Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Time Is Here Again

Christmas Music: Part 1

Well, I realize it's still November, but if you love the sounds of the Christmas season, you should enjoy the next several weeks here at The '60s Beat. I'll try to keep the descriptions more brief, but we all know how rare that is on this blog...

To kick off the Christmas spirit, how about a cheery tune from that favorite vocal surf pop group, The Beach Boys! Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, "Little Saint Nick" went to #3 on the Billboard Christmas charts after its release in December of 1963. It borrows its rhythm and structure from the group's "Little Deuce Coupe," a hit a few months prior. Although that year saw a media-hushed Christmas as the country mourned the recent death of JFK, the single did go into the Top Tens for record sales in dozens of cities, and eventually became an unofficial million-seller. This footage is definitely from later in the '60s when Love started sporting a beard.

And here are some of our favorite Brits with a Christmas greeting, wishing Beatle fans a "Happy Crimble!" 'Crimble' was a slang word for Christmas coined by The Beatles in 1964 (more likely John Lennon, who enjoyed wordplay), and has come into general use among Liverpudlians. The greeting is followed by an excerpt of "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)," a song written by all four Beatles for their 1967 fan club Christmas record. These Christmas records included spoken and musical messages on a flexi disc and were issued each year between 1963 through 1969 for official Beatle fan-club members in the UK and US.

This next seasonal tune comes from an album that's a 1960s Christmas essential: The Four Seasons' Christmas album from 1962. Done in the style of "Big Girls Don't Cry," a #1 hit from that same year, this falsetto version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" is a holiday classic. Although there isn't any live footage with the audio, here's a photo montage of many Santa Clauses to accompany this Christmas standard written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie back in 1934!
And for this post's finale, you get two more Christmas videos, brought to you by the zany and lovable Monkees. This first holiday clip comes from their 1967 Christmas episode where the foursome try to instill the spirit of Christmas in a cynical little boy (played by Butch Patrick a.k.a. "Eddie Munster"!).

Finally, this last clip (also from the Christmas episode) is a impressive performance by The Monkees as they sing an a-cappella rendition of the 16th Century Spanish carol, "Riu Riu Chiu." Sung in Olde Spanish, the lyrics refer to the nativity of Jesus and the virgin birth.
Although this post is kind of concluding on a melancholy note, I think you'll enjoy this Christmas beauty. (And in case you were wondering, they're holding incense; this was a family show, so these guys wouldn't be caught dead smoking!). Peace, Love, and Happy Christmas!

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