Here's a Christmas conundrum that's stumping this catalogue correspondent: are there more than two versions of WHAM!'s "Last Christmas"?
A year ago this author bought a copy of The Essential NOW That's What I Call Christmas (UMG Recordings B0011941-02, 2008). Only this year did I open the disc and discover a mix of "Last Christmas," WHAM!'s perennial holiday chestnut, that I don't believe I've ever heard before.
Most WHAM! fans can tell you that "Last Christmas" was on the opposite side of the "Everything She Wants" single during the holiday season of 1984. A version of roughly 4:27 was on the 7" single (Epic QA-4949 (U.K.)) while the 12" version was the "Pudding Mix" which clocked in at 6:45, with a lengthier intro and outro (Epic TA-4949 (U.K.) and later released on the U.S. LP Music from the Edge of Heaven in 1986). The version on this NOW disc, however, is 4:46 - but the differences don't stop there. A different drum machine pattern sits in the center of the mix, and some different ad-lib vocals in the second chorus replace the second verse entirely (at which point the song jumps to the last bits of the song as heard in the Pudding Mix).
My question to you, dear reader: where does this come from? Radio stations in my area play what I'm positive is the single version; what does that make this? In an effort to further clear the air, I provide a one-minute sample of the song as heard on this CD for your listening pleasure.
Any illumination, as always, would be greatly appreciated.
UPDATE (12/7): Thanks to all the commenters who contributed to solving the "Last Christmas" conundrum. Commenter AudioDile was the first of a few to note that this mix turned up on a Japanese 12" single (Epic/Sony 123P-575, 1984). It's listed as the "Pudding Mix," but is obviously not. One more Christmas mystery solved, thanks to our awesome readers!