25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 16

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

I just swooned over this gorgeous Christmas tree.  Looks like pink was popular as an alternative Christmas decorating color long before it became known as shabby chic.  Whatever the style was called, I just love it.

day 16

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

Occasionally two different songs have the same title.  Some examples include the Beatles and the Doors with “The End”, Ringo Starr and Def Leppard share “Photograph”, Queen and Jefferson Airplane share “Somebody To Love”,  R.E.M. and the Cars share “Drive” to name a few.  Today’s song was released first but when a more popular and successful singer released her song with the same title in 1994, it all but sent today’s version into  non-existence.  But over the years the first one found its way back to regular air play thanks in part to all the 24 hour a day Christmas music stations across the nation.  That also helped to land this song on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart seven times between 1994 and 2002.

The original version is sung by a country/pop/novelty group with lead vocals by Lisa Layne who was known as Lisa Burgess Stewart at the time of the recording.  It is considered a country song, yet when a country artist recorded her own version of it, she did it with a jazzy, bluesy big band feel.  That sound combined with her powerful voice makes her version my current favorite of the two.

As for the other song with the same title, it is a holiday staple.  I love the way it is featured in the movie “Love Actually“.  And last month it cemented its place in history by garnering three Guinness World Records for 2020.  The honors include highest-charting holiday (Christmas/New Year) song on the U.S. Hot 100 chart by a solo artist, most weeks in the U.K. singles top 10 chart for a Christmas song and most-streamed track on Spotify in 24 hours (female).  That must qualify the singer as the Christmas Queen.

vince vance

Vince Vance & The Valiants:  “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (1989, written by Troy Powers and Andy Stone in 1989).

leann rimes

LeAnn Rimes:  “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (2004, written by Troy Powers and Andy Stone in 1989).

mariah carey

Mariah Carey:  “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (1994, written by Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff f/k/a Baby Love in 1994).

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 14

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

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

Day 14.jpg

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 the Big Man, Clarence Clemons, is in it.  An early Christmas gift courtesy of the Boss.

bruce

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.  Written by Johnny Moore and Lou Baxter in 1947).

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!!!

day 13

                                                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.

sarah

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 11

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

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

day 10A.jpg

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.

SONY DSC
                                                                      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” (1967, written by Johnny Moore and Lou Baxter in 1947)

Otis Redding:  “White Christmas” (1967, 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 tours 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:

Martina White Christmas.jpg

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 4

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Here is another 1950’s Christmas card image.   So adorable!!!

day 4

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

Today’s singer is known as The Queen of Christian Pop.  The first time I saw her she was performing her hit “Angels” on the Grammy awards barefoot.  I was intrigued.  Her mainstream break through came in 1986 when her duet with Chicago’s Peter Cetera, “The Next Time I Fall“, hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  Her 1991 album “Heart In Motion” produced another number one song, “Baby, Baby“, along with several other hits.  Her take on today’s tune is much different than the full choir & orchestral versions usually associated with this piece.  And I have always loved those as they remind me of hearing it in church when I was a little girl.  But this singer’s version with only a minimal arrangement peppered with a light touch of traditional back-up accompaniment allows her beautiful clear soft voice to stand out in all its beauty.  Thanks to her less is more approach, I think this is one of the best versions of this song I have ever heard.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant:  “O Come All Ye Faithful” (1992, written by various authors with the earliest verse dating back to 1744).

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!!!