As concerns over the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus led millions of British citizens to stay at home on New Year’s Eve, some music lovers may have been tempted to see in 2022 in the company of Jools Holland and his Annual Hootenanny, now part of the festive season furnishings, which ‘boasted’ - if that’s the correct term - a line-up featuring artists such as Ed Sheeran, Lulu, Vic Reeves and Rag ’n’ Bone Man. Perhaps the thinking here was to reassure the British public that 2022 could only get better from this point on.
Things were not always so bleak. Viewers tuning in to the ‘Will Kenny Everett Make It To 1980?’ special on ITV on New Year’s Eve 1979, for instance, would have seen performances from David Bowie, Roxy Music, The Boomtown Rats and, closing out the show, for one night only, The Greedies, aka The Greedy Bastards, a short-lived supergroup featuring Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott, Scott Gorham and Brian Downey alongside former Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook
Formed in 1978, The Greedies had just one single to their name, A Merry Jingle, a boisterous mash-up of We Wish You A Merry Christmas and Jingle Bells, which peaked at number 28 in the UK charts in mid-December 1979, but booking these rock ’n’ roll reprobates for a prime slot on his TV special doubtless appealed to Everett’s mischievous sense of humour.
Whatever, amending the single’s lyrics to wish viewers a “Happy New Year” rather than a “Merry Christmas”, The Greedies clearly had a call on the night, as you can see below. Top that Jools…