It’s one more dive into my singles collection before the turn of the year and the beginning of my Iron Maiden singles series. Since Christmas is just around the corner I thought I’d get festive and get out what likely is the only Christmas-themed music thing I own.
This single was the very first release from King Diamond after splitting up Mercyful Fate and going solo. Joining King from the ashes of Mercyful Fate were guitarist Michael Denner and bassist Timi Hansen. They recruited guitarist Andy LaRocque and drummer Mikkey Dee to join them in the new venture.
No Presents For Christmas
The A-side features the holiday tune, which of course is twisted into King Diamond form. The song intros a few familiar Christmas melodies before opening into the true experience. It is suitably dark for a King Diamond song but is also extremely silly, lending a light-hearted air to the proceedings.
While King Diamond would use his solo band to primarily tell album-length stories, our song here is a standalone effort. No great, overarching theme here – simply put, Santa can’t deliver the presents and no one else gives a damn. Somehow Tom and Jerry, famed cartoon duo, made it into the chorus while pounding some sherry. I have no clue what Tom and Jerry have to do with Christmas but hey, the chorus rhymes so props to everyone for that. Donald Duck makes an appearance too, again not a noted Christmas icon. But it goes to show the loose and silly nature of the song.
No Presents For Christmas has become a quasi-classic in King Diamond lore. While not an album track when the debut Fatal Portrait was released months later, the song was added as a reissue bonus and the single itself has been reissued through the years. It’s a bit of levity for what is often a dark and spooky atmosphere.
The B-side is a song that did make the cut for Fatal Portrait. Charon is about its namesake, the ferryman in Greek mythology who takes souls to Hades. The King Diamond approach to the song is straightforward as he assumes the role of the ferryman in lyric form. The song does have the feel of a Mercyful Fate tune, but with a bit of NWOBHM vibe to it as well. It’s a nice cut to showcase what was to come with the full-length album hitting shelves a bit after this single.
That pretty well covers the single. Mine is an old cassette copy though it’s available in several formats and versions. I just can’t help but have the cover with King Diamond and goofy Christmas stuff on it. Despite the goofy nature, this was the beginning of a legendary solo career and a gamble that paid off after personal conflict ripped Mercyful Fate apart just as they were making a name for themselves.
It’s about time for the holidays – hope everyone has a merry Christmas and/or other celebrations. After today at work I’ll be off for the rest of the year so I’ll (hopefully) have some time to get this site set up for the new year. Just remember – if there’s nothing in your stocking, it’s because Tom and Jerry got wine drunk and didn’t help out Santa.
Note the screw up in the album name below…