Monday, December 5, 2011


Christmas Music: Part 2

Alright, we're beginning another full post with a fun, instrumental classic by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass. Originally a show tune from the Rodgers' & Hammerstein 1959 musical The Sound of Music, "My Favorite Things" has become a popular Christmas selection, likely because of the wintertime imagery in the lyrics. With the unmistakable trumpet-playing style of Herb Alpert, this quick rendition comes from the group's Christmas album (their eleventh release) in December of 1968.

Now, this next song has absolutely nothing to with Christmas, except for the fact that its titled "Holiday." So why include it on this post? Why not! Written by Barry and Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees, these two brothers share lead vocals in this haunting song that is primarily in a minor key with a strong organ presence. Released as a single in the U.S. in September 1967 (although not released in their native England), this song remained a concert favorite for over 30 years, with Maurice Gibb sometimes providing comedic antics by attempting many failed attempts to join in with his brothers.

Up next is an original Christmas song performed by Motown girl group The Supremes. Released in November 1965, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Me" was the B-side of their holiday single that year and was featured on their album Merry Christmas, which peaked at #6 on the Billboard Holiday charts. Here's a sweet, little tune with a nice photo montage for ya.

On a completely different note, this next seasonal tune comes from Here Come the Brides, an American comedy Western TV series that first aired on ABC in 1968. "St. Day Carol" is a Cornish Christmas song that dates back to the 19th century, and is beautifully performed here by Bobby Sherman and David Soul (who were propelled into stardom after their roles in this show). Singer/actor Sherman became a teen idol during the late '60s and early '70s while Soul went on to star in the TV show "Starsky & Hutch" in the mid-'70s.

And our last song of this post, it's New York girl group The Ronettes with their fun version of "Sleigh Ride." With its well-known "Ring-a-ling-a-ling Ding-dong-ding" background vocals, this song was featured on a Christmas album with several other artists, all produced by Phil Spector, and was titled A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records. At the time, the album was a relative flop because it was released the same day as President Kennedy's assassination on November 22nd 1963, but since has been ranked among the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, with original pressings selling now for $500! Here's another cute photo montage, however the performance footage is clearly from a different Ronettes song.

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