Wednesday, April 13, 2022

How many?

Saturday, December 25, 2021

The Top Christmas Songs of All-Time: December 25

Here are the final eight songs for Christmas to wrap up our Top 200 Songs of Christmas*.  

"Christmas Canon"
by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra

This song is set to Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D Major with new lyrics.  It is notable in its departure of TSO's famous rock arrangements, instead being performed with a children's choir with light accompaniment from piano and strings.  It was first featured on the album The Christmas Attic in 1998 and is now one of the top three downloaded Christmas songs of all-time.

"Home for the Holidays"
by Perry Como

This was originally featured on the 1954 album Four Christmases.  As is the case with nearly all of his releases, its tough to beat a Como version.  And nothing like being Home for the Holidays!

 "The Prayer"
by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli

This is one of the newest songs to make The Top Christmas Songs of All-Time*.  It was written by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager, Albert Testa and Tony Renis.  It was featured on Celine Dion's album These Are Special Times and was also included in the move Quest for Camelot in 1999.  The song won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1999 and for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with vocals in 2000.

 "This Christmas"
by Donny Hathaway

You might remember Donny Hathaway as a singing partner of Roberta Flack's ("The Closer I Get To You") before he died tragically in 1979.  Many feel his version of this song is the best one out there.

"Merry Christmas Darling"
by the Carpenters

This standard was written in 1946 by Frank Pooler while in his teens.  Pooler went on to become musical director at California-Long Beach and it was there that Richard and Karen took a class in the mid-60's.  Pooler played the song for them, commenting that he'd never been happy with the melody.  Richard re-worked the song and the duo released it first in 1970, then again in 1978 with a re-recording.  The nostalgic feel is perfect for the season and is certainly one of the most romantic of Christmas songs.

 "The Little Drummer Boy"
by the Harry Simeone Chorale

Although this version by the Harry Simeone Chorale is not the original, it is nonetheless far and away the standard.  The Chorale give the song its most holy sound, even recorded in a Greenwich Village cathedral to give it a signature authentic feel.  It made the charts for five consecutive Christmases. 

 "Let It Snow"/"Count Your Blessings"/"We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
by the Ray Conniff Singers

The album We Wish You a Merry Christmas was recorded in 1962 featuring the Singers on several medleys.  One of the most popular is this one.  "Count Your Blessings" conveys a message that we all should be thankful for what we have, and the Singers perform "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" with sincerity and joy.  And it is that feeling that I wish to express in hoping that you have enjoyed this Christmas special and in hoping you and your family enjoy the magic of Christmas, both today and through the year.

 "The Lord's Prayer"
by Barbra Streisand

We close our Christmas special of The Top 200 Christmas Songs of All-Time* with this, because He is the One we can thank that there is a Christmas at all.  It is on the album Barbra Streisand/A Christmas Album.  Barbra's mastering of tone, enunciation, every little inflection of her voice - draws the listener in closer and you feel as if she's singing just to you.  She gives a spectacular performance on this song that wraps up our special with reverence and a grand finish. 

We hope you have enjoyed this past 25 days, and hope that you and yours can find inner peace.  Here's hoping God gets through to those among us who have been infecting and killing others with their carelessness and lack of concern for others during the pandemic and that we have a much better 2022!

Friday, December 24, 2021

The Top Christmas Songs of All-Time: December 24

Musical tastes are as diverse as the number of people in the world.  We have listened to thousands of Christmas songs, not only over the years but in preparation for this Inside the Rock Era special.  We do hope that we've touched upon songs that you find enjoyable.  Only one more day to go, 16 more songs, so let's get right to them!

"Oh Holy Night"
Martina McBride

The best versions of this are always the most holy, because that is what the lyrics convey.  If you're not holy yourself, it's not going to come across that way.  No doubt from her vocals that Martina "gets it".

"Opera of the Bells"
by Destiny's Child

"Carol of the Bells" was the original Ukrainian composition.  An alternate English version features more Nativity-based lyrics.  Destiny's Child renamed it "Opera of the Bells" for inclusion on their album 8 Days of Christmas.  

 "The First Noel"
by Pentatonix

Of the nine songs Pentatonix places in The Top Christmas Songs of All-Time*, this one is respected as one of their best that will give most people chills.

"Handel's Messiah"
by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

No list of the Top Christmas Songs would be complete without this song, an oratorio written by George Frideric Handel in 1741.  It includes a scriptural text written by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.  It was first performed in Dublin, Ireland on April 13, 1742 and has since become one of the best-known and most performed choral works in Western music.

"Same Old Lang Syne"
by Dan Fogelberg

This autobiographical song tells the story of a man meeting his old flame and the two getting over the awkwardness of the encounter.  Fogelberg based the melody on the "1812 Overture" by Tchaikovsky.  

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
by Brenda Lee

I'm sure you and yours will do some rocking around the Christmas tree while this song is played in the background.  It was written by Johnny Marks, who has three of his compositions in The Top 150*.  When Brenda first introduced this in 1958, it didn't do much but finally in 1960, after she had enjoyed success with "I'm Sorry" and "Sweet Nothin's", the song took off and hasn't looked back.  It has now gone over eight million in sales.

 "The Christmas Song"
by Nat King Cole

Cole originally recorded this song in 1946, then re-recorded it later in the year with a small string section.  It became a massive hit.  He then recorded a third version in 1953 and this one, on March 30, 1961 at Capitol Studios in New York City.  It is this fourth recording that is the most famous.  The instrumentation is nearly identical to that of the 1953 recording, but the vocals are much deeper.  It has remained not only the definitive version of the song, but one of The Top 10 Christmas Songs of All-Time ever since.

"White Christmas"
by Bing Crosby

This all-time favorite written by Irving Berlin reached #1 in 1942, 1945 and 1946 although the version you are used to hearing isn't the original.  There was so much demand for the song at the record plant that the original master was actually destroyed from overuse!  So Bing and group went into the studio and re-recorded it in 1947, essentially remaking the song perfectly.  This song is the biggest-selling single of all-time.

We have reserved eight excellent songs for you tomorrow--join us exclusively on Inside The Rock Era!