“I Believe In Father Christmas” by Greg Lake
You would not think that the merging of film music for a Soviet satire on bureaucracy and a diatribe against the commercialization of Christmas would make for one of the most popular classic rock Christmas songs, but in 1975 Greg Lake of Emerson Lake and Palmer achieved just that, first as a solo single and later with his band in 1977. Every classic rock radio station plays it this time of year and several artists have covered it including Sarah Brightman and U2.
The main tune is Greg Lake’s, but the middle instrumental break is derived from the “Troika” movement of the Lieutenant Kijé Suite by Sergei Prokofiev. Lieutenant Kijé was a 1934 Soviet film that Prokofiev scored and later made into a suite. The film was based on a 1927 novella by Yury Tynyanov that deals with the incompetence of Russian military leadership, though the story elements go back to the time of Emperor Paul I of Russia. Greg Lake on the other hand wanted to write a Christmas song that lamented how commercialized the holiday had become. In the end, no one got his veiled message and “I Believe In Father Christmas” became of the most popular classic rock Christmas songs.