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Christmas Goes Pop: A Holiday Music Buffet

Friends of Padre Steve’s Word,

Once again I delve into the vault of Christmas Past and post yet another collection of Christmas music from various Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country artists that I enjoy. I hope that you will as well.

I grew up in the 1960’s 1970’s and went to college in the 1980s. As such my musical taste reflects much of the Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country crossovers of the era. So here are some of those artists performing some of their Christmas music. I have also included some more contemporary artists whose music I enjoy. Some are religious in nature and some not. While some are just fun to listen to there are others that speak to the sadness and melancholy that some people feel this time of year. As I have grown older I have come to appreciate non-religious Christmas or holiday music, especially that which touches the deepest emotions and longings that I feel, just as much as I do the traditional hymns of Advent and Christmas. I find it interesting as I have mentioned before that so many of the performers are people who would not be welcome in any church because of their faith, or lack of, their politics, or their sexual preference. But I digress…

I have posted over sixty songs here and they are no particular order, and I hope that you enjoy them.  My wish is that you enjoy the Christmas or whatever holiday you are celebrating; after all the key is to enjoy life and hopefully love as well this holiday season.

Peace

Padre Steve+

 

 

 

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Pop Goes Christmas: A Holiday Music Collection 

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Pop Goes the Christmas

Friends of Padre Steve’s Word,

I have been immersing myself in a lot of Christmas and other holiday music as it is one of the few things that can put me into a mood suitable for the season, otherwise I would be as jolly as George Costanza at Festivus, yes “Serenity Now!”

I grew up in the 1960’s 1970’s and went to college in the 1980s. As such my musical taste reflects much of the Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country crossovers of the era. So here are some of those artists performing some of their Christmas music. I have also included some more contemporary artists whose music I enjoy. Some are religious in nature and some not. While some are just fun to listen to there are others that speak to the sadness and melancholy that some people feel this time of year. As I have grown older I have come to appreciate non-religious Christmas or holiday music, especially that which touches the deepest emotions and longings that I feel, just as much as I do the traditional hymns of Advent and Christmas. I find it interesting as I have mentioned before that so many of the performers are people who would not be welcome in any church because of their faith, or lack of, their politics, or their sexual preference. But I digress…

I have posted over sixty songs here and they are no particular order, and I hope that you enjoy them.  My wish is that you enjoy the Christmas or whatever holiday you are celebrating; after all the key is to enjoy life and hopefully love as well this holiday season.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

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Judy Garland Singing at a Bobe Hope Christmas Show in Stockton California During World War II

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yudgy30Dd68

Judy Garland Singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas in the Movie Meet Me in Saint Louis

There are some songs at Christmas that despite their relative newness as compared to ancient carols seem to strike a chord that resonates deep in the hearts of people. One of those for me, and probably many others is the song Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. The music was written by Ralph Blane and the lyrics by Hugh Martin for the musical Meet Me in St Louis and first performed by Judy Garland in that film. In the movie Garland’s character sings the song to her younger sister after their father announces plans to move from their home of St Louis to New York for a job.

The lyrics for the musical were changed because Garland’s director Vincent Minnelli and co-star Tom Drake felt that Martin’s original lyrics which began with “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas, it could be your last. Next year we may all be living in the past” were too depressing. The lyrics were changed to “let your heart be light, Next year all our troubles will be out of sight” in response to their request. The words sung in the musical by Judy Garland have a haunting but very real feel for people who face uncertainty at Christmas, as such they were very meaningful to the US military personnel who heard them at the front in the Second World War.

As originally produced they reflect a hope for a better future as opposed to a carefree present. As such they are probably much more appropriate to our current time than in the mid-1950s when Frank Sinatra recorded a modified version of the song for his album A Jolly Christmas.

Sinatra asked Martin to “jolly up” the line “we’ll have to muddle through somehow” and Martin changed it to “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.”

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When Frank Sinatra recorded the song in 1957 it too became a hit and the focus on present happiness rather than a hope for a better future fit the times in which it was recorded. Sinatra’s version also notes that “faithful friends gather near to us once more” instead of “will be near to us once more.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52db1eVHQjw

The song was re-written by Martin a number of times including a “Christian” version which included the words “if the Lord allows” instead of “if the fates allow.” Though I am a Christian I think that change was kind of lame, but then if there are a few dollars to be made off religious people who otherwise won’t listen to a song why not?

The song is one is one of the most recorded Christmas songs ever written and can be heard being sung by artists as diverse as Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Rod Steward, the Carpenters, Kelly Clarkson, John Denver with the Muppets, the Pretenders, Olivia Newton John, Kenny Loggins, and even Twisted Sister.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9L5mPfpeXxk

Ella Fitzgerald’s Version

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vZwWJMAoTA

The Carpenters Christmas Special 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tjAIwDavsw

Bing Crosby’s Version

Johndenvermuppets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLQFIdcTKQM

John Denver and the Muppets

pretenders

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOFQy0VDrgA

The Pretenders

kellyclarkson

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x18b4nz_mjsbigblog-com-kelly-clarkson-have-yourself-a-merry-little-christmas_music

Kelly Clarkson’s Version

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGyIlObTtXk

Olivia Newton John

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1l97qmMdTQ

Kenny Loggins

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzxLBdkN7OI

Twisted Sister singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JChA2MHNk2c

Rod Stewart singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

The song as recorded by Judy Garland is actually my favorite, though I also love the Sinatra version. Somehow “muddling through somehow” seems to be more appropriate in my experience.

So enjoy these versions of a song that has touched the hearts of hundreds of millions of people since it was first recorded. May it be an inspiration in these uncertain times of a hope for a better future. Maybe that makes it a better Advent song, but I digress….

For me it is kind of a sad song, but mixed with hope…and I always try to live in hope.

Here’s to muddling through somehow…

Peace

Padre Steve+

 

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Padre Steve’s White Christmas

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I don’t do much singing nor do I play a musical instrument but I have been listening to nothing on the radio the past several days except Christmas music on the Sirius XM Sounds of the Season channel. I have stopped, for the next couple of weeks listening to sports talk radio, news and political commentary and even my beloved 1970s music. One song that appears quite regularly is the classic is Irving Berlin’s White Christmas which was first recorded by Bing Crosby for the 1942 film Holiday Inn. The song was released shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack by Crosby and has become a staple of Christmas.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Yg5g_Xl-uU

It is really quite Amazing, the song is the most recorded song on this planet, and possibly even on the Klingon Home World in the future, of course it will be the Twisted Sister Version that makes number one on the Klingon Charts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2JdsZ0fSr8

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When it was released in 1942 White Christmas sold over 30 million copies and remained number one on the Pop and R&B charts for 10 weeks. It remained the number one single in its initial release for over 50 years when Elton John released his Candle in the Wind 1997 written and performed for the funeral of Diana Princess of Wales. There is controversy about this as White Christmas was re-released by Decca in 1945 and 1946 and the totals for all are estimated at over 50 million copies as opposed to the 33 million of Candle in the Wind 1997. The song is the only song to ever reach the number one position on the pop charts three separate times.

The song has been recorded over 500 times by artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Ernest Tubbs, Elvis Presley, Andy Williams, the Carpenters, Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, Chicago, Otis Redding, Barbara Streisand and even Twisted Sister.

The Drifters version was the first appeared on the R&B chart before crossing over to the pop charts. However it was little known until it was used in 1990 film Home Alone. 

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgGcrvApljY

A classic country rendition of the song was done by the legendary Ernest Tubb. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNzvUh-tJRY while Elvis Presley recorded hit in 1957  http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3shhn_elvis-presley-white-christmas_music 

 

Many others recorded it as well, some include Andy Williams: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PVfVUiZ-0ERod Stewart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EvQOmjXCxcBette Midler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYswJUHZG0gBarbara Streisand http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyfYDOvPgcQ, Otis Redding http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwCcVRH8idA Dean Martin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ubi18WX3w6c Tony Bennett http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQpc2w1oWp0 and Frank Sinatra: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8m3YOr8RIIo

Many more contemporary singers and groups have recored this classic. Bob Marley and the Whalers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEfGeOcQiQM  Rascal Flatts  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMi1R96wfdA, Elton John http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZEOG66l1BY Chicago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_3-JIOuLiMMichael Bolton:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrf9weGDCxE, Michael Buble  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDwFehTaiuw , Kelly Clarkson http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCl7-0dMOzs , the Celtic Women http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcEsypy6tIE, CeeLo Green http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZLZHIrkG7w  , Diana Krall http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OS0K5R46vvM, Taylor Swift http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZhdTxgnLTE  Lady Gaga http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy1Yxng6IGA 

So my friends, enjoy a very White Christmas!

Peace

Padre Steve+

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