As we gear up for the holidays listening to the now-classic Wham! song “Last Christmas”, do you know that the song spawned several cover versions? Even big-name singers like Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande made their own versions of this iconic classic from George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley.
Andrew Ridgeley recently tweeted that his favorite cover of ‘Last Christmas’ is this Baroque cover version which is a mashup of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no. 3, Mozart’s Divertimento in D major and Wham!’s Christmas classic.
While nothing will beat the original Wham! version, here are some artists who have all given their own personal touch to “Last Christmas” and attempted to make the Christmas classic their own. Listen to some of the cover versions of ‘Last Christmas’:
(Sounds of the Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection, 2007)
Pop superstar Taylor Swift covered the song Last Christmas for her Christmas EP “Sounds of the Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection.” The six-song EP was first released on October 14, 2007, exclusively at the Target stores and online in the United States.
The EP was then re-released as a digital download on iTunes and Amazon.com on December 2, 2008, this time renamed as The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection.
According to the Country Music Television,
“Thanks to this teen star, a new generation of sensitive girls may discover the melancholy but oh-so-melodic “Last Christmas.”
Taylor Swift’s EP performed well at the charts, peaking at #1 on the Billboard Top Holiday Albums and #20 in the US Billboard 200 albums chart. Her version of ‘Last Christmas’ reached #28 in Billboard’s Hot Country Songs and #7 in Holiday Digital Song Sales.
(Christmas Kisses, 2013)
Another successful cover of the song Last Christmas was made by Ariana Grande.
Ariana released her cover through her Christmas Kisses extended play (EP) released in December 2013. She infused the song with an R&B spin.
Her cover reached #1 in the US Holiday Digital Song Sales of the Billboard charts (Wham!’s original version only reached #2 in Holiday Digital Song Sales chart). The cover song also made an appearance at the main Billboard 100 charts and peaked at #73 in December 2014.
Watch Ariana’s performance of ‘Last Christmas’ at the television special Michael Bublé’s 4th Annual Christmas Special: Christmas in New York (2014)
The Sound of Christmas: Live & Exclusive at the BBC (2018)
Wearing a George Michael t-shirt, Rita Ora performed her cover of “Last Christmas’ in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge on December 11, 2017. One YouTube commenter described her version as: “Great arrangement that complements her voice.”
Her cover of the song was included in the album ‘The Sound of Christmas: Live & Exclusive at the BBC’ released on November 30, 2018.
You Make It Feel Like Christmas (2017)
American singer and the lead vocalist of the band No Doubt Gwen Stefani covered ‘Last Christmas’ in her album You Make It Feel Like Christmas released on October 6, 2017. The album debuted at #1 in the Billboard Top Holiday Albums chart.
Rolling Stone magazine called her version as: “Stefani’s take reimagines the 1984 single as an early Sixties girl group track, with the singer bolstered by strings and soaring background vocals.”
Stefani’s take on the song’s shimmering-tinsel synths favors a more organic approach: no synths at all. Instead, her band adopts a vintage, creaky-vinyl doo-wop effect that makes the longing in the lyrics seem that much more bittersweet. All in all, if you told me this was a bonus track on one of the She & Him Christmas albums featuring guest vox from Gwen, I’d believe you.
In an interview with Billboard.com, Gwen described ‘Last Christmas” as a “masterpiece as far as music goes”:
“Last Christmas,” the Wham! song, is a masterpiece as far as the music goes and how [producer Eric Valentine] created it. To me, that’s the most, of all the covers, that was really flipped. But yet, it still has the spirit of the original. Lyrically, that song speaks to me and things I’ve been through.
Disney star Ashley Tisdale recorded a promotional single of “Last Christmas” in 2006 for Warner Bros. recording company and got its first radio airplay on November 11, 2006. Her version of ‘Last Christmas’ was included in two compilation albums — Disney Channel Holiday in 2007 and A Very Special Christmas 7 in 2009.
Ashley performed the song at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade back and at the Rockefeller Center tree lighting event in 2007 – both events broadcasted live on TV.
Carly Rae Jepsen
(Last Christmas, 2015)
In November 2015, Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen released a cover of ‘Last Christmas’ that was made available as a digital download.
Carly Rae’s version received rave reviews from critics. Billboard noted that Carly’s version stayed true to the original Wham! song:
Not all that different stylistically from the Wham! original, Jepsen’s rendition just adds a 2015 polish to its throwback synths (and even a few sax licks).
Time Magazine wrote that ‘Last Christmas” is the “kind of brokenhearted yet warm and sweet song she excels at.” Vulture praised Jepsen for opting “out of the vocal gymnastics that mark so many holiday covers and instead carves a smooth, wistful, and almost melancholy groove.”
Here’s a video of Carly performing the song at the lighting of the Christmas Tree at the Rockefeller Center in New York, which aired on 2 December 2015:
She also performed the song at the The Late Late Show with James Corden airing on 16 December 2015.
(Last Christmas, 2009)
The cast of the hit television show Glee performed the song Last Christmas in the second season in the episode entitled A Very Glee Christmas. The song was sung by the characters of Lea Michelle and the late Corey Monteith.
The Glee cover was released on November 23, 2009, and was re-released in 2010 on Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album.
(Last Christmas, 2007)
The German Eurodance group Cascada’s version of ‘Last Christmas’ was first released as a digital download in November 2007, then as a B-side to the song “What Hurts The Most”, the first single from their second album.
Their version peaked at #22 in the UK Official Charts (Dance), and #10 at the UK Official Charts (officially for the song “What Hurts the Most”).
Their cover version was also included in their 2012 holiday album “It’s Christmas Time.”
Other Covers of ‘Last Christmas’
Billie Piper (Released as a CD single, 1999)
Jimmy Eat World (KROQ Kevin & Bean: Swallow My Eggnog, 2001)
Crazy Frog (Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits, 2005)
Matthias Rhyme (Die große Weihnachtsparty, 2011)
Kids United New Generation (Un monde meilleur, 2015)
- 12 Things You Need to Know About Wham!’s “Last Christmas” Song
- George Michael Interview with Capital FM Radio with Dr. Fox (Dec 1998)
- List of Duets and Backup Vocals
- A Year in the Life of Wham! as Told by George Michael (Smash Hits Yearbook, 1986)
- Emma Thompson on George Michael and the ‘Last Christmas’ Movie