The late, great, but albeit cantankerous Mark E. Smith wasn’t just the lead singer of The Fall, he was also—despite what you might think—a lover of Christmas. That’s if his contribution to the world’s Christmas playlists is anything to go by.
The enigmatic singer has added a whole heap of alternative Christmas songs to add a little grit into the sweeter than sweet roster of festive bangers. But one of our favourites from his extensive collection is the cover of the iconic hit ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ which is given the full unbridled Fall makeover.
The 1957 Bobby Helms hit is given the old one-two dose of Fall realism as it turns the candy-cane Americana bop of the original into a proto-punk rock present from Manchester. The band do their edgy and exuberant best to change the pace of the song into an unstoppable force that rips through the airwaves at just over a minute long.
Far removed from the Helms song, which will likely be a mainstay of your office Christmas party for years to come, Smith and The Fall add a decidedly darker tone to proceedings. They move Helms’ colour wheel joy quickly into the grayscale.
Taken from the 2006 reissue of Cerebral Caustic is The Fall at their sharp and incisive best. Smith is on top form vocally, removing too much nonsense and adding a fair bit of punk presence to the heady concoction, which, when mixed with the band’s robotic power, makes for one of the best alternative Christmas songs around.
Listen below to The Fall’s 2006 cover of Bobby Helms’ ‘Jingle Bell Rock’.