From now until January 1, Christmas music goes into constant rotation in my world. Though I add to my Christmas music collection annually, finding new versions of Christmas standards to love, there are a few that I love more than others, as you will see in the post below, originally posted in 2008 on the blog formerly known as Ms. Woodenshoes.
Now that Thanksgiving is over, the Christmas season has officially begun. And for me that means bringing out the Christmas music. I love Christmas music and have no respect of genre, so in my collection you’ll find traditional, gospel, pop, r&b, jazz, world, soundtrack (Heat Miser anyone?), and children’s (gotta teach my children an appreciation for seasonal music, don’t I?). In keeping with the Christmas song theme, I thought I’d share with you my 12 songs of Christmas.
1. Nat King Cole “The Christmas Song” – This song officially kicks off Christmas music season in my house. It was predestined that I should feel this way. There is a picture of me at about 4 months old under the Christmas tree with the album propped up beside me. It has been my Christmas soundtrack my entire life.
2. Donny Hathaway “This Christmas” – It has been covered by a number of artists, but no one does it like Donny. Beautiful song, beautiful voice.
3. Whitney Houston “Do You Hear What I Hear?” – Let me preface this by saying, Whitney is not going to make a comeback. How do you come back from crack and Bobby Brown? But this was before Bobby and crack when her voice was so clear and beautiful, that I can picture the scenario she sings about.
4. Wham! “Last Christmas” – George Michael with frosted, feathered hair (but you couldn’t tell me he was gay) singing about unrequited love and the one who broke his heart the day after Christmas. 25 years later, it still gets heavy rotation. I heart Wham!
5. Perry Como “Home For The Holidays” – Although it doesn’t go as far back as Nat King Cole, this was a very popular song from my childhood Christmases. Very kitschy, but therein lies it charm.
6. Mariah Carey “Jesus Born On This Day” – Every Christmas season, with Mariah’s holiday ditty “All I Want For Christmas” in heavy rotation on video channels and radio stations alike, I get the urge to destroy that damn CD. Then I remember this little gem of a song. Mariah singing with uncharacteristic restraint and joined by a children’s choir, lets her voice tell the story of the birth of Christ.
7. O’Jay’s “I Can Hardly Wait ‘Til Christmas” – Leave it to the O’Jay’s to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside with songs such as “Love Train”, “Family Reunion” and now, “I Can Hardly Wait ‘Til Christmas”.
8. Trijntje (pronounced train-cha) Oosterhuis ft Candy Dulfur “Merry Christmas, Baby” – This version of the Christmas classic gets quite a bit of play around here. Singer Trijntje is hugely popular here in The Netherlands, and rightly so. A few years ago she did a live album of Stevie Wonder tunes and I’ve been a fan ever since. That album is not available in the US, but check it out on YouTube.
9. Anita Baker “Frosty’s Rag (Frosty The Snowman)” – With the help of a sexy horn and a sassy piano, Anita jazzes up the children’s favorite and makes it a favorite of this adult.
10. Ray Parker, Jr. “Christmas Time Is Here” – I was a big Ray Parker, Jr. fan when I was a kid and the one Christmas song he ever recorded has always been a favorite. I love the sentiment to “remind the kids whose birthday this really is. Let’s not forget why Christmas time is here.” It’s a message we would all do well to remember.
11. McClurkin Project ” Hallelujah Chorus” – This is not my grandmother’s Methodist Church choir’s Hallelujah Chorus. While upbeat, the message isn’t overtaken by the bass. Brother Donnie has a rendition of “Agnus Dei” that is worth listening to as well.
12. Ella Fitzgerald “Sleigh Ride” – A true holiday classic sung beautifully. No gimmicks. Nothing extra. But when you’ve got a voice like Ella’s, you don’t need any gimmicks.
Honorable mention: Ledisi “It’s Christmas”. She only gets an honorable mention because the album was just released this year and I figure to be a classic, you need to be out there for a while. That said, the album is fabulous (I can’t even choose a favorite. I love them all.) I just downloaded and it’s been on repeat since. It’s jazz, it’s soul, it’s blues, it’s gospel all wrapped up in Christmas songs. She does a spine-tingling version of “What A Wonderful World” that will be on my playlist all year. Definitely worth purchasing.
Do you enjoy Christmas music? What are some of your favorites?