Category Archives: Christmas

11 (New) Christmas Classics Part 2

Chris Rea – Driving Home for Christmas

For a song that was once relegated as a B-side to a 45 in 1986, Driving Home for Christmas was released as an A Side in1988, it has since become a new Christmas classic. Chris Rea originally wrote the song for Van Morrison – as a car version of a carol as he describes it.   Driving seems to be the UK version of Mariah Carey’s All I want for Christmas is You, as Driving Home for Christmas,https://youtu.be/DDt3u2Ev1cI, charts annually in the UK and in 2017 achieved it highest chart position of #14.  The song is ranked in the top 10 of Christmas songs.

Jon Anderson – 3 Ships

Yes frontman released his solo fourth Lp, a Christmas album in 1985.  Though not a critical or commercial success, 3 Shipsis a favourite of mine and it’s played every year. Watch the original video, and try not to cringe at technique in the making of the video, it was 1985 afterall, https://youtu.be/ZSU2TweA6CQ

Sting – Soul Cake

From the album “Winter Song”, Soul Cake is in reality an All Hallows Eve song about souls. The term soul cake goes back to 1893.  There is even a recipe for a soul cake.  I think the lyrics of the song lend itself to a Christmas the tune itself fits nicely into my Christmas mixes. https://youtu.be/qAeTifNBYlo

If you haven’t got a penny
A ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny 
Then God bless you

The Eagles – Please come Home for Christmas

The Eagles recorded this 1960 hit in 1978. Written and recorded and by Charles Brown, the song charted annually eventually hitting #1 in 1972.  The Eagles version topped out at 18 in ’78.  Please come Home for Christmas, https://youtu.be/5LUfDEATQHMhas been a hit 8 other times in the last 25 years, but the Eagles have the definitive version in the modern rock era.

Paul Simon – Getting ready for Christmas Day

Getting Ready for Christmas Dayhttps://youtu.be/bwy6hJULgm0was Paul Simon’s effort to secure the UK Christmas Number One in 2010 (he did not succeed).  But Simon did leave us with a new Christmas song born out of the rhythm of his Graceland Lp and the lyrics that reflect realities of the new millennium. 

Paul McCartney – Wonderful Christmastime

John Lennon and Yoko On wrote Happy Xmas (war is over) in 1972, no one knows if Paul McCartney was just waiting for the right time to write his own Christmas song.  In 1979 McCartney wrote and single handily recorded Wonderful Christmastime, it hit #6 on the UK Charts and #83 in the US. Since ’79, the song has been recorded 25 times; my favourite versions are from the Barenaked Ladies, The Shins and Jimmy Fallon and the Roots (with McCartney) BUT nothing tops the original, https://youtu.be/V9BZDpni56Y 

Everyone has their favourites, these ten, I mean eleven (I could not help myself) are some of mine, I hope you enjoy them and add them to your annual Christmas playlist. I can’t wait for more new Christmas classics in the years to come.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker@rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

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10 (New) Christmas Classics Part 1

Christmas time is back and all the great music is back with it!  Here (in two parts) I present 10 songs that should be called Christmas Classics.

Run with the Fox – Chris Squire and Alan White

Born out of the failed launch of a new band XYZ with Jimmy Page, the Yes bassist and drummer, Run with the Fox was written and recorded in 1981and released under Chris Squire/ Alan White partnership. The Boys Choir and musical arrangements including the classic Yes bass guitar sound, just ooze Christmas.  I feel lucky that I have a promo copy of the 45 from 1981 scooped up (with permission) from a radio station I was interning in that year.  Take a listen https://youtu.be/TZqRDCif7Ig

Christmas Must Be Tonight – The Band

Jimmy Nelson in Something Else called Christmas Must Be Tonight an unjustly overlooked Christmas classic, here’s the link ofthe review http://somethingelsereviews.com/2016/12/25/the-band-christmas-must-be-tonight-robbie-robertson/.  Nelson gives more history into the tune, so I’ll let his review tell the story of the sone.

Since reading Robbie Robertson’s Testimony a couple years back and diving head first into to The Band, it’s become of one my Yule faves.   The song was recently covered by another Canadian band Blue Rodeo for their Christmas offering A Merrie Christmas to You

2000 Miles – The Pretenders

For a recently written Christmas song, 2000 Miles has been covered quite a few times.  Originally written for the Pretenders late guitarist James Honeyman-Scott in 1983, 2000 Miles charted at #14 in the UK that year.  In North America it was a B-Side to the single, Middle of the Road. This year I heard for the first time the 2003 Coldplay version, which is quite stunning.  The contract between the beautifully played guitar-focused Pretenders recording the piano based Coldplay version was great for my ear to behold. From 1995, here’s a performance video of the song with a nice string arrangement by Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders, https://youtu.be/OxCSo_cJ9mY

All I want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey

What else can you say about a song that makes a Top 100 return every year since its release, but to say it is a new Christmas classic.  The song topped out at number 9 in 1994, but has made an appearance on the Billboard chart almost annually since then.  Many artists have recorded the song and a duet of the song appeared on Justin Beiber’s Christmas alum in 2011. “All I want for Christmas is You is the 11th best selling song in music history.  Love itor not, this song is here to stay, https://youtu.be/yXQViqx6GMY.

Step into Christmas – Elton John

1973 saw Elton John score another number one hit with Step into Christmas.  It was the top Billboard Christmas song of the year.  Teamed up with the B-Side Ho Ho Ho (Who’d be a Turkey for Christmas) Elton finished a successful musical year with a real Yule winner.  In ’73 it reached spot 24 on the charts and in 2017 when it was re-released it almost hit the top 10, stalling at #11.  The song was written and recorded as a tribute the Phil Spector recordings of the 60’s.  in 2009, Step into Christmas as the ninth most played Christmas song in the UK and has received a  UK silver disc for sales. In the video https://youtu.be/QWMqfKjJoKc you see Bernie Taupin make a rare appearance with the band ‘playing’ the chimes and shaking bells.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker@rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net