So, I really like the holiday and make no apologies for it.
Here, then, are some of my favorite Christmas songs in no particular order except for the first one which has been my favorite since I was a child. Here goes!
First on my list is “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” from Andy Williams. Except, perhaps, for “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” this is the earliest Christmas song that I can remember enjoying. I know I heard it the year it was released (1963). My mom adored Andy Williams so we watched any show he hosted or where he was a guest.
The Ronette’s “Sleigh Ride”. Produced by Phil Spector, the song showcases Veronica Bennett’s wonderful voice. Again, I must have heard it the same year I heard William’s song–when I was six years old. It must have been a good year for Christmas songs.
I have always enjoyed this tune. I have to admit that I’ve been a Gilbert O’Sullivan fan since I was a kid. I know that some people can’t stand his work, but I enjoy it. This tune does bear some similarities to another favorite of mine, but not so much that it bothers me.
I discovered this song very recently. First of all, I have to apologize for a bit of the quality of this recording. It’s the best one that I could find, but is such a bit of a novelty song that I couldn’t locate a better one. Valerie Masters was a UK actress who also had an engaging voice used to excellent effect on “Christmas Calling”. The song was produced by Joe Meek, one of the most tragic figures in 1960s pop music. They made a good artist/producer pairing.
I’ve always preferred the Bobby Helms version of “Jingle Bell Rock”. There have been plenty of others, but this one is my favorite. It first appeared the year I was born, but that’s not really why I like it best. Helms just had a damned good voice, especially on this tune.
I have to put a Carpenter’s song on here. They did so many great ones, but this is my favorite. I’m not sure whose idea it was to infuse this song with so much bittersweet emotion, but it is extremely effective in that way. Touching, a spirit of nostalgia, and an aching sadness that reminds us all that joy, like life, is fleeting.
Most people prefer Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” and it’s a great one, for sure. But to me “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” nails down some of the ideas and images that make Christmas sweet and fun.
For just creating the finest imagery more effectively than any other Christmas song I know, we have Mel Torme’s “The Christmas Song” which, Torme’ said, Nat King Cole insisted he be allowed the first to record. I think this one is from 1961, which means I was four years old at that time, so I probably heard it that year for the first time.
Here’s another song that I just really got a kick out of when I was a very young child. It aired for the first time in 1964 on the Christmas TV Special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” from Rankin-Bass. Voiced by Burl Ives as the Snowman, to me it’s a classic tune and conveys a wonderful idea.
This is the most recently written and produced song on my list of favorites, so I’ll close it out with this one. From George Michaels (and Wham!), it’s “Last Christmas”. One of the few Christmas songs written after the 1960s that I really like.
I could have gone on with a vast list of great Christmas songs, but I’ll end it here. To me, these are pretty much my favorite songs of the season. So, I’ll leave it here. I’m sure I’ll discover more holiday songs as I get older, and songs not at the top of my list now will find their ways to the top. Or maybe friends and family will tell me about some compositions I’d never heard and I’ll find they become my new favorites. As I said, life (and tastes) are fleeting.
|My wife and I picking out our tree at a choose and cut tree farm in 2009, on an appropriately snow-covered day.|