Twelve Days of Christmas Music – Day 12!

12 Days of Christmas Banner

Merry Christmas to all! It has been a wonderful and relaxing day here with my family, laughter, games, and entirely too much food. I hope that your day has been full of the things you love as well.

On Day 1 of this venture I explained that the countdown was in no particular ranked order with the exception of today’s posting. It is far and away the best Christmas song, and I’d happily and politely debate anyone that disagrees (you’ll lose). My favorite Christmas song is…

WHITE CHRISTMAS – Bing Crosby

Quiz time – The first time that most of the world heard this song was in the film…

…if you are thinking White Christmas, you are sadly wrong. The song was featured in a film with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire 12 years prior (1942) called Holiday Inn. The clip above is actually from the film and features Martha Mears joining Crosby. I’m sure many of you are genius experts on 1940s film and are thinking, “but that’s Idaho’s own Marjorie Reynolds in the clip!” You’re not wrong, but her voice was dubbed with that of Mears for the recording.

I LOVE the film Holiday Inn. Sadly, it has one horrendous act done in blackface, which at some point will be an incredible teaching moment with my future children about the United State’s history of racism and the horrible inappropriateness of blackface. I hear AMC isn’t even showing that portion of the film anymore – understandably.

The rest of the film is brilliant. It has Bing doing what he does best – singing and being charming. Fred doing what he does best – dancing like no one else before or after him. There is one scene in particular in which he is insanely drunk and does a “dance” that is perfection.

And then they get to the scene above. And he sings, and she sings, and he whistles, and he hits bells with his pipe (because they are of course right there on the tree and the perfect notes) and I melt. It’s a beautiful moment to introduce the world to a beautiful song.

The song, by the way, was written by Irving Berlin – who was a genius. I once saw a documentary about him and his catalog is staggering. Everything from “God Bless America” to “There’s No Business Like Show Business”. Just glance at his list of songs – you’ll be surprised by how many you know. Get ready to scroll though, the list is incredibly long.

Also, “White Christmas” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1943. And the good people over at Guinness have verified Bing Crosby’s version of “White Christmas” as the best selling single of all time. [Bonus records – Crosby also holds the record for the most Oscar award winning songs sung by the same person and longest running fan club – solo artist.]

Enough of me gushing about the film and the amazing Irving Berlin. Even without me having had the Holiday Inn experience, this would still be my favorite song. To me it is the perfect mix of melancholy and  longing for the past, while seeing the beauty in now and hope for the future. And I can’t think of any better way to capture all the emotions that the holiday season brings than that.

Thank you to everyone that has been following along. I hope you enjoyed the Twelve Days of Christmas Music. I would love to hear what your favorite is.

Enjoy the holidays!

Advertisements

Twelve Days of Christmas Music – Day 11

12 Days of Christmas Banner

I felt a lot a pressure to make a selection today. Since Day 12 was predetermined, this was my last chance to make sure that the list captured everything I want it to. Honestly, I’ve been listening to Christmas music with a more critical ear this year since I’ve been working on this list. And there were so many that could have taken the last slot.

But then I decided it was only appropriate to share this one…

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE – Better Than Ezra

I still haven’t written of the important role that Better Than Ezra played in my life, especially during college. Beyond the music that I loved and crazy adventures to shows it connected me to the most eclectic, interesting, loving, inspiring, fun, insane, remarkable group of people – at a time when I really needed people with those traits in my life.

I have this song to thank for those connections, because one of the first things I ever posted on their message boards was a plead for someone to send me a copy of this song. Before the days of YouTube and online music services, it was impossible to find. But I heard rumor that a Christmas song existed. And so I begged – and was promptly sent two copies. Along with a giant pile of bootlegs. Such generous people.

It’s now available for download through Better Than Ezra’s website should anyone be interested.

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone.

Twelve Days of Christmas Music – Day 10

12 Days of Christmas Banner
Today’s selection is “Silver Bells.” No huge tale of old to share related to this favorite. I just think it’s beautiful. Sometimes it really is that simple.

Similar to Day 8’s selection, I don’t necessarily have a version that I prefer. So I’m sharing Martina McBride’s. Because she’s from Kansas. And Kansas is awesome.

Today’s fun fact – Ray Evans, one of the writers of Silver Bells, said that they initially wrote it as Tinkle Bells. Luckily, his wife told him that would be the worst idea ever. (Thanks to his wife and Wikipedia!)

Twelve Days of Christmas Music – Day 9

12 Days of Christmas BannerToday’s selection is “Holly Jolly Christmas”, as performed by Burl Ives. The song was originally heard sung by Ives on the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer special in which he also served as narrator, but was recorded by Ives a year later in the slower tempo version that has become popular. I am so used to hearing the slower version now that I thought the Rudolph recording was being played at the wrong speed. I was wrong.

For some reason this song reminds me of going down to the Christmas parade in Wichita as a child. You always had to wait until the end, regardless of temperature, because the very last float was Santa’s sleigh. Oh memories.

HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS – Burl Ives

PS – I was always super confused by this album cover as a child because he kind of looks like the devil, which was very confusing imagery for me as it relates to the Christmas season.

Twelve Days of Christmas Music – Day 8

12 Days of Christmas Banner

Today’s selection is “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” for no other reason than it doesn’t really feel like Christmas until I hear it. I suppose it lives up to it’s name in that way. I also think it’s a great sing-a-long.

Fun fact – This song was originally called “It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas” and was written by Meredith Wilson – who also wrote The Music Man.

Unlike other songs on the list, I’m not partial to a particular recording of this song. So I chose Bing, because he’s Bing. And so that you can enjoy watching the gently falling snow.

Twelve Days of Christmas Music – Day 7

12 Days of Christmas Banner

You might have noticed that the list has favored popular music’s take on the holidays through the years and has not featured the more traditional carols. That is not due to a lack of love for them. Sometimes I think that list would be harder to make – there are just so many.

That list also goes beyond what I find pleasant to hear. I loved singing while I was growing up. I sang everywhere – on the playground, while coloring, while playing with dolls, while sawing campfire logs (it makes the work lighter!). In middle school I gave up rec time and after school time to sing in a special choir because my involvement in orchestra kept me from taking choir as a class. So the carols that are my favorite tend to be the ones I most enjoyed to sing.

My all time favorite song from choir happens to be a Christmas classic and is today’s choice. And though I mentioned that my brother was not the fan of Christmas music that Mom and I are, this is his often stated favorite. Even he is powerless against it.

CAROL OF THE BELLS

Bonus fun fact – I was even in a bell choir once. It was a horrible, scaring experience. So maybe “fun” fact was a bit inaccurate…

Twelve Days of Christmas Music – Day 6

12 Days of Christmas Banner

I’m not sure why my next selection doesn’t get more play – and yet songs like my aforementioned least favorite are played by radio stations several times an hour. I don’t care if every known duet combo has covered that song – we don’t need to hear it all the time. And no means no, sir. Let the poor lady go home already. I just can’t with that song. Derails me every time.

Anyhow, in addition to being a dreamer – I’m a romantic. Sometimes the disgusting kind. I unapologetically waited for the announcement of the new movies the Hallmark Channel was adding to the Countdown to Christmas lineup this year. This happens mid-summer, by the way.

This song could easily be applied to any of those movies. In fact, I expect to see it in the 2016 lineup. You’re welcome, Hallmark, for the awesome idea. I would like a special thank you in the credits please.

IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE MISTLETOE (OUR FIRST CHRISTMAS) – Barbara Mandrell

Note – A better known Barbra has also done a cover of this song, but this is the one that I know and love.