Globalcomment.com called it one of the best Christmas songs of all time. It was performed in the 1986 British television Christmas musical ‘The Little Match Girl’ by ex-model Twiggy. The song was based on the Hans Christian Andersen story of the same name. The show’s producer thought the song would be ideal for Cliff. Richard liked the song but decided to change the lyrics giving the song a more religious theme. It was first performed as part of the musical Scraps before it was titled ‘The Little Matchgirl’ in London in 1976. In an interview with songfacts.com Leslie Stewart’s wife Sarah said: “Twiggy was indeed in the TV version made for HTV some ten years later. The most interesting aspect of the song and its subsequent fame is that in its original context it is meant to be a kind of pastiche carol – all the Christmas clichés – which is sung by well-to-do carol singers who are in fact indifferent to the fate of the starving little matchgirl, despite the words they sing. Leslie was at first horrified at the idea of the song being recorded by Cliff, and losing the edge its original context supplied.” The musical was renamed and adapted for television by HTV in 1987. “Mistletoe and Wine” had a different meaning from that for which it has come to be known. The writers intended it to be sung ironically while the little Matchgirl being kicked out into the snow by the unfeeling middle classes, they wanted a song that sounded more like a Christmas carol.
Release Date: November 21, 1988
Songwriter/s: Jeremy Paul – Leslie Stewart – Keith Strachan
Label: EMI 203024
Chart Rankings: In the UK, the song topped the Official Charts Company and was certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). It became Richard’s twelfth number 1 in the UK and the highest selling single on 1988. The song topped the charts in Ireland, reached number 30 in Australia, number 22 in Belgium, number 71 in Netherlands and peaked at number 70 in Germany.
Artist’s age on Release Date: Harry Rodger Webb know as Sir Cliff Richard (Order of the British Empire) was 48 years old when he released this song.
Cover Versions: Carola Sogaard and Christer Sjogren – Amateur artists covered this song on Youtube.