Nat's Nineteen Beloved Christmas Songs
- A Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson - The band organization I was in from when I was 7 years old until I was 16 years old was made up of 4 levels - D (beginners), C, B, and finally A (the best musicians). Every year, all 4 bands put on a lavish Christmas concert in our local concert hall. We'd have sets and special guest and a huge audience. Near the end of the concert, the A band would play this song and I can remember thinking each and every time that I could hardly wait until I was in the A band so that I could play it, too. You know how sometimes you hope for something so hard for so long that when it finally happens it's a big disappointment? That totally didn't happen here. I was in the A band for 4 years and I relished each performance of this song. I know it so well I could hum to you the different instruments' parts. My favourite bits include the chime notes in Silent Night and those fantastic triplets in O Come All Ye Faithful.
- Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson - I also played this in band. It has to be the version with the whip-snapping sound, the jazzy section, and the trumpet-horse at the end. It was always amusing when someone new tried to do the horse sound. Sometimes in rehearsal they ended up sounding more like a wounded moose than an whinnying Clydesdale.
- Claire Fontaine by Hawksley Workman - This song is not overly Christmassy by it's on his Christmas album and is fun, nonetheless. What's not to like about a tribute to a paper-maker? Claire Fontaine you seem to bring the best out of me and the things that I write to sing.
- Happy Christmas (War Is Over) by John Lennon and Yoko Ono - You can't get cheesier than a couple of peaceniks and a children's choir but I love it.
- Go Tell It On The Mountain performed by Mahalia Jackson - She has such a powerful voice that she kicks my ass all over the place and makes me temporarily forget that I'm an atheist.
- Fairytale of New York by the Pogues - Any Christmas song that includes the words scumbag, maggot, drunk, and slut is tops with me. Him: I could have been someone. Her: Well so could anyone. Amen, my sistah.
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings performed by the Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan - I know it's not cool to like BNL but I do. They're goofy and fun and their voices sound so damn good together. Add a kicky beat and the beautiful voice of Sarah and you have harmonic perfection.
- Carol of the Bells performed by whomever - I know all the words to this and sing along vociferously. What? You don't believe me? You think this song doesn't have words? Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, "Throw cares away." Christmas is here bringing good cheer to young and old, meek and the bold... I could go on. I won't.
- 3 Generations by Hawksley Workman - The words remind me so much of my own family Christmases, which tend to revolved around the kitchen. Put away the turkey to make sandwiches tomorrow and put away the bones to make the soup for the winter - but not the wishbone, just put it on the counter and let it dry out this week in time to make a wish for New Year's Eve. And then there's that last verse that always makes me feel a little sad.
- O Holy Night performed by Mahalia Jackson - When I was about five years old, my mom had a record of Christmas songs. When you opened the album, the middle had a pop-up nativity scene and I loved to look at it while I listened to the album. The one song I HATED was O Holy Night because it was performed by a soprano whose goal seem to be to shatter all the windows in my house. As I grew up, I associated the singer with the song and avoided it at all costs. Then I heard this version and the resulting goosebumps proved to me that the Mahalia is amazing and the song is actually quite lovely.
- Baby, It's Cold Outside performed by Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews - This is an awesomely jazzy rendition that makes me want to dance around and sing loudly while twirling a feather boa.
- What Christmas Means To Me by Stevie Wonder - Who doesn't like Stevie?
- The Christmas Song performed by Nat King Cole - That voice makes me melt.
- All I Want for Christmas performed by Samantha Mumba - Her voice is a tad whiny but that beat makes me move. Also my friend likes to sing along, including the super high note, and she always laughs at my attempt to hit the note. Sue me - I'm an alto at heart.
- Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses - Even though I love Christmas, I acknowledge that it can be a bit trying at times. This song sums up all the frustrations of the season.
- Mary's Boy Child performed by Bony M - Oh. My. GAWD I love this song. So much fun to sing at the top of my lungs, especially the last section with all the different parts being sung at the same time.
- Winter Wonderland performed by Aretha Franklin - What a voice. Also, she makes one change to the lyrics that makes me giggle: Later on we'll conspire as we groove by the fire. Hee. Oh Aretha.
- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Ella Fitzgerald - What's Christmas without a little Ella? It's nothing, that's what it is.
- Hallelujah Chorus by Handel - When I was in band, we got together with an amazing choir and performed this in front of a gigantic audience. I'm pretty sure the shivers I experience during that performance stayed with me for weeks after. And he shall reign for ever and ever - King of kings, Lord of lords.
I got a little too loud with the singing on that last one and woke up Lucy. Here's the look she gave me:
So what are you listening to? Drop me a comment with the Christmas songs you love to love (or hate to love). If I had more readers and it wasn't illegal, I would hold a contest where the winning poster received a disc of all the above music. Ahem. [wink, wink]