There are so incredibly many Christmas songs out there, that it’s basically impossible to truly declare the “best” Christmas song. Still, popularity at least counts for something, and one of the most well-known (and streamed) Christmas songs of all time is “Last Christmas” by Wham!. Even though this song came out less than 40 years ago, it ranks alongside oldies from the 1950s as an essential Christmas classic. When a song is so globally renowned, many other artists will inevitably produce their own versions of it; and indeed, over 100 covers of “Last Christmas” exist! Some may argue that covers can never do the original song justice, but in my opinion, just because a cover isn’t objectively better than the original doesn’t mean that it can’t be good or at least enjoyable. Here are my top 5 favorite covers of “Last Christmas” by Wham!.
5. Taylor Swift
I vividly remember hearing this version on the radio in approximately 2009, and my mom asking, “Is this Justin Bieber?” 10-year-old me thought that was the SICKEST burn. In retrospect, I don’t understand how my mom made that mistake, not because Justin Bieber’s voice wasn’t high enough for a woman to be mistaken for him, but because back then, Taylor still sang with a country twang. How far she’s come! (And yes, she has been in my top 5 Spotify Wrapped artists for all three years that I’ve used Spotify. I fluctuate between wearing that as a badge of honor, and a badge of shame.)
4. Good Charlotte
I love a rock cover of any song, and Christmas music is no exception. My inner emo was SO excited to discover that Good Charlotte has a version of this Christmas classic, and it did not disappoint. I listen to My Chemical Romance’s cover of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey with an ironic sort of enjoyment, like, “Haha, this is so cringe it’s fun,” but I quite unironically enjoy Good Charlotte’s “Last Christmas.”
3. Gwen Stefani
Confession: I only discovered this version very recently. And by very recently, I mean approximately one week ago. However, I immediately enjoyed the swing this version has to it. It’s very 1960s and very tasteful.
2. Ashley Tisdale
For me, this version has an added nostalgia value, because I’m fairly certain this is the first version of the song I ever heard. To be completely honest, when I was a kid, I had Ashley Tisdale’s “Last Christmas” on my MP3 player, but not the original. What can I say? Disney Channel stars made some great music in the early 2000s. (Even if their greatness is admittedly amplified by the nostalgia).
Did you know that Cascada’s iconic “Every Time We Touch” is actually a cover of a 1992 song by Maggie Reilly? Another of her lesser-known bangers (but one of my favorites), “Because The Night,” is also a cover. Clearly, this woman is very gifted at turning other people’s songs into dancefloor-ready bops. Choosing my #1 favorite “Last Christmas” cover was no easy feat, but Cascada’s version is so much fun and has been in my Christmas playlists for so many years, that I feel comfortable bestowing this honor upon it.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jimmy Eat World
Even if this version isn’t in my top 5 personal favorites, I felt it would be a crime to leave it unmentioned. For some indescribable reason, my brain has categorized this version not as simply a cover of “Last Christmas” by Wham!, but rather as a song of its own. Perhaps this is because my local radio station plays this cover far more than any others, so it stands out. Regardless, this song deserves a place somewhere on this list.