Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 14

We are a little more than halfway in our Christmas spectacular in 2011--The Best 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time*.  Here are six more great ones:

"Christmas Eve Sarajevo" 
by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Here we have the magical group Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which has one of the best light shows you will ever see...anywhere.  This song is a medley of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "Carol of the Bells" that was first released by the group Savatage as "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)".  TSO was a side project of several of the members of Savatage.  The subject of the medley has an interesting story as Paul O'Neill explained in Christianity

...We heard about this cello player born in Sarajevo many years ago who left when he was fairly young to go on to become a well-respected musician, playing with various symphonies throughout Europe. Many decades later, he returned to Sarajevo as an elderly man—at the height of the Bosnian War, only to find his city in complete ruins.

I think what most broke this man's heart was that the destruction was not done by some outside invader or natural disaster—it was done by his own people. At that time, Serbs were shelling Sarajevo every night. Rather than head for the bomb shelters like his family and neighbors, this man went to the town square, climbed onto a pile of rubble that had once been the fountain, took out his cello, and played Mozart and Beethoven as the city was bombed.
"Where Are You Christmas?"
 by Faith Hill

This great song was written by James Horner and Will Jennings and sung by Taylor Momsen in the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 2000.  Mariah Carey co-wrote a longer version and originally recorded it, but because of a legal matter with her ex-husband Tommy Mottola could not release it.  So she gave it to Faith Hill, who did an excellent job with it and it is that song that you hear over the closing credits.  

"Jingle Bells"
by Brian Setzer Orchestra

With the traditional songs, this is one case in which the more you can come up with a different-enough version, you can distinguish yourself from the crowd.  Setzer's version really jazzes up the song.

  "I'll Be Home For Christmas"
by Elvis Presley

This song was first copyrighted on August 24, 1943 as soldiers first thought they would be home for Christmas, then realized it would be "in my dreams".  Kent and James Gannon wrote the song, first recorded by Bing Crosby.  But it is this version by Elvis that has taken over in popularity.

"Sleigh Ride"
by the Boston Pops

Here is the famous version of this song first written by Leroy Anderson.  It was first recorded by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops in 1949 and has since become something of a signature song for the orchestra.  The clippity-clop of horses hooves and the light crack of the whip add atmosphere.

"Joy To The World"
by Anne Murray

Anne Murray checks in again with her great version of this Christmas classic.  Somehow Murray gives it great empathy and sincerity because she is singing from the heart.

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