Shakin' Stevens reveals Merry Christmas Everyone writer Bob Heatlie has died aged 76

Heatlie was the sole writer on the Christmas classic.

Shakin' Stevens has confirmed that the writer of the festive classic Merry Christmas Everyone, has died aged 76. 

Heatlie was the sole writer of the track, originally released in 1985 and was the Official Christmas Number 1 of that year, and has continued to be a festive staple ever since, now a staple of the Official Singles Chart of every Christmas season (in 2022, it reached Number 12). 

Taking to Instagram, Shakin' Stevens (real name Michael Barratt) announced that Heatlie had passed away on April 8 2023.

"Last weekend, we heard the sad news that our dear friend, Bob Heatlie, had passed away," he wrote.

MORE: Shakin' Stevens' Official Charts history in full

The Welsh singer-songwriter continued: "Bob was not only exceptionally talented, but also a great human being. A light has gone out, and we will sorely miss our friend.

All our love to Bob’s family at this sad time."

In 2015, Heatlie spoke to BBC Scotland about the success of Merry Christmas Everyone, happily stating that the song's continued presence on the Official Charts each festive season constituted a "nice little pension."

"I always thought it would be nice to create a Christmas hit that would become an evergreen," he told the site. "I didn't think it would happen, but it did."

Hailing from Craigmillar in Edinburgh, Heatlie was also known for writing another UK Number 1 single, Japenese Boy by the Scottish singer Aneka, which topped the Official Singles Chart in 1981.

He was also well known for composing the music for 1990s children's TV show Fun House. He worked frequently with Shakin' Stevens, also writing Cry Just A Little Bit (Number 3 peak in 1983) and Breaking Up My Heart (Number 14 peak in 1985). 

Heatlie is survived by a son, David, who he shared with his partner, Hungarian singer Éva Csepregi of disco group Neoton Familia. 

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I saw this announced earlier this month from Shaky's official page. Looking forward to the new album out at the end of the month. It's quite amusing that Shaky's biggest chart year (1981) is the same Bob's other #1.