25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 14

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Santa and two of his reindeer join us today.  Ho ho ho!!!

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Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

Last Monday night the Rainforest Fund 30th Anniversary Benefit Concert took place at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.  The night featured an array of outstanding musical guests like James Taylor, Debbie Harry, the reunited Eurythmics and John Mellencamp who sang with my favorite guy and personal hero, Bruce Springsteen.  They sang “Pink Houses” and “Glory Days” together in what Rolling Stone dubbed “a rare heartland-rock summit”.  Another interesting fact about that night…….I WAS NOT THERE!!! 

It wasn’t like I did not know about the show.  I keep up with Bruce’s appearances, of course.  But the ticket prices were insanely high, and I do not have to spend that kind of money when I go to see a four hour plus show by Bruce and his ever loyal E Street Band.  That is a much better investment for my money.  Here’s to the hope that the rumors of a 2020 tour are true!!!     

So if you are not following where this is going, today’s Christmas song (and two bonus tracks) are courtesy of the Bossman.  The video is from Springsteen’s own YouTube channel.  The performance was held at The Carousel Building in Asbury Park, and since it dates back to 2010 so the Big Man, Clarence Clemons, is in it.  An early Christmas gift courtesy of the Boss.

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Bruce Springsteen (original source unknown).  

Bruce Springsteen:   “Blue Christmas”  (2010, recorded live at The Carousel in Asbury Park, NJ and written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson circa 1948).

Bruce Springsteen:  “Merry Christmas Baby” (live performance from “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” circa mid to late 1990’s,.  That time frame means the entire E Street Band is there, before the deaths of Danny Federici in 2008 and Clarence “The Big Man” Clemons in 2011.  O’Brien joined the band on guitar.  The best view of him comes @ 4:33 after the other big man, Santa himself, makes an appearance.  Springsteen and his band were frequent guests since the E Street drummer, Max Weinberg, led O’Brien’s house band, The Max Weinberg 7).

Bruce Springsteen:  “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (1975, written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie circa 1934)

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, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 13

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

How apropos to have a vintage caroler image in a music post!!!  I love her sweet face!!!

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                                                Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

On day 7 of the countdown I shared a “new” original Christmas song performed by a male vocalist.  Today I want to share one by a female singer.  Not just in the interest of equality, but because her song is just stunning.  It is beautiful, evocative, haunting and heartbreaking.  Oh, and stunning.  Did I mention that already?

The song is clearly about a lost love but it is not made clear whether that is due to a break up or a death.  However, given lyrics like “When silence gets too hard to handle and the night too long” added to the slow tempo, the solo piano & vocal arrangement and I believe it is about someone who is gone.  To be clear, songs that hurt my heart are not really what I want at Christmastime.  Life has already made the season bittersweet all on its own for many of us.  But art is pain and this is art at its very best-so beautiful that it hurts but it also hurts because it is so beautiful.  At least that is how this song makes me feel.  And that is why I believe it ts too gorgeous not to share.

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Sarah McLachlan:  “Wintersong” (2006, written by Sarah McLachlan).

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, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 12

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Hello from me and this adorable snow couple!!!  I LOVE that they are wearing mittens!!!

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Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

When the right song and the right singer find each other, it is magic.  When that combination becomes so successful it not only produces a hit record but it also becomes the artist’s signature song.  Most artists have only one song that easily defines them.  For others, there are several.  Today’s artist falls into the second iconic category.  Some of his signature songs include “Everybody Loves Somebody“, “Volare“, “That’s Amore” and today’s Christmas classic.

He recorded it twice, first in 1959 and again in 1966, for two different Christmas album collections.  One of his fellow Rat Pack buddies recorded his own version first in 1950.  Despite the fact that the buddy was Frank Sinatra himself, the most loved and well known version of this song is attributed to the King of Cool.  One glimpse of this incredibly handsome man performing in his smooth, suave debonair demeanor with his wide easy smile and lush baritone voice and it was easy to see why he was awarded that nickname.  And to earn that honor as a member of a group that included the Chairman of the Board, well, that put him in a league all of his own.  Well done, Dino Paul Crocetti.

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Dino Paul Crocetti a/k/a Dean Martin:  “Let It Snow!  Let It Snow!  Let It Snow” (1959 & 1966, written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne in 1945).

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, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 11

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Enjoy this sweet vintage image of an angel holding a small Christmas tree.  Heavenly!!!

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Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

Yesterday, we celebrated the King of Soul,  Today, we hail the Queen.

While we may never be able to agree on the greatest male voice of all time, there is only one woman who qualifies as the top female choice.  She sang everything from gospel to R&B, soul to pop, mainstream and rock to opera.  She appeared on TV and not just in music awards specials.  Who can forget Murphy Brown’s reaction when she finally met her idol?  She also sang in movies (“The Blues Brothers” and its sequel) and won every honor and award in existence during her 50 plus years as a singer.

She became a cultural icon along the way as well.  Not too many singers have had the opportunity to perform at a presidential inauguration, but this woman did.  She sang “My Country Tis Of Thee” for Barack Obama in January 2009.  Towards the end of her performance, as she sang the words “let freedom ring”, the camera cut away from her and went to an American flag waving in the wind.  It was a beautiful moment for our country, and just one of dozens this woman gave us.  How we have survived the last 16 months without her is a complete mystery to me, and a heart breaking one at that.

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                                                                      Aretha Franklin, Jones Beach, NY July 2011.

Aretha Franklin: “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” (based on a 1739 Christmas carol with various writers including Charles Wesley and George Whitefield).)

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, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 10

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

I think today’s vintage Christmas card image has to be the most adorable one so far, don’t you agree???!!!

Day 10

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown.

The singer we celebrate today, the King of Soul, recorded two Christmas songs before he died 52 years ago today at the age of 26.  The first one was yesterday’s pick (Day 9) and his version is undoubtedly the most soulful one ever made.  It is the highlight of the soundtrack from the movie “Love Actually” which, if you have not seen yet, stop what you are doing and WATCH IT NOW!!!  Bonus:  the very handsome & charming Liam Neeson is in it and will just melt your heart!!!

The second dates back to 1947 and is just another example of how this immensely talented singer could sing anything and make it his own.  And since he left us with only these two holiday songs, and since he is probably the greatest male soul singer who ever graced this earth, I feel I must share both with you or I would not be doing my job as your music connoisseur  🙂

Otis.jpgOtis Redding circa mid 1960’s (original source unknown).    

Otis Redding:  “Merry Christmas Baby” (1968, written by Johnny Moore and Lou Baxter in 1947)

Otis Redding:  “White Christmas” (1968, written by Irving Berlin in 1942)

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, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 9

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Here’s another gorgeous vintage Christmas image from Pinterest.  What was life before Pinterest?!?!   🙂

day 9

Original source unknown.  

Irving Berlin could not have possibly known how many people would go on to record one of his most famous songs.  He wrote several and lived to be 101 years old, but I still think he could not even imagine how many versions of this Christmas classic would be out there one day.  And there are new ones being recorded each year.  Berlin wrote it imagining Christmas in his home state & city of New York as opposed to the west coast state of California he was working in.

When it was first released in 1942, service men & women facing their first Christmas away due to their service in World War II saw it as a dream of home.  For the rest of us, it invokes cherished memories of the Christmases we knew as children or before life happened to us.  The version of this song I like best is by a fellow Italian, a fellow native New Yorker and painter who has been singing for 70 years.  Not a bad gig.   .

Tony Bennett

Anthony Dominick Benedetto a/k/a Tony Bennett:  “White Christmas” (1968, written by Irving Berlin in 1942).

And for a great female take on this classic, here is one of my favorites:

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Martina McBride:  “White Christmas” (1998, written by Irving Berlin in 1942).

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, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 8

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

I found another gorgeous vintage image on Pinterest, and the fact that it is in black & white makes me love it even more.

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Found on Pinterest & TuckDB Postcards (original source unknown).  

I miss this man so much, and it has been that way for 39 years.  I wonder what he would be doing now if he were still here.  Would he still be touring like his old band mate, Paul?  Or would he be thinking about a global “Peace & Love” moment every year on his birthday like his other band mate, Ringo?  Or would he be retired living the life of a house husband like he did in the mid 1970’s?  My guess is a combination of all three.  But he would be here.  And that would have made all the difference.  Incredibly big sigh.

Rather than focusing on the loss, I want to remember him and celebrate all that was gained from his incredible life.  And that is evident in his music.  He is still a staple on classic rock radio, but this time of year this song is everywhere.  Many artists have covered it, but nothing compares to the original.  Or to the man himself.  Happy Christmas, John Lennon.  I miss you.  But I’m not the only one.

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Courtesy of Apple Records & Iain Macmillan. 

John Lennon & Yoko Ono with the Plastic Ono Band the Harlem Community Choir:  “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” (1971, lyrics written by John Lennon & Yoko Ono in 1971).

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, happy listening!!!