YouTube Discoveries: Kim Wilde’s Christmas present

Two years ago, easily the most magical Christmas video ever was shot surreptitiously on a late night commuter train in London.

Kim Wilde, whose classic 1980s hits include “Kids in America,” “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” and “You Came,” was returning home following a Christmas party for indie radio station Magic FM, where she hosts a show. To quote from the description on what instantly became a viral video, “A trip home on the train, not your everyday travel to find Kim Wilde and Ricky Wilde serenading passengers on the train after the Magic FM Christmas Party. They were on their way home on the train and couldn’t get a seat, then Ricky pulled out his guitar ‘Oh here we go!’ Then a drunken woman starts singing. Hang on a minute, I know that voice?! It really was KIM WILDE! This totally makes my day. Thanks. Kim is an absolute legend! Merry Christmas 2012 everyone. It’s so nice to see we are all human and we all have our drunken moments.”

Drunken woman, absolute legend indeed! Gloriously snockered, Kim Wilde, and brother Ricky—who wrote “Kids in America” with legendary dad Marty Wilde—decided to party on, first with “Kids,” then “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”—and a gentle scolding by Kim to all those on the train (who most likely didn’t know it was her) who refused to get into the holiday spirit.

Here’s the original clip:

And since you can never get too much of a great thing, here’s one I just discovered, shot from the adjoining car with inferior sound but still very funny, and with a charity link.

But I found more fun! Here’s Kim a couple days later, after the video has become a viral sensation, being interviewed about it by Magic FM.

Then a year later, Kim and Ricky teamed with singer-songwriter Nick Kershaw to re-enact the justly famous performance, and invited the gal who took the original footage.

Here’s Kim’s and Nick’s “official” version:

Now it would seem that Kim inherited the gene for zaniness from her father, one of England’s early rock ‘n’ rollers, who under the name Shannon, had a delightful 1968 hit in the U.S., “Abergavenny,” about a town in Wales. She seemed a little embarrassed watching a vintage clip of his merry performance after she herself became famous:

And lest we forget, here’s Kim’s own vintage 1981 video for “Kids in America”:

YouTube Discoveries: The Swingle Singers

I get majorly annoyed whenever people turn their collective nose up on the Swingle Sisters.

Maybe they think it’s the dreaded Hollyridge Strings, the studio orchestra that recorded all those God-awful easy-listening instrumental albums in the 1960s and ‘70s of music by The Beatles, Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, etc. I’m only afraid that if I heard one of them today, at my advanced age and declining discretion, I might actually like them.

Thank God there’s no such problem in discerning the eternal greatness of the Swingle Singers, perhaps the most intricate and exquisite a cappella group ever. They formed in Paris in 1962 under American vocalist/jazz musician Ward Swingle, who brought the scat singing concept from his previous group Les Double Six. Christiane Legrand, sister of composer Michel Legrand, was the Swingles’ lead soprano through 1972.

A version of the Single Singers still survives, but come Christmas I always dust off their 1968 album Christmastime.