Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Crescendo

Christmas would not be the same without all the wonderful music that fills the airwaves throughout the season. Inspired by Nursedude to pen my list of holiday favorites, the list below reflects my top 20 Christmas songs with favorite performances:
  • The Chipmunk Song (Please Christmas don’t be Late)- The Chipmunks
    It is obnoxious and you can belt it out of tune just like the original and sound great; and who doesn’t like a song that contains the words “hula hoop.”
  • What are you doing New Year’s Eve- Harry Connick Jr.
    His smooth, jazzy voice delivers this song perfectly and allows me to imagine Harry is inquiring about my plans for December 31.
  • Jingle Bell Rock- Bobby Helms
    This is on the list not because of the song, but because of the dance. Any female who attended Carle Place High School during the tenure of gym teacher Mrs. Snhnaars knows the Jingle Bell Rock dance and years later it is still ever engrained in their heads. As annoying as the week before Christmas was “learning” the same dance year after year it is very funny to be in a room with a bunch of alumni break out the jazz hands when this song hits the radio.
  • Dominick the Donkey- Lou Monte
    A staple of NY radio and slowly moving from sea to shining sea, this song is a cheesy little story about Dominick the Italian Christmas donkey and makes this Italian sing every time I hear it.
  • Baby it’s Cold Outside- Dean Martin with Martina McBride (posthumously)
    Dean’s original version was with a chorus of women which was kind of weird and very risqué for the day. This remixed version takes the smooth voice of Dean Martin and blends it with a single female voice making it much more appropriate… and well done. Had Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey performed this years ago with Jessica taking the male part, begging Nick to spend the night, they would have had a major hit that could have potentially saved their marriage.
  • Silent Night- Perry Como
    Such a beautiful song that there are so many performances worthy of the top ranking, but this is Perry Como’s best. Second place would be my church solo at 6 years old; I still remember my child’s voice filling the sanctuary in my first, and only, solo.
  • White Christmas- Drifters
    Bing Crosby performs the classic version, but this one is just so much fun.
  • We Need A Little Christmas- Andy Williams
    Another fun song which always makes me thing of the Christmas special ”Yogi’s First Christmas.”
  • Ding Dong Merrily on High- Roger Whittaker
    Just love this song and really cannot think of anyone else who performed it.
  • Silver Bells- Doris Day
    So many forget that Doris Day was the Bing Crosby of female singers with a host of holiday songs in her playlist.
  • All I want for Christmas- Mariah Carey
    With my well documented love for karaoke I will also admit I dance around the house singing this song and dreaming I had the kind of body that could wear the cute little Santa outfit Mariah wore in the video for this song.
  • I'll be Home for Christmas- Frank Sinatra
    Ole Blue Eyes delivers an emotional performance of this song and captures the pain of not being able to be close to family on Christmas.
  • Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy- Bing Crosby and David Bowie duet
    An unlikely pairing led to a classic recording of The Little Drummer Boy only a month before Bing Crosby’s death. Reportedly David Bowie did this performance because his mother liked Bing Crosby and now he is probably making more residuals on it then any other of his recordings.
  • Linus and Lucy- Vince Guaraldi Trio
    No holiday song transports me quicker to childhood then hearing this classic from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
  • Carol of the Bells- The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    The crescendo of this song, especially this version, reflects the same dynamics of the holiday season itself; it starts off quiet and builds a tremendous energy until the finale which is quiet, like Christmas morning itself (before everyone wakes up!).
  • The Christmas Song- Nat King Cole
    Nat might have replaced Bing Crosby as the King of Christmas carols had he lived long enough to contribute more performance to holiday standards. His approach to this classic is timeless and touching.
  • Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus- Carle Place Choir Singalong
    There is no recording of this version and I am not sure in the age of political correctness if it is still performed but one of the most special memories of my hometown was the annual “all-sing” at the end of the Carle Place High School Holiday Concert. The whole auditorium stood tall and joined the choir and band in a thunderous rendition from Handle’s Messiah. While the residents of Carle Place might be no Royal Philharmonic they possessed a power from above granted the entire town perfect pitch one time a year.
  • O Holy Night- Josh Groban
    Powerful, dramatic, intense, beautiful, mystically, captivating; these are just a few of the many adjectives that come to mind with this song. Josh Groban performs with an understated brilliance as he lets the beauty of the music as it was written capture listeners rather then trying to embellish the song for the sake of performance. The close brings tears to my eyes and chills down my spine each time it is played.
  • Santa Baby- Eartha Kitt
    Madonna has nothing on the original version of this holiday masterpiece which finally gave the naughty girls something to sing about.
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas- Judy Garland
    It is almost sacrilegious to choose a version other then Perry Como’s, but Judy sang it first in the movie “Meet me in St. Louis” and sang it best. This song captures so many Christmas emotions; happiness, loneliness, nostalgia, grief, elation. I prefer versions performed by female artists for no reason other then believing this song requires a feeling of holiday emotion that only a woman can convey.


Nursedude said...

Hey 'Chelle, I have to say that Dominick the Christmas Donkey has really grown on both me and my 16 year old daughter. I agree with you on Judy Garland's version of "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas". Such a tortured woman in her personal life who was such a wonderful talent. The odd pairing of David Bowie and Bing Crosby is an interesting version of the Little Drummer Boy. I still prefer the Vienna Boys Choir Version.

Diane said...

Elvis' version of "Blue Christmas" is a family sing-a-long in our house - and we don't have any Elvis fans! I think more people recognize the Elvis version that the one played in the movie...

amy said...

Ooooh!!! You have one of my favorites on the list - "White Christmas" by The Drifters. It was great fun listening to it with you, wadE, and Sarah this past Friday. If I could, in any way, pay homage to the "iy-iy-iy-iy'm" dreaming portion of the song via comments, believe me, I would!

Anonymous said...

I 'm so happy you have my favorite on your list. "Ding Dong Merrily on High" by Roger Whittaker. I love that song. I'm sad to say I did not hear Dominick the Donkey this year and I don't know where to get it. Maybe next Christmas. Have a Wonderful New Year, Michelle.