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Holiday Music: Christmas, Halloween, Hanukkah, and more!

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I have to give a shout out to an underappreciated Christmas song, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear". The First Lady of both Country Music and my avatar does a particularly great version:

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Ah Live Aid... summer of 1985. We lived in California and our family was still in the area. It was July -- my brother and sister both have July birthdays a day a part -- so we had a big birthday bash. This was on ALL day. We video taped it coming in periodically to check and switch tapes while we were BBQing and swimming.

That was a great day.

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No offense to anyone religious, but I feel like the line in "Silent Night, Holy Night" that says "Holy Infant so tender and mild" was a bit of an odd choice...it sounds like it's talking about food or something (although I guess with the Communion thing, maybe it is?)

Also this is my favorite Christmas song.

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All of SiriusXM's holiday channels began again on November 1st. (Well, most. The Hallmark Christmas Channel debuted about a week before Halloween!) I think this is the earliest those channels have been activated. I know most used to wait until after Thanksgiving.

Locally, I am expecting the usual suspect radio stations to do their annual 24/7 Christmas flips any day now.

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Speaking of the SiriusXM holiday channels, this song appears to be a favorite there on the Rockin' Xmas channel. A cover of "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" by Stephen Pearcy (of Ratt), Tracii Guns (from L.A. Guns) and others.

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One more... This instrumental version of "Silent Night" - "Still Nacht" by Mannheim Steamroller - is so beautiful but also melancholy to me. This version seems to evoke memories of lost loved ones during past holidays. I think I may have posted this before, oh well.

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I give you one of the saddest Christmas songs ever. My mom (RIP) loved this version and it's the one I grew up on, even though I know Willie Nelson wrote it and would later record it himself. But the real story behind the song is just as melancholy. (Look it up.)

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And just one more. This doesn't seem to get much play on the radio stations that go 24/7/365, and I don't get why, as it does have a Christmas theme. (Although their version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" is still heard!) The Pretenders with "2,000 Miles".

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10 hours ago, WendyCR72 said:

The Pretenders with "2,000 Miles".

One of the handful of Christmas songs I like.

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Going through my Christmas playlist, some of my favorites:

Nutcracker Suite by the Brian Setzer Orchestra--it’s the Nelson Riddle arrangement with the Setzer guitar added. 

Do You Hear What I Hear by Home Free—I love this acapella version, with the echo-y drum beats: 

Benedictus by Simon and Garfunkel—just gorgeous. 

Silent Night by pianist Benny Green 

Deck the Halls by The Roches—I love the fast guitar driving the beat, and the falalalas are just so much fun. 

Coventry Carol and The First Noel, both by Pentatonix. Not two tracks that get a lot of radio play, but these both feature their now-departed bass singer Avi Kaplan who has a truly beautiful tone to his voice. 

Children, Go Where I Send Thee by Kenny Rogers and Home Free 

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I'm incredibly non-religious, but strangely enough my favorite Christmas music tends to be the deeply religious ones.  Especially my two absolute favorites, the Coventry Carol (Loreena McKennitt does a terrific version of that one) and O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

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Kacey Musgraves and Lana Del Rey sing "I'll Be Home for Christmas" on The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show", available on Amazon Prime.

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I’ve always thought that someone should do an updated version of Simon and Garfunkel’s 7:00 News/Silent Night, especially in this news-heavy era: 

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I am probably the only person who feels this way, but this is my favorite version of "I'll Be Home for Christmas." Yes, really.

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Mariah Carey has just accomplished what would have once thought to be the impossible: her Christmas classic, "All I Want for Christmas is You", has just hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time ever, despite originally released in 1994, TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO. It's the first Christmas song to reach the top of the charts since "The Chipmunk Song" in 1958-1959, and extends her streak of number one hits to nineteen--more than any other solo artist, male or female, in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. (She actually broke the record--long held by Elvis Presley beforehand--when "Touch My Body" became her eighteenth chart-topper in 2008, but the point remains.)

Edited by UYI
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The "other" song called "All I Want for Christmas is You", released a full five years earlier than the Mariah Carey song, and still played several times during the holiday season to this day on country radio. The woman singing is named Lisa Layne. What a FANTASTIC voice she has.

 

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Well, there is a third "All I Want For Christmas Is You", besides Mariah Carey and Vince Vance and the Valiants (that @UYI posted), which I put somewhere in this thread prior, but as a refresher? Here. I give you Foghat's version of the much-used title, which beat both of the other songs in terms of release as this came out in 1981...

 

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For my favorite cheerful Christmas song, I have to go with the Ronettes "Sleigh Ride" (1963), the future Ronnie Spector hits it out of the ballpark by getting the listener to imagine a cozy sleigh ride even for those of us who've never had this happen.

 

 For the most poignant Christmas songs,  Bob Seger's version of "Little Drummer Boy" (1987) is quite stirring inasmuch as one could actually imagine that this homeless orphan hadn't had an easy life yet had SURVIVED to adulthood and considered his sharing the one thing he could with the newborn Baby Jesus (his drum playing) to have been a highlight of his life.  

Not to be overlooked was Alyce King de Azevedo Clarke's (of the King Sisters) personally emotional interpretation of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" (1967) . After being introduced by her youngest son 6-year-old Cam Clarke( now a very prolific cartoon voice) her  oldest son Lex de Azevodo played the piano while she sang to a picture of her middle son Rick de Azevedo who was in the Army. While the younger Mr. de Azevedo's vocals apologizing echoed behind them for not being able to spend the holiday with the family, Rick himself popped out on the set in full uniform to his mother's spontaneous delight  (and hysterical laughter while she saw his shaved head for the first time)and had to will herself to finish the song while she hugged him. Yes, one of his uncles somehow pulled enough strings to get him a three-day furlough (and no doubt the US Army realized that this would be good publicity for them- even though there were thousands of other soldiers who were NOT able to make it home for the holidays and some never ever were able to make their ways back).  Anyway, it's hard not to be moved by such an emotional rendition. 

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My favorite christmas song is Carole of the Bells.  Any time I find a new version I get it.  I have big choirs, rap versions, stripped down acoustic versions.  You name it.

At our office Christmas lunch they asked someone to put on some music, I put on my 'Special' mix which was basically nothing but Carole of Bells.  Fun times!  it took someone about 45 minutes to finally figure out they weren;t hearing any othe songs.

Anyhoo, one my favorite versions is actually a mashup.  It is Yolanda Adam's mashup of Carol of the Bells and What Child is This.  Gorgeous song.

 

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On 12/19/2019 at 8:11 AM, Blergh said:

 For the most poignant Christmas songs,  Bob Seger's version of "Little Drummer Boy" (1987) is quite stirring inasmuch as one could actually imagine that this homeless orphan hadn't had an easy life yet had SURVIVED to adulthood and considered his sharing the one thing he could with the newborn Baby Jesus (his drum playing) to have been a highlight of his life.

Bob Seger’s version of TLDB is the only one I can tolerate.

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6 hours ago, smittykins said:

Bob Seger’s version of TLDB is the only one I can tolerate.

Good version; it's on the very first volume of A Very Special Christmas, the red cover (along with the other perennials, Madonna's "Santa Baby", Whitney Houston's "Do You Hear What I Hear?", Pretenders' "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", Bruce Springsteen's "Merry Christmas, Baby", Eurhythmics' "Winter Wonderland", and U2's "Christmas [Baby, Please Come Home]", just to name a few).

But I love the original Harry Simeone Chorale's version of "Little Drummer Boy", too.

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9 hours ago, smittykins said:

Bob Seger’s version of TLDB is the only one I can tolerate.

Same here, and tolerate is much as I'll do.

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