“I am intrigued by songs with place names,” says UK musical icon LIMAHL about his Christmas song “London for Christmas” (release date: December 6, 2019). “We all know them… Amarillo, San Jose, Tulsa, San Francisco, New York, Paris, etc. And I thought to myself, where the hell is our great city of London in this geographical music map?!”
A London resident, Limahl felt that he needed to memorialize his city and what better way than with a Christmas song? “I adore certain Christmas songs,” he explains. “‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’, ‘The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’ and, of course, ‘White Christmas’. “ Wanting to add his stamp onto the oeuvre of holiday classics, he composed “London For Christmas” with the help of some musical friends. “Many years ago, I set a long term songwriting goal for myself to try and tackle a holiday subject,” he recalls. “My friend Jon Nickoll [the resident pianist at the famous London ‘Savoy Hotel’] plays and sings jazz very well, and I thought that pairing up with him to write a Christmas song would be the perfect starting point. Once we got the song together, we brought in maestro UK producer Ian Curnow who added his glitter and snow.”
The resulting track is a festive Christmas ballad that highlights Limahl’s smooth and perfect pop vocals set amid Nickoll’s sparkling piano and a majestic swell of strings. “It was so much fun having the backdrop of London which allowed us to use lyrics and phrases you might not normally hear in a song,” he explains about dropping the geographic pin on the UK capital. “Trafalgar Square, Mayfair, the Thames River, West End, The London Eye, Big Ben… all cushioned around a couple enjoying a romantic trip. I remember we punched the air when we came up with the line ‘and you’ll be looking pretty through my camera lens / As we hear the chimes of Big Ben / From our boat trip on The Thames’,” he laughs.
2019 saw Limahl re-entering mass collective consciousness with his music highlighted by majorly popular television shows. The classic 1983 New Wave smash “Too Shy” (his first single with his band Kajagoogoo) was highlighted earlier this year in the standalone, interactive Black Mirror episode “Bandersnatch” on Netflix and also in AMC’s hit anthology American Horror Story: 1984, while his worldwide solo smash “The NeverEnding Story” played a pivotal role in the third season of Netflix’s Stranger Things.
“It’s like a fabulous Christmas present that you weren’t expecting,” he says of the recent high profile song placements. “I was totally blown away. I thought to myself, ‘Wow. 35 years later and America embraces ’Too Shy’ and ’Neverending Story’ yet again. I did a private party gig in North London a few weeks ago and at the end of the set, a bunch of kids, 9 or 10 years old, all came running in excitedly when I started talking about ‘The NeverEnding Story.’ The anticipation of the song was palpable on their adorable little faces. I honestly felt chuffed and proud.”
Winning the hearts of millions of teenage girls in the 80s as the lead singer of Kajagoogoo, Limahl enjoyed the instant celebrity of hitting the top of the charts with his debut single “Too Shy” which was soon followed by two more Top 20 hits (“Ooh to Be Ah” and “Hang on Now”). After unceremoniously (and infamously) being kicked out of the band, Limahl struck out on his own and re-emerged at the top of the charts again with the Giorgio Moroder- produced worldwide smash single “The NeverEnding Story,” the theme song to the hit film of the same name. With TV and performance credits peppering the years since and the recent resurgence this year, Limahl is planning a full-scale return to showbiz in 2020.
But music isn’t the only entertainment avenue he has in his sights. “I’ve spent the last three years in acting class and just appeared in my first play on the London fringe called ‘Earthquakes In London’ about climate change,” he adds. “I played a corporate hack ‘John Carter’. For research, I used the EMI marketing guy who told me ‘Too Shy’ wouldn’t be a hit,” he chuckles.
Capping off the decade’s end with “London for Christmas” and with new music planned for release in early 2020, the new decade is looking bright for Limahl. “For 2020, I have several live UK and European music festivals already booked,” he says excitedly. “I’m hoping to spend some more time in the States. I’m writing/recording some new stuff in the hope someone will want to hear it. Haha.”