found in a school classroom instruments. The comedian previously staged a similar singalong with Mariah Carey.
Comedian Stephen Colbert closed out nine years of his nightly The Colbert Report show in America on Thursday (18Dec14) with a star-studded finale. After welcoming regular guest Grimmy, aka the Grim Reaper, and killing him off to obtain immortality, singer/songwriter Randy Newman led a celebrity-packed singalong.
Bryan Cranston, Willie Nelson, Mandy Patinkin, Cyndi Lauper, Patrick Stewart, Barry Manilow, George Lucas, Sesame Street's Big Bird, James Franco and former R.E.M. star Michael Stipe were among the eclectic mix of stars crooning We'll Meet Again, while Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, moviemaker J.J. Abrams and former U.S. President Bill Clinton joined in the fun via video.
The series ended with Colbert joining fellow 'immortals' Santa Claus, Abraham Lincoln and U.S. game show host Alex Trebek on the studio roof.
The host then hopped on a Santa sleigh and flew off into the night.
Colbert will replace David Letterman as host of The Late Show next year (15).
Wrestler Mick Foley's return to Indiana to retain his fruitcake-eating crown over the weekend (06-07Dec14) was marred by the threat of protests from a group of disgruntled Santas. Foley won the contest at the Candy Cane Castle in Santa Claus, Indiana last year (13) and when he was invited back, several Father Christmases threatened to boycott the event over the fighter's new movie, I Am Santa Claus.
In the documentary, directed by Tommy Avallone, Christmas superfan Foley spent a year as Father Christmas and tracked down others who make their living as the man in the red suit. These included a gay Santa and a swinging Santa.
Avallone tells WENN, "A few of the other Santas were upset about Mick's return to the Santa Claus Hall of Fame because of his involvement in the film. They felt we were peeling back the red curtain and revealing too much about the world of the Santa Clauses.
"We got called the Armageddon of the Santa world for showing a gay Santa and a swinging Santa but we just wanted to show that Santa comes in all shapes and sizes.
"Many of the Santas were just upset by the trailer. If they saw the whole film, they would realise there's a real spirit of Christmas there."
Despite the threats, there was no protest at the fruitcake-eating contest. Foley was not a winner this year (14).
James Stewart's beloved festive film It's A Wonderful Life has topped a new U.K. poll to find the best seasonal movie of all time. The 1946 Christmas classic, directed by Frank Capra, picked up 16 per cent of the vote to lead the Odeon cinema hit list.
In celebration, Odeon will be holding screenings of the feel-good classic at 80 of its U.K. cinemas next week (15Dec14).
Home Alone comes in second place, while animated short film The Snowman ranks third.
The 1994 version of Miracle On 34th Street, which starred the late Richard Attenborough as Santa Claus, and Bing Crosby classic White Christmas round out the Odeon top five.
If there's one thing we've learned throughout the years, it's that it just isn't Christmas until we've watched a slew of movies putting us in the mood. Nobody puts us in the mood quite like the Brits do. It makes sense, considering the king of the Christmas story, Charles Dickens, is British too. Don't believe us when we say the British do it better? Take a look:
Not the only Dickens adaptations on this list, this musical adaptation has the distinction of toting a Golden Globe. Albert Finney won the statue for his turn as the titular Ebenezor Scrooge in this film that your kids will probably love.
Love Actually (2003)
Every British actor, almost ever, is in this movie: Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Martin Freeman, The Walking Dead's Andrew Lincoln, and even The Maze Runner's Thomas Brodie-Sangster. The film follows eight different couples as they all work out their love lives during the Christmas season. It's so good that you'll love it without questioning its morality (we're looking at you, Keira Knightley and Andrew Lincoln). It's simply not the holiday season until you've watched this movie at least once. We recommend weekly viewings.
The Holly and the Ivy (1952)
This underrated classic, named for the traditional British Christmas carol and adapted from the Wynyard Browne play, has more to offer than meets the eye. A clergyman who neglected his children has his issues come to the surface during Christmas. The film poses questions about life and the meaning of the holiday in a way that's notedly part Chekhov and part comedy of manners.
Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)
We're not really into the idea of 'spirit animals,' but if we had one, it would take the form of Bridget Jones. Though this movie isn't technically a holiday movie, the film's premise is fixed on Bridget's New Years' resolution, so it'll help you gear up for that. Plus, Colin Firth wears an ugly Christmas sweater AND plays Mark Darcy, in a nod to his Mr. Darcy days of Pride and Prejudice (the film is a modern adaptation of the Austen novel). It's hilarious and will be your best friend anytime you feel lonely this holiday season. Trust us.
Arthur Christmas (2011)
Santa's clumsy son tries to save one girl's Christmas after realizing his father failed to deliver her gift. Arthur Claus sets off on his mission with his grandfather, a rebellious elf, and a team of reindeer in this funny and enjoyable movie. It's a Golden Globe nominated fresh take on the holiday premise, thanks to its high-tech Santa Claus.
An enormous bag of money falls into the hands of a little boy just days before England converts to the Euro (what?). The Euro part might sound a bit strange, but the Danny Boyle-directed film works on multiple levels. It's enjoyable for kids and adults alike. It'll leave you feeling great about mankind, and that's in the spirit of Christmas after all, isn't it?
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
If your kids didn't love the Albert Finney Dickens adaptation, there's always this version, with Michael Caine playing Scrooge along with The Muppets. Kermit the Frog plays Scrooge's business partner, Bob Cratchit. It may not be the best version of the story, but it'll make you laugh and it'll warm your heart. It's also a great way to introduce kids to the classic Dickens tale!
The Holiday (2006)
The Holiday is the sort of movie that's so good, it's perfectly acceptable to watch all year long. At least, we do. Kate Winslet's performance as a woman with a mean case of unrequited love gives us all the feels. She switches houses with unlucky-in-love Cameron Diaz, and along come Jack Black and Jude Law to sweep the ladies (and the viewers) off their feet. Pour a glass (or a bottle) of wine, and enjoy this movie, whether it's the holiday season or not.
The holidays are all about tradition, and for pop culture addicts like us, that includes Christmas-themed television. These festive episodes are guaranteed to put us in the holiday spirit (and keep us from whining about the TV drought known as “winter hiatus”). We think they’ll do the same for you!
1. The OC - “The Best Chrismukkah Ever”
Christmas or Hanukkah: why choose? That was Seth Cohen’s motto and the combo-holiday idea was sheer brilliance. Bonus: This is the episode where Summer dresses as Wonder Woman to win Seth’s affections.
2. The Office – “Christmas Party”
The Office had a lot of Christmas-themed episodes, but this one is the best. Michael buys an iPod for his Secret Santa, then makes everyone play Yankee Swap when the gift he gets isn’t so great (Sorry, Phyllis). This is also the episode where Jim gets Pam the teapot filled with inside jokes. The sweetest.
3. Roswell – “A Roswell Christmas Carol”
Who knew aliens were so into Christmas? The holiday season turns Isabel into the “Christmas Nazi,” Michael tries to get Maria an adequate gift, and Max heals a bunch of sick children at the hospital.
4. Gilmore Girls – “Forgiveness and Stuff”
Lorelai gets uninvited from his parents’ annual Christmas party, so Luke makes her a Santa burger to cheer her up. He also takes care of her when her father ends up in the hospital.
5. Glee – “A Very Glee Christmas”
If you enjoy Christmas music, this episode is for you. The Gleeks sing their hearts out to seven holiday tunes. Bonus: We find out Brittany still believes in Santa Claus.
6. How I Met Your Mother – “How Lily Stole Christmas”
Lily finds out that Ted once called her a “Grinch” (that’s code word for something a bit…worse) and doesn’t take it too well.
7. New Girl – "The 23rd"
It starts with Jess realizing she doesn’t love her current boyfriend, but ends with Jess and the guys bonding over Christmas lights.
8. Saved by the Bell – “Home For Christmas”
In this two-parter, Zach meets a homeless girl and her father at the mall and invites them over to spend Christmas with his family. The gang also puts on a production of A Christmas Carol.
9. Seinfeld – “The Strike”
Ok, so it’s technically not about Christmas, but about a fake holiday George’s father created. Still a holiday classic!
10. Veronica Mars – “An Echolls Family Christmas”
Veronica investigates a poker game theft, and Aaron Echolls gets stabbed at his own Christmas party. That’s about as festive as Veronica Mars gets.
11. Parks and Recreation – “Ron and Diane”
Ron gets nominated for a fine woodworking award – which prompts Leslie to burst into his office dressed as an elf yelling “Merry Congratuchristmas!” Plus, Jerry (of all people) throws a Christmas party.
12. Sherlock - "His Last Vow"
So much happens in the season 3 finale, and not all Christmas-related. But the part where Sherlock drugs everyone at his family Christmas party so he can go solve a crime is exactly how you'd expect him to spend the holidays.
Now it's time to curl up with some hot cocoa and start rewatching!