|courtesy of: www.undergroundopera.com.au|
Growing up with two brothers and one sister, Christmas was always a fun time of year. We’d go to the mall and see Santa Claus, drive to the tree farm and cut down our tree (usually in the snow), bring it home and decorate it with the paper chains we had made. Mom would set out the Nativity, and Christmas music would play on the stereo. We sang along with Gene Autry and Mitch Miller, hemmed and hawed and turned our noses at Grandpa’s collection of hymns sung in German by the German choir. I have no clue where those records are today, but one thing I know for sure is when I listen to Christmas music, I’m easily transported back to the days of old, to the timeless music I loved as a child.
Silent Night is my overall favorite. The lyrics to the hymn were penned by Joseph Mohr in 1816. Joseph was a young priest in Mariapfarr, Austria when he drafted the poem, ‘Stille, Nacht! Heilige Nacht!’ On December 24, 1818, Joseph visited Franz Gruber, his musician-schoolteacher friend who lived in Arnsdorf, and asked him to create music for his poem so that it could be sung at midnight mass. Joseph’s reason for asking Franz to put music to the words is unknown and often speculated, but that night ‘Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!’ was heard for the first time, with Joseph strumming the notes on his guitar.
|courtesy of: bingfan03.blogspot.com|
White Christmas is my second favorite Christmas song. Written by Irving Berlin, many believe White Christmas was written for and first sung in the movie by the same name, which starred Bing Crosby, but that is untrue. White Christmas was first sung by Bing Crosby on his NBC show, the Kraft Music Hall, on December 25, 1941. In 1940, Irving Berlin had been hired to write a song for each holiday, to include a Christmas song for the movie, Holiday Inn. Being Jewish, he found it difficult to write Christmas music and used his own New York and Los Angeles experiences concerning the holiday to write the song. When finished, Berlin believed the song wasn’t that good. Crosby felt differently and sang it on his show. Since there were no recordings to be found after the war of Crosby’s initial singing, Crosby recorded the song for Decca in May of 1942. White Christmas made its movie debut in Holiday Inn’s August 1942 release. The film, White Christmas, was released in 1954.
|courtesy of: 929thelake.com|
All I Want for Christmas Is You by Vince Vance and the Valiants comes in at number three. I first heard this song back in the 90’s and instantly liked it. It took a few years, but I finally found the album and enjoy most of the songs on there. Vince Vance (aka Andy Stone)is the leader of the group. Andy and Troy Powers wrote the tune and Lisa Layne provided the lead vocals. Layne was hired by Vance as a Valiantette when Vance happened upon her performing with her own band. Though the song was recorded and released in 1989, it didn’t do very well on the charts. Eventually, the tune crossed over to the country music genre and gained in popularity. No doubt, country music is where I initially heard it. A few country artists have recorded their own versions, but I like Layne’s the best. Her vocals lend much more power and emotion to the song than anyone else’s.