This Thursday, November 23, marks the 50th anniversary of the release of Elton John’s classic holiday tune “Step into Christmas,” and to celebrate the milestone, the pop-rock legend has released a special digital compilation features that song and several other yuletide-themed tracks.
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The Step into Christmas EP is a seven-track collection that features the original versions of the 1973 single and its tongue-in-cheek B-side, “Ho Ho Ho (Who’d Be a Turkey at Christmas),” as well as Elton’s 1982 tune “All Quiet on the Western Front,” his 1983 song “Cold as Christmas (in the Middle of the Year),” and his 2004 duet with Joss Stone, “Calling It Christmas.”
Rounding out the compilation are live versions of “Step into Christmas,” which John performed on the U.K.’s The Gilbert O’Sullivan Show in 1973, and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” from a 1973 concert at the Hammersmith Odeon venue in London.
John also is releasing a seven-inch green-vinyl single featuring “Step into Christmas” and “Ho Ho Ho (Who’d Be a Turkey at Christmas),” and a 10-inch red-vinyl EP featuring the first five songs from the digital EP. Both discs can be pre-ordered at John’s official online store, and are scheduled to ship on November 23.
“Step into Christmas” was recorded after the release of John’s hit 1973 double album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and it initially peaked at No. 24 on the U.K. singles chart, while also topping the Billboard Christmas Singles tally that year. It later reached No. 8 on the U.K. chart in 2019.
As uDiscoverMusic.com reports, the song was certified double platinum in the U.K. in 2019 for amassing 1.2 million units and was certified gold in the U.S. for notching 500,000 units.
In other news, earlier this month, John was presented with a plaque by the RIAA certifying his 2017 compilation Diamonds double-platinum for sales of more than 2 million units in the U.S. The expansive anthology includes “Step into Christmas.”
Meanwhile, John was honored on Sunday, November 19, at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards in London. He received a special Editor’s Award, which acknowledged his collaborative contributions to musical theater in the U.K.
“At the end of it, sink or swim, you’ve been in it together,” John said in accepting the award, according to the Evening Standard, “and if you do succeed it’s a wonderful achievement and you can celebrate together and I’ve always loved that.”
John also wrote about receiving the honor in a note posted on his Instagram page.
“Creating music for the stage has been some of the most gratifying projects for me, from The Lion King to Billy Elliot and now Tammy Faye,” he wrote. “[S]o thank you to the editors for this award as well as [Jake Shears] and [Boy George] for presenting it to me.”
He added, “With @tammyfayebway coming next year, I couldn’t be more proud of this recognition. Thank you.”
As reported last week, the Tammy Faye musical, which premiered in London last year, will begin a Broadway run during the 2024-2025 season. John wrote the music for the production, while Shears—frontman of Scissor Sisters—penned the lyrics.
Step into Christmas EP Track List:
- “Step into Christmas”
- “Ho Ho Ho (Who’d Be a Turkey at Christmas)”
- “All Quiet on the Western Front”
- “Cold as Christmas
- “Calling It Christmas” (with Joss Stone)
- “Step into Christmas” (1973 Gilbert O’Sullivan Show Version)
- “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (Live at Hammersmith Odeon, 1973)
(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for BCRF)