Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The greatest Christmas songs ever

That's right, I said that and I'll say it again because I'm controversial. I'm like Geraldo.

Here they are, the GREATEST Christmas songs ever:

10) Styx- All I want

  • Most artists either cover an existing song from the 50s or 60s when most of the really good Christmas music was written or they do an overwrought, contrived and unimaginative "original" song about how "it's Christmastime and the snow is falling down..." Falling down?!!???! As opposed to...? This one is a great original by a great band. My only complaint is that it uses sleigh bells. They are used very well mind you, but sleigh bells do not necessarily a Christmas song make and in the same way, merely declaring that it's Christmastime in the first line or two does not make it a Christmas song. In light of the fact that it is an otherwise solid, well-crafted, arranged and performed song, I'll slide it in at number 10.
9) Randy Travis- Jingle Bell Rock

  • It's been covered several times but the song just lends itself to a country treatment and there's none better than the deep and smooth voice of Randy Travis.
8) Peter, Paul and Mary- Children, Go where I send thee

  • A great song in the "Twelve days of Christmas" vein where you add an item with each verse and work your way down. You kinda should know your Christianity to get some of the references but if not, you have a reason to do some searching on who Paul and Silas are (in addition to other things) and why they are sung about together. I have a live performance of it and it is incredibly flawed compared to the quantized and overproduced music of today but that's what gives it some life. The song really does live and breathe.
7) The Osmonds- Kay Thompson's Jingle Bells

  • It's just full of the joy of the season.
6) Jon Bon Jovi- Please come home for Christmas

  • When Bon Jovi was on hiatus and Jon was doing some acting and other things in the 90s, he recorded this song and knocked it out of the park. It's a great vocal performance that only takes 1/2 of the song but he sang what he needed to sing and got himself out. This version clocks in at only 2:53 the rest of it is filled with a respectable guitar solo but it could have just ended early and been fine.

5 1/2) Amy Grant-Breath of Heaven

  • What a powerful song. There is nothing you could do to change it. The reverent and religious message itself causes the chord progression to be what it is. The dramatic pauses are brilliant and it's kindof in a class by itself. It IS a Christmas song but not in the cutesy or secular-ish vein but it couldn't not be on this list... and no, I don't need no English lessons. Amy Grant nailed this one.
5) Dennis DeYoung- When I hear a Christmas song

  • I already mentioned that all of the good Christmas music was already written and we just have the new artists rehashing what has already been done and done and done- this is really a new classic. Although it leans on the sleigh bells again, it's an otherwise perfect Christmas love song.

4) The Chipmunks- Christmas don't be late

  • It's a well-crafted song that used cutting edge technology for the time, but still sounds superior to the electronically treated voices used in the recent chipmunks movies and musically it still holds up pretty well. Alvin... uh Alvin... ALVIN!
3) Amy Grant- The Christmas Song (Chestnuts)

  • This is another one that has been covered by several artists over the years. Ms. Grant's version just captures the message of the song. It's romantic, it's spiritual and fun. It's a great slow dance.
2) The Carpenters- Merry Christmas Darling

  • Karen Carpenter was before my time but her voice is just perfect. It melts me and it should melt you too.

1) Andy Williams- The most wonderful time

  • It's ain't Christmas until ANDY says it's Christmas and he says it so well with this song.

1 comment:

Lauri said...

These are a lot of the songs you put on the Christmas CD you made me a few years of my favorite holiday CD's.