Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Have a Cup of Cheer Already

Joyeux Noël. Posting will return again after the long Boxing Day weekend ahead.

Too bad that early December is so overloaded with Christmas, especially Christmas music. I'd rather have the songs of the season crescendo a week before and then decrescendo in the week after Christmas. But no. That doesn't meet the needs of commerce.

The American Society of Composers and Publishers has published its annual list of the 25 holiday songs with the most airplay on American radio, which provides the context for this article.

Burl Ives' version of "Holly Jolly Christmas" (#17) does indeed play fairly often around this time of year, and though overplayed it still has that jolly sound. But I can't help thinking of Big Daddy when I hear it. That's what we need, a Christmas play by Tennessee Williams: "St. Nick on an Icy Tin Roof." In it, Santa would be the dying patriarch of a dysfunctional North Pole clan.

It wouldn't be Christmas without hearing "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" once (and only once), but until today the sporadic attention I've paid to the radio hasn't satisfied that small Christmas wish. Then I realized, as I often do, that my way of going about things is hopelessly outdated. All anyone has to do is look on YouTube, and sure enough, there it is, along with unnecessary videos of various kinds.

But maybe the most intriguing Christmas songs are the one that were never recorded. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" by Wendy O. Williams, say, or a hip-hop version of "We Three Kings of Orient Are" or the Art of Noise rendition of "Adeste Fideles." Then again, their non-existence might be just as well. There are plenty of Christmas songs the world could do without, and the top of my list lately has been the maudlin "The Christmas Shoes," which I never heard until this year, though it's been kicking around a while.


At 9:37 AM, Blogger Nylonthread said...

Dees, I just posted about a "Christmas" song I sang at a party as a child. Funny, though, I couldn't find it on the Internet anywhere...not even YouTube.

At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dees - Since you are from TX, you should listen to (at least once per season) "Merry Christmas from the Family" by Robert Earl Keen. I forgot to listen to it this year until today.
Best Wishes


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