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 7

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Greetings from another charming vintage Christmas card circa 1950’s.  Swoon!!!

day 7

Found on Pinterest (original soutce unknown).  

When you think of the best blue eyed soul singers this country has ever produced, today’s singer is either at or near the very top of the list, depending on who you ask.  That incredibly talented voice, his prowess on the keyboards, his collaborations with Steely Dan and his tenure with the Doobie Brothers is what this five time Grammy winner is best known for.  He is also a friend and frequent collaborator with the writers of today’s song.  It’s always a treat to find a “new” Christmas song, and this is an exceptional one.

Michael McDonald

Michael McDonald:  “On Christmas Morning” (2001, written by David Foster & Kenny Loggins, circa 1989).

kenny loggins

For an added bonus, listen to Kenny Loggins’ own version of this song recorded for his “December” album released in 1998.

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 2018: Day 3

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

christmas day 3.jpg

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

Another day.  Another song.  Another legend.

Picture it:  Sunday, February 9, 1964.  Four lads from Liverpool were introduced to America thanks to their earth shattering performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”  This man was the final piece of the Beatles puzzle.  The last one to join, but the one who set the foundation of the group with every beat of his drums.  As great as the other three were, would “Yellow Submarine” or “With A Little Help From My Friends” have sounded the same if they were sung by John, Paul or George?  No.  Sir Richard Starkey made them all his own.  He began as a poor boy, too, who eventually played his drums for a king.  Just like the little boy in today’s song.

Ringo

Ringo Starr (original source unknown).

Ringo Starr:  “The Little Drummer Boy“.

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: 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!!!

Christmas Song Countdown #13

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

picture-wreath

Courtesy of Widadesign.com 

 

Today’s singer has been performing for decades, and is probably the greatest and most famous back up singer that ever was.  She has worked with the likes of Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt and Aretha Franklin, whom she channels in today’s song.

A phenomenal singer in her own right, she will probably always be best remembered for her work with Phil Spector’s groundbreaking “Wall of Sound” recordings in the 1960’s; namely ”He’s a Rebel,” ”(Today I Met) the Boy I’m Gonna Marry,” and today’s featured song which she performed regularly on David Letterman’s show during the Christmas season.

She was one of the main singers spotlighted in the 2014 Best Documentary Oscar winning film, “20 Feet From Stardom”.  She also played Danny Glover’s wife in all four “Lethal Weapon” movies and Judy Burrell on my soap “Another World” in 1993.

lethal-weapon

Danny Glover & Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon” (Courtesy of IMDb)

 

If all that were not impressive enough, the New York Times paid her one of the greatest compliments ever when they said her voice is ”as embedded in the history of rock and roll as Eric Clapton’s guitar and Bob Dylan’s lyrics”.  Wow.  Who would not want to be remembered like that?

Darlene Love:  Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).

P.S.  An honorable mention to U2 for their version of today’s song.  Who does not want to imagine themselves as the reason for Bono’s pleading?  Or more to the point, who does not want to listen to Bono and the rest of U2, period???

u2-mojo-254-770

U2 by Mattia Zoppellaro for MOJO magazine

 

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!!!

Christmas Song Countdown #12

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

Fifty two years ago this holiday classic had its first broadcast.  I do not think there are too many people who were born after that who did not grow up singing this song.

vintage-post-card

Vintage Christmas postcard (original source unknown)

 

One of my most vivid memories of watching the TV special is not from childhood, however.  It is from my freshman year away at college.  My friends and I were teased incessantly from the guys on our floor when we told them we we were not going to hang out with them so we could watch this Christmas show.  But two minutes after it started, all the boys joined us in the common room where the TV was.  Of course it was to make inappropriate comments about what Clarice really wanted from Rudolph, but hey, at least the guys were there!!!

rudolph

Courtesy of Bass/Rankin Productions

 

For anyone who has ever felt like a misfit, this one is for you.

Gene Autry:  Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.

island-of-misfit-toys

Courtesy of Bass/Rankin Productions

 

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!!!

 

Christmas Song Countdown #11

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

1940s-tree

Vintage Christmas Scene (original source unknown)

 

If a line was drawn in history as to three biggest voices to put soul music on the map,  it would read like this:  Sam Cooke, Otis Redding (featured in yesterday’s post) & the singer with today’s song.

Side note:  It is not James Brown.  While he was without question “The Godfather of Soul”, he was also credited with being one of the inventors of funk music.  Hence, he was on a completely different path than the other three singers. In his own league, as the saying goes.

But, as usual, I digress.

vintage-christmas-cards

Vintage Christmas Card (original source unknown)

 

Today’s singer carried the torch after Redding’s death, and never put it down.  While Motown & Philly Soul were more than respectable outlets for great music, today’s singer cruised past both with the same achingly impassioned vocal delivery that made Redding a legend, but giving it a more polished sound, much like Cooke.  The combination was electric.  That is how his sound rose above everything else in the 1970’s.

When I saw him in concert, he ran into the audience and I was lucky enough to get a great big bear hug from him.  Unfortunately, it took place at a time when cameras were still banned from concerts, so I do not have a picture of the momentous occasion.  But I relived it every time I saw him take the roof off of the Ed Sullivan Theater when he made his yearly visit to “The Late Show With David Letterman” (another reason why I miss that brilliant show!!!)

Al Green:  Winter Wonderland.

I chose Green’s song specifically for today because on this date in 1964, Sam Cooke died at the age of  33.  Through the time machine that is YouTube, I came across this holiday greeting he made in 1963.  I am not sure why he recorded it.  Perhaps it was done as a radio station promotion or for his record label.  All I know is it is a gift, so Christmas came early for me.  Listen to it here.

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Sam Cooke (original source unknown)

 

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!!!

 

Christmas Song Countdown #8 & Goodbye To An American Hero

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

Today’s song is a no-brainer.   It honors the man who died 36 years ago.  He taught us to peacefully question what we thought was wrong with the world, to imagine it as one, that all we need is love and that being a stay at home dad is a valid life choice, even when he became one in 1975,  Of course he did so much more, but that is what we remember the most.

Oh, and he was one of the Beatles   🙂

john-lennon

Original source unknown

Side note:  Did you know there is a park dedicated to John Lennon in Havana, Cuba?  It features a bronze statute of him sitting on a bench.  I cannot decide if it is creepy or cool.

Thoughts?

Oh, and the glasses are removable.

And we have a winner:  creepy it is.

Read more about the park and the glasses here.

john-lennon-figure Courtesy:  CNN

His Christmas song has become a holiday classic, and there are so many great versions of it by so many diverse artists I really could not decide which one you would like to hear.

So, today you have a choice.

Which version of “Happy Xmas War Is Over” would you like to listen to?

John Lennon’s original version;

Or Celine Dion’s;

celine-dion

Original source unknown

Or Darius Rucker’s;

Or Christina Perri’s

Or The Three Tenors‘;

3-tenors

Courtesy of kinoarena

Or Sleeping At Last’s;

Or Sarah McLachlan’s;

sarah-mclachlan

Courtesy:  sarahmclachlan.com

Or Neil Diamond’s.

Also today,  we lost another famous John.  A true hero to our country & in many respects the entire world:  John Herschel Glenn Jr.  Our first man to orbit the earth, he was a pioneer who made the dream of outer space a reality that inspired children everywhere to believe that they, too, could one day follow in his footsteps.

He quit college after the bombing of Pearl Harbor (yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of that attack) to join the military and stayed for over two decades.  He served in World War II and Korea, then became a US Senator from Ohio.  He died at the age of 95, a good long life for a man who had so much to give and inspire us with.

Thank you for being one of America’s greatest men.

Rest in peace, Colonel Glenn.

This one is for you.

Elton John’s Rocket Man.

john-glenn

Courtesy:  Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

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!!!

Christmas Song Countdown Day 7

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the Christmas Song Countdown!!!

Look at this darling tree!!!  Those are berry baskets holding ornaments on the branches.  How creative & adorable!!!  (And those baskets are in the Target Dollar Spot, if you are wondering).

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The old adage is the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Music is a perfect example.  While popular music today seems to revolve around urban, pop and rap, there are still people who take ballroom dancing lessons.  For all the people buying tickets to concerts to see rock heroes like Bruce Springsteen (read:  me & the gazillion other people who saw him on tour this year)  or Neil Young, a singer/songwriter like Ed Sheeran is winning Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards.  And for those country fans who are thrilled that Garth Brooks finally made his comeback record, there are just as many fans of swing, jazz and big band music (hence the popularity of Michael Buble, for example).

My point is there is room for everyone, and as soon as you think you have seen the last of a certain style of music or singing, up pops someone to take us back to that sound.  Of course, there are those singers who transcend the ages with the timelessness of their voices.  Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Tony Bennett and Billie Holiday, just to name a few. The singer with the #7 song is, without a doubt, a part of that group.

sarah-catherine-design

Courtesy of Sarah Catherine Design

Known as “The First Lady of Song” because she could sing them all-ballads, upbeats, blues, jazz, swing and sentimental.  She had a pitch perfect sound and a powerful range and delivery.  And she could scat.

Starting next April,  which would have marked her 100th birthday, venues around the world will celebrate her music with “Ella at 100:  A Centennial Celebration“.  Her physical presence was lost 20 years ago, but her voice is eternal.    And her take on Christmas music is just one example of that.

Ella Fitzgerald:  Have Yourself A Merry Little 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!!!

christmas-2

Courtesy of Architecture Art Designs 

 

Christmas Song Countdown Day 5

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

truck-with-wreath

Today’s song has the ability to transport me back to the warmest part of my childhood with the very first note.  And that is no easy feat.  I grew up much faster than I should have because that was my road to walk, but once you see happily ever after end in a horribly final way, you never believe in fairy tales again.

But these childhood friends of mine were my safe place, where I was kept out of harm’s way in a world with kids who did not see me differently because I no longer had the innocence of a child.  In fact, they did not even seem to notice.  They kept me in their world, no questions asked.  That was the part of my childhood I needed to hold on to most of all.  You do not forget friends like that.

peanuts-2

Copyright:  Charles M. Schultz

My friends, the Peanuts, already recorded this song to perfection.  But many other singers have covered this song since then, and this artist’s version is by far the solid second.  Between the combination of her beautiful voice and Diana Krall’s sublime piano accompaniment, this cover is absolutely gorgeous.

Sarah McLachlan:  Christmas Time Is Here.

PS:  Anita Baker’s jazzy, soulful version is also a worthy contender.  It definitely deserves a listen.

PSS:  The first song of the countdown was Joni Mitchell’s “River” (read that here) with an honorable mention to Sarah Mclachlan’s version.  Michael commented on that post that Robert Downey, Jr. did a “hauntingly beautiful” version of River when he was on “Ally McBeal”.   I love Robert Downey, Jr. and thought I saw every single “AB” episode when he was on it, but somehow that episode eluded me.  I listened to RDJ’s version today and Michael described it perfectly. It is hauntingly beautiful.  So, of course, I could not keep a gem like that to myself.  You can listen to it here.

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!!!

christmas

Courtesy of:  Captainwalt.com