Was TWISTED SISTER's 'We're Not Gonna Take It' Based On Christmas Carol 'O Come, All Ye Faithful'? JAY JAY FRENCH Responds
March 20, 2021
In a new interview with Grand Haven, Michigan's WMPA radio station, TWISTED SISTER guitarist Jay Jay French was asked if it's true that the band's classic song "We're Not Gonna Take It" was based on the Christmas carol "O Come, All Ye Faithful". He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "When we started doing the Christmas record" — referring to "A Twisted Christmas", which contained TWISTED SISTER's version of "O Come, All Ye Faithful" — "the hook of it — once we got over the idea of doing it — Dee [Snider, TWISTED SISTER singer] said one of these other guitar players in one of his solo projects said to [him], 'You do know that 'O Come, All Ye Faithful' is the melody line for 'We're Not Gonna Take It'?' And Dee goes, 'Really?' He had no idea. So we had transposed it, and it worked. It's not exact, but close. But it was never consciously done, and we didn't know this, and it wasn't stated, until years later.
"The Christmas album came out — believe this or not — 14 years ago, and, of course, that song was a big hit and got us on the Jay Leno show and Craig Ferguson show and '[Live! With] Regis And Kelly', and it got a lot of media coverage, when we were told that we were gonna suck and the album was gonna bomb," French continued. "The album turned out to be the biggest-selling heavy metal Christmas album in history. And then word got out that the song was reminiscent of this. But we didn't know about it, and Dee didn't think about it, until he was told that by that guy while we were recording the album."
The opening five words in the lyrics of "O Come, All Ye Faithful" have the same melody as the chorus of "We're Not Gonna Take It", but the Christmas carol follows a different chord progression and is traditionally played in a different musical style to the TWISTED SISTER classic.
A mashup of "O Come, All Ye Faithful" and "We're Not Gonna Take It" was performed during a live Christmas concert in Chicago and was featured in the 2014 stage musical "Dee Snider's Rock & Roll Christmas Tale".
During last year's copyright infringement trial involving Australian politician Clive Palmer and "We're Not Gonna Take It", Snider said the two songs were "rhythmically different, and that is inspiration not duplication." He added the songs had to be "shoehorned" together to create the versions used in his musical and the 2006 cover. "It was very difficult," he said.
Snider had previously admitted that glam rock band SLADE and "O Come, All Ye Faithful" were influences while he was writing "We're Not Gonna Take It".
"A Twisted Christmas" featured metal versions of Christmas songs, including "Oh Come All Ye Faithful". Also appearing on the LP were such holiday chestnuts as "Silver Bells" and "Let It Snow", propelling the album's sales to more than 150,000 copies and spawning a live Christmas show the band performed annually for several years.
In 2016, TWISTED SISTER embarked on one final trek, titled "Forty And Fuck It", in celebration of its 40th anniversary. These shows featured the band's "core lineup" of French, Snider, guitarist Eddie Ojeda and bassist Mark Mendoza, along with drummer Mike Portnoy. The band's last-ever concert took place in November of that year — 20 months after the passing of Pero.
TWISTED SISTER's original run ended in the late '80s. After more than a decade, the band publicly reunited in November 2001 to top the bill of New York Steel, a hard-rock benefit concert to raise money for the New York Police And Fire Widows' And Children's Benefit Fund.