Friday, December 2, 2016

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 2

Here are the next six songs in Inside the Rock Era's Christmas Spectacular of The Best 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time*:

"Wonderful Christmastime"
 by Paul McCartney

McCartney wrote this song in 1979 and he plays all instruments on the song.  Since he originally did it, over 20 artists have recorded their versions.  

"Do You Hear What I Hear"
 by Bing Crosby

It is important to know the history regarding this song.  It was written by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker in October, 1962 as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Anyone who records it without the passionate conviction and desperation that people felt during the threat is missing the point.

Bing Crosby "got it" and delivered an incredible performance more in tune with the message than other versions.  He first performed it on The Bob Hope Christmas Special of 1963.
"Oh Come All Ye Faithful"
by Faith Hill

"Adeste Fideles" is the original name of this song attributed to John Francis Wade.  The original four verses were extended to eight and the English translation by Roman Catholic priest Frederick Oakeley is the most common.
Faith Hill's version is different than most if for no other reason, tempo.  Instead of just singing the words, she slows it down to emphasize the tender message that I believe the songwriter intended.
"Snoopy's Christmas"
by the Royal Guardsmen

The Peanuts comic strip created by Charles Schultz featured the beagle Snoopy, who often would go off on imaginary battles with The Red Baron.  It is that rivalry that first inspired the Royal Guardsmen to record "Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron".

The group drew upon the theme again for this Christmas song which included a surprising turn of events that gives a message to us all.

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
by Frank Sinatra

This song was written in 1944 by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane and first introduced by Judy Garland in the MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis.
Frank Sinatra did it in 1957 and his version became the standard for many years.  Somehow hearing "The Chairman of the Board" sing it made it genuine.  

"Let It Snow!  Let It Snow!  Let It Snow!"
by Harry Connick, Jr.

Lyricist Sammy Cahn wrote the song with Jule Styne in 1945.  It was written in July in Hollywood, California during one of the hottest days of the year.  Vaughan Monroe originally recorded it and hit #1 with the song but since then, several versions have eclipsed it in popularity.
Connick recently recorded his version and the big band sound represents the severity of the storm outside while Connick sees the romantic possibilities of being "snowed in".

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