As the first snowflake floats to the ground, the first thing that comes to some minds are (a) how much snow will fall and (b) what should one be adding to the iPod this year? It's true. Some do think that as music is the fruit of life and number one reliever of the holiday stress bug that hits us all.
Finding the tune that will either play in the background of your Christmas party, bounce off the walls in your car as you fiddle with the heating or simply sit with a good book and your iPod by the fireplace doesn't have to be difficult to compile. Sure it can be sort of overwhelming as one doesn't always know which one is by far more ear-worthy and with the mass amount of songs sung in the tune of yuletide and often regarded as a "cheesefest". However, you're in luck as this article will help you survive a simple twelve days of Christmas with a festive soundtrack.
In no particular order, here are 12 holiday songs for you to feast on:
White Christmas – The Drifters
This song was covered in 1954 and primarily heard on R&B radio stations, getting very little exposure elsewhere. Nonetheless, after the early 1990's and the release of a cinematic Christmas favourite, "Home Alone", the song catapulted to popularity amongst radio stations. As of today, it gets almost as much airplay as the Bing Crosby version.
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Chris Martin
This song was written for the MGM musical, "Meet Me In St. Louis" starring Judy Garland in 1944 and more than a hundred artists have performed the tune. This version, recorded for the 2002 album, "Maybe This Christmas" featuring a solo Chris Martin on the piano gives a very cool down-tempo jazzy feel and is as appealing as the original.
Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
First heard popularly by the Spice Girls in the late 90s was sung originally by The Waitresses, a new wave band from the early eighties. The song is sung in the point of view of a young and busy single woman who decides to miss out on the holiday nonetheless, she suggests by the end of the song that the listener should not abandon their faith in the holiday.
Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
Recorded for his 1967 LP "Elvis' Christmas Album", it was later released as a single due to the popularity. Elvis' voice not only adds depth to this version but a sense of sincerity to the listener as a natural born performer. One thing that not a lot of listeners realize is that Elvis' version is missing a verse as opposed to the original sung by Ernest Tubb in 1948.
Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
Also known as the second Catwoman, Kitt recorded this in 1953 as a tongue-in-cheek look at Christmas sung from the materialistic virtues of a young woman asking for extravagant gifts and decorations for her tree. Seeing the growing popularity of the song, Kitt recorded a sequel entitled, "This Year's Santa Baby" was not a commercial success.
Winter Wonderland – Dean Martin
A pop standard over the years, initially written in 1934 by Felix Bernard and later sung by a gally of artists including Rosemary Clooney, Brad Paisley, Radiohead and the infamous duet of Ozzy Osbourne and Jessica Simpson. The original version has an introduction that is never included in the standard we hear over the years and gives a totally different meaning to the song. It suggests more of a romantic winter with the one you love as opposed to the generic one that suggests good old fun during the winter holidays.
Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
Recorded in 1958 by newcomer Brenda Lee, her song ran on the radio with little attention only until 1960 when Lee became a star in her own right. Lee's version over the last thirty years has had much attention and radio play and been featured in more than a hundred television shows and movies.
Mistletoe – Colbie Caillat
This single was released as a digital download on iTunes a year ago and was featured as USA Today's most downloaded holiday song of 2007. It's now featured on the holiday compilation CD, "Now That's What I Call Christmas Music" released earlier this fall. Colbie's song even makes an appearance in the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler comedy, "Baby Mama".
A Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives
The Quinto Sisters originally sang this holiday classic but years later, Burl Ives came upon it when Rankin-Bass released "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in 1962. It's became a holiday standard and one that can quite possibly be the anthem for Christmas.
Christmas Time Is Here – Vince Guaraldi
When "A Charlie Brown Christmas" debuted in 1965, it did more for Guaraldi than its creators – it shot him to greater fame. Over the years, Guaraldi's music would be a signature theme for fans, audiences and listeners for that Charlie Brown sound.
Another Christmas – Michael Johns
Season 7 American Idol contestant, Michael Johns wrote this song that is sure to be a classic over the years back in 2006. The song is simple in its meaning and is about missing your family over the holiday season as not everyone is able to reach home on time – this song is for those. This song released December 9th on iTunes and Amazon. All proceeds go to the ALS and Red Cross charities.
Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon
The single released on December 6, 1971 was based on a campaign in late 1969 by the late John Lennon and wife, Yoko Ono who rented out billboards in various cities reading, "War is Over! (If You Want It!)" at such a time when the US was heavily submerged in the unpopular and devastating Vietnam War. This song has been a favourite amongst many and has been covered numerous times by artists like The Corrs, Maroon 5 and most recently, season 7 American Idol champ, David Cook at this year's Rockefeller Centre Tree Lighting Ceremony.
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And some more tunes coming up close behind:
Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy – Bing Crosby & David Bowie
Originally recorded for Bing Crosby's 1977 television special, "Bing Crosby's Merry Olde Christmas", the tune was best described as a surreal event from crew on the set. It was regarded as a fusion of music from past and present and remains a holiday classic to this day.
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Fred Astaire
The song is synonymous with the Rankin-Bass produced movie of the same time from 1970. The hour long television special narrated by Fred Astaire became an instant holiday classic. Over the years many artists sung the tune including Tony Bennett, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Emma Roberts and of course, Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen.
Little Saint Nick – Beach Boys
Sometimes commonly mistaken for "Run Run Reindeer", this Beach Boys classic was released in 1963 and borrows structure from the group's "Little Deuce Coup", creating a sort of blend of rhythms for the holiday season. This song has been covered over the years by Sugar Ray, John Denver and the Muppets and was most famously recognized in the Coca-Cola campaign featuring a family of polar bears who come upon festive penguins celebrating.
Last Christmas - Wham!
Sung by British pop duo Wham!, this song has been a favourite amongst many. Written by George Michael, this tune sold well over a million copies and became the biggest selling single in the United Kingdom. Most recently this song has been covered by many artists throughout the years some being, tween sensation Ashley Tisdale and Coldplay.
Please Come Home For Christmas – Jon Bon Jovi
A song originally released in 1978 by The Eagles and a cover of Charles Brown's 1960 tune, Jon Bon Jovi remade the hit in 1994 for the album, "A Very Special Christmas" benefiting the Special Olympics. His festive music video, without being smutty or crude made men envious as the rock star frolicked with supermodel, Cindy Crawford.
Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney
Released in 1979, this song never quite made US Billboard Top 100 but did reach the UK Singles Chart at #6. Fellow Beatles members, John Lennon and George Harrison had released such songs as well but of all the festive tunes from the members, the only two that have stuck out with fans is Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over!)" and McCartney's. This song has been covered over the years and most recently by Canada's Barenaked Ladies, tween starlet, Demi Lovato and Hilary Duff.
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So this holiday season, whether you're cozying up on the couch, relaxing in front of the fireplace or throwing a festive Christmas party, bring along these classic tunes and don't forget to bring the eggnog!