Sunday, December 11, 2011

For The Kiddies

Christmas Music: Part 3
Today's post features music from animated/stop-motion clips that are still Christmas classics decades later. First, it's "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)," written and sung by Ross Bagdasarian Sr. (a.k.a. David Seville), and credited to the fictitious Chipmunks (thanks to his V-M tape recorder). First released in 1958, it reached #1 on the Billboard chart, and re-entered the chart several more times through 1962 (in 1963, Billboard starting listing re-current Christmas songs on a separate chart). Bagdasarian earned three Grammy Awards for this song including Best Comedy Performance, Best Children's Recording, and Best Engineered Record. (Original video removed from YouTube).
A follow-up to their "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron", The Royal Guardsmen released another novelty song later that same year in 1967, this time "Snoopy's Christmas." Once again featuring the beloved beagle from the Peanuts comic strip, this song is about how Snoopy and the Red Baron set aside their differences on Christmas Eve, echoing the historical event of the "Christmas Truce" during WWI. Peaking at #10 on Cashbox 's list, this holiday favorite actually hit #1 in New Zealand, remaining a popular Christmas song in that country..

Speaking of the Peanuts gang, 1965 saw the release of "A Charlie Brown Christmas," a CBS Christmas special with an accompanying album of the same name. Performed by the jazzy Vince Guaraldi Trio, it is among the most popular Christmas music albums of all time. Here's a quick clip from the special featuring the mellow tune of "Christmas Time Is Here."
Another one of the few Christmas specials from the 1960s to be shown annualy on TV is "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" Originally airing on CBS in 1966, this Dr. Seuss animated classic featured the voice of Boris Karloff as the Narrator and The Grinch, however, it was Thurl Ravencroft (mentioned in the Halloween post) who performed "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch." After Ravencroft was accidentally not credited in the closing credits, Seuss personally called him and apologized, and wrote letters to columnists nationwide to clear up the mistake. Too bad YouTube will only allow me to post a portion of the song.

Finally, we'll conclude with the longest-running Christmas TV special, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," which has been telecast every year since it first aired in 1964 on NBC. Produced in stop-motion animation, this special featured original songs by Johnny Marks that have become Christmas standards including "A Holly Jolly Christmas," "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," and "Silver and Gold." Here's a clip from the special with folk singer Burl Ives performing "A Holly Jolly Christmas."

Stay tuned for one last post featuring the best sounds of the season!

1 comment:

  1. Hey guys, the "Ol" Captain" here, and as of right now I am the fan club president for this band, "The Royal Guardsmen". We appreciate you devoting a little attention towards them, now that we're trying to get the fan base kick started, since they're actively playing and recording again. Obviously, they're known for the big 3 hits they had, (Snoopy vs.Red Baron, Return of the Red Baron, and Snoopys Xmas) but they're also good musicians and really nice guys, too. Like most bands, their best stuff isn't whats played on the radio.
    If it's cool with you, we'd love anyone interested to come on over to facebook and "like" The Royal Guardsmen, and from there you can stay current regarding news, tour dates and we even have semi monthly giveaways, our next being their new live cd, "Beaglemania!"
    I think I speak for the group when I say a great big thanks for this, have a great day, guys!
    Here's the link, , hope to see you there!