25 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 14

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

country-living

(Original source unknown.)

There is no need for me to write a lot here because the legend behind today’s songs is none other than the King himself, Elvis Aaron Presley.  While “Blue Christmas” is probably his most popular Christmas song, it is obviously not his only one.  There are several Elvis Christmas collections, including  “Christmas With Elvis And The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra“.  That was released in October, 60 years after his first Christmas album’s release, 1957’s “Elvis’ Christmas Album”.

I already love the big band sound, but when it is combined with Elvis and Christmas music, it is heaven on earth.  I picked two because it is so hard to pick one of anything by Elvis.  The first song defines the big band sound I referenced above, while the other is such a fun tune that is sung in a similar vocal to that of “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear“.  Enjoy!!!

elvis-presley-feceb2b6-0462-428f-b5ec-944f9fe39705

Courtesy of Bettmann/Getty.

Elvis Presley :  “Santa Claus Is Back In Town

Elvis Presley:  “Here Comes Santa Claus

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

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25 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 13

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

small-town-christmas

(Courtesy of Cape Night Photography)

There are a lot of people who like their Christmas music old school.  I can totally understand that, being the music purist that I am.  And I love those songs, too (well, most of them anyway.)  But then I started hearing different versions of holiday music thanks to TV shows & movies using newer recordings in the soundtracks, or from watching videos of  fresh covers during MTV’s heyday, or hearing them performed in more novel ways during Christmas shows and specials.  And I fell in love with the songs all over again.

For years I did not hear any other version of this song except the original one from 1942.  There is no denying it is beautifully done.  Heck, it is the best selling single of all time.  But there are many different definitions of beautiful, and if I never heard this interpretation, what a misfortune that would have been.  For anyone who loves his original version of “What A Wonderful World“, today’s song is for you.

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Louis Armstrong (date and original source unknown)

Louis Armstrong:  “White Christmas

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

 

25 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 12

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

perfect-snowman

(Original source unknown)

When the original version of this song came out in 1958, the singer was only 13 years old.  For nearly 60 years it has been a holiday staple.  I like it a lot, but there are two covers of this song I enjoy as well.  Then I remembered my favorite version of this song, which I could not get enough of when I was kid.

I have included all four here today so you may choose your favorite.  But for me and the rest of the little girls who grew up thinking someday they would marry David Cassidy,  the Partridge Family version is dedicated to you.

Here is to our dreams of youth, and for getting the chance to relive them however briefly each time we hear one of these songs.  RIP Keith.  We all still love you!!!

Partridge 1

(Original source unknown)

Partridge 2

(Original source unknown)

The Partridge Family:  “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” (1971)

Brenda Lee:  “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” (original 1958)

Ronnie Spector & Darlene Love:  “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” from (1992)

Bill Haley & The Comets:  “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” (1968)

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 11

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

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My tree from 2016.  Charlie Brown is with me every year.

Do you remember the 1988 book “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum?  Great sentiment about how life really never changes, just our reactions to  it.  Well, Charles M. Schulz taught me about the people I would encounter in my life:  the mean one (Lucy), the smart philosopher (Linus), the everyday, insecure person hoping to get noticed (Charlie Brown), the sloppy one (Pig Pen), the musician (Schroeder), the one who follows the beat of her own drum (Peppermint Patty), the who who is always letting his imagination run away from him (Snoopy) and the ones who always need a little extra help (Woodstock, Sally).

I must admit it took a while for me to understand these personalities represented real life, but I am so happy I grew up with these characters.   To this day they comfort my soul, make my heart happy and make me feel safe.  It does not feel like Christmas to me until I watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and hear the gang sing these two Christmas songs.

peanuts

Courtesy Charles M. Schulz

The Peanuts:  “Christmas Time Is Here

The Peanuts Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

 

25 Days Of Christmas Songs: Day 10

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

robin

(Original source unknown.)

I can remember the exact moment when I fell in love with this singer.  I was seven or eight years old, and I was in the back seat of my mom’s car while we were on our way home.  She always had the radio on but suddenly I heard a voice like nothing I had ever heard before.  Now in my young life, I had already heard a lot of great music courtesy of my parent’s records:  Elvis (my mom’s swoon-worthy crush when she was a teenager), Motown (my parents had a K-Tel four album compilation set) Doo-Wop & the Crooners (Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, etc.).

But what I heard on the radio that day was not like anything I had heard before, and more importantly, it hit me in a place so deep inside I did not even know existed.  Being so young, I could not verbalize what I was feeling, but when the song was over I remember the DJ saying something about “soul music”.   I took that literally to mean “music that touches the soul” and figured that is what had just happened to me.  The song lasted less than three minutes long but in that time it changed my whole life.

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Otis Redding (original source unknown)

The song was “(Sittin’ On The) Dock On The Bay“by Otis Redding, who we lost 50 years ago today when he was just 26 years old.  His career was for only five short years, but his reach has endured the last fifty years because his voice changed the landscape of music as it was.  In the mid 1960’s music was changing and with the death of Sam Cooke (one of Redding’s heroes) in December 1964, soul music was getting lost in a sea that included the Beatles, the British Invasion, Motown, etc.  When Redding’s voice began to be heard through his records and live shows, there was no denying his immense talent.  No one before or since has sung with his gut-wrenching, achingly impassioned vocal.  It quickly & rightfully earned him the title of “King of Soul”.  Redding put Soul Music back on the map, and just as importantly, became the voice of Stax Records.

Incidentally. “Dock of the Bay” was co-written by legendary guitarist Steve Cropper, a member of Stax’s house band, Booker T & The M.G.’s.  “Crop”, as he is affectionately known, had the heartbreaking task of finishing the song after the death of his best friend.  Learn more about that and more about Redding’s career in this fantastic interview by CBS News correspondent & fellow music connoisseur, Anthony Mason.

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Otis Redding at the Monterey International Pop Music Festival-June 1967 (original source unknown)

Even more sad than his loss to the music industry, Redding left behind a young wife and three small children when he died.  All of them have worked incredibly hard to preserve his legacy.  Also, on December 15, Rhino Records is releasing “OTIS REDDING: THE DEFINITIVE STUDIO ALBUM COLLECTION”, a 7-LP set.  More proof that the world still cannot get enough of Otis Redding’s timeless talent.

There is not a song by Redding that I do not like, so I decided to share several of my favorites below.  After you listen to his two Christmas songs, indulge yourself by listening to the rest, including his phenomenal performance at the Monterey International Pop Music Festival from June 1967.  If you have never seen it before, you cannot miss it.  He performed five songs in twenty minutes…..and STOLE the show.

Thank you, Otis Redding.  You are missed every day.

Otis Redding:  “White Christmas

Otis Redding:  “Merry Christmas Baby

Otis Redding:  “Try A Little Tenderness

Otic Redding:  “You Left The Water Running

Otis Redding:  “A Change Is Gonna Come

Otis Redding:  “These Arms of Mine

Otis Redding:  “My Lover’s Prayer

Otis Redding:  “You Don’t Miss Your Water

Otis Redding and Carla Thomas:  “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby“***

***(It was hard to beat Sam & Dave’s original passion infused version, but between Redding’s voice & the phenomenal horns added to the fact that this was a male-female duet, this cover is as close to perfection as possible.  Redding & Thomas did several duets together, but this is by far my favorite followed closely by “Tramp“.)

Otis Redding:  Full Monterey International Pop Music Festival Performance (1967)

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

 

 

 

25 Days Of Christmas Songs: Day 9

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

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Courtesy of VintageNewsJunkie.com

This song from 1957 has been featured in many different movies, including one of my favorites “Mean Girls”.  What is not to like about this movie?  It is based on a funny book, the screenplay was written by the hilarious Tina Fey, the equally hilarious Amy Poehler is a scream in it and the mean girls get theirs in the end.  Any female who survived junior high loves that part most of all   🙂

But I, like many others, l-o-v-e the Winter Talent Show scene the most.  From Damian’s performance of “Beautiful” while dealing with haters, to the Mathletes rap to the reaction of Cady’s parents to their daughter’s moves, to Poehler thrusting along with the girls while filming their act to this song…what is not to love?   🙂

mean-girls-gif-jingle-bell-rock-i5

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The original version is my favorite because of its sing-a-long feel, but there are two others I love, too.  One is an instrumental version by one of my favorite musicians, and the other is by one of the best selling duos of all time.

Bobby Helms:  “Jingle Bell Rock“.

Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass:  “Jingle Bell Rock“.

Hall & Oates:  “Jingle Bell Rock“.

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Songs: Day 8

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

chistmas-music-ornament

(Original source unknown)

Music has been my refuge for as long as I can remember.  It enriches my mind, my heart and my soul.  It pulls me through when I do not think I can take another step.  It inspires me when I am at a loss.  And at Christmas, it sometimes makes me sad.

Yes, the holidays are tough and bittersweet for those of us who have lost loved ones, so we may not feel very festive in every moment throughout the season.  But another reason I sometimes get sad at Christmas is because I hear this song.

We lost the singer 37 years ago today, but I know myself and many others never recovered.  His death ended a beautiful dream that began on February 9, 1964 when he and the rest of his band played on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, changing music and the world for the better.  Any chance the four original Beatles would ever reunite died with this man on December 8, 1980.

Beatles on Ed Sullivan

Ed Sullivan with The Beatles circa 1964 (original source unknown).

There are all the obvious reasons why his death is so sad:  he was only 40 years old, he had two sons, one who was only five at the time, he was enjoying a resurgence in his career after taking five years off to become a house husband & stay at home dad by his own choice, he had a wife he loved and together they were living the dream in NYC.

You may not have liked him or his music, but the one thing about him no one can dispute is that this man’s dream for our world was peace.  He told us so in his bed-ins for peace in the 1960’s and in his song “Give Peace A Chance”.  And just in case we missed it, he shared his dream with us again in the 1970’s in his song “Imagine”.  Almost four decades later and I still cannot reconcile how a man who did so much in the name of peace died in such a horrible violent way.

I am sad that he is not here for his wife, his sons, the music industry, the world and myself.  We all lost so much but no matter how much I grieve this loss, every year when Christmas rolls around and I start hearing this song on the radio, I feel so sick inside I just want to cry.

Imagine-John-Lennon-Memorial-Central-Park-Strawberry-Fields

The John Lennon Memorial in Central Park (original source unknown).

Artists all over the world have done tributes to him since his death, but my favorite is Ozzy Osbourne’s cover of “How“.  He recorded it seven years ago to honor what would have been this man’s 70th birthday.  Even if you do not like Ozzy, watch the video.  The ending is beautiful.  And so is today’s song, even though it makes me sad.

John Lennon:  “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!