Sunday, December 11, 2005

Christmas Music

This time of the year we hear a lot of Christmas music. Whether this is treat or torture is rarely debated. Still, I find there are a few treats to be found amid the torture. Three categories of good Christmas music. One. The song that is owned by a given artist. White Christmas-Bing Crosby. Silver bells. Andy Williams. Holly Jolly Christmas. Burl Ives. Unlikely you will outdo the classic version. So why bother to do the cover . . . because of number Two. The refreshing cover that rivals or makes new the classic. The Drifters-White Christmas. Bruce Springsteen- Santa Claus is Comin' to Town. Three. The rare original song that captures the spirit of the times and of the season. There aren't many of these. Can you think of one? Most in fact are so sappy or crappy that I cringe when I see an artist even try. Here in the Metro Detroit area, there is a station that plays Christmas music 24/7 from before Thanksgiving.

LAGuy adds: Earlier today I did my yearly caroling (at old peoples' homes) with my group the Sunday Sound. I'm a big fan of quite a few of these tunes, and doing them live helps you appreciate how well-written some are. One thing that's interesting is here are songs written in all eras that are still sung--it's the only time of year that happens. Another fact that jumps out at you is how many songs are about snow--"White Christmas," "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!," "Winter Wonderland," etc.--since we sing these songs even though there's no snow out here. And since we often work from sheet music, you learn interesting things. For instance, the original verse to "White Christmas" (which first became big while soldiers were overseas in WWII) is about someone stuck in Beverly Hills who wishes for snow.

(I've never done it, but I always have the urge, after the verse of "Rudolph,"--"...but do you recall/the most famous reindeer of all?"--to go into "Frosty The Snowman.")


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ann Arbor Guy lives!

3:30 AM, December 12, 2005  
Blogger AnnArborGuy said...

Thanks anonymous. It is good to know someone cares. I forgot to write about Christmas instrumentals. I am not aware enough of MAnnheimer music to even comment. My favorite Christmas isntrumentals are those by Booker T and the MG.s, They have a very cool soul sound that stands up very well. Also love numerous jazz versions of Christmas songs - We Free Kings for example.

6:30 PM, December 12, 2005  

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