Skip to comments.A Gift of Christmas Musics for My Friends at The Free Republic
Posted on 12/19/2011 4:20:41 PM PST by SamAdams76
During the Christmas season, we are besieged with lists of Christmas musics. Usually top ten best Christmas songs of all time or maybe the most despised Christmas songs of all time (and those lists are usually longer than lists of favorite songs).
This article will not be about any of that. With this posting, I hope to introduce you to some Christmas musics you might not be familiar with. Christmas musics that do not repeat over and over again on the radio stations or besiege you at the shopping malls. No, there will be no "Rocking Around The Christmas Tree", "Silver Bells" or "Simply, Having, A Wonderful Christmas Time" around here!
I have been collecting Christmas musics for most of my adult life. Each year, I add at least 200 songs (around 20 albums worth) to my collection. As a result, I have a vast collection of Christmas musics. As a result, I have over 7,000 songs in my collection that are labeled as "Christmas" and of that, exactly 1,452 of those songs have made it to a playlist that I have labeled "Christmas Best". These are original Christmas songs, or alternative versions of traditional Christmas songs, that I never get tired of hearing.
My task in this posting is to expose those of you so inclined, to some of these Christmas musics in my collection. I will try to stick to music that is available to purchase online (iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, etc) because I know how frustrating it is to hear a song you like but have no way to purchase it. Also, I will provide a YouTube link to each of the songs so that you will get to listen to it in its entirety before deciding whether or not you wish to add it to your own Christmas collection.
So, bookmark this thread as there will be no way for you to fully experience all the music I am going to present in just one sitting. Hopefully between now and Christmas, you will be able to come back to this thread a few times when you have a break in your hectic routine. Ideally, you will be sitting by the fire or at least by a blinking Christmas tree with your beverage of choice by our side - maybe an eggnog, a hot chocolate or a tumbler of your favorite adult beverage. So as they say on that Rudolph TV special: Pull up an ice block and lend an ear.
I will attempt to cover a broad range of musics in various genres here, in no particular order, so that you can all be exposed to some truly great Christmas musics that you will definitely not be hearing on the radio. As a result, you will be hearing mostly secular Christmas musics here as I feel the most of us are already familiar with the traditional non-secular classics. I will try to include a few interpretations of old classics that I feel take them in a new direction. I will also include some songs that might not seem to have anything to do with Christmas at all but they will, however, have the "feel" of the Christmas season. Again, this thread is all about exposing you to new music and it will lean more towards the "alternative" genre. This is typically not music you will hear on the all-Christmas radio station or the shopping malls.
I will also attempt to add, time permitting, additional songs to this thread as we get closer to Christmas Day. So without further ado and in no particular order, here are a few of my favorite Christmas songs. Merry Christmas!
Camera Obscura | The Blizzard | YouTube Link
For those who remember the 1964 original version by Jim Reeves, here is an updated version by the Scottish indie band Camera Obscura. If you like this, check out some of their other works as they are quite good.
Blackmore's Night | Christmas Eve | YouTube Link
Blackmore's Night is a folk-rock band, with Renaissance influences, fronted by Richie Blackmore (of Rainbow fame) with vocals by his girlfriend Candace Night. On this original, Candace sounds angelic and this is a perfect song to put you in the mood for Christmas.
Fountains Of Wayne | Valley Winter Song | YouTube Link
Fountains Of Wayne is a power-pop band from NYC that is worth checking out if you aren't familiar with them. They have a lot of catchy songs with witty lyrics. This is not exactly a Christmas song but definitely has that Christmas feel and evokes a lot of memories I have of Christmases in New England during my younger years.
Love Spirals Downwards | Welcome Christmas | YouTube Link
This is a haunting, eerie version of the classic song from the "Grinch That Stole Christmas."
Loreena McKennit | God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen | YouTube Link
My favorite all-time version of this classic Christmas Carol. Loreena McKennit is a Canadian musician who specializes in Celtic music. I like her a lot better than Enya. Loreena has a lot of fantastic Christmas music out there and I may post more from her later, but this version of "God Rest Ye Merry" is positively hypnotizing.
Michael Holm | When A Child Is Born | YouTube Link
This is a German recording so a little hard to track down. There are many versions of this song out there that are quite good but I'm partial to this one.
Chris DeBurgh | A Spaceman Came Travelling | YouTube Link
This is one of the songs I play over the car stereo when my wife and I go out looking at Christmas lights as it sets the perfect atmosphere. A Christmas song by the man who is better known for "Lady in Red" and "Don't Pay The Ferryman", this is probably his best song of all. It was actually a #1 hit in Ireland.
Saint Etienne | Through The Winter | YouTube Link
This is another one of those songs that puts me in the Christmas mood. Not technically a Christmas song but definitely sounds like one
Jenny Owen Youngs | Things We Don't Need Any More | YouTube Link
Jenny is a songwriter from New Jersey. Don't know much about her but this song grabbed my attention a couple years ago and has become one of my favorite new Christmas songs.
Dean & Britta with Sonic Boom | He's Coming Home | YouTube Link
This recording is hard to find on the Internet but well worth the search. I taped it off a Christmas Eve radio program a few years ago.
Low | Just Like Christmas | YouTube Link
Low is an indie band from Minnesota and they can be depressing to listen to but this song is an exception and not typical at all of what they normally put out. How can you not like a song that starts out "On our way from Stockholm, it started to snow " That's Stockholm, Minnesota - not Stockholm, Sweden. And yes, there is an Oslo in Minnesota as well.
Human Drama | I Believe In Father Christmas | YouTube Link
Many of you might be familiar with the Greg Lake original - a great song for Christmas in it's own right. However, I think Human Drama's version is even better and it grows on you with repeated listens. That sudden change in key towards the end never fails to grab me.
Jars Of Clay | I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day | YouTube Link
If you like this song, make sure you check out the rest of the Christmas album by Jars of Clay ("Christmas Songs")
Frightened Rabbit | It's Christmas So We'll Stop | YouTube Link
Another Scottish indie band that I discovered a few years ago. This is one of my favorite new Christmas songs. Everytime I hear it, I can't get it out of my head for a while - and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Jack's Mannequin | The Lights and Buzz | YouTube Link
One of my favorite recent Christmas Songs and it's sad it doesn't get more airplay at Christmastime (along with the other songs mentioned here). This song reminds me of the Christmases I spent in California and how strange it was to be celebrating Christmas in short sleeves with palm trees all around me. As a side note, the guy who wrote this song had leukemia and had brain stem surgery. He made a full recovery and this is one of the first songs he wrote afterwards. A very uplifting song.
Jimmy Eat World | Last Christmas | YouTube Link
OK, I know everybody is sick to death of that George Michael song. However, here is that same song, only cool version-wise. So you can listen to this and at least get George Michael's vocals out of your head.
Erasure | She Won't Be Home (For Christmas) | YouTube Link
This song always brings me back to the early 1980s - I used to listen to this on vinyl when I was still in my 20s. Probably the best song Erasure ever did.
Belle and Sebastian | O Come, O Come, Emmanuel | YouTube Link
I have many versions of this ancient song but this one is definitely the most modern and one of my favorites.
U2 & Pavarotti | Miss Sarajevo | YouTube Link
I hesitated including this but decided that I had to because this has become such a Christmastime classic for me. It's not really a Christmas song (though there is a reference to Christmas trees in the lyrics) however it has that Christmasy feel to it. If you are not a fan of U2, give it a listen anyhow and wait for Pavarotti's voice to kick in - I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Harvey Danger | Sometimes You Have To Work On Christmas | YouTube Link
This song is for all those who have had to work on Christmas Day. I remember working at the Cloud 9 restaurant at Logan Airport on Christmas Day in 1979 and this song reminds me of all the soggy, grim patrons I had to wait on while sneaking a bit of "holiday cheer" from the bar when I could. I love the way this song picks up tempo towards the end.
Sting | Soul Cake | YouTube Link
My favorite Sting Christmas song is "Gabriel's Message" but I figure most of you are familiar with that one. This song appeared on a recent Sting album that is a little challenging, but this particular song is pretty accessible. Back in the 18th century, Christmas was more of a carnival/feast than a religious holiday and peasants would dress outrageously and go to their master's home on Christmas - sort of like trick or treating - and get served the best wines and cakes. This song captures the spirit of those days.
Orla Fallo | Winter, Fire, and Snow | YouTube Link
There is a version of this song I like better (Ardyth & Jennifer) but couldn't find a YouTube video to link to. This is also a very nice version by Oria Fallon, an Irish singer who was one of the "Celtic Women". I think she is much better as a solo artist.
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan | Time Of The Season | YouTube Link
One of the new Christmas songs I just discovered this year and thought I'd include it here. Has a "She & Him" feel to it which leads to the next one..
She & Him | The Christmas Waltz | YouTube Link
Probably the best new Christmas album of 2011 is "A Very She & Him Christmas". This is one of the tracks from that album and I could have picked any other one of them. "She & Him" has put out some great music the past few years - they have sort of an alt-country retro feel to their music.
Ani DiFranco | Amazing Grace | YouTube Link
An eclectic version of this well known Christian song. Probably not technically a Christmas song but as far as I'm concerned, this version is one.
Angel | The Chistmas Song | YouTube Link
This song dates back to the 1970s and is recorded by a heavy metal band called Angel. There is nothing heavy metal about this Christmas classic however!
Superimposers | Chasing Christmas | YouTube Link
Give this a listen, very unique and captures the spirit of Christmas in my home. Does everybody have some cider? Merry Christmas all you shining stars Merry Christmas World.
God bless you SA76, and a very Merry Christmas and the blessings of the season to you and yours!
Anyone that lists BOTH Blackmore’s Night and Lady McKennitt in the same breath is cool in my book. Good show, sir, good show.
BM and Thanks Sam, Merry Christmas!
I can’t get over Loreena McKennit. Hypnotizing is an understatement.
The Killers make a Christmas video for their fans every year. You might want to check ‘em out on You Tube. “Don’t Shoot Me Santa Claus” is a particular hoot, while “Boots” is very touching.
Agree with you on She and Him. Love ‘em.
Oh! And a very Merry Christmas to you!
Bookmark! Thanks for the tunes!
o goodie! Musics!
Lady McKennit - indeed! Order of Canada, I didn’t know that before, so thank you for new learning about one of my favorite artists.
Merry Christmas, all!
Nice grouping. Thanks!—And Merry Christmas!
Thank you for the links. I will be sharing them with friends and family. Merry Christmas to you and yours:)
Thanks Sam, I’ll bookmark and then dive right in! Merry Christmas u’all.
bookmark for later...thanks!
Someone should post the YouTube links to the Blackmore’s Night versions of ‘Emmanuel’ and ‘We Three Kings’...BOTH are outstanding! Never get tired of hearing them...
Great stuff, but how ‘bout Pink Martini, Kate Rusby, and the Roches, all of whom have done some great recent Christmas songs?
BM and Merry Christmas!
Thanks and yes, I downloaded “Boots” by The Killers this year and it’s already starting to grow on me. I might add it to future postings along with “A Great Big Sled” which is another of my favorite Christmas offerings from The Killers.
Glad you liked ‘em, Sam. I think it’s great that some bands still keep up the tradition of making Christmas music. Killers’ new one is “The Cowboy’s Christmas Ball” — great song, cute video — particularly for us Nevadans.
Oh, man, does that song bring back memories.
I think I’ll save John Valby for when it’s time to give my mother-in-law a not-so-subtle hint that it’s time to go home!
What a remarkable gift of love! Thanks, SA76
Am off to bookmark! Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Thanks for the list.
Here is an album I enjoy each Christmas: Noels Celtiques: Celtic Christmas Music From Brittany
Sample here: L’Ensemble Choral du bout du Monde - Joyful Mysteries
Merry Christmas ping!
Here's something different - My favorite Brasilian Christmas song:
The christ child came to show us
What is love,bless us
To practice peace
And each time more the bread partitioned (share our bread with those in need.)
I agree with you on both songs. If somebody doesn’t beat me to it, I’ll add them to this thread over the next few days.
Sorry to spam, but wow, I just listened to Blackmores Night for the first time. I’m really charged to go through the whole list!
Loreena McKennit - GOD REST YE MERRY GENTLEMEN
I like the way you think. LOL
When the Bob Dylan album came out a couple years ago, I thought it was a cruel joke - like the “Self Portrait” album. But like “Self Portrait”, the album seems to be growing on me over time.
Thanks for adding yours to the list. It’s glorious.
Thank you and bookmarking
Interesting trivia about the song, Fogelberg actually did run into an old girlfriend at a grocery store on Christmas Eve back in 1976. And as the bars were closed, they really did buy a six-pack and drink it in her car! After Fogelberg died of prostate cancer in 2007, the old girlfriend came forward and confirmed that she was the one in the song.
So the lyrics Fogelberg wrote were based on an actual experience which makes the song even cooler in my book.
Not spam at all! Glad I am turning people onto some great music. Blackmore’s Night deserves a much larger fan base and I’m glad to do my part.
Can I add the "Zippers"?
In the heavy metal vein, here is a version of Winter Wonderland that ends up as a cover of Misty Mountain Hop by Led Zeppelin. Pretty cool.
Fleming & John | Winter Wonderland | YouTube Link
Oops...that would be a ‘half-sister’...same dad, different mom.
Thanks for passing that link along. Celtic music is one of my favorite genres. If you are a Celtic music fan and have Sirius/XM radio, check out Larry Kirwan’s “Celtic Crush” show on the Spectrum channel. It comes on Saturday mornings between 7-10am. They are doing a Christmas theme show this coming Saturday.
Thanks for sharing that Christmas song from Brazil. I will go over and check it out.