Andy Williams: The Godfather of Christmas Music
Now that it's finally December we can get to some Christmas lists. (that is... lists of Christmas good things, not lists of things you want for Christmas, though - those can be good too. I guess we could do that later on this month - right now we're doing Christmas music... but I digress)
Today's list is good Christmas music. I grew up on Gene Autry, Bing Crosby, Mel Torme, Nat King Cole - also Brenda Lee, The Drifters, Burl Ives and of course James Brown. In my mind, no one holds a Christmas candle to Andy Williams; the Godfather of Christmas music. The man had a golden voice and his Christmas specials on TV were something I looked forward to. However, there is plenty of really bad Christmas music out there as well, so before we each give our list of good tunes, here's a short list of the worst Christmas music ever recorded.
Worst Christmas Music on Record
2) Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk this Christmas) - I like country music, but this song is everything that has ever been wrong with the genre all wrapped up in a shiny red bow and doused with Jack Daniels and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Anyone got a match?
3) Santa Baby - that's right, sexual overtones for Santa Claus. The Madonna version has got to be the worst version.
1) The Christmas Shoes - undeniably the worst Christmas song ever (possibly worst song ever) and a horrible movie. Yes, they made a movie out of it. This is a prime example of maudlin, manipulative, and moronic.
Now on to the good stuff.
Sleigh bells Sue
2. Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi, released in 1964, and made popular by the classic TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Not really a Christmas song per se, but it has a nice beat and you can dance to it just like the Peanuts gang!
3. Winter Wonderland, circa 1934, music by Felix Bernard, lyrics by Richard B. Smith. This Christmas time pop standard has been recorded by 150 different artists including THE Andy Williams. It's a catchy tune, and it conjures up warm wintry memories.
1. O Holy Night composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847, originally a French poem (Midnight, Christians) by Placide Cappeau - who was asked by a Parish priest to compose a Christmas poem. I think it's a beautiful song, and illustrates the reason for the season! I like the versions by Jewel, and my dear friend, Josh Groban.
Bah Humbug Brian (I actually love Christmas, but you try to find something alliterative)
2) The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting...) by Mel Torme - he wrote it and I like his recording best.
3) White Christmas by Irving Berlin - first performed in 1941 by Bing Crosby and subsequently included in the movie "Holiday Inn" where it won the Oscar for best original song in 1942, and the movie "White Christmas" in 1954.
1) It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - written in 1963 by Edward Pola and George Wyle and sung by the Godfather of Christmas Music, Andy Williams.
So, break out the Christmas music, fire up the turntable, or the CD player, iTunes, Pandora - what-have-you, but do it. Christmas music is a great way to get the good stuff into your heart.
Baby, It's Cold Outside by Frank Loesser - This one also won an Academy Award for best original song in 1949 in the movie "Neptune's Daughter". Try to imagine two versions - one performed by Ricardo Montalbán and Esther Williams and the other by Red Skelton and Betty Garrett. The one I like best is by Diane Reeves & Lou Rawls, though the Dean Martin recording is pretty good.