In a time before digital music there were very entertaining articles written about desert island discs. The premise being that if you were shipwrecked on an island far from civilisation what record would you choose to stop you from turning a basketball into a friend (Wilson). Nowadays all you’d need is a tiny mp3 player to keep you musically entertained for years, or at least until the next steamship floated by. For the purposes of today’s discussion, however, let’s just say you had to choose a collection of Christmas songs for your lonely desert island experience (Christmas Island perhaps!). Probably not too much of a jump to say that the following playlist would perform the job with distinction, stuffed full as it is with old time favourites that have that cherubic sense of Christmas joy. Taken from an age before most of us were born these old Christmas songs are lovingly etched in our festive experience.
It stands to reason that classic Christmas artists such as Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Perry Como would produce classic Christmas songs and every entry on this playlist has become a fixture on radio and TV around the world each December. While every one of these songs deserves a mention there are several that define the Christmas experience. Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’, as sung by Bing Crosby, remains the biggest selling song of all time and since its initial release in 1942 it has sold in excess of 50 million copies. ‘White Christmas’ was initially embraced by troops in combat all around the world during the 2nd World War and since then every generation has taken it to their hearts. ‘White Christmas’ is the archetypal classic Christmas song as Bing reminisces about Christmas traditions and the spirit of the season, the way it used to be.
Nat King Cole’s ‘The Christmas Song’ is another classic Christmas song that is essential to the fabric of our annual Christmas experience. Such was Nat’s love affair with this Mel Torme and Bob Wells song that he recorded it on 4 different occasions and though there have been many renditions by other artists since then it is his take from the early 1950’s that we hold dear. As he sings about chestnuts roasting on an open fire it is hard not to bask in the glow of that imagery. And even though we are in the midst of a technological revolution we do not need anything more than an open fire and the company of family of friends at Christmas time.
Any classic Christmas song list would seem incomplete without Andy Williams given the breath of his Christmas catalogue (he released 7 holiday albums in all) and our choice for this collection is his altogether uptempo ‘Sleigh Ride’ which appeared on 1965’s ‘Merry Christmas’. This recording is one of the more contemporary releases on our playlist as the majority that you are listening to come from the 1940’s and 1950’s. And though Bobby Helms 1957 ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ sounds of its time it also the sound of Christmastime when we welcome classics like little Brenda Lee’s ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’ into our homes with open arms. These classic Christmas songs return to us each year like old friends and in their company how could we have anything other than a merry little Christmas? Even if it is on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere!
Published by SpiritOfXmas | g+ profile