Nostalgia

Where Have All The Christmas Songs Gone?

One of my fondest memories of the Christmas season growing up, was  the Christmas songs that were played in our house, either on the radio or on the reel to reel tape recorder. The songs were a generous variety of Christmas classics played by a generous variety of singers and conductors.  Over the years the playlist of Christmas songs has dwindled to a few artists, mostly newer versions of old classics by more contemporary singers. First, let me say my genre of music is Rock N Roll. I grew up on it and and most of my record/CD collection is made up of it. However, I must say, rock artists should not cover Christmas songs. For the most part they are horrible.

 

I’m not talking original Christmas songs written by rock rock/pop singer, I talking about covers of  traditional Christmas songs. Some originals that are good are Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms, Rockin Around The Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee, Blue Christmas by Elvis, All I want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey, Step Into Christmas by Elton John, Do They Know It’s Christmas/Feed The World by Band Aid, to name a few.

 

Some songs that don’t cut it are Santa Claus Is Coming To Town by Bruce Springsteen, Silent Night by Stevie Nicks, anything by the Carpenters, and one of the worst is James Taylor singing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, which is so morbid sounding,  you feel like you are at a funeral.

 

Gone are the songs that seldom if ever get any airplay. When was the last time you heard Away In The Manger? Do kids today know Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem? Traditional Christmas songs that were played constantly included Joy To The World, Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Hark The Herald Angels Sing, It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, Oh Holy Night, What Child Is This (Greensleeves), We Three Kings, and O Christmas Tree.

 

How about Let It Snow, The Little Drummer Boy, Good King Wenceslas, Do You Hear What I Hear, O Come O Come Emmanuel, Silver Bells, Twelve Days Of Christamas, and White Christmas.

 

You hardly ever hear Silent Night, Deck The Halls With Boughs Of Holly or God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen unless it’s done by Mannheim Steamroller.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Mannheim Steamroller, they do some of the best arrangements ever. But what about the classic standards done by Percy Faith, Mitch Miller, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, Andy Williams, The Ray Coniff Singers (my favorite).

 

The best and most balanced mix of  Christmas songs and artists was on the old Yule Log that used to play on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. It blended both older and newer versions brilliantly. Perry Como one song, Amy Grant the next and so on. There’s so much great music out there that is never played, and in its place is substandard versions. Some things never get old.

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