Thursday, December 10, 2009

“We need a little Christmas/Right this very minute…”

My esteemed blogging colleague and discredit to the legal profession J.C. Loophole has tagged me over at The Shelf in a meme that challenges participants to name their Top Ten favorite Christmas songs. Since I rarely back down from a challenge (well, unless the odds are just too freaking formidable—I mean, there’s no sense in getting oneself slightly killed, as Mr. Thornhill would say) I should now like to present the Top Ten Thrilling Days of Yesteryear Christmas Song Countdown…

10) Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy – Bing Crosby & David Bowie. One of the most sublime duets ever recorded.

9) It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – Perry Como. Actually, I don’t have a preference for who sings this—it’s just for some odd reason I associate it with His Comoness. Written by Meredith Willson of The Music Man and Maxwell House Coffee Time with George Burns & Gracie Allen fame.

8) Christmas at Ground Zero – “Weird” Al Yankovic. I have a particular fondness for holiday-themed novelty tunes, and this is definitely one of the wackiest. (It also has a Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree bent to it.) YouTube won’t let me embed this one so if you want to watch it, click here.

7) Do They Know It’s Christmas – Band Aid. “Feed the squirrels…”

6) Silver Bells – Bob Hope & Marilyn Maxwell. This song always puts me in a Christmassy mood—but for some odd reason, I always forget to put the movie it appears in (The Lemon Drop Kid) on my list of favorite Yuletide-themed films.

5) Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano. During my years in exile in Morgantown, we were having a Christmas party at the place that generously awarded me a paycheck every two weeks and when this song was playing on a CD boom box I grabbed it and challenged my co-workers to go into the main building and get down with our bad selves. (I couldn’t get any takers, but from that moment on I developed a reputation as being the office nut; it was previously thought I was a bit on the reserved side because I never said much…but when you work with a group of women it’s often difficult to get a word in edgewise.)

4) Green Chri$tma$ - Stan Freberg. The best Christmas novelty record ever. Freberg relates in his autobiography It Only Hurts When I Laugh how controversial this release was at the time, something that still positively gobsmacks me to this day. (Of course, there’s a lot of truth in this song…which might be the reason why it made some people madder than hell.)

3) Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley. It’s not for nothing that they call him the King, friends and neighbors.

2) Do You Hear What I Hear? – Bing Crosby. I know people are going to be a little surprised that I didn’t put White Christmas on my list, but honest to my grandma—I think Der Bingle’s version of this carol is one of his finest vocal performances ever. His singing is so effective that I can close my eyes and picture myself hanging out with the shepherds in the song.

1) Happy Xmas (War is Over) – John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band. A sentiment that we should keep in mind not just during the holidays…but all year ‘round.

How about it, Linda, Jim, Matt, Stacia and Rick? Care to share your faves?

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Bill Crider said...

At one time I could quote "Green Christmas" almost verbatim. Great stuff.

Linda said...

What, no "Christmas Dragnet"??? Funnier than most of the sitcoms on TV today.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Linda: If you can figure out a way how I can squeeze twelve songs into a ten-song list, I'm ready to learn from you.

(The twelfth was Darlene Love's Christmas [Baby Please Come Home].)

Tom said...

Excellent choices. I always associate "Home For the Holidays" with Perry. And I love "Green Christmas"! Oh if only Darlene Love's song could have made it into the top ten.

J.C. Loophole said...

Awesome picks and I was stoked (in a strictly platonic way) to see you picked Stan Freberg's Green Christmas! Christmas Dragnet is a favorite, but it doesn't necessarily fit the musical criteria- ("He's another guy, what I ain't never heard of"). In a moment of wild abandon (which I take medicine for now) I bought the Stan Freberg box set (Tip of the Freberg) which also includes a video tape of his commercials. My wife still wonders why I love looking at a tape of old commercials. I'd explain, but then that would take away some of the mystery that is, me.

hobbyfan said...

I once had Bing's "Do You Hear What I Hear?" on one of those WT Grant Christmas LP's as a child. I'd love to find this on a CD somewhere. To me, it is the definitive rendition of this classic carol, though Whitney Houston gave it a good ride on "A Very Special Christmas", volume 1.

Linda said...

"Do You Hear What I Hear?" is on the "Bing Crosby's Christmas Classics" CD.

Linda said...

To quote McCloud, "There ya go":

hobbyfan said...

Thanks. Personally, I'd put it at #1 on my list, which will be up on my blog soon.