Powerpop Guitar Chords – Material Issue’s Merry Christmas Will Do
Material Issue was clearly one of the greatest power pop bands ever from the Chicago area, right up there with Cheap Trick, Raspberries and Shoes. Best known for their instantly radio friendly singles such as “Renee Remains the Same”, “Valerie Loves Me”, “What Girls Want” and “Kim the Waitress”* (the final written by Green Pajamas’ Jeff Kelly rather than Jim Ellison), all reached the top 20 charts under the “modern rock” category.
“Merry Christmas to You” was released in 1991 and is to this day one of my favorite Christmas tracks. Jim Ellison, the band’s lead singer and songwriter eventually died at his own hand and one must wonder if this song is more autobiographical than most.
Below, you’ll find the chords to this gem as best as I can determine (as well as a video of thee song). As always, should you notice an error, please let me know who it should be corrected by leaving a comment below.
On a side note: Material Issue released four albums, one of them posthumously. International Pop Overthrow, the first of these, was released in 1991 to some commercial and much critical success. Strange fact: If I’m not mistaken, the album holds the record for having the most songs with a girl’s name in the title.
Their sophomore, Destination Universe, was not as well received by critics of the public but may have had one of the best songs of the 90’s in the single “Everything” as well as a great single in “What Girls Want”. Their final proper LP entitled Freak City Soundtrack is considered by many to be a masterpiece – one of the finest records of the decade and among the best powerpop albums ever recorded.
Telecommando Americano is the final Material Issue album and was released after Jim Ellison’s death. It consists of song fragments and partially completed demos that were left when Ellison departed. Material Issue were: Jim Ellison (guitar, vocals), Ted Ansani (bass) and Mike Zelenko (drums).
Finally, MTV noted that at the time of his death, Jim Ellison’s career was on the upswing. He had formed a “supergroup” called the “Wild Bunch” with The Smithereens‘ Pat DiNizio, Guns N Roses’ guitarist Gilby Clark, Psychedelic Furs drummer Mars Williams and Blondie Drummer Clem Burke. They had performed several times, including a recorded show in Las Vegas as well as one at Club Drink in Chicago. Camel (the cigarette brand) has asked them to tour (one would imagine that Camel would compensate the band nicely as part of this sponsorship).
*If you’ve never heard the original version of “Kim the Waitress” from the band Green Pajamas, I suggest you do so. Ellison’s compositions were wonderful as they were so sincere, as are those of Jeff Kelly. There is no wonder the record company suggested that Material Issue perform the song and give it a shiny new coat, as it were. A perfect fit.