News | BMG | Berlin, 12/07/2022

Chris Rea Drives Home To BMG In Time For Christmas

The company has acquired the music rights of legendary British guitarist and singer-songwriter Chris Rea. The Grammy- and BRIT Award-nominated rock and blues singer-songwriter is the author of the beloved contemporary Christmas classic “Driving Home For Christmas.” The new agreement with BMG includes the royalty interests in17 studio albums by Chris Rea.

In the run-up to Christmas, BMG has made a fitting announcement: Bertelsmann’s music company has acquired the music rights of legendary British guitarist and singer-songwriter Chris Rea. The Grammy- and Brit Award-nominated artist penned one of the most popular contemporary Christmas classics: “Driving Home For Christmas,” arguably his best-known hit, is one of the most-played songs of the holiday season. The agreement with BMG includes the royalty rights in 17 studio albums including the hit singles “Driving Home For Christmas,” “On The Beach,” “Road To Hell,” and “Fool (If You think It’s Over).”

Once every year, the Chris Rea song “Driving Home For Christmas” re-enters the worldwide charts: the song has been continuously represented in the German singles charts in the lead-up to Christmas since 2017, and in the British singles charts since 2007. The catchy tune, which was originally released in 1986 but only became a hit with its re-release in 1988, is currently in the Top 10 of the Spotify charts in Germany (#5), Austria (#8), the U.K. (#9), and Norway (#10). In the first week of the 2022 singles rankings, the song charted at #3 in Germany and #10 in the U.K. - in both cases the highest chart positions since its release 34 years ago. Chris Rea and BMG already have a shared success story to look back on: The artist released his 2017 album “Road Songs For Lovers” with BMG – it became his best-selling album so far in the past 20 years.

A foundation stone of British blues rock

Born in Middleborough in northern England, Rea is considered one of the great “survivors” of rock music, but his musical roots are actually in the blues. He is known for the slide guitar playing technique he uses – sliding across the strings with a hard, smooth object – and for his distinctive husky, smoky voice. Chris Rea’s 1978 debut album, “Whatever Happened to Benny Santini?” included the hit “Fool (If You think Itʼs Over),” which reached number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In the 1980s he grew his visibility in the U.K. and continental Europe, and finally had his final breakthrough in 1989 with the release of his tenth studio album “The Road To Hell.” It went to #1 in the U.K. charts and was certified six-times platinum. In Germany, the record made it to #3 in the charts. Chris Rea’s follow-up album “Auberge” (1991) became a #1 hit in Germany and the U.K., and was successful in other European countries as well.

Alistair Norbury, BMG President Repertoire & Marketing UK, said, “Chris Rea’s integrity as a musician and his commitment to his art is legendary. BMG is proud to become custodian of his music interests. Chris’s work is one of the foundation stones of British blues rock and sits happily among BMG’s peerless blues catalogue including the work of John Lee Hooker, Peter Green and Gary Moore.”