“Christmas Song”

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This is what it’s really all about, isn’t it?

“Love, love, love.  Love, love, love.  Love, love was all around.”

Peace to you all.

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”

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Things got a little crazy yesterday.  Today is equally nuts, and tomorrow and the big day itself also promise to be busy.  But there’s always time for a little music.

I’ve got nothing to say about this song; it’s just one I happen to like that seemed to fit today’s news.

Because today the remaining two members of Russian Punk band Pussy Riot were released from prison.  It’s only a couple of months early, but at least these young women will be able to be with their families for Christmas.  Putting them in prison at all was a travesty.

Also today, I saw this heartwarming story about a former member of Santana who has been homeless for years being reunited with Carlos Santana.  Apparently, Marcus Malone has some royalties coming to him, and Santana seemed genuinely pleased to see his old friend.  My hope is that seeing this story will remind people that there are still homeless people year round.  The problem doesn’t go away with just one reunion.

But it’s a nice reunion.  And the freeing of political prisoners is good.  There is still much to be done, but we can be glad that these two good things have happened.  It is Christmas after all.

 

Repost: “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

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I thought I’d post this a little earlier than Christmas Eve this year.  There are many ways to help the hungry in every community and every corner of the world.  But none are as easy as the links below.  

 

Bob Geldof did a good thing when he got all his friends and colleagues together to record this song.

Sadly, it’s still relevant (although the hairstyles aren’t, thank goodness).  There is still famine around the world.  So take a minute out of your busy Christmas, and help feed the world.  It won’t cost you a thing.

The Hunger Site

Free Rice

Freaky Christmas: “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy”

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From the first moment I saw this video on MTV way back when, I was a little flummoxed.  I like the duet, but it’s probably the strangest musical pairing ever.

The combination of the two songs is really well done.  And David Bowie’s voice melds nicely with Bing Crosby’s.  But it’s just so weird!  It was filmed for a TV  Christmas special Crosby was making in 1977, just a month before his death.  Bowie has moved on from his serious gender-bending and Ziggy, but he was still pretty out there for the older, conservative crowd that was Crosby’s primary fan base.  I’m sure CBS just wanted to get as many eyes on their program as possible, appealing to the widest demographic they could; ratings make strange bedfellows, I guess.

Although strange bedfellows also often leads to unexpected success.  “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” circulated as a bootlegged cult classic for a few years after the special aired, and was finally released as a single in 1982.  It’s gone on to be one of the more popular Christmas duets.

It’s still weird, though.

“Blue Christmas”

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There’s been a number of excellent versions of this song.  Elvis’ is probably the most famous, and I’m personally quite fond of Leon Redbone’s recording.  But I think this one will always be my favorite.

While watching The Year Without a Santa Claus a week or so ago, this brought me to tears (kind of like it always does).  I’m a sucker for those dopey old Christmas cartoons, but my holidays really are a little blue this year.  The song made me think of the one thing (person) I want Santa to bring, even though I know it isn’t possible.

I’m a little emotionally fragile right now, although I’m mostly okay.  It’s just kind of hard to know what will set me off on one of my crying jags.  I’m waiting for the big meltdown, and I’m afraid it’ll hit on Christmas eve or day, when I’m celebrating with everyone.  It’ll just be family, and they already know what I’m like, so they’ll understand.  Probably.

“The Chipmunk Song”

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You know what I learned today?  It’s really hard to find a decent video of the original version of this song.  There’s lots of later versions (for various incarnations of televised Chipmunks, I assume), and some slowed down versions.  But finding a fun video that had the song I know and sing along with (in a very silly voice) was, frankly, impossible.

Okay.  It was probably possible.  I just got bored after a few minutes of searching.  I guess I’m kind of like Alvin in that regard.  I think Alvin is a bad little Chipmunk because he’s bored.  I bet if Santa would just bring him that darn hula hoop, he’d be able to amuse himself for hours.  Or at least fifteen minutes.

“Dave Seville” was actually a guy named Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.  He won two Grammy awards for his work as Dave and the Chipmunks–Alvin, Simon, and Theodore.  Bagdasarian did all the voices by manipulating the recording speeds.  It was really quite clever, and the result is one of the more enduring novelty songs ever recorded.

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

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While my ability to enjoy Christmas music has its limits, this is one song I could enjoy pretty much all year round.

Even if this wasn’t already a favorite carol, I’d like this plucky, jazzed up version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” (morphing into “We Three Kings” in the second half).  With Sarah McLachlan contributing her heavenly voice, the Barenaked Ladies turn this into a jolly romp while managing to retain the reverence of the original tunes.  While I’m a much more secular celebrant, I understand the deep religious meaning of the holiday for many.  And I think this song manages to cover all the bases, appealing to all varieties of Christmas listener.

But mostly I like it because I think it’s cool.