Wednesday, December 24, 2008

December 25

Allow me to make one thing clear. I don’t do Christmas. I’ve never done Christmas, I don’t do Christmas now, and I will never do Christmas – no tree, no holly, no mistletoe, no turkey dinner, no gifts. Well ok, gifts. I did two gift exchanges this year. But that doesn’t count.

But I live in North America, and I grew up listening to the radio. I mean I don’t surf, but I listen to The Beach Boys, and I don’t do drugs, but I listen to The Grateful Dead. So keeping that in mind, here is my list of my seasonal favourites.

16. Circle Of Steel - Gordon Lightfoot. May as well start with a downer. Some years ago I was a cab driver, and I saw this song up close…

15. Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas - John Denver. Another downer, I always like to throw a bit of real life into the holiday cheer. The video mixes up John Denver and Alan Jackson Link

14. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - The Crystals

13. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – The Jackson Five

12. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – – The Four Seasons. I couldn’t decide so I included all three.

11. Please Come Home For Christmas – The Eagles. I guess this one’s just nostalgic for me.

10. Wonderful Christmas Time – Paul McCartney. Macca may be a sap, but he’s an excellent sap.

9. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon & Yoko Ono. John shows his sentimental side here, and the video takes all the sugar out of it.

8. The Chipmunk Song – The Chipmunks. Hands down best video

7. Mary’s Boy Child / Oh My Lord – Boney M. In your face Christianity on this. I was doing the aforesaid cab driving job in the winter of 1978 when the radio was playing this song every 5 minutes, and I didn’t mind, it was so darn exuberant…

6. Mary’s Boy Child – Harry Belafonte. Just over 20 years before the Boney M version, Harry Belafonte put the same song on the charts, but while Boney M partied Harry prayed.

5. If We Make It Through December – Merle Haggard. Another touch of reality. I will quote Dave Marsh: This “was the first record … to come to grips with the fears, frustrations, and hopes-against-hope of the workers thrown into disarray by the initial round of deprivation as the world economy cooled…”

4 Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano. I’m not sure why this song appeals to me so much, but it does. I think it’s just organic, some kind of association that’s insinuated its way into my consciousness between this record and December snowfalls and winter holidays and who knows what else.

3. Remember (Christmas) – Harry Nilsson. This song has nothing to do with Christmas, except for the title, but it’s Harry Nilsson.

2. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love. Phil Spector went all out on this one. The song, the arrangement, the over-the-top wall-of-sound production, Hal Blaine’s drums, all together they can’t overpower Love’s amazing vocals, which, unless you are legally dead, will nail you firmly and completely to the nearest wall.

1. Snoopy’s Christmas – The Royal Guardsmen. This was the follow up to Snoopy And The Red Baron and Return Of The Red Baron. It didn’t even make the top 100, but boy I remember hearing it on the radio, over and over and over, and it was great, but then December 26 they quit playing it. That was 1967. There’s something about that descending melody on the chorus that still melts my heart, all these many years later. And when they hit that harmony on “good will to man…”

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