Most Christmas tunes are so dear to our hearts because they are connected to the season, to that feeling we get when surrounded by family and friends cozy indoors as the snow falls around us outside. Some songs are more closely connected to a specific action during the holidays. For me no other song is so intertwined with an action as Chris Rea’s holiday anthem Driving Home for Christmas.
Chris Rea, an English singer-songwriter, has for some reason never retained the status of his contemporaries Sting, Peter Gabriel or Elton John even though he has sold more than 30 million albums, countless awards and several memorable hits all over the world. It might seem unfair that a man with accessible songs, excellent guitar licks, a distinct and husky voice and without the bizarre misadventures in various genres has not been given the status of others, but the cream always rises to the top and I am convinced Rea will be given his just reward.
Inspired by a drive Rea and his wife did from London the song is a common addition to various Christmas playlists this time of year. The songwriter himself called it a Christmas Carol for car drives and he could not be more correct. It reminds me of the long drives I would do while in college, going home to the Midwest and seeing the snowy landscape. The song gives you a sense of beginning the travels in the morning, seeing the sun reflecting in the snow and ending in the dark, lit by the Christmas decorations. There is a longing to come home, but also a camaraderie with others on the road doing the same.
The memories it invokes, real or imagined and the longing it conveys is why Driving Home for Christmas is number four on our Christmas List of Songs.