25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 25

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!!!  Buon Natale!!!  Joy to the world & peace on earth to all!!!

day 25

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

I hope you all have a safe, happy & meaningful Christmas, however you choose to celebrate.  Thank you for joining me for the countdown again this year.  It’s always fun for me to find original seasonal music and new versions of classic holiday songs I hope you will enjoy.

For today’s pick, I believe there is only one that expresses the meaning and spirit of this day.  As for the singer, he began his career in gospel music before using his rich bass baritone voice to sing in almost every other genre, most notably country.  Many of his songs focused on trials and redemption, the latter of which is part of what we celebrate on this special day.

Johnny Cash.jpg

Johnny Cash:  “Joy To The World” (1980, written by Lowell Mason & Isaac Watts in 1719).

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 23

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Merry Christmas Eve eve!!!

day 23

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

Is it weird that one of my favorite versions of today’s song is from a 1996 “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) skit?  It featured two of my favorite regulars, Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon, along with a very funny Whitney Houston a few years after “The Bodyguard” was released.  The skit is hilarious and ends with her and Shannon trying to out-sing each other on this song.  No, I don’t think it’s weird.  I think it would be strange if I did not appreciate this fabulous piece of pop culture.  Another one of my favorite versions of today’s song is by a 1960’s girl group who not only gave us some great music, but also helped to introduce all of us to another part of pop culture-The Wall of Sound.

Ronettes

The Ronettes:  “Sleigh Ride” (1963, music written by Leroy Anderson in 1948 & lyrics written by Mitchell Parish in 1950).

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 22

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Holiday greetings to all of you on this first day of winter!

day 22 B.jpg

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown). 

I have a weakness for string arrangements in any type of music.  It began the moment I heard the absolutely exquisite introduction to Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland”.  That union of a piano and violin is just so beautiful I never recovered from that first listen.  It inspired me to learn to play the viola in junior high.  I stayed with it all through high school, then in college I took cello lessons.  It became my first love to both play and listen to.  I firmly believe that whoever coined the phrase “hauntingly beautiful” did so after hearing an unbelievably powerful and heartbreakingly elegant string arrangement, perhaps like this one from my favorite movie soundtrack of all time by composer Rachel Portman.

Today’s pick was originally done with only a piano accompaniment to the singer’s voice which made for a really lovely piece of music.  The version of the song I am using today is also a  piano/vocal combination.  But with the addition of one of the most gorgeous string arrangements I have ever heard,  it goes from lovely to utterly sublime.

Ally mcbeal

Robert Downey Jr.:  “River” (2000, written by Joni Mitchell 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!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 20

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

A Christmas hello from me and jolly ol’ St. Nick!!!

day 19

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

A common theme in many Christmas songs is going home for the holiday.  For many people, the sentimental pull of family gatherings, traditions we learned as children and the nostalgia invoked from seeing decorations we either made or put on the tree when we were kids is just too much to resist.  Of course, for many the stress of too much family togetherness is enough of an issue to skip the trip home.  Some have committed to defending our country so home is on the other side of the world.  And for others, there is no home to go to.  But the one thing we all have access to is the music of Christmas.  That may help us all find a memory that takes us back home, if only in our dreams.

Buble

Michael Bublé:  “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (2011, written by Kim Gannon, Walter Kent and Buck Ram circa 1943).

And for a very pretty female take on this song, my choice is by the second funniest woman in one of my all time favorite movies, “9 to 5”.  And she only came in second because Lily Tomlin is a comedic genius.  So I am sure Dora Lee Rhodes understands completely why she is my number two.

Dolly

Dolly Parton:  “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (1990, written by Kim Gannon, Walter Kent and Buck Ram circa 1943).

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 19

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Ah, holly wreaths.  So simple yet add such an elegant touch to make any room more festive for the season.  And so pretty to look at, too.

day 20.jpg

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

I have always loved acoustic music.  The more simple an arrangement, the more you can really focus on the beauty of the voice singing.  Today’s singer had one of the prettiest I have ever heard.  She interpreted many songs in her own style, including “Autumn Leaves“, “Songbird“, “Over The Rainbow” and “Fields of Gold“, and each one was more gorgeous than the last.  Her cover of today’s song is no exception.

eva-cassidy

Eva Cassidy circa early 1990’s (original source unknown).

Eva Cassidy:  “Silent Night” ( written by Franz Xavier Gruber and Joseph Mohr in 1818).

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 18

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Wintry scenes would not be complete without a snowman.  I think this one has the perfect hat, too!!!

day 18

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

Imagination is part of the fun of Christmas.  Always has been.  For children it is wondering what Santa will bring them and if they might catch a glimpse of him coming down the chimney.  For adults it is thinking up new ways to celebrate, decorate and entertain, not to mention trying to come up with original and exciting gift ideas to wow their friends and family.  So with all that sharp thinking going on, it’s not surprising that songs about the season get creative as well.  One about two people building a snowman seems like innocent fare, right?  But when the couple starts pretending that snowman is real, and a member of the clergy who they can ask to marry them?  Still pure fun or the basis for a Stephen King novel???  🙂

My vote is 100% pure unadulterated fun, not to mention great music as well.  This song has been recorded dozens of times by many different artists, but this man’s version has always been my favorite.  It has been featured in several movies, most notably “When Harry Met Sally” and “Elf”.  He is not only one of the greatest singers this country ever produced but he is considered a natural treasure as well. And rightfully so.

Ray

Ray Charles:  “Winter Wonderland” (1985, written by Felix Bernard and Richard Bernhard Smith in 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 17

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

A Christmas tree by a decorated mantel and a roaring fire…….does it get more cozy than that???

day 17

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

Today’s song has been a favorite of mine since the first time I watched “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”.  Who would not love a festive holiday tune sung by a cuddly adorable and very dapper snowman???

I always loved the line “say hello to friends you know” best.  It was just so cordial and lighthearted.  However, since the fall of 1997, whenever I hear that line, especially the word “hello”, I cannot help but get hysterical with laughter.  That is because all I can think of is how Jerry, George, Kramer & Elaine greeted each other with that word in a “funny booming jovial” hilariously boisterous voice supposedly belonging to Jerry’s girlfriend Clare’s stomach (using the belly button as a mouth, of course)  in the Seinfeld episode, “The Voice“.  If you are a fellow Seinfeld fan, you have just done the proverbial laugh out loud remembering that episode.  If you are one of the three people who was not a fan of the show, here’s a clip to bring you up to speed.  Only Jerry & Company could take a word like “hello” and turn it into a pop culture moment.

tenor

Seinfeld’s “Helllloooo” 
Burl Ives, both circa 1964 (original sources unknown).

Burl Ives:  “Holly Jolly Christmas” (1964, written by Johnny Marks in 1962).

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 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 15

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Here is a vintage Christmas bell to ring now that the big day is officially 10 days away.

day 15

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

I have written before about how much I loved soap operas (you can read more about that here).  One of the soaps I loved was General Hospital.  Who was not infatuated with the whole Luke & Laura phenomenon?  But in many GH fans opinions, that show’s real hey day was the 1990’s.  The writing, the acting, the story lines were not only sublime but reality based as well.  This was in complete contrast to the previous decade where one major story line was about stopping a mad man with a weather machine trying to dominate the world.

Instead, the 90’s brought us stories dealing with organ donation, breast cancer, AIDS and living with an HIV positive diagnosis, adoption and family dysfunction in addition to a slew of new super couples and so much more.  It was truly must see TV.  While GH is still on the air, I lost interest over the years especially once Tony Geary (who played Luke) retired.  I love him sooo much and if you watch this clip from 6:45 -7:00 you will see why.  Long live Lucas Lorenzo Spencer!!!  But I digress.

Someone sent me a current video of GH they thought I’d like (I didn’t), but that little taste sent me to YouTube where I have been lost in a GH vortex ever since.  And I stumbled upon one of the best moments from the aforementioned great decade of the show.  Luke Spencer opened a blues club and today’s singer performed the first show there.  Who better to sing in that venue than “The King of the Blues” himself?

It was a huge moment for soaps, not to mention music.  For a genre considered by many to be a step down from “real” acting, not to mention their classification as “chick shows” because the majority of viewers were women, an appearance by a famous man who was a musical legend gave the show and the genre some solid respect.  He & his band put everything they had into their performance as well, just as if they were playing in front of a paying crowd in a concert arena.  There was nothing phoned in about it.  The only thing negative about it is that it did not last long enough.  There were actors with story lines to get to, as this was a soap, after all.  But music and soaps had gone hand in hand for years, and thanks to Riley B. King, they came together onscreen for two days in February 1995.  You can see the whole performance here.

BB King

B.B. King:  “Please Come Home For Christmas” (2001, written by Charles Brown & Gene Redd in 1960).

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!!!